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Back in Kathmandu

Once we had arrived back in Hotel Thamel we had a quick de-brief, being advised to shower and wash our clothes before they rotted off of us, giving us lunch money for us to go our separate ways for lunch. We were then given free-time to go and explore before we had to meet at 6 for dinner at K-Too Steakhouse.

On the Saturday we were treated to another cultural tour to Changu Narayan , another temple where Buddhists and Hindu’s can worship together. Our tour guide taught us whilst walking around about the many stone statues within the temple area. From here we left and headed for Bhaktapur Durbha Square, of which was many small squares not just one. Within one of the many squares there was a temple, one of the few to be left standing after the 1934 major earthquake.  After lunch we were shown around some more then headed back to the hotel before free-time for the rest of the day and to head out in small groups to get our own dinner.

On Sunday we drove for a few hours out of Kathmandu and into the foothills of the Himalayas to go white water rafting. We we six to a raft with some of us sharing with a group of guys from the Czech republic. The rapids were awesome with some of them being graded as 3+ (on a 1-5 scale). We all sat on the edge of the raft with our feet inside the raft positioned such that we didn’t fall out. However the river had other ideas. On one of the first rapids the boat went down a drop in front of a big wave and gave an unexpected jolt. The next the we knew was Chris was about 20m from the boat going down the rapids head first. He was rescued by a kayaker and was soon back in the raft, looking a bit shocked. Between rapids we were allowed to swim in the river, this was refreshing as it was really hot. People were doing forwards and backwards somersaults into the water off the rafts. The group was provided with lunch and then we were back on the river. All to soon it was time for us to head back to the hotel.

On Monday morning we visited Narayantiti palace museum where the Kings of Nepal had lived until 2008 when Nepal got rid of it’s monarchy. We saw different rooms where visiting heads of state (including our own) were welcomed and stayed. During Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday morning we had free time to buy souvenirs, presents and to explore some more. In the afternoon we packed our bags and made sure they were under the weight restriction.

Written by Lhotse patrol

From dirty to clean

We left Khumjung at 9:00am in miserable and cloudy weather for an hour walk to Namche Bazzar. A short walk but still plenty to see in the poor weather. As we dropped over Namche hill we could here the drums from local school doing there morning aerobics, they where all lined up in their play ground. We watched a couple of helicopters land around Namche, which seemed crazy given the poor visibility. After just an hour and ten minutes we arrived in the lodge that we had stayed in on the walk up. We immediately noticed it was more busy in the town, more shops were open and more people about. The rest of the day was spent playing cards and chess, or just relaxing for the next day.

The next morning we had breakfast at 7:00am,  filled our water bottles and set out for a long day back to Lukla. The walk back was the first and only day on our trek that it rained. Dressed from head to toe in water proofs we were in good spirits for a damp and slippery walk.

On our walk home we saw an awful lot more tourists heading up the track, who were quite excited to see a group of scouts. It stopped raining after the first hour and we all began to over heat. We stripped down and plodded on till lunch which seemed to take forever. We stopped for lunch Phakding which was pasta in red sauce as usual, then we carried on to Lukla which was another 3 hours walk. Passing loads of donkey and yak trains on the way.

We arrived at Lukla at about 4:00pm very tired and worn out. We drank tea and relaxed till dinner, which was chicken and rice. We also got chatting with other tourists, finding out what was bringing them to the Kumbu. Shortly after dinner we left to our rooms to pack for an early flight the next day.

We all got up at 6:15 and were ready for breakfast at 6:45 it was jam and toast, for once the toast was warm (we knew it was going to be a good day) we then walked the 2 minutes to the airport and checked in our bags. After saying an emotional farewell to our Sherpas, Kasang and Lakpa who had been exceptional and a really good laugh throughout the trek. We watched a few planes arrive and leave and then got on ours back to Kathmandu.

When we arrived in Kathmandu we immediately noticed the heat and humidity, and the city’s certain aroma (mainly poo). We where met by our guide from ‘Asian Trekking’ who greeted us ‘welcomingly’ (yes we know this isn’t a real word). We then got on to our minibus on the manic streets of Kathmandu, back to Thamel hotel for a long awaited hot shower!

By Nuptse Patrol.

Dingboche back to Khumjung

We started the Friday morning from Dingboche to Chukhung with only a 400 meter height gain, so a slow and steady day for us. Arriving at half 11, and all still feeling great after a slow day yesterday in Dingboche. Chukhung was rather small with only a few building and not much around. From Chukhung we walked to Island Peak base-camp, only about a 600 meter height gain to 5080 meter, with lovely views  the whole way up over the glacier and Imja Tsho, a lake over 5010 meters that if burst would take 35 minuets to flood the entire Khumbu Valley.

