All is well here in the beautiful Khumbu Valley. Today was a scheduled rest/acclimatization day, so we did just that. After breakfast we made a long slow climb up the big hill that’s just behind our tea house. We climbed just up over 16,000ft to help our bodies adjust to the upcoming altitude of BC (base camp). The team did great and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing views in nearly all directions. We could see Makalu in the far off distance which is the world's seventh highest mountain, as well as countless other huge mountains. It’s very surreal to be higher than anyplace in the continental US and be surrounded by so many big mountains.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at the tea house chatting with other trekkers and recovering from our day’s outing.
Most of us took showers again and rewarmed ourselves by the big wood stove that burns dried Yak dung, just as the Sherpa people have done for centuries. We are a little ways above tree line and firewood is scarce, but Yak dung is plentiful.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and a warm crew
The team woke to beautifully clear skies and views of Mt. Everest right out our dining room window. We’ve settled into our daily routine of getting up and packing our duffel bags before meeting in the dining room for breakfast and Starbucks coffee thanks to RMI sending it with us. After breakfast we step outside to get a better sense of the temperature before adjusting our layers for the hike. Once on the trail we do our best to maintain a steady pace, with stops every hour or so to stay hydrated and take in the views. There’s plenty of other hikers and yak trains headed in both directions to negotiate as well.
Today we hiked for about 5-6 hrs including breaks and a light lunch to get to our next tea house in Pheriche, which sits at about 14’000ft.
Everyone did great and enjoyed the stunning views of Ama Dablam, one of the iconic peaks along the route to Everest Base Camp.RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
It was another beautiful day here in the Khumbu Valley, and we had some nice views of Everest. Just above Namche you can see Everest far off in the distance, still about 20-30 miles away. You can also see the fourth highest mountain, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam, which is one of the Himalayan's most iconic peak.
We hiked for about six hours today up and down, dropping all the way down to a river, which is a stunning turquoise, then climbed slowing up the hill before the famous Tengboche Monastery.
Traditionally we have gotten a blessing from a famous lama in Pangboche, but sadly that lama has moved on to a higher calling. So today we were able to request a private Puja with another lama at Tengboche and each receive a blessing. The Puja is a Buddhist ceremony where the lama ask Buddha to protect and keep us healthy and safe.
We've settled in to a nice and warm tea house called Rivendale that's full of trekkers from all over the world. Cribbage and good conversations have rounded out the evening and now it's time for a little rest.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and the blessed crew
Hello again everyone back home
It was another great day here in the Khumbu Valley, with the team waking up to bright beautiful clear skies, and mountains in every direction. We had a nice relaxing breakfast and decided to make the most of our scheduled rest day by hiking a little way to visit a Monastery in Thame that is home to wonderful group of female Tibetan refugees. They apparently escaped over the boarder which is only a few miles away and have made this home like the Sherpa community did some 500+ years ago. When we arrived the nuns where in the monastery reading their Tibetan prayers and happily invited us in to listen. It was very special and we all felt lucky to have been able to share the moment with them. After the prayer session we purchased a few prayer flags and prayer beads to help support them and then made our way back to Namche for lunch.
Then evening was spent exploring Namche and doing a little bargaining for a few gifts. We also found a barber shop of all things and a few of us decided to get a fresh shave and hair wash if you can believe that!
If that wasn’t enough, we ran into one of RMI’s great guides Sean Collon here in Namche. He’s currently in medical school and has been in Nepal for a few months doing some volunteer work with the local community.
Finally we wrapped up the evening with another great meal here at our tea house.
All is well and everyone is doing great.
RMI Guide Casey Grom
This morning we left our tea house in Phakding and headed up this stunning valley toward Namche Bazaar, which is the largest village in this famous valley. We hit the trail around 8:30 along with quite a few other trekkers. Everyone did really well on the hike, and no one seemed to mind pausing often for the endless mules and Zokes (cross between a Yak and a cow) carrying loads headed up valley and to basecamp as we made our way down, but mostly up, this rocky trail. It was reasonably busy on the route with trekkers and climbers, but the traffic seem to flow pretty smoothly.
The team crossed a number of high suspension bridges without a problem, but I did notice no one stopped in the middle to take photos. Overall it was a really enjoyable day as we climbed up to just over 11,200' where Namche sits. It was sunny and beautiful all day and we even managed to spot mighty Everest off in the distance.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
Hello from the Khumbu Valley!
