Namche to KalaPathar and return


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October 28th 2009
Published: November 12th 2009
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28/10/09

The shorter day so far, only took us less than 5 hrs to Tengpoche(@3800m). As we had done the the Khumjung route yesterday, so we took the easy trail today along the contour of the mountain, we marched forward together with 100 of others walkers, porters and yaks! Of cause facing with another 1000 of return hikers from the Everest, kind of like the Sunday hiking scene in Hongkong, busy! The walk was simple, one down and up, but the climbing was quite steep. The 1st sight up there was the stupa and the monastery, which was surrounded by couple of GH. Checked around and surprised by the occupancy, almost all of them were full!? just 2pm!!?? So we checked in the 1st one got free room. Tengpoche was a small settlement, underneath the Ama Dablam was a bakery, guesthouses and patched tents, of cause the monastery stood on one side over looking the area. The monastery was open for visited everyday after 3pm, and tourists could observed the sermon chanting in the main prayer hall. But the atmosphere was like people going into a free performance, curiosity with interest by no mean some of them were rather ignorance, there was notice written very clear "no video and no photo with flash", but still people shoot with spark, moved around trying to find the best filming view like he was in the dining hall. I wondered why the monastery open in this way for tourist? To help boom the tourism? very strange feeling while sitting inside while people streaming in and all the unnecessary action.

Note
Internet charge 1000/hr.

29/10/09

Another short day walk to Pheriche(@4240m), the walk was easy but with the altitude approached 4000m, we grasping for air. The more we walked further north, the less we seen the Everest, and as we went higher up, the closer we came to the snow mountain and saw the real sight, from afar we admired the mighty snow cap, we cherished the beauty, once closer we saw below the white line was deteriorated rock surface, loose rocks created landslide effect, looked at the Ama Dablam, the lower section might disappeared in 50 years. Anyway...after Namche we seem like walked into the barren area, loose rocked and sandy path.
After Shomare the trail spit and almost all the tour went to Dingboche direction, said Dingboche was warmer then Pheriche and less windy, but we kept to our plan heading to Pheriche only an hour walk from the junction. Once into the Pheriche valley we lost sight of the Everest totally, and for a change we had the full view of the mountain of Lobuche right in front of us, Tabuche Peak(6493m) on the left while Nangkar Tshang(5616m) on the right. Quiet was the impression that we got, not even any villagers. But it made the price lower here and room cost only 100. From afar we saw a windmill power tower, and find out later was the Himalaya rescue center, a free lecture on AMS at 3pm everyday. "few days ago a Japanese man was died from AMS" the nurse told us. We shouldn't took it easy for the high altitude problem, so we will took another day to acclimating here.

Note
Once outside of Tengboche you could find more GH, and cost for food was cheaper

Helicopter rescue missions are charged at around USD$800/flying hour.

30/10/09

Indeed it was very cold in Pheriche last night, I could see frost on the trail this morning, we even saw the laundry was frozen outside people's house. Another day for acclimating, so we made a hike to Chukhung(@4700m) to the east which will passed through Dingboche(@4410m).
we find a local dining house in Pheriche that served us yak meat in the morning, of cause...in the local price! So we got yak meat for breakfast, together with fried rice and filled ourselves up with 2 cups of hot milk tea, then we climbed over the hill behind our GH, immediately we saw Dingboche in the valley below, the sight up here was superb, and again the Nuptse and Lhotse came back in front of us. Dingboche had more accommodation and in fact it was warmer here. The trail carry on through the small village along the river, the climbing was steady but the altitude really required our breath. Then Chukhung(@4700m) appeared unexpectedly, "that's quick" I exclaimed as we hadn't done a lot of walk yet! Chukhung offered just a couples of GH here before trekkers heading up to Island Peak(@6189). This snow mountain had became a popular destination, it stood before us with the Cho Polu(@6200m)and Amphulapche(@5663) on the right. I was energetic enough to climbed a small hill to made my new record of being on the highest ground...today will be 4800m! But I think it wouldn't last long as I will go further up each day.

31/10/09

4930m was written on every lodge in Lobuche. My new record for my feet to stood on! The walked today was shorter than expected, I just concentrated on my barometer watch, 4400m, 4500m...after a steep climbed and I saw the Lobuche valley. We walked quicker than we used to as we knew room was scarce in Luboche, we got there before noon ahead of many others walkers, "full, full" was the answer in the lodge. but we could still get a tent for 300 or got a room for 1500 in a GH if we wanted. luckily cheap cheap me finally got a room in local house for porter with 4 paper thin walls(don't try to have sex inside). Tried to exercised a bit by walked up the nearby hill, but my breath were short while climbing, seem like my feet need more air too. After descent I felt a bit dizzy and it worried me, and the helicopter fly pass seem like a alarm echoed in my head...the rescue flight! You don't take AMS lightly!
There was so many people in this small settlement, 100 of tourists in the dining room tonight, all waiting for food. I knew now why many people arrived after us still got room, because rooms was reserved by the guide, thanked for the mobile technology! And many others were camping, but still...some individual like us might need to turned back down the hill looking for accommodation, too bad! After dinner my head was lighter and feel better. Hope I could made it up to Kala Patter tomorrow.

