From the Himalayas With Love – Part 2

Nov 8th – Dec 4th 2016

28.0025° N, 86.8528° E

Three high passes, EBC and Kala Patthar

For part 1 (day 1 to day 4) follow this link

Our itinerary:

Day 1. Lukla  – Phakding, 08.15am – 11.05am. Trek today: 2h50min

Day 2. Phakding – Namche Bazzar, 08.00am – 13.45pm. Trek today: 5h30min

Day 3. Acclimatization day, Namche Bazzar. Trek today: 3h

Day 4. Namche Bazzar – Tengboche, 08.00am – 13.30pm. Trek today: 5h30min

Day 5. Tengboche – Dingboche, 08.30am – 12.45pm. Trek today: 4h15min

Day 6. Acclimatization day, Dingboche. Trek today: 2h

Day 7. Dingboche – Chhukhung, 09.30am – 11.30am. Trek today:2h

Day 8. Chhukhung – Lobuche, 06.30am – 13.30pm. Trek today: 7h

  • Over Kongma La pass 5535m

Day 9. Lobuche – Gorak Shep, 08.00am – 10.00am. Trek 2h

  • Gorak Shep- EBC 5364m, 11.30am – 14.00pm. Trek 2h50min
  • Gorak Shep- Kala Patthar 5545m, 15.15pm – 18.00pm. Trek 2h50min (sunset at the top)

Day 10. Gorak Shep – Zongla, 09.00am – 14.00pm. Trek today: 5h

Day 11. Zongla – Gokyo, 06.15am – 14.30pm. Trek today: 8h, 15 min

  • Over Chola pass 5420m

Day 12. Gokyo – Namche Bazzar, 06.15am – 17.15pm. Trek today: 11h

  • Over Renjo La pass 5345m

Day 13. Namche Bazzar – Lukla, 09.30am – 15.30pm. Trek today: 6h


Day 5. Dingboche 4410m

We’re in Dingboche and we did the walk from Tengboche pretty quickly. Only trekked for approximately 4 hours but still managed to cover quite a bit of land. The country around us has changed a lot on the way up from Tengboche. We have now crossed the tree line (somewhere around 4000 meters) therefore everything looks quite cold and rough. The sun is still warm and I actually chose to walk in shorts today as well, despite it only being 5 degrees when we started. It was actually a bit funny this morning, when we got up and went for breaky, we had two layers of wool and the heavy down jacket. Stripping from this down to shorts might seem a bit weird, but it’s getting really hot in the sun while walking. Just being precautious! We only met one other guy in shorts and people did look at me a bit weird, but it worked out great for me and I saved my pants for another day. I think this was the last day in short pants though, because it is getting cooler and the sun is very sharp as we are getting higher. The skin will do good with some cover. We gained a few more metres altitude, and we are both still feeling good. I’m drinking lots of water. Trying to get down one litre before we’re even starting in the morning and at least another couple of litres while trekking. We are getting closer to the first mountain pass. We’ll cross over Kongma La pass in three days and this will take us to 5535 metres. We’re staying here in Dingboche for two nights before that. We’ll do a short trek tomorrow to acclimatize further and get ready for the higher altitude we will get up into in a few days.

All in all, I think Tengboche was a much nicer place than Dingboche, but I love the fact that we are getting higher and closer to our first goal. We also have a short trek to the town of Chhukung before Kongma La pass. When looking in the direction of Chhukung, we also have the view of Island peak. This is a well known peak to climb before higher expeditions. Island peak is 6189 and is not a very technical climb, but you still need ice climbing equipment and a climbing permit. 

We haven’t done much after we got here other than drinking tea of course, and also taken a few pictures. We’ll try to some resting before the next few big days. Hans is already snoring his way off, while I’m writing this. Haha…

