- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Gabriel Barral
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katie Bono
- Anne Gilbert Chase
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Cody Doolan
- Paul Edgren
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- Josh Gautreau
- Thomas Greene
- Casey Grom
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Tim Hardin
- Mike Haugen
- Andy Hildebrand
- Mike Hinckley
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- J.J. Justman
- Levi Kepsel
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Katy Laveck
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Andres Marin
- Jeff Martin
- Erik Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Logan Randolph
- Tyler Reid
- Dave Reynolds
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Shaun Sears
- Garrett Stevens
- Jason Thompson
- Mike Tomlinson
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Maile Wade
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Bryson Williams
- Dan Windham
- Robby Young
Posts for Everest BC Trek from 03/2011
Despite moving to 14,000’ yesterday, we all slept soundly in Ang Nuru’s lodge here in Pheriche and the clear morning revealed the stunning panorama of peaks that we find ourselves amidst. With a day to hike and acclimatize here around Pheriche we left the teahouse and began ascending tight switchbacks up a ridge to the north of the village. Quickly gaining altitude, we were able to catch our first views of Island Peak, known locally as Imja Tse as we looked to the east up the Imja Khola valley below us.
Standing proudly around Island Peak rose Makalu, Baruntse, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Lhotse Shar, creating a grand panorama surrounding the mountain. Focusing our attention back on the trail, we continued uphill, eventually reaching the rocky outcropping Nangkar Tshang at over 16,500’. It felt good to push our bodies to these new altitudes and the team climbed wonderfully, moving smoothly up and back down the steep hillsides above Pheriche. As we stood on the summit, looking out at the views around us and watching the clouds gradually roll up the valley from far below, three Himalayan Eagles soared past us. It was an incredible sight to see, these massive birds playing in the thermals at such altitudes. We watched them fly back and forth before gradually moving up the valley.
We returned to the teahouse in the afternoon, just as the clouds rolled in. Legs tired after a solid day of walking, we kicked back in the dining room and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Today is Mark’s birthday and unbeknown to him Karen has convinced Ang Nuru to prepare a birthday cake up here for him, we are looking forward to surprising him with it this evening.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
Leaving Deboche this morning we walked through the last of the rhododendron and pine trees of the Khumbu, climbing higher into the valley where only small shrubs and juniper grow. We crossed back over the Dudh Kosi river on a narrow bridge and walked past rows upon rows of Mani stones and chortens, eventually reaching the small village of Pangboche. There, we paid a visit to Lama Geshe, the renown spiritual leader. Chanting in his native tongue of Tibetan, he blessed us on our journey into the mountains, writing a letter to Chomolungma, the goddess of Everest, requesting safe passage for us. Finally, laughing a deep soulful laugh each time he pronounced our anglophone names, he strung a small red string and then kata scarf around our necks, before wishing us good luck.
The day remained clear and we had wonderful views of Ama Dablam soaring above us as left Pangboche, climbing further up the valley towards the impressive south face of Lhotse. Eventually, we reached a split in the valley, where the rivers diverge, one coming from Island Peak and the other from Everest’s Khumbu Glacier. Following the Dudh Kosi towards Everest, we climbed up and over a shallow pass on the trail before dropping into the village of Pheriche. There Ang Nuru, a vibrant and energetic sherpa happily welcomed us into his teahouse, making us comfortable in the wonderfully decorated dining room.
In the afternoon we strolled over the the Himalayan Rescue Association’s Pheriche Clinic and listened to a discussion on altitude by the western doctors here. Tim bravely volunteered to climb into the Gamow Bag, a portable hyperbaric chamber, where the staff of the HRA pumped it up and brought Tim down to an elevation of less than 9,000’ below Lukla where we started the trek. It was a quick ascent back to 14,000’ when he emerged!
The team is doing very well and excited to be here. Tomorrow we are going for a day hike above Pheriche and then returning to the teahouse to celebrate Mark’s birthday. We are sending our best to everyone at home.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
On The Map
The low lying clouds lifted overnight and the landscape was a brilliant white this morning, yesterday’s fresh snow reflecting the morning sun with such intensity we found ourselves squinting when merely sitting near the teahouse windows. Over breakfast we looked out up the valley, across the rhododendron trees and roofs of Deboche all covered in snow, to the summits of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam above. The winds continued to whip the summits of Everest and Lhotse, both peaks flying long white plumes from their tops.
