We all walked into Lukla late yesterday afternoon in a light drizzle. Matt and Prakash went straight to the lodge, while Pawan, Mandeep, Eliza and I accepted Ngima’s invite to go via her house in the nearby village. Now I know from past experience this invite can seem like an innocent welcome into a local house and a nice and honourable way to complete the trek. But there ARE hidden dangers...!
You see, our little innocent “butterfly” porter with that harmless beautiful smile, becomes a dominating, muscle bounding tyrant in her own home. You simply DO NOT have a choice but to have a meal cooked for you, and even less choice when “forced” to have a large can of beer and a full glass or two of a local brew called Raski, which tastes like something that likely fuels the planes between Kat & Lukla..! We managed to escape this warm hospitality still able to walk and completed the 40min climb up into Lukla.
A very nice and emotional farewell dinner with our porters capped off our final trek night.
We were awoken this morning at 6am and were rushed over to the airport due to the planes departing Kat right on time. The Lukla “sling-shot” takeoff is always good fun and we were soon en-route to Kat. We had no sooner landed when we were advised that Lukla was now closed due visibility and snow/rain..! How’s that for timing?
Already showered, shaved and massaged, and feeling oh so good.
Pawan and Mandeep are exploring options to bring their homeward flights forward, although surprisingly, nothing is available.
Matt and Eliza are catching up with wife/mum who arrived into Kat a few days ago and have some touristy stuff organised.
I will be catching up with friends in Kat.
A few thanks for the 2020 blog.
Firstly for those who followed us and sent some encouraging and cheeky responses. Several of these made for amusing reading amongst the team.
And for sister Sue who did such a splendid job updating the blog every day, particularly during those 4-5 days when we were off the air due no reception. For the non-Facebook users, the blog still serves a purpose. Great job Sue, Thanks.
EBC 2020 signing off.
So sorry for going off the airwaves, but all carrier services have been down up high.
Wow, so much joy.......and heartache...!!!!
We successfully completed our acclimatisation day at Dingboche a few days ago, with a good solid climb to Chukung at 4800mts. Highlight? Eliza gets a Coke with a best before date 2006.!! The team continue to be surprised at the quality of the lodges deep in the Himalaya.
Our climb to Lobouche the next day was uneventful.
The weather has been absolutely amazing. Cloudless skies right through to around 3pm, then some clouds and very light snow fall to sunset, before clear night skies from around 8.
Temperature from a 12 time visitor has not been too cold.
Yesterday was our big day. The day we ascend Kalar Patar. The team decided they wanted to do it the hard way this year. Loboche to KP then back to Loboche. This avoids a night at Ghorak Shep which despite only being 200mts higher, always feels 10deg colder.!! But it means a monster 10hr+ day, with a departure of 6.30am in around minus 10 and of course the lung busting KP climb in the middle.!
So how did it go, I hear you ask?? Tears of emotional success for Matt, Eliza, Pawan and Mandeep. Tears from KP failure due equipment breakdown for the trek leader..!! 20min into the climb, the sole on my trusty right Scarpa boot separated away from the boot with only the front and back connected..!Due general wear (their 4th trek), the punishing landscape, or drying them in front of the heater the night before, I was in a bit of strife. At this part of the trek, there are no replacement options, no shops, and no repair points. And the trek section between Ghorak Shep and Lobuche is the most punishing on boot and feet.!!
So I not only lost the chance to join this wonderful team on top of KP (and I’m told it was a special time up there) but also had the very real likelihood of having little choice but be helicoptered ($$$$) back down to Namche (for new hiking shoes and await the team) or even Lukla.
BUT, when you have a porter Iike Ngima, anything is possible..! While the team were trudging up KP, and while I was hiding red eyes, she was searching the 3 lodges at Ghorak Shep for Super-Glue. She found a half frozen tube and then spent the next hour thoroughly cleaning and drying the boot surfaces and placing what little glue she had into carefully selected areas. We tested it on the 3hr return leg to Loboche and the boot held up. She saved me a $2000+ Heli-evac. Marvellous..!!
The team were beside themselves with their effort on KP yesterday. A lot of emotions and tears. Nepal, the EBC trek and our incredible porters have truly touched each one of them.
We are now on our 3 day return to Lukla.
Sue again.........as still no contact.
