Everest Base Camp Trek & Island Peak Climb: Sightseeing and Acclimatization in Namche

Posted by: | March 27, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 11,300'

Leaving the teahouse and walking through Namche in the cool morning shadows, we climbed up the west side of Namche’s amphitheater past the Monastery. Walking along it’s walls, painted in a deep red and lined with rows of prayer wheels, we emerged into the morning sun that was slowly creeping down the hillside. Within no time we were pulling off hats and extra layers as the sun warmed us while we hiked. Following a series of switchbacks, we eventually gained the ridge above Namche and followed it to the north, climbing about 1200’ until we crossed the short dirt Syangboche airstrip, now used only periodically to transport freight.

The hillside relaxes into a broad, rolling plateau beyond and Syangboche and we made our way through thickets of juniper trees and past grazing yaks to the eastern edge where the valley falls steeply away to the Dudh Kosi raging below. From there Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam stand proudly at the head of the valley, already shrouded in morning clouds. Admiring the peaks far above us, we picked our way along the edge of the steep hillside, forcing ourselves to keep an eye on the trail as we stared up to the mountains, until we reached the Everest View Hotel, a large Japanese built hotel that even boasts pressurized rooms for guests arriving directly from Kathmandu by helicopter. Having reached it by our own two feet and feeling well acclimatized, we went straight to their patio out back and enjoyed a cup of tea with the impressive Everest panorama to stare out upon.

Further down the valley behind us the morning clouds were building and soon clouds swept over us, obscuring the views as we pulled out our jackets and quickly packing up. From the Everest View Hotel we walked through a forest of rhododendron and large moss covered boulders to the village of Khumjung - the largest in the area. Despite it’s size Khumjung is the opposite of Namche, spread out across a shallow but broad valley with fields neatly tended to between the homes and a very calm and quiet. With spring arriving several Sherpa families were out sowing their fields with buckwheat, walking behind the plows pulled by yak and sowing the seeds by hand. Khumjung is also home to the Hillary School, founded in 1961 by Sir Edmund Hillary and responsible for bringing education to several generations of Sherpas. Morning classes were ending as we arrived and dozens of young Sherpa came running through the gates at full speed, almost knocking us over as we entered. After exploring the schools grounds for a bit we continued to the neighboring village of Khunde, an equally tranquil community where the Hillary Hospital sits. Seeing over 11,000 patients a year, it is the major medical facility for the area yet receives no support from the government in the process. The hospital was bustling when we arrived and we had the chance for a short tour of the small facility.

With the clouds still whipping over us, we walked back to Namche, crossing the plateau as we followed a narrow stone path that wound among the rhododendron, rocky outcroppings, and white washed chortens until we dropped into Namche on a steep trail winding straight down the hillside. We spent the afternoon sipping tea and relaxing in Namche before we depart for further up the valley tomorrow.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Linden and team enjoying an acclimatization hike around Namche.

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Comments

China just debuted the highest hotel in the world… apparently they were measuring AGL not ASL lol, because it sounds like your hotel would win that competition! Keep having an amazing time on your super BAD &#$ TRIP!

Posted by: Nicole McLaughlin on 3/29/2011 at 2:12 pm

Tim, I love watching the progress of you and your team.  You know how I have never asked you for anything.  Would you please bring me back a snowball from Everest as a souvenir:)  Be well.  Namaste to you all.  Bart

Posted by: Bart Miller on 3/28/2011 at 12:18 pm

Hey Mom and Dad! I woke up to some snow on the ground this morning as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in some more great spring snowboarding days in this week. Elissa and Spenser came to visit this weekend which was interesting to say the least. I had to burst their sheltered scottsdale bubble explaining that no, my parents are not staying at a resort on Mt. Everest haha. Baseball season starts this week so I may be going with friends to an afternoon Rockies game if I’m not skiing. I’m about to leave to pick up Jamie from the airport. She was skiing in Tahoe and they got hit with 10-30 inches of snow each night they were there so it made for great champagne powder days. Love you both! Enjoy this amazing experience. Oxox Chelsea

Posted by: Chelsea Miller on 3/28/2011 at 10:34 am

Looking good, bro!  Stay safe!  And, for the sake of Team, be kind to your tent-mates! ;) Now, for real news: all #1 seed teams are OUT.  Here’s the Final Four: VCU (that’s Virginia Commonwealth—who??) vs Butler, and UCONN vs Kentucky!  Duke, NC, Kansas, OSU, are all gone!  So, you picked a GREAT year to avoid any March Madness pools!  They are all destroyed!  Keep on trekking bro!

Posted by: Dan McLaughlin on 3/28/2011 at 6:05 am

Am enjoying the blog and having tea and reading a book I have with pictures of the treking you are doing. It sounds great and am so glad for you doing this. Happy Birthday to you Mark. I am remembering the day you were born. Look what 50 years has done. Best to both of you. Love Mom Am watching the games and what games. Great matches.

Posted by: Cornelia Miller on 3/28/2011 at 4:57 am

Hi to you all from Wenatchee, Washington!  I am sure enjoying your poetic descriptions of your trip, Linden!  Wonderful!  Tim, I miss you horribly, but I am being stubborn and strong!  The only question I have is why are you always near some good lookin’ chick in these pictures?  WTH?  J/K!  Tee Hee!  Love you, Babe!

Posted by: Deb McLaughin on 3/28/2011 at 2:19 am

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