With a relaxed agenda for the day, we wandered through the trees of Deboche to the small convent here where two of the nuns happily showed us inside of their gompa, doing their best to answer our various questions about the paintings, relics, and scriptures inside. We then climbed back up the hill above our teahouse to the Tengboche Monastery, admiring the panorama around us, with views from Namche all the way up to Everest. Following a small path above the Monastery, we climbed further up the ridge, passing lines of chortens and strings of prayer flags strung by the monks, until we could look down on the buildings below.
With the afternoon clouds already building, we spent a few hours in Tengboche visiting the small museum and outlying buildings of the Monastery, reading, sipping tea, and swapping humorous stories. At three in the afternoon several monks blew their horns from the front terraces of the Monastery, signaling the beginning of afternoon prayers. We quietly removed our shoes and found a seat around the edge of their prayer room, listening to the half dozen monks present recite their prayers, their deep voices rising and descending in unison, pausing occasionally - and all at the exact same instant - to sip their tea before continuing on. The chamber, incredibly decorated with murals, ornate paintings on every surface, and a two-story Buddha surveying the scene below is an overwhelming room, contrasting sharply with the muted colors of the Khumbu. It is also freezing cold and by the time we emerged into a lightly falling snow we were chilled to the bone. We hurried back to our teahouse as the clouds again settled in around us, grabbing our coats, filling our cups with tea, and settling in around the stove when we arrived.
It has been a very relaxing day, offering us the chance for incredible views of the mountains around us, glimpses of the ongoing religious life here, and time for our bodies to continue to acclimatize and adapt to the new elevations before we move up the valley to over 14,000’ tomorrow.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
On The Map
A thick bank of clouds rolled into Namche last night as we left dinner, the fog giving the Himalayan village the look of a Maine fishing village. The cloud bank failed to lift overnight and by morning a light layer of snow lay across the stone streets and blue roofs of Namche with more snow lightly falling out of the mist. The usually vibrant town lay muted beneath the snow as we climbed out of the amphitheater and the world was quiet around us as we walked along the trail out of Namche. Snow continued to fall lightly during the hike and we hardly encountered others along the way, only a handful of porters and trekkers and a few dozen yaks.
For a couple of hours we made a long traverse along the valley’s side, the valley floor slowly rising to meet us at the village of Phunki Thanga. There we crossed a brand new suspension bridge built only last year to replace the rickety wooden construction used previously, before beginning the long climb out of the valley floor to the ridge top monastery at Tengboche. Although the clouds never offered to lift, the snow let up for a bit midday before returning half way up the hill to Tengboche. By the time we reached the Monastery several inches of fresh snow covered the ground, capping the white chortens and gilded crests of the large building. We retreated to a nearby bakery where we brushed the snow off of our shoulders and sipped cups of hot tea, gradually rewarming ourselves.
Continuing on from Tengboche, we descended the other side of the ridge for a few minutes to reach our teahouse in Deboche, sitting among the rhododendron trees covered in Spanish moss and new snow. We spent the remainder of the afternoon watching the snow fall and the clouds play among the trees and nearby valley walls. Despite the snow it was a wonderful day on the trail as everything was eerily quiet and calm with few passerbys and the trail largely our own. The team is doing well and sends their best to everyone at home. We have enjoyed everyones comments and well wishes.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
On The Map
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
On The Map
The evenings clouds lifted over night and morning broke with clear skies above Namche. The Kongde massif, sitting directly across the valley shimmered with freshly fallen snow. As we emerged from our sleeping bags the sounds of the waking village seeped in through the thin teahouse walls. Chickens, dogs, and the bells of yaks and dzopkyos combined with the cries of children preparing for school and the faint tinking of stone masons beginning their day’s work laboriously carving the stone into finely crafted blocks for the growing number of lodges being built in Namche.
Built in a horse shoe shaped bowl tucked into the hillside above the confluence of the Bhote Valley and the main Khumbu Valley, Namche is the largest village in the Khumbu and a cultural and trade center for the region. Vegetables and fresh goods are brought up from further down the valley while every summer Tibetan traders bring goods on yak over the passes further up to trade here. The town is built into a steep hillside and the tiny streets that criss-cross throughout are built of stone and plied by locals, trekkers, traders, yaks, and dogs alike. It is a bust, vibrant, and exciting place. This morning was Namche weekly market when locals from the nearby village come to purchase goods and after breakfast we wandered among the blankets of goods laid out on a series of terraces on the edges of town. Everything from fresh grapes and tangerines to chickens, peanuts, batteries, and cases of Red Bull were for sale there, offering a fascinating and often amusing scene.
