Today we departed the thriving village of Namche Bazaar for our new destination, the small village of Tengboche. We woke to beautiful blue skies and were excited about the opportunity to see unobstructed views of some of the world’s highest mountains.
Once we completed the steep climb out of Namche, we enjoyed a relatively flat trail along the mountainside. Hiking north, the terrain rose steeply to our left and dropped off precipitously on our right. After just one hour of pleasant hiking, we rounded a corner and had the first truly “wow” moment of the trip. Lying in the distance ahead of us was a pristine view of the peak of Mt. Everest with a stream of wind-driven snow blown by the jet stream, billowing off the top. Directly in front of Everest was Nuptse, which looks like long jagged wall protecting Everest, and Lhotse (the fourth highest mountain in the world). Off to the right was the dramatic profile of Ama Dablam and the jagged Thamserku. Pictures truly cannot capture the scale and majesty of the sights we were seeing.
After taking a lot of pictures, we continued our trek to Tengboche which lies at an elevation of 12,700’. Unfortunately, we had to go steeply down into the Dudh Koshi river valley before crossing another suspension bridge and regaining all the altitude lost before climbing steeply up to Tengboche. Fortunately, the acclimatization hikes we did in Namche prepared us well for today’s test. Everyone in our group maintained a good “Sherpa Pace” and completed the climb with relative ease.
Another interesting thing about today was the weather… it changed dramatically throughout the day. What started as a clear sky with warm sunshine, gradually changed as the clouds rolled in and began to obstruct the views all around us. During lunch, right before our big climb to Tengboche, it was completely overcast with a cool breeze. Finally, during the ascent, we had to put on our rain gear due to a steady rain. Continuing upward, the rain turned to snow for our arrival at Tengboche. As I write this blog entry, I am sitting in the main room of the tea house, near the only heat source… a wood burning stove in the middle of the room, while the snow continues to fall heavily outside.
More adventures tomorrow as we head off to Dingboche…