Sunday, 21 March 2010

181m above the bottom of the top of the world

In summary: the best part of three weeks of "maybe little bit up, little bit down" and a lot of "gradual flat".

The supposedly easy part was Kathmandu to Lukla - hindered only by a broken ankle, a no fly day, more turbulence in forty minutes than a lifetime of long haul, and the world's most dangerous airport... but with two feet on solid, traffic-free, yak-populated territory the 150km trek had begun.

Via Phakding (last sleep for thirteen days and nights), Namche Bazaare (yak attack en route), Khumjung (Hillary's legacy), Khunde (yeti scalp), Tengboche (om mani padme hum and sunrise on Everest), Dingboche (getting accustomed to yak dung fires), Nangkar Tshang (never ending false summits and prayer flags), Lobuje (stunning scenery and the start of the snowball fights), Gorak Shep (Everest on fire), Everest Base Camp (the bottom 5364m of the top of the world 8848m), Kala Pathar (awesome (overused superlative but entirely deserved) views), Zongla (sleepover with the stars, the French and the rats), Cho-La Pass (rock climbing, crevasse avoidance, ice-skating with theporters), Thagna (survived), Ngozumpa Glacier (little bit up, little bit down, lots of rocks/ice/snow/scrambling), Gokyo (ready stead snow), Lakes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (frozen), Gokyo Ri (360' of spectacular Himalayas), Phortse Thanga (the snowballs continue), and then back to Namche (rain rain go away), Phakding (farewells begin) and finally to Lukla ("starbucks" and the Irish Bar on Paddy's day).

An amazing few weeks of mountains, views, walking, sunsets, weekly showers, daal baht, jam-jam, mau-mau, momos, and a welcome absence of AMS. Highlights were, of course, EBCm, 360' panoramas from Kala Pathar and Gokyo Ri, Everest "on fire" sunsets, and crossing the Cho-La Pass...

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