1/11/09

It was a painful night. So cold inside that paper room full of tiny holes, wind drifted in all through the night, the blanket was useless but added another ice paper on my thin sleeping bag. I really wanted to died! Didn't really know how I got through it. 11pm...2am...4am...then noise came from upstairs and other rooms at 5. Our breakfast was scheduled at 6:30, eye opened looking at the canopy ceiling... Finally time for departure, the final approached to our destination... Kala Phatar. Collected my water bottle and find the water was frozen inside! It was indeed very cold and windy. The walked wasn't that difficult but the altitude slow us down. The ascended was steady and we made it to Gorek Shep(@5180m) in less than 2 hrs, same like Luboche, couple of lodges made-up the whole settlement, although we were early, still...many trekkers was on the trail up the Kala Patthar that was on the right of Gorek Shep. Looked at it from afar this brown stone hill underneath the giant Pumo Ri(7165m),facing the Everest and Nuptse made it the perfect location to view the Himalaya, that was why we came here. Although it took us 2 hrs to got to the top at 5550m. But it was far more easier than I'd expected, of cause ...in ant speed and breathless. The view from the top was great, but so windy and cold, my face and both of my hand cried out for rescued, a quick few shots and we running down the hill, and kept checking see if my nose was still intact.
So my aim for this long trek had been fulfilled and suddenly I was like a deflated balloon, no energy, didn't wanted to walk, but still we planned to back further down at least to Pheriche, as I really didn't want to hang out any longer in Lobuche. Carrying my tiring body we made it to Pheriche by 5pm.

3/11/09

"have you seen the Everest?" 2 Chinese tourists asked me in the guesthouse last night. Of cause I answered in a proudest tone and surprised by this question because they were coming back from the EBC as well. then she explained they just not sure which mountain was the Everest and show me some photos. "oh my god! " I cried out. The Everest top with golden orange colour! "did you made any effect with the pictures ?" couldn't believed what I'd seen I asked stupidly. Now it was their time to shoot me back proudly, they did the base camp early in the morning and then climbed the Kala Patther on the same day, "we were up there by 5pm" they added, and running down the hill when it was dark. I was really jealous but still had to congratulated them got such a good pictures. But looked at the way they did it, travelled by themselves and were late arrived at Lobuche, no room available so they pressed for Gorek Shep without thinking about acclimating, even only a night stopped in Dingboche before. See...sometimes ignorance could made thing simpler, we were worried too much about AMS and tried hard to stopped and rest for every few 100m ascent, and they just go and captured such a great moment of the Everest. Still they were lucky I guess as they also said "we had strong headaches at night in Gorek Shep" again the alarm of helicopter fly across the sky came back.
Coming back downhill from Namche was a released and my head was up when troops of tourists walking up the hill bargaining for air, "I was like this last week...hahaha" I thought to myself! The traffic was far more heavier than the time when I arrived, everyone heading up to see the highest mountain in the world, trying to build up the ego (myself too) when talking to the other in the future, "I'd been to the EBC", "I climbed the kala Patthar", "I walked to Chola Pass"... throwing between with name really mean nothing to alot of people. But not everyone like us, 2 Japanese clad in heavy clothing sit on the side of the trail this morning when I was on my way down, drawing board set security on the ground, making sketch and water painting, totally ignoring the heavy traffic pass by.
It took about 90 mins to get to the Park entrance, I saw the figure of the visitors for October this year on the wall while checking out, about 8800 people, not included the number for expedition group, almost a thousand people less than last year.
Again...passing through those Alpine villages, Joesalle, Mojo, Chablung...them I came back to Chaurikhaka, to the Buddha Lodge, although facilities was simple and basic, but the curry veg rice was yummy! I definitely recommended(stayed here last week), a friendly Sherpa couple with welcoming warm smile, that was what you need after a long day walked! The man was out for trekking tour, so the wife kept the house alone, and seem like there was a tiny video party tonight, a fresh VCD from America about a wedding party from relative, so everyone laughed while pointing at faces on the screen, but the newly thing to me was the special drink the wife had prepared, boiled chang with egg, I mean...first cooked the eggs in a big pot, then poured in chang, added sugar and lastly put in chocolate biscuit. What a special combination!
Today I said goodbye to Fadil as it was long enough for me to travelled with someone, need to be on my own again!
For the conclusion about the trip from Namche and beyond, yes...except too crowded but it was worth to see the snow mountain and all those beautiful scene, and for independent travellers and not much budget like me, prepared for humiliated look as you wouldn't ordered that much and ate only the cheapest dishes, it was alright as long as no words directed on me. I didn't feel shamed being poor, and I paid for every foods I ate.
Room rate from Namche and further on seem to be fixed on 200/room, but in Pheriche some GH gave out room for 100. and independent trekker without a guide in Luboche might able to get room in The ECO Lodge which charge USD$20/room.
Itching for hot shower? Then the price ranged from 200 to 400 rupee. And to recharge your battery it would cost from 80 to 300/hour. Refreshed yourself while on the trail from Namche, milk tea would be from 40 to 70,while black tea would be 5 or 10 rupee less.


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