Friday, November 4, 2011

Namche to Debuche

After an interesting and event filled two days at Namche, its time to continue higher on up into the Khumbu. We relaxed here, enjoyed the high end facilities (Hotel Camp de Base is like a Namche Bazaar Hyatt) and talked about things to come. Yesterday the team did an elevation run to a local museum and the Namche Airport, stopping along the way for copious amounts of lemon tea to sustain ourselves.

As we wandered the Namche city canyons, I was struck by how much had changed in a place where it seems like little changes. Three years ago, we didn't have a consistently hot shower here, or uninterrupted 24 hrs of electricity. There was a standard suite of bakeries, massage parlors, doctors, grocery stores and more equipment shops than you could throw a stick at. But WiFi was an unknown and now it's readily available in almost every coffee shop and restaurant. I even passed an ATM here yesterday.. Crazy how technology has advanced forward in just such a short time as even the ruggedized laptop I brought in 2008 now looks like a dinosaur when even this blog is being typed on my Windows7 phone.

The weather continues to be of great concern. Not for the team physically, but for the Amadablam leg. All of my high altitude climbing gear is currently parked in Kathmandu along with Tshering and the soonest it looks like they will get out is Monday soonest. The low lying clouds have caused the town of Lukla to approach a state of concern as over 1,000 people mass there in an attempt to leave, and can't. Even local news is talking about it as Lukla hotels exceed capacity, food stores grow low and even water supplies dwindle. Its not a good thing down there. Up here we are fine, but I'm approaching the point where Amadablam just isn't feasible in the time window available. But it is what it is, the mountain isn't going anywhere and I'm having a complete blast with my 5 new friends. Last night we spent close to 3 hours playing a German version of Rummy that Mike (a German) stated the rules for and as a new rule popped out of the blue had us all in stitches. Got to the point where Trevor goes "well, you are wearing a black jacket and it is after 7:00, so that new rule now applies". Probably had to be there but it all made for good fun.

So today we continue on to Debuche, a little town about 20 minutes beyond Tengboche Monastery. The most holy of Khumbu Buddhist shrines, this facility is a sight to behold. From here, roughly parked at the height of Rainier's summit we continue about 20 minutes beyond to arrive at Debuche. One of the hardest pushes of the trek will come today and a complete mind game. At the end of a long, 2 mile traverse you have cleared most forms of vegetation, green surrendering to altitude and retreating to pines, spruces and ground vegetation. It will likely snow on us today and even the hybrid Gopkyo (a cross between a Yak and Cow) used to haul loads will replace in presence with the Yak- who can't work in the lower, hotter temperatures.

The trail moves to an overlook, where you look 2,000' down to the Dudh Kosi and green below. And then, roughly 2 miles distant, lies Tengbuche at the same altitude you are at. From here, the trail descends the full length of the drop, only to immediately climb straight back up, and over into the monastery. Coupled with the altitude it makes for quite a day.

Not sure when I'll get the next dispatch out but from Debuche we continue on to Pheriche, where the team will rest for two days before continuing on and around to Everest Base Camp. This is where we part ways, as I move to the north, and Island Peak- a long day hike beyond. That climb will take roughly two days and then I beat feet back to Debuche and Amadablam.

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