I got up at 5:00am on Wednesday and (together with a dozen others) headed up Kala Patthar with my headlamp on. Truth be told, it’s an ugly mountain, really looking more like a hill in front of the surrounding high peaks … all 6000 or 7000 meters high.It’s a tough two or three hour slog to the top, but the view is worth it. Pumori behind, Mount Everest on the left, then the south col and the gigantic Nuptse face right in front of you. Beneath it all, the Khumbu Glacier, flowing from left to right. I’ve seen some impressive mountain vistas in a lot of countries, but (for me) the view from Kala Patthar tops them all.
Unfortunately we had some high clouds and the sky wasn’t as perfectly blue as I had hoped for.
After heading back down, I had a quick breakfast and then hiked up the glacier for three hours to Base Camp. When I was here 25 years ago, I was actually able to pitch my tent among the expeditions and stayed for a few nights.. Now the entry into the tent village is only by permit and the furthest you can go is an overlook point. Right now it’s the beginning of the climbing season and there are about 35 expeditions in base camp … waiting for the Sherpas to put in the fixed ropes to the summit. With all the support staff, I’ve heard that there are 700 people in base camp right now … you can imagine the endless line of Yaks and porters to bring up food, gas, oxygen and equipment.
While at Base Camp the clouds started rolling in again and it got cold with a drizzle of snow. From here it’s pretty much all downhill to the Lukla airstrip (three very long days away) … but I was so tired that I only made it to Lobuche (still at 5000m altitude) last night.
As I’m typing this, I’m having breakfast and will then keep heading downhill … I think I’ll make it to Deboche tonight.
Tomorrow night, I should be in Namche Bazaar again and will have internet access to post a few pictures from the last days.