We arrived in Lukla, as planned, early on 3/31 after the exciting landing at the small Lukla airport. From there it was an easy stroll mostly downhill to Phakding (8,700′) where we spent the night in a tea house. The tea houses have improved dramatically over the past 5-10 years and are humble but nice, including flushing toilets (sometimes) and small cots with “mattresses”. Certainly a lot more comfortable than sleeping in a tent. On 4/1 we headed up the trail to Namche (11,200′). It was an easy, steady climb and it felt great to finally stretch the legs and head uphill despite the forest fires on the way. The air is extremely dry and the trail dusty, so the smoke from the fires added yet another irritant to deal with along the way. Most of us have been wearing our Buffs over our faces to filter the air we breath, which has been relatively effective. There is still a lot of smoke here in Namche, but once we head up the trail a bit more we should leave this obstacle behind.
The team is strong and is comprised of a combination of trekkers and climbers. Everyone has been great thus far and no one has been “that guy/gal”, which is rare in any group, let alone one this size. We’re moving well and enjoying our time on the trail as we work our way up the Khumbu to Everest base camp.
Today was a rest day in Namche so we did a short hike to Khumjung and enjoyed some amazing views on the way. We had terrific views of Kusum Kanguru (seen above at 20,889′) and, one of my all-time favorites and one that has been on the climbing list for a long time, Ama Dablam (22,349′). We also had good views of Lhotse and, of course, our objective, Everest (29,035′), which can be viewed by clicking the picture above. We saw the Hillary School that Sir Edmund Hillary founded there to support the local Sherpa people where they now have a computer lab among a few other modern amenities.
Tomorrow is another rest day here in Namche before we head to Deboche. More to follow from further up the trail.