Day Hike above Pheriche
Late yesterday evening we were treated to a spectacular moonrise over the Ama Dablam massif here in Pheriche. The very full moon bathed the surrounding peaks in a brilliant light, the glaciers glowing so strongly that after retreating inside I was obliged to pull my curtains closed to cast extra darkness into my little room. Luckily, the clear skies persisted through the night and we awoke to another crystal clear morning, with only the highest peaks sporting their jet stream plume of clouds far above us.
Leaving our bags in the teahouse, we set off up a small trail above Pheriche, climbing quickly we passed several stray yaks and decaying chortens as we climbed higher. With the weather staying clear and the team climbing strongly, we made good time up the ridgeline, soon gaining the summit of Nangkar Tshang, a rocky outcropping around 16,500’ standing proudly above the confluence of the Imja Khola Valley - coming from Island Peak - and the Dudh Kosi Valley - coming from Everest. Along the way we had excellent views of our climbing destination, Island Peak, which we will return to in a few days after visiting Everest Base Camp. Standing by itself at the head of the valley at well over 20,000’, the peak does indeed resemble an island, surrounded with a backdrop of some of the world’s highest peaks including Nuptse, Lhotse, and Makalu.
After enjoying the views from the summit of Nangkar Tshang, we headed back down the trail, quickly losing the elevation that we worked so hard to gain. Before returning to Pheriche, we walked down to the the sister village of Dingboche, visiting a small building built high into the cliff face above the valley on our way. Returning to Pheriche, we returned in time to sit in on the HRA Clinic daily Altitude Talk, listening to Dr. Barb Jones from the US give us the latest briefings on altitude science and demonstrating the use of a Gamow Bag, or portable hyperbaric chamber, for us.
Tomorrow we climb higher towards Everest, bound for the small herding village of Lobuche, situated just past the terminus of the Khumbu Glacier. Communication from Lobuche is difficult but we will do our best to keep everyone up to date with our progress.
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