DAY 6 – 30th April 2013
Today morning Manoj woke up at 5.35am because the previous night by mistake, he had set his watch to Hong Kong time which is 1 hour ahead of Nepal.
So he thought he was running late. When I told him of his error, he didn’t know what to do now that he was up.
we had discussed the previous night prior to bedtime that we would meet for breakfast at 7.00am. Now, because we were ah hour early, we had additional time to pack up our bags properly.
Kumar and his brother Bibas, our porters, were already at the lodge at 6.45am. We were ready with our bags for them.
Once we were ready and had filled up our water bottles for drinking during the day, we met up with Stefano and Lhakpa for breakfast.
Manoj wanted to take a dump after breakfast and he asked me for toilet rolls but mine were already on their way up the mountain to our next stop, Tengboche. He had to improvise with serviettes.
Whilst he was gone, Stefano and I were talking about Diamox. Diamox is a prescription medication that helps humans with the acclimatisation process and subsequently, help their bodies adjust to the high altitude, lack of oxygen and avoid symptoms of altitude sickness.
Stefano was sure that he had taken one pill in the morning however, his blister pack containing the medication only had one empty slot from the previous day. We later discovered that the pill he took in the morning was actually a laxative and not diamox. Bahahahhaahaahha.
He thought he might have taken a pill from the second blister pack which went with his main rucksack that was with the porters. We won’t be able to verify until this evening when we get to Tengboche unless of course…Stefano has the sudden urge to spill his guts along the way…then we will know conclusively which pill he actually took. LOL
After all that fiasco, we took off at 8.30am. The climb up from Namche wasn’t as hard today as the previous day. Probably because we got some practice the previous day and were mentally prepared as well. The initial hour of the route we were using was the same one as the previous day’s acclimatization climb towards Everest View Hotel. But upon getting over the high climb above Namche, we were turning right and meandering around and under the Everest View Hotel as we discovered during our trek.
At the top of the climb, the route meandered and became relatively flat. We began walking faster. As we rounded a corner, we got our first clear glimpse of Everest (8,848m), Lhotse Face (8,516m), Nuptse (7,855m), Ama Dablam (6,856m) & Taboche (6,501m) Peaks basking in the sun with a clear blue sky as the backdrop.
The majestic mountains in all their glory. To think I was here, staring at the highest point in the whole world in front of me.
As we walked along, we crossed paths with an old man stationed along the way. There was a sign board next to him which told his story. He had been around since 1958 getting donations from all the trekkers to help improve the trekking route that we were on currently.
Somewhere around 10am, we stopped at Kyangjuma for a quick break and I ended up getting a croissant from a bakery along the way. The croissant cost me 250 NRs ($3). Western pricing, but where else would you get bakery fresh croissants at over 3,600m? It was a really good croissant (disclaimer: the opinion of someone who hadn’t had freshly baked bread in a while).
During this stop , we were waiting for Lhakpa who was having some tea and a snack. As we waited, there was a Yak Train passing and Stefano wasn’t quick enough to dodge so he was pushed aside by the yak. Luckily, no injuries today. The bull run went without a victim.
A Yak Train is what the locals call the long line of yaks (woolly bulls and cows that are used by the Sherpa people to help expeditions transfer their large quantity of rations from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. They are usually commandeered by either one or two Sherpa folk who own the animals and earn a living from this thoroughfare during climbing seasons.
It was a clear sunny day and we were walking until 12.15pm when we finally decided to stop for lunch. We stopped at Zambala Restaurant in Phungetenga.
Truly great weather to be in the great outdoors. After a heavy lunch, it was really difficult to get going again. During lunch we met a group of indians from Mumbai (present day Bombay). They turned out to be Gujarati and some were Oshwals from Kansumra. Kansumra is a township in the Northern part of India, close to where my family roots originated from, not that I’ve ever been there.
We spoke to them through lunch and they were amazed that they caught up with us despite leaving an hour later than us from Namche. What I forgot to mention to them was that its never a race on the moutain. The longer you spend on the route, the better your body is acclimatising to the gradual change in altitude. It is NEVER a good idea to climb fast when you’re on a mountain let alone a range of mountains. We left after lunch and bade them farewell as they were hoping to catch up with us along the way somewhere. The route after lunch was an uphill traverse of over 450m. It felt like an endless climb. Along the way we met Kumar and his brother Bibas. The sun was scorching hot on our backs as we made the long trek. We got to the town at the top of the hill finally after a hard slog.
We were in Tengboche (3,876m).
Tengboche houses one of the biggest monasteries in the Everest region. We have been informed that there is a “puja” (spiritual ceremony) at 6.30am the next morning that would last for 1 hour. Most of the expeditions that embark upon a quest to summit Mount Everest stop over in Tengboche to pay their respects at the monastery and get blessings before continuing on their journey. The expedition leaders and sherpa believe that this is where they must seek the blessings of the mountain gods to grant them permission and safe passage on their ascent to summit the peaks in the region.
On our way back from visiting the Monastery and taking a few pictures, we spotted the indian family making their way up and they were surprised that we had reached up here so quickly considering the terrain.
We went back to our lodge, the Himalayan Lodge, to freshen up and socialize with other climbers. We were chatting to Angus, from Ireland, who also happened to be on the same route as us. We had some popcorn and rhododendron tea to snack on before dinner.
After a sumptuous dinner, at 7.30pm we sat down with Lhakpa and talked about the day and how we went. Manoj and I decided we would be attending the “puja” the next morning whilst Stefano would be sleeping in.
We went off to bed at 9.30pm as usual.