We started our day here pretty early, meeting in the hotel lobby at 5am. After checking out of the hotel we had a short ride to the domestic airport where we weighed all of our duffels and backpacks before getting tickets and slipping through a very laid back security check. Normally there’s a little bit of waiting before heading out to the plane, but today things moved along pretty quickly.
The flights to Lukla have a reputation of being a little intimidating and bumpy, but thankfully today’s flight was pretty smooth and uneventful.
It’s about a 30-minute flight in a small 16-passenger twin otter with stunning views of the Himalayas. We landed on the small runway in Lukla that’s only about a quarter mile in length and has a slight uphill angle.
After we touched down, the plane was unloaded and our local Sherpa guides hired a few porters that will be carrying our duffels throughout the trek. We made a brief stop at a local tea house to have breakfast and get situated before hitting the trail.
We hiked for about 4 hours today with few stops to rest and to take in the beautiful scenery. We arrived at our camp for the night in a village called Phakding just in time for a well earned lunch. The team got settled, had naps, or explored a little before walking a short way to one of the many Monastery’s here in the Valley. Luckily for us the Monks were having a prayer session and allowed us to sit in while they chanted and blew their horns. It was very surreal and a wonderful way to start this adventure.
All is well!
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
The team has arrived after some very long and tiring flights . Everyone is doing well after a well deserved night of rest here at the peaceful and appropriately named Yak & Yeti Hotel.
We started our day with a nice big buffet breakfast, then had a team meeting to discuss all the gear and review the details of the adventure that we are about to head out on.
After our meeting we went on a brief tour of Kathmandu where we visited the beautiful Monkey Temple, and the famous Boudhanath Stupa.
It's quite the culture shock visiting this busy city packed with nearly four million people. The streets are packed with people, motorcycles, and cars that honk endlessly.
I'm sure everyone is looking forward to peace and quietness of the Khumbu where we head tomorrow.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew
Yesterday we had a wonderful albeit long day climbing to the roof of Africa The team woke at the enjoyable hour of 11 pm to clear skies and a light breeze. Chilly to say the least at 15,000 ft. We had a brief midnight breakfast of oatmeal hot drinks and biscuits Hitting the trail right around midnight We climbed in hour increments with 15 minute breaks in between. Which we've been doing every day thus far. The weather started out fine but the higher we climbed the wind would increase. By the time we hit the crater rim about 19,000 ft it was a bit chilly but we were prepared and ready for all conditions.The climb took about 7 hours reach the top, the sun had risen shortly before reaching the top to help warm us and boost morale after climbing through the night. Once there we hugged each other, enjoyed the view and took plenty of pictures. It was a true test of endurance for most of the crew and I'm really proud of everyone! We descended back to high camp had a quick lunch , repacked and continued further down the mountain, where we had dinner and then headed to bed for some well deserved sleep.
Today we woke at 6:30 feeling good, had breakfast, then enjoyed a goodbye song and dance from gracious crew of porters, cooks and guides numbering 55. We finished the celebration by handing out well deserved tips and then hit the trail one last time. It took a little under three hours to reach the park gate a short drive to where the team had lunch then hopped aboard our bus for the ride back to the lodge. Finally we are safe and sound, a little cleaner after an amazing 7 day journey up and down Kilimanjaro.
The team is looking forward to safari which starts tomorrow.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker & Team
It was a nice warm day here on our final hike to Lukla. We started early to beat the traffic and made good time, yet taking time to enjoy this peaceful and majestic place.
There were still dozens of loads headed for basecamp as always, because much of the needed supplies arrive via plane or from a few days further down hill via mules.
We ran into a few friends including one of RMI's finest guides Mike Haugen, headed up for his second summit.
The entire team is doing well and relieved to be off of our feet for a bit. With a little luck we hope to be back in Kathmandu tomorrow morning.
Keep your fingers crossed for us.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and a happy crew
Hello again everyone!
All is still well here in the Khumbu as the team members made our way back into Namche. It was a super busy day on the trail with climbers, trekkers, yaks, and porters all bound uphill to basecamp. We slowly made our way through the maze of traffic and enjoyed one last good view of Everest.
Along the way we ran into several old friends from my past trips and stopped to wish everyone good luck.
Tomorrow we'll be moving out early on our final leg of the journey back to Lukla. So please keep you fingers crossed we have good weather and can make our flight back to Kathmandu the following morning.
RMI Guide Casey Grom and crew