Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Day 5
Welcome back to trekking with a totally rad dude! Today’s post we trek from Tengboche to Dingboche. Along the way we hike through a snow storm and have some phenomenal views of Ama Dablam. Ama Dablam is my favorite mountain in Khumbu and Sagarmatha Zone. If you are on Pinterest, you might want to pin a few of these images. You are welcome and encouraged to, in fact. Kick back, relax, and lets get started, We’re almost to Base Camp!
Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche
We set out with stellar views of Kangtega, Luptse, Everest, Nuptse, and Ama Dablin. I felt good. My body felt good. We were in good spirits, and we had good views. But this would change by the end of the day. If we could recognize foreshadowing, we would have been clued in by the ominous tone that rang out from the from the abandoned monastery as we descended into the forest below the hotel (Just kidding, there wasn’t a tolling bell, but it hints toward the impending catastrophe).
We followed the Dudh Koshi river through a beautiful old growth rhododendron forest. Coming into Deboche, we passed a nunnery and a mani wall. The temperature, forest, and atmosphere of Deboche made it feel like it was a coastal town. This is one of my favorite places on the trail. Not only for the coastal like climate but for slope of the trail. It is relatively flat. Where the forest opens up, you can see the river, and adjacent hills.
As we were leaving Deboche, we crossed a bridge over the Dudh Koshi river and had spectacular views of Ama Dablam. Your humble narrators’ opinion of Ama Dablam is that it is the most aesthetically appeasing of all the mountains on the Everest Base Camp and Kalapatthar trails. If you were to turn around and go home after reaching Dingboche, it would not have been a wasted trip. Going to Everest Base Camp is more for the ceremony and story than for the beauty.
After crossing the river, the trail ascended and appeared to lead us directly to the summit of Ama Dablam. The slope was a relatively easy climb but that could have been because I was too focused on Ama Dablam the whole time. As we were walking my guide pointed at an area of the trail where a trekker presumably fell from the edge and into the gorge below. He was fond a couple of weeks later. A memorial plaque mounted into a stone marks the location.
Trail to Dingboche. Ama Dablam and Dudh Koshi River
This is one of the many reasons why hiring a guide is so important. Not only can your guide identify the mountains you see and find good lodges to stay in, but he or she can help you out of a bad situation. Up to this point on the trail, I would have gotten lost about 6 or 7 times without a guide. Yes, people can go about it without a guide but the experience is so much better with one and your life is worth the $25 to $30 a day. You can consider it an extended insurance policy. Also, some insurance companies will not hire a rescue helicopter for you, if you do not have a guide.
After passing the grim reminder of how inhospitable the area is, I moved closer to the inside of the trail. This is also good practice when passing yaks and cows. We continued along the trail passing shrines and continuous amazing views of the mountains and river. Though I do not like to look back, I sometimes do, which reminds me of Tame Impala’s Elephant song. I saw thick white clouds moving in on us. I thought, oh that’s no big deal. How wrong I was.
Lhotse, Shrine, and Ama Dablam
So, what did I do instead of preparing for the fast-approaching snow storm? The same thing I did for all the past catastrophic events in my life. Absolutely nothing. My mom or girlfriend yells at me, and I do nothing. A giant tsunami approaches and I calculate if I have time to grab a surfboard or should just bodysurf it. A mega earthquake shakes my house and I wonder if I should put on some pants. A tornado tears the walls off my house and I think I should have put on some pants.
As we are walking its getting colder and colder. I’m just as happy as a clam to experience my first snow storm in Nepal. I am however a little upset about it obstructing the views of the mountains but I’m still happy. I take a few photos then realize the snow is melting and getting into my camera. At this time, I decide to start preparing for the already ever-present snowstorm. I put my camera away, and put on some warm cloths, and a poncho. I also put my bag cover on my bag.
We continue walking for another 30 minutes, until we reached Somare. In Somare, my guide starts putting on a coat, and a cover for his hiking pack. As he is doing this, a herd of yaks come stampeding by. I jump on a ledge that is guarding one of the shops, and my guide comes within half an inch of being gored and trampled to death by one of the biggest yaks I have ever seen. I ask him how come he didn’t move and his response was “Thug life.”
A few moments later, a young man with a relatively high body mass index comes jiggling by saying “sorry.” Justin Bieber, when did you become so fat and tan? I politely thought to myself. My guide smirks at me, probably as equally amused as I was, and we started walking again. Such is the way of life in Nepal. As we exited Somare, the winter storm was on us with full force. It was like the unmade sequel to Sharknado 5, Sharknado 6 revenge of the sharks.
That last sentence my not make sense, if you haven’t seen the made for tv movie series Sharknado featuring a whole bunch of sharks, and some people hired as extras. I’m probably way off topic now but when Hollywood makes Sharknado 6 revenge of the sharks, they need to add more sharks. Because the only limiting aspect of the movie is the limited number of sharks. Now for a flawless transition back to the Everest Base Camp.
So, there I was, in the eye of the storm. Thankfully the storm was blowing from the south so we didn’t have to have are faces pelted by snowflake shaped ninja stars that the storm was throwing at us. All the while I was thankful to have a guide because, I know I would have gotten lost. The visibility was reduced to about 200 feet. On our starboard side, the, Dudh Koshi river was heard but never seen. We passed an unnamed tributary that I am calling the Chola Khola, named after Chola Tsho.
From here north the Dudh Koshi river turns into the Imja Khola. Dingboche is about 30 minutes away from this tributary. On a clear day we would have had the most magnificent views of the Ama Dablam and Lhotse. Upon entering Dingboche we quickly found that most of the tea houses were closed. We tried 3 different tea houses before my guide remembered his cousin has a place we could stay in. We settled in Sherpa Land Lodge.
Ama Dablam above Sherpa Land and Lodge,
The rooms at Sherpa Land Lodge are the standard size for rooms in tea houses, about 100 square feet. My bedroom came equipped with two beds, however other rooms have a single bed and attached toilet. The bed sheets in the rooms were relatively clean or at least they smelled clean, and a little stained. The toilets for the other guests, myself included, are at the end of the building and inside the main room. There are 2 squat toilets and one western sit-down toilet.
The toilet water freezes at night so if you expect to hear a splash and hear a splat, don’t be surprised. This also makes flushing difficult. After a few more splats the ice melts and you to get splashes. When this happens, you can follow up with a couple buckets of water to push the waste into the retaining vessel. The systems cannot hold paper waste so all toilet paper must be thrown away in a provided garbage.
I think it’s better to not have the toilets in the rooms for hygienic purposes. But surprisingly they don’t smell that bad. The rooms do not have power outlets to charge batteries but you can buy a full charge for $3 in the dining room. In the dining room, tables are arranged around the room in a horse shoe shape with a yak dung furnace in the center. At about 7:00 the furnace is lit and people huddle around it to catch as much warmth as they can.
It reminds me of baseball, but if all the team members were catchers. The pitcher would be the furnace, and the baseball the heat produced from the yak dung. Surprisingly the furnace also doesn’t smell poorly. It is a very comfortable arrangement with 365-degree views of the mountains. You can see Tabuche to the west, Kangtege, Thamserku, and kunde to the south, Ama Dablam to the east, Tabuche to the west, and Lhotse, and pyramid mountain to the north.