Today the team should have reached Gorek Shep around 5pm (our time). They would have had the option of doing one of two things. If they got to Gorek Shep and the weather was good with blue skies, they may have dumped their bags and started the climb up to Kalar Patar. PS Minus 18 in Gorek Shep tonight. Or if the weather wasn't on their side they may have attempted Base Camp this afternoon.
Gorek Shep is the only place on the trek that you would normally get 5 bars on your phone regardless of which way you're facing, wind etc. Gorek Shep can boast that it holds the record of having the highest accommodation in the world and with that comes 5 bars on your mobile phone....sad really. It's probably the only thing Gorek Shep can boast!!! But they need the communication tower for peak climbing season and emergency evacuations.
The fact we haven't heard from them could indicate they have had more snow over the last couple of days which can affect the towers service provider. It could mean that they have switched off the Tower until peak trekking season to save money....although I have not known them to do this in the past at Gorek Shep.
I also won't rule out that they have stayed an extra day/night lower down to put them a day behind for optimum weather on the day they attempt KP this will mean arriving into Gorek Shep tomorrow. No doubt we will hear something from them soon, but until then it's an anxious wait.
I have put a photo up of Gorek Shep showing the lodges in the middle of the photo.
Hi, Sue again.....given I have had no communication from David today, we can assume still no WIFI or phone carrier.
This morning they will have left Dingboche for Locuche. It's a steep climb out of Dingboche, before it becomes quite a gradual climb to a tiny village called Thukla. Here they will either stop for an early lunch or make it just a tea stop before the slow steep climb up the moraine and over Thukla Pass to where a memorial site sits on top. These memorials have been set up by family members as well wishers of climbers who have lost their lives trying to summit Everest. Among them are the names of Scott Fisher and Rob Hall to name a few.
They will arrive into Lobuche and hopefully get a good nights sleep before they set off for Gorek Shep in the morning. Tomorrow they should receive a phone carrier as they get closer to Gorek Shep and may also have access to WIFI.
Again I have gone through my library and posted a couple of photos of todays walk and the village of Lobuche......Well and truly above the tree line now at 4900 metres its just rock and dirt. The weather maps are telling me it will be minus 15 in Lobuche tonight......I wonder if Matt is kicking himself he didn't hire the expedition suit now.
An update from Sue......assuming today has gone as planned.
Yesterday they would have arrived in the Village of Dingboche at 4400 metres. Given I haven't heard anything from David we will assume no WIFI or service provider.....It is the Himalayas and it's still classed of "off season". David was told there may not be any communication for the next couple of days.
Today they would have done an acclimatisation walk up to the village of Chukhung (around 4730 metres). It's a gradual incline but at this altitude it's by no means easy. Hopefully they still have blue skies and some warmth in the days rays. They would normally get back to Dingboche early afternoon and spend the rest of the day either resting in a sunny window or sitting around the dining room lodge playing cards, drinking hot chocolates or chatting to other trekkers that may be at the same lodge etc. There's also a chance that some may not be feeling well after being up at a higher altitude with slight headaches and may even chose to lay down and rest until dinner....again very common at this altitude. With no WIFI, it's back to basics which sometimes isn't a bad thing.
They will spend tonight again at Dingboche and tomorrow should reach Lobuche at 4900 metres. Todays walk up to Chukhung will help their bodies adjust to tomorrows altitude. I have put a photo up from my album of last year showing the village of Dingboche .
What a contrast from yesterday....Awoke to a Beautiful Nepalese morning. Departed Namche in good spirits around 8.30. First view of Everest 1/2 later. Our descent into the riverside village of Phunki Tanga was treacherous from the snow and ice, in fact our pace was slower than those climbing up.! Eliza chose wisely to done crampons, the rest of us often sliding over the icy sections.
Having a lunch at Phunki Tanga, then the challenging 2hr climb to Tengboche “
Awoken to heavy snow this morning. Normally we do the hard slog up to Everest View Hotel at 3800 Metres. With the fresh snow overnight and still falling heavy this morning I suggested we wait until midday, but the team wanted to walk in the snow. We decided to skip Everest View as we wouldn't have a track to walk on and instead head up to Khumjung. We started out in our layers for snow walking and within 5min had to de-layer. Steep and hot in our snow jackets. No views. Just deep fresh snow and clouds. Sun trying to come out as we have a tea break in Khumjung.