Day 6. Acclimatization day Dingoboche

This day has been absolutely fabulous! We have been living life acclimatizing! We started this morning climbing a few hundred metres towards a top behind where we are staying. It only took us an hour and a half up and down. From the top we had a beautiful view towards Chhukung where we are heading tomorrow. We also saw the mountain Makalu for the first time. It’s another 8000 metre peak, the 5th highest in the world, if I’m not wrong, at 8485 metres. Definitely not a bad looking mountain. We turned when we were halfway to the top because we are going so much higher in a couple of days. It will be smart not to spend too much energy today, and the height we reached today was perfect for our acclimatization. There were a couple other guys that kept on going towards the top, and asked if we’re not? (They are heading for Basecamp tomorrow when we are heading for the pass) Our guide answered before we could and said we’re going way higher than Basecamp in a couple of days, actually over 400 metres higher than the top above us. “No need today”. It was quite funny the way he said it, not being a douche but still with a touch of sass. When we got back down it was still early. We went through our stuff and Hans got rid of a couple of things to make the bag a bit lighter before the pass (Kongma La) on Saturday. After, I believe we sat in the sun for four hours socialising and eating Norwegian chocolate…also with the purpose to make the packs lighter. I’m sure I’ve gained 5 pounds today, but it was worth every pound. I guess we’ll lose it again over the pass no problem. After all that chocolate we also managed to find a bakery. Can you belive that? A bakery over 4300 metres. We had a cinnamon roll, a tea, went all in and bought another tea and a rum ball. (Big heavy chocolate ball) NICE!  After all that it was time for dinner. Dal Bhat power!  I’m so full right now, I literally can’t move. I guess that is a good thing though. Our appetite is still good, and we are sleeping like babies. The altitude hasn’t gotten to us, at least not yet. And that is a very good feeling at this altitude. We have talked with quite a few people that have had some bad days, some of them are taking Diamox, some not. It makes us feel pretty good since we decided not to. We also did laundry today, old school! Everything together in a bucket. Now we’re good to go for another week or so. It’s also getting cooler every day. Our guide actually just told us that it’s much cooler this year than last year. Sounds like we’ll have a taste of winter. As you know; we’re Norwegians so that will work out just fine! At least that’s what we’re telling ourselves! 

Day 7. Chhukung 4730m

Today was only a short walk. We used only two hours from Dingboche to Chhukhung. 

Still, we are getting higher and we can feel it. Not in terms of headache or altitude sickness, but everything is slightly heavier to do. The body is also using a lot more energy to do the same distance up here as further down. This should have been the shortest and easiest day because of the short distance, but was actually rather one of the hardest so far. It was no problem, just a weird feeling walking more or less straight ahead without gaining much altitude and getting a pulse that high. I can actually feel it while sitting down as well. It’s just a bit heavier to breathe.

When we arrived we had lunch and our guide suggested that me and Hans should take a look around town. Well, that is if you can call it a town. It’s approximately three buildings so we decided to head up for one of the ridges behind where we are staying. This to get a better view, better pictures, while acclimatizing even further. We also hoped we would reach 5000 metres. We didn’t, but not too far off. Hans’ watch said 4910 meters at the top. We are quite happy with this today, since every meter we are getting higher at this altitude is a new record for us! We also got an awesome view of Islands peak,  Ama Dablam from a different angle than before and a close up look towards Lhotse. We also glanced at the trek we are heading up tomorrow towards Kongma La pass, quite a trail that will take us up to over 5500 metres! It’s supposed to be tough, and guaranteed the toughest day so far. Good thing we feel ready. But it will definitely be interesting to see how the body works out when we are reaching 1000 metres higher than today.

Hopefully it will give me a good story to write tomorrow night! Now we’ll soon have some Dal Bhat, and then call it an early night because we’re starting our trek at 6am tomorrow.

Day 8. Lobuche 4940m, via Kongma La pass 5535m

Big day!!! We started at 6.30am from Chhukung and our goal for the day was  to reach Luboche through Kongma La pass. We had to make it, since there are no settlements or anything along the trail through the pass. We started at 4700m, climbed up to 5535m and back down to 4940m. It definitely turned out to be quite a climb. Body and mind both felt good, and we were gaining metres quite fast. We walked out from Chhukung with another girl from Switzerland and her guide. We walked with them for a couple of hours, then suddenly they decided to slow down a bit and we didn’t see them again before Lobuche. When they arrived, we got to know that she had gotten some problems with the altitude and had a major headache. They came down almost three hours later than us and we thought we had a long day. It also happened to be her birthday, poor thing. Anyways, we got to the top after climbing for around four hours. I’m writing climbing because that’s what is is. Well, not as technical climbing where you need ropes, but at the limit of what you can trek. It was spectacular when we reached the top. Absolutely magnificent looking at the surroundings from that altitude! Standing thousands of metres above sea level and still have peaks thousands of meters above you is just something. We sat at the top for around half an hour. We got some noodles from our guide that worked as our lunch. Not enough by far, but we still had some chocolate. 

We looked down towards Luboche and it looked far away but still not that far. Guess what? It was far! First we had to descend approximately 600 metres, that took us around two hours. It was only rocks, and watching your step is crucial. We finally made it down and it was “only” crossing the glacier left before we reached Lobuche and lunch. The glacier between us and our goal for the day was the Khambu Glacier. It is huge and it is moving. Literally a floating river of ice, covered with rocks some probably tens of tonnes. Several places we could hear how the ice was cracking, twisting and turning underneath us. And how it’s all covered in rocks makes it even worse since you can’t see the cracks, not all of them anyhow. We could only really see the ice a few places. A couple of times I jumped down on rocks car sized and I could feel how they dropped underneath me, several inches. It was a very scary experience since we both know how unpredictable ice can be! We made it across and everything is good now. We made it to Lobuche after eight hours, feeling a bit tired but still going strong. We sat in the tea house for a few hours tonight drinking lots of tea while planning tomorrows trek. Another big day ahead of us, they will keep on coming at us every day from now on. After a few hours’ sleep, we are heading for Gorak Shep, the last little settlement before Base Camp. We’ll get there, go into Base Camp and hopefully climb to the top of Khala Patthar (one of the best view points of Everest) tomorrow. We’ll see what happens after a good nights sleep! 