After exploring the market we climbed to a shallow saddle to the east of Namche where the National Park headquarters, army post, and museum of the Park are located. From the knoll where they sit we caught our first view of the Everest panorama further up the valley. Already starting to hide among the clouds by midmorning, we caught occasional views of the recognizable summit pyramid, flying it’s trademark plume of snow as the jet winds whipped across its summit. Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam were also visible, standing tall above the valley floor further up.
Visiting a few more museums in the area, we passed the rest of the morning looking at collections of Sherpa mountaineering history, photographs, and visiting a traditional Sherpa home. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in Namche, exploring the towns narrow streets of hand laid stone, browsing the stalls of shops selling traditional jewelry and shawls along with knock off brand name down coats and climbing gear both new and old.
Tomorrow we will take a day hike above Namche to several villages nearby, stretching our legs and hopefully catching more views of the mountains up the valley.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
Yesterday’s afternoon clouds cleared overnight and it was a warm, beautiful morning here in the Khumbu. Leaving our teahouse in Phakding we wound our way up the valley, traversing above the raging Dudh Kosi on steep hillsides that descend thousands of feet from the peaks above. Wherever the terrain offers a break small terraces have been carved into the hillsides and with spring arriving here in the lower Khumbu the fields of wheat and vegetables are starting to sprout while along the trail the cherry, magnolia, and rhododendron trees are in full bloom. We walked through the fields and villages, crossing back and forth from one side of the valley to the other on swaying suspension bridges that stretch above the milky blue water below, and soaking in the spring bloom along the way.
By midday we officially entered into Sagarmatha National Park, the park that bears Everest’s Nepali name. Just past the Park entrance the trail emerges from the villages and green fields of the lower Khumbu and begins to climb to Namche Bazaar. A strong breeze was blowing up the valley when we crossed the suspension bridge at the base of the climb and the hundreds of prayer flags and white kata scarves stretched along it flapped in the wind, distracting us from the void in between the slats at our feet that stretched between us and the river hundreds of feet below.
The hill up to Namche is the first big climb of the trip, gaining over 2,000’ from the valley floor to where Namche sits. In a series of switchbacks and long traverses we made our way upwards, staying well clear of the trains of dzopkyos - yak/cow hybrids favored at these lower elevations - that came barreling down the hill without much concern for those in their path. It was a healthy climb but felt good to put our heads down and climb for a bit.
Despite the spring temperatures lower in the valley a glance around the mountains above revealed fresh snow and as we arrived into Namche light flurries of snow blew in, at times blowing uphill as the flakes were buffeted by the swirling winds at the confluence of the two valleys. With tired legs we retreated to the teahouse, content to watch the low hanging clouds play amongst the peaks across the valley.
It has been a great day of walking and the team is settling into trail life well. We are spending the weekend in Namche, visiting the Saturday morning market tomorrow and exploring some of the surrounding villages as we acclimatize before going higher.
-RMI Guide Linden Mallory
On The Map
The streets of Kathmandu were hardly waking up when we reached the airport this morning, unloading our duffel bags outside of the the domestic terminal in the pre dawn darkness. By the time the morning sun found us, burning as an orange orb just above the eastern horizon, we were loading into a Twin Otter turbo prop plane, a STOL airplane - Short Take Off Landing - capable of landing at Lukla’s narrow strip.
Besides some turbulence as we turned into the Khumbu Valley the flight was uneventful, a fact duly noted and much appreciated when flying a tiny airplane into a mountain airstrip like Lukla. Perched at a 10 degree angle and hardly more than several hundred meters long, the Lukla Airstrip is guaranteed to raise your heart rate - the plane touches down bearing full speed toward the hillside at the end of the strip, the brakes are slammed on and the engines roar as the air brakes fire, the plane decelerating from airborne to parked within a matter of seconds. It’s exciting to say the least.
By 8:00 am this morning we were all safely in Lukla and we hit the trail shortly thereafter. To say that Kathmandu to Lukla is a change of pace is an understatement. Within minutes we looked at each other remarking at the novelty of hearing birds in the background, not taxi horns. The trail meanders down from Lukla among several villages, eventually reaching the base of the valley where we joined the banks of the Dudh Kosi - the Milky River named for the glacial sediment flowing in it. The trail is really the highway of the Khumbu, a boulevard of hand laid stone a few meters wide, that links the different villages. Passing by front yards bordered by small gates, past teahouses and chortens - Buddhist stupas and flapping prayer flags. Although the distance we covered today was relatively short compared to the days ahead, it felt full by the time we reached Phakding from all of the daily going ons of the Khumbu we saw.
