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Nepal 2014

Day 13. Everest Base Camp Trek. Dengboche Rest Day

NEPAL | Saturday, 31 May 2014 | Views [2135]

"Rest" day is a misnomer. On these days you're supposed to hike high, to approximately your next destination altitude. I failed to do this in Namche so was doubly determined to do so today.

True to predictions, the day dawned bright and clear. Dengboche's location is spectacular and must be one of the most beautiful, wild places on Earth. A vast, steep glaciated valley, with a couple of active glaciers coming off Ama Dablam and further up the valley, their terminal moraines falling at a steep angle into the valley. Immediately behind the lodge the valley rises steeply to over 5,000 m, a rugged slope dotted with stupas, chortens (piles of stones) and prayer flags. As we climbed the valley opened out to reveal some of the most stunning views of the entire trip so far. It was a perfect morning with brilliant visibility, a photographers delight.

Looking back the way we'd come, the peaks we'd been awed by were now dwarfed by vast new vistas including Island Peak, Serpinicool, Peak 38, Lhotse Shar, Lhotse, the awesome Chhukung glacier at Ambulapcha with its dramatic ice fall, among many, many others. We will be leaving this valley tomorrow to get around Nuptse, which is obscuring our view of Everest from here.

We climbed until the clouds drew in, the wind increased to a burning cold and it started to snow at about 11am. Approximately 5,000 m up gave us a knee-testing descent that saw us in the (hardly warmer) lodge in time for lunch. There followed the usual battle with cold: Do you huddle in your sleeping bag, sleep or stay up and do something?

Dengboche is tiny, very basic with one rough road only. To get anywhere off that road you have to scramble over potato fields and dry stone walls. We made a rather expensive and unproductive visit to the "Wi-Fi Hut" followed by a very satisfactory visit to the entirely incongruous but nevertheless excellent Mama's Bakery for chocolate cake and tea. Both enterprises are absolute monopolies, but by now, nearly 2 weeks into this trip, we'll pay just about anything for either.

Tonight the lodge is full. A large Chinese party has trekked in a day behind us. I have often noticed that Chinese travellers abroad will only eat in Chinese restaurants, so what do they do while trekking? Answer: They bring their own food and have the restaurant prepare it to their liking! Well, a large group can afford to; smaller ones travel as we do.

So ... the noise upstairs tonight will be bad. I have the cabin opposite the loos so I will be awakened with every bowel or bladder movement: creak-squeak-clomp-clomp-tinkle-fart-splash-clomp-clomp-squeak-creak. And lodger one sets another off in a dreary lavatorial symphony until all are satisfied. Earplugs are already positioned near my pillow.  

Tags: dengboche, everest base camp trek, island peak, serpinicool


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