Day 9. Gorak Shep 5140m, Everest B.C 5364m and Khala Patthar 5550m!

What a day! Again! We started this morning after breaky walking from Lobuche heading for Gorak Shep. We used around two hours and it was a fairly easy walk, only ascending 200 metres up to 5100 metres. We felt very good today as well, considering Kongma La yesterday. When we got to Gorak Shep, we checked into our room and waited 30 minutes for our porter before we set off towards B.C. We had to wait for our bags because we needed some stuff we had planned to bring to B.C (prayer flags, Norwegian flag, aquavit and grandma’s Delfia cake) It was worth it no doubt! We left our backpacks in Gorak Shep and had our stuff in our pockets instead. It makes such a difference walking without a backpack over 5000 metres. When we reached B.C it was not crowded at all, it was amazing. We saw the Khumbu Ice Fall that is coming down from Everest. The ice fall you have to make your way through from B.C to Camp 1. So cool to see it up close. There were no expeditions there now; no one is attempting the top at this time of year so no tents as you often can see in pictures. We’ll have to save that sight for our own expedition! You need no tents to be amazed in B.C. Looking up towards Everest is worth it alone. We had a toast with aquavit as you must when from Norway! W posed with the bottle and my Norwegian flag for some pictures, hung up prayer flags and had some Delfia Cake that my beautiful Grandma made me for hard days. We shared with some of the other guys that were there, and they loved it. They said we were legends bringing chocolate cake and liquor all the way to B.C. “Such cool guys from Norway” was the sound we left behind, it was awesome! 

When we got back to Gorak around two o’clock our guide suggested we’d climb halfway up to Khala Patthar for the best view of Everest with a beautiful sunset if we would wait for that. Well.. There is no such thing as doing anything halfway is there? He thought it was insane to climb to the top after everything else today and said with a funny tone that he was certain no one in the entire world had done that before. Haha. That was probably quite an exaggeration but what could possibly motivate us more? He said it would take two and a half hours to the top and Khala Patthar is actually 20 metres higher than Kongma La that we did yesterday. It would be a 600 metre climb above 5000m taking us up to 5550m. Highest we’ve ever been so far! The plan was to see the sunset, and we were going for the top. I thought this would be a brilliant opportunity to test how the body would work under quite some pressure at this altitude. Since our guide decided not to come we could also trek in our own pace. Not for bragging purposes, rather stating facts. Haha. I made it up in 1h15m. I didn’t walk very fast, rather I found my pace and didn’t stop before the top. It was such an amazing feeling pushing myself like that. I’m feeling great. Hans didn’t feel the same eagerness today for pushing himself as I did and came 20 min behind me. Still doing a very good time from bottom to top! Well, that should be enough ego boosting for a little while! We saw the sunset and good thing we walked as fast as we did because the sunset started almost an hour before our guide told us. If we had used 2h30m as he predicted we would have missed it. As a consequence when you decide to watch the sunset from the top of a mountain, you have to walk down in the dark. That was actually pretty cool, but good thing we had our headlamps. We saw a few people trying to find their way down without any light; not recommended, I’m sure they will quote me on that. When we got down everyone thought we had done very well and our guide seemed rather proud. He kept on telling everyone about how strong our team was… Now I’m starting again *egoboost*.. ! We had dinner, sat with the Sherpas at their table and since they got to taste aquavit earlier today from us, they insisted we had to taste their local rum. We only had one (big) glass…we’re at 5100 metres. Not a good idea to drink much up here but how can you say no to Sherpas that only wants to return the favour? Can’t be rude either. The room we’re sitting in (dining area) is full of flags from other teams and expeditions from all over the world. But you know what, none from Norway. We had to do something about that since it just so happened that I had a flag. I wrote our names, where we have been, the signatures from our team members, and attached it to the roof.. Now there is a Norwegian flag in Gorak Shep lodge! It’s yet again time for bed and to charge our batteries before tomorrow. It’s supposedly not a hard day, but still quite a walk towards the second pass and our forth goal Chola pass. 

Coming up in part three… Chola Pass and Renjo La Pass! Do you think we made it?

Robin

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3 thoughts on “From the Himalayas With Love – Part 2

  1. Pingback: From the Himalayas With Love – Part 3 | Sarah and Robin👉🌏

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