Existing Member?

Nepal 2014

Day 5. Everest Base Camp Trek. Junbesi to Nunthala

NEPAL | Saturday, 31 May 2014 | Views [2735]

We woke to a view of Numbur peak like a shark's tooth overlooking the Junbesi valley, at 6,950 m, the highest Himalayan peak we'd seen thus far.

The furthest but not the longest day, 9 hours with lunch, starting with a very pleasant walk through the village, passing the ancient stupa, spinning the prayer wheels for good luck, crossing a stream and into an old stand of pine trees. Some logging was underway and you could see the tightly packed growth rings on the stumps of the old growth trees. The path was wide and well made without too many broken rocks to negotiate, arcing out along the grassy flank of a sheer mountainside, gradually gaining height. The morning flights to Lukla buzzed overhead but early clouds were forming and the warm sunny day was looking threatened.

We had a long slow climb over 3,000 metres until we stopped at Everest View Lodge for a hot tea and a break. The visibility had closed in by then so there was no photo op. We pressed on instead gradually losing altitude to cross a small torrent on a suspension bridge and ascended to Ringmu as a lunch stop.

Ringmu is the closest point this trail comes to a main road. Three hours away on foot is a depot where supplies for the hinterland are staged. As we were eating in the tearoom, endless trains of mules carrying large sacks lumbered by, neck bells chiming an alpine sound. Mixed among them, step by step in thin shoes on sturdy legs and without visible effort, diminutive porters heaved past with massive loads on their backs.

We joined the commercial goods stream after lunch in a brisk uphill to the ridge top at Traksindo at over 3,000 metres. There is a huge stupa and a large decorated gate at the peak of the trail welcomes you to the next valley. This was followed by a knee-breaking downhill for the best part of 2 hours on hard packed, rugged flagstones. The path margins were heavily eroded by diversions the mules have carved to avoid the rough cobbles. At one point we followed a trail of dry corn kernels for about a kilometre, leakage from a split mule pack.

We encountered teams of porters several times with their tapered basket packs stacked a body length higher than themselves and laden with unimaginable loads. One I counted had 10 boxes of what looked like full 650 ml drink bottles. Conservatively that's over 100 kg in weight, carried by a pint-sized porter with only a tumpline around his forehead and slung low around the load to share the weight.

They are a marvel to see. Like elite runners they waste no energy in bobbing up and down when moving forward, and the forward motion is more like a glide on slightly bent knees, flowing over rocks and obstacles. They carry a wooden 'T' shaped stick on one hand and every so often place the stick under the narrow bottom of the basket and lean back, the purpose of the 'T' becoming clear as a temporary stand.

Nunthala, our destination proved to be a scruffy place, a mule staging point and a collection of rather plain tearooms and lodges. Twilight saw us exhausted again, but safely in a lodge to refresh for the next day, also with an early start since tomorrow we are promised, is a long, hard day. My pedometer registered over 28,000 paces, the most so far.


Tags: everest base camp trek, junbesi, nunthala


Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About timhughes55

Follow Me

Where I've been

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Nepal

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.