We are in Pheriche (~14,000′) and enjoying more incredible views in every direction and each step takes us closer to our objective(s) of Lobuche and then Everest. The team is doing well and our health remains strong with a few (very minor) hiccups along the way. I had a tough night our last night in Namche before hitting the trail for Deboche and didn’t get any sleep due to a minor GI issue. Fortunately, I felt better by the time we started on the trail and felt somewhat back to normal by the time we arrived at the Rivendell Lodge in Deboche. Upon checking in, we discovered that the room I was sharing with Bob had its own bathroom, complete with its own shower, so I chalked that up to some “colon karma” and it certainly accelerated my recovery. By the next morning, I was back to full strength.
On our rest day in Deboche we trekked back up the hill to Tengboche, visited the famous monastery and enjoyed a chanting session from the resident monks. We went to bed that night to a Himalayan thunderstorm and significant rain, which was a peaceful way to fall asleep. The next morning we awakened to 4-6″ of fresh snow on the ground and a winter wonderland. We started up the trail to Pheriche in the snow, which was terrific as it kept the dust (carrying yak dung particles, etc.) to a minimum. It made for some beautiful vistas as well. On the way, we stopped at Pangboche and received a blessing from Lama Geshi as well as khatas (scarves) that will protect us on our climb of Everest and that we’re supposed to take to the summit with us.
Today was a rest day in Pheriche before we move up to Lobuche base camp tomorrow. We did a day trek over to the village of Dengboche where we visited the tea house owned by one of our Sherpas, Phutashi, for lunch. The views of Lhotse, Baruntse, Makalu, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, Kang Tenga, Lobuche, etc. were stunning (the picture above is of me with Kang Tenga behind taken by master-photographer-Ben — more pictures available by clicking the picture above). Makalu and Ama Dablam remain very high on my future climbing objectives list and seeing them in person only reinforces those urges. Others seem to have the same fever, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to assemble a climbing team for these somewhere down the road (Ben, Clay, you know I’m speaking about you!). Someday… one major objective at a time though!
Tomorrow we move to Lobuche base camp (~17,000’+) and leave the comforts of the tea houses (cots, common rooms, showers, toilets, etc.) behind and finally move into tents. We’ll spend several days there before moving up to Everest base camp (17,500′). At that point, our trekking friends on this trip will turn and head for home while we head to climb Lobuche (20,161′) for further acclimatization. Good friends, Ben & Clay, will join us for this awesome-looking climb before heading home. The climbing team then will move back to Everest base camp to get on with what we came here to do…