We reached the teahouse as the clouds built in the sky. Before we could do anything we threw in our backs to help the teahouse owners raise their Chotra - a pine truck a dozen meters high that flies vertical prayer flags and serves as the entrance to most houses and compounds in the Khumbu. With a dozen locals, a few ladders and long poles, we managed to raise the Chotra to a vertical position and plant it in the ground. It was an entertaining way to be welcomed into the Khumbu.
We’ve spent the afternoon at the teahouse, watching periods of afternoon rain blow in. Tomorrow we climb to Namche Bazaar, the major trade center and biggest town of the region where we will spend a few days acclimatizing and exploring the surrounding area.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
On The Map
We spent our first full morning here in Kathmandu in the Yak & Yeti’s gardens, enjoying rare clear skies here in Kathmandu while discussing the final trip details, logistics, and equipment review. By midday our bags were sorted, our climbing gear and trekking gear separated and repacked in preparation for the mountains.
After finishing we plunged ourselves into Kathmandu’s maze of streets to visit some of the city’s most famous destinations. First visiting the Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest Buddhist Temples in Kathmandu and the starting place for any pilgrimage taken by Nepali’s practicing Tibetan Buddhism. The sprawling stupa is alive with devotees circumnavigating its base, softly chanting while spinning the hundreds of prayer wheels lining the stupa walls.
We next ventured to the hills to the east of Kathmandu’s center where Sawayambu sits, known as the Monkey Temple for the hundreds of monkeys that call the stupa home. Today the afternoon heat kept the monkeys in the shade, the younger ones choosing to wrestle and swim in the small fountain near the stupa’s base. From the Money Temple the clear skies afforded us amazingly clear views across the city. From above Kathmandu’s complicated web of streets takes on an amazingly orderly look, the faint sound of horns being the only indication of the chaos below.
At last we dove into the very heart of Kathmandu’s center, Durbar Square – literally the Palace Square that has been the center of Kathmandu for centuries. There, ancient Hindu temples crowd the streets, each with it’s own story and significance in the city’s heritage. Milling throughout are vendors of fruits and vegetables along with those hawking souvenirs to the tourist. It is a wildly busy and exciting place yet remarkably intimate given it’s cultural and historical prominence for Kathmandu and all of Nepal.
After a full day of packing and taking in the sites we returned to the hotel as the sun sank lower in the hills. We head to Kathmandu’s domestic airport tomorrow for an early morning flight out of Kathmandu and into the Khumbu.
- RMI Guide Linden Mallory
Dubai, Doha, Hong Kong, Bangkok - flights landed at Kathmandu from across the world as RMI’s Everest Base Camp Trek and Island Peak team arrived today. With the crossing of the International Date Line travel to Nepal from the U.S. typically takes three days. Plunging into the melee of Kathmandu’s streets after days spent in planes and airport waiting areas is a shock to the senses. Holy men and sacred cows wandered amidst the idling cars next to Pashputinath Temple, a sacred Hindu Temple and the traditional cremation site of the Nepalese Royal Family that sits next to the airport. Further on we navigated between the bicycle fruit vendors selling bundles of bananas along the streets and into the narrow roads near Kathmandu’s center, at last reaching the Yak and Yeti, our hotel tucked off of Durbar Marg - Kathmandu’s busy commercial strip.
By late afternoon everyone arrived and the remainder of the day was spent resting from the days of travel. It was an amazingly clear day in Kathmandu, with occasional views to the 17,000’ snow capped peaks just outside of the city. With the sun setting on the hills that ring Kathmandu, we gathered for dinner here at the Yak and Yeti, at last sitting down as a team. Sharing a few Everest beers, we caught up on our various past climbing pursuits and hopes for our upcoming adventures in the Khumbu. We are excited to explore Kathmandu before we depart for the Khumbu.
After a morning spent reviewing our trip logistics and discussing the equipment needed for our adventures, we will head out and see several of Kathmandu’s most well known sites in the afternoon, visiting the former Newari Royal Palaces as well as several well known Budhhist Stupas in the city.
- RMI Guide Linden Mallory