Gokyo Team Reaches Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar. Jeremy Allyn photo
Greetings from Namche! The 2013 Everest Bases Camp-Gokyo Trek team arrived here in good style yesterday after spending the first night of the trek in Phakding. Our flight from Kathmandu to Lukla went without a hitch — no doubt in huge part from the help of MM Nepal Operation’s Manager, Sagar, and our amazing local staff. After sorting loads and taking care of logistics, we met with our lead Sherpa, Dawa, head cook Dambar (assisted by Shiba), and two other Sherpa guides, Kaji and Gelu. All in all, we have about a 20 person team of sherpa, kitchen staff, porters; as well as 15 pack animals that are operating like a well-oiled machine. Right out of Lukla, we passed by Dawa’s village and everyone got in a nice hiking rhythym through the rolling forested terrain. Next week’s constitutional election is looming and the air is filled with excitement and politics and a clear optimism for Nepal’s future. It’s fun to see all the party flyers dotting the villages and route.
Manjushri Protector of Kathmandu Valley at the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park
Jeremy Allyn photo
Steve and Leonie crossing one of the many suspension bridges. Jeremy Allyn photo
Hiking up-valley from Phakding is one of my favorite parts of this route — beautiful river valleys, super steep terrain, and long, high bridges adorned with prayer flags flying in the wind. It all makes the high Himalayan alpine all the more magical when you travel so high from so low. The group made good time and we arrived in Namche — the sacred crossroad of the upper Khumbu — by 3p.m. and checked into the Camp de Base teahouse where Mountain Madness has stayed for a number of years. Last year’s spring EBC trek’s signed American flag adorned the wall, along with the presence of numerous other MM trips and climbs. When I saw Kaji’s name on the flag he had to laugh, as he’s been up here so many times in the last year (5 trips this fall alone!). I’m learning how to say “bring home the bacon” in Nepali.
Suspension bridges across the Khumbu. Jeremy Allyn photo
We are falling quickly in the Himalayan trek rhythym.…morning “bed tea”, breakfast at 730 a.m., hike, hot lunch on the trail, spin prayer wheels, afternoon tea, hot towel, 3 course dinner in the comfort and warmth of the tea house, bed early…repeat. Today we made the steep hike up the walled cirque above Namche and on to the Everest View Hotel for drinks and our first views of the middle part of our route. Ama Dablam looks snowy and winds were blowing hard off Lhotse’s summit ridge. Everest looked, well, huge! Temps are in the 50’s to low 60’s in the day and are dipping into the 20’s at night. Winter is coming! Word from the trail and other climbers and trekkers is that the snows of the upper elevations are melting fast and, though the temps are going to be super cold at night, the route to EBC and up Cho La to Gokyo are in good shape.
The group hiking above Namche. Jeremy Allyn photo
Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Jeremy Allyn photo
Tomorrow we are off the Tengboche and are going to be able to catch the tail end of Mani Rimdu — one of the most important and auspicious Tibetan Buddhist festivals. It’s going to be a special day for the team. Everyone says “hi!” to their family and loved ones. We’ll check in in a few days and post more photos soon. Namaste and all the best from us!
~ MM Guide Jeremy Allyn
View of Namche Bazaar from above. Jeremy Allyn photo