Highway to the danger zone

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April 19th 2010
Published: May 5th 2010
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The river near the teahouse.
Namche Bazar, Nepal

Altitude at start of day: 2,800 meters / 9,184 feet

Last night I finally had an okay night's sleep. I'm still a bit tired but am much more refreshed than the last couple days. We made our way downstairs for breakfast by 7 am and departed by 7:30. At breakfast, we spoke with the puking guy and his father, both of whom are Americans, and gave our condolences. It seemed the puking guy was doing better. He thinks he might have had something bad to eat or drink even though he had been cautious.

The first half of the day took us through a rolling journey with magnificent views of trees, rivers and peaks off in the distance to the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park (Sagarmatha is the Nepalese name for Everest). I wore my GPS/heart rate monitor watch so I could check my exertion and our elevation. It seemed the latter was pretty close. We made a few stops for breaks along the way, which was good as my heart rate was largely in the 160s at most but it did hit 170 a couple times. In under three hours, we reached the park

A peak rising above the clouds in the distance.
office where Ram checked us in. As he did, we used the outhouse style squat toilets (number 1 only) and went inside to look at some pictures of the park and a model of the Himalayas in the area. At this point we were at about 2,900 meters (9,512 feet).

We walked down for another 10 minutes - descending about 500 feet - before stopping for lunch. Both of us dined on fried rice with egg and cheese. Before we set out I converted my hiking pants into shorts in preparation for a much warmer afternoon.

The second half of the day was a bit more strenuous with a steeper climb. The terrain remained similar, with an alpine covered walk and a few views of the river far below. At one point, when I was walking with Ram, we heard something that sounded like thunder. I asked him about it and he said it was a glacier shift. Shortly thereafter, we stopped for a rest - one of several on the more difficult terrain - and had our first view of Everest. We couldn't see the peak as it was cloud covered.

We made it without incident.
Me and DaveMe and DaveMe and Dave

Entering Sagarmatha National Park.
My heart rate was up higher this afternoon - in the low 180s several times. When I run, that’s just shy of the level where I cross my lactic threshold. The altitude certainly takes its toll on exertion.

We arrived in Namche - the Sherpa capital - after 2:00, tired from a tough afternoon of trekking. We had some more fantastic milk tea and got checked into our room. Again it's better than originally expected, though there isn't a power outlet. While Dave got situated I went downstairs to the toilet. The room contained a normal toilet and a urinal. Given the latter, there was absolutely no reason for anyone to have wet the seat. Yet they did. Because of the inconsiderate piece of yak dung I opted to use a squat technique.

We continued to get situated and I went downstairs to take a shower. The tea house only has a single shower - a hot one that it charges 300 rupees ($4.35) to use. I would have gone to a free cold one but the hot one was all there is. As I properly washed up for the first time since Saturday I amused myself with
Rocky terrainRocky terrainRocky terrain

Much of the afternoon terrain was like this.
a paraphrasation of the promiscuous slogan “save water, shower together” with save rupees, shower together”.

I spent the afternoon trying to catch up on my journal entries and reading. After a few hours of this, I joined Dave for dinner downstairs. We each had fried rice with egg, vegetables and cheese, as well as potato momos.

After dinner, we went to an Internet café where we checked in via email with home and I updated a bit of the blog. The upload speed is tremendously slow so I'll be switching to a new format to try and improve things a bit. I'll just have to go back to the old (and better) way when I get back to civilization.

When we got back, we went over our itinerary with Ram. If all goes well, we will shoot for Everest Base Camp and Kalapattar, which is actually higher than base camp and has much better views of Mount Everest. We're both pretty happy about this addition.

Tomorrow we have an acclimatization day in Namche.

Altitude at end of day: 3,440 meters / 11,284 feet

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6



Our first glimpse of Everest was a largely cloud covered one.
Entering Namche BazarEntering Namche Bazar
Entering Namche Bazar

Finishing our first full day of trekking.

Tot: 0.362s; Tpl: 0.107s; cc: 7; qc: 23; dbt: 0.073s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 7; ; mem: 1.3mb