Once at base-camp the climb team, made up of the 3 leaders plus Andy, Louis, Sam and Will, started to sort out their boots, harnesses and crampons for some practice on fixed-lines before their accent the next nay. We were joined by many more Sherpas’ for the cook team and another climbing guide, of whom was only 22 and had climbed Everest 4 times – the first when he was 18, who we had played football against in Khumjung.

A 1:30 breakfast for the climb team who then had to leave at 2:30. We all started the $ hour accent to the snow-line in the dark, of which we walked up faster than expected and had to wait for more sunlight – it was freezing – for about an hour. We got to the snowline, put on our harnesses, crampons and helmets before we were tied together then started on the soft snow.

With the Sherpa guides breaking trail, making it better for us walking up. From the onset we could see the summit and we soon reached the final face, yet, from a distance looked like a small slope was in fact an 85 degree wall of ice. The fixed lines were set at 20 meter intervals with a distance of 180 meters to the ridge-line. The final push took roughly three hours for them reach the ridge and the summit, the first set of us summiting at around a quarter to 9. The going was ever to awfully hard with one having to stop every few steps to take a break. Yet still worth it. The view from the summit was awe inspiring with the greatest views over mountains and the glacier below. The rest, bar Louis, summited over half an hour later as it was just so hard, Louis couldn’t summit as he was close to fainting and had a huge headache so was made to turn back and go down to base-camp. The first summit group started their accent to the bottom of the slope after the second team had all gotten to the ridge. After sitting in the sun at the bottom waiting for the other team to complete their decent down the face, we all started the decent to base-camp all thoroughly proud and exhausted.

At about 9 o’clock the members of the group who had stayed at base-camp walked around the corner, along the glacier, to see if they were able to see the climbers on the summit. But were unfortunate as clouds were around the summit and thus were not able to be seen. They then sat down and played cards for most of the day until Louis returned with a guide. The rest of the climbers returned in two groups, with a large gap between them, then ran out to congratulate them. The rest of the day the climbers spent recalling tails of their 12 hours of climbing that day, telling the others all about it.

On Monday we began our decent to Pangboche, of 1000 meters, with lunch at Dingboche for about an hour, we then passed down back to Khumjung for the last time, with a long day of walking. We were welcomed to a familiar sight of our lodge and staff from the community project.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the decent to Lukla.

Written by Lhotse.

 

Leaving Khumjung

Saturday 21st September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                             We walked from Khumjung to Pengboche today, it was really hot and because we had acclimatized in Khumjung, the walk was fairly easy. En-route we came across Tengboche bridge which had collapsed. We had lunch at Tenboche and had the perfect view of Everest up the valley. We arrived at Pengboche and Lakpa took us to the school where the 2007 did their community project. It was nice to see what Ollie and Chris had done the last time they were here.

Sunday 22nd September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Today we walked from Pangboche to Pheriche and we saw our first view of Island Peak. We saw where the valley split in two, we were taking the left route to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar. We finally arrived in Pheriche and had the best meal of the whole trip, including pancake covered mars bars!

Monday 23rd September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Today we had 700m to climb from Pheriche to Lobuche. We stopped in Thukla for some tea and we met some people from Dorset, one of which was a scout leader. We carried on up the valley in the sunshine and when we arrived in Lobuche (4950m) we saw Kala Pathar behind our lodge.

Tuesday 24th September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Today was a really long day. We set off to Gorek Shep, the last village before Everest Base Camp. We had an early lunch here. The walk to Base Camp (5345m) was long and it snowed along the way. It took us 1.5 hours to reach and when we got there we saw multicoloured tents and the Khumbu Icefall through the fog. Some of the group got talking to the Italian team, who were going to climb Lhoste and then ski down it! We filmed for buff by advertising and demonstrating how we wear them. Whilst we were there, we also witnessed an avalanche on the other side of the valley. The Dorset scout leader was there as well. Once we had got back to Gorek Shep, we realised we had walked 14km at altitude, which we were all proud of. The resat of the day consisted of recovering and preparing for the hike tomorrow morning up Kala Pathar.

Wednesday 25th September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Today we woke up at 0430, ready to leave at 0500 for Kala Pathar. The stars were our and we didn’t need our torches as the moon was so bright. It was reflecting off the snowy peaks around us. It was surprising how quickly it got light and after 2 hours of climbing, we summited the 5550m peak. We spent half an hour at the top taking pictures and admiring the  beautiful views before heading back down to Gorek Shep for breakfast. We then spent another few hours hiking back to Lobuche, where we spent the rest of the day.

Thursday 26th September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Today we had a short walk from Lobuche back down the valley to Dingboche. It was fairly easy as it was mainly downhill and the weather was good again. We got an even better view of Island Peak from a small ridge, outside Dingboche (4410m).

In the next few days we will be trekking up the valley to Chukung and preparing to climb Island Peak.