EBC TREK – Phakding-Namche Bazar (+Acclimization Day) – DAY 2-3

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Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazar (5/6)

Trip Duration: 6+ hours

Elevation at Phakding: 2,610 meters (8,563 feet)

Elevation at Namche Bazar: 3,440 meters (11,286 feet)

Elevation Gain: 830 meters (2,723 feet)

Distance: 7.4 km (4.6 miles)

This day required us to tread slowly.

The hike from Phakding to Namche Bazar will take about 6+ hours of walking (plus a break for lunch) covering 7.4km/4.6 miles and reaching an elevation of 3,340m/ 10,958 feet. It took us 8 hours as we took many breaks, both for rest, enjoyment, and for pictures.

We still had not hired a sherpa at this point but after some tough uphill stretches and an aching back we started searching for one, once we got into town.

This hike is highlighted by an abundance of natural beauty. The path cuts through the majestic mountains and along the beautiful Dudh Kosi River. We enjoyed the blossoms of the Rhododendron trees and crossing the many suspension bridges including the famous Tenzing-Hillary suspension bridge. 

Here are several photos of our day two trek:

Met my new friend Mr. Cow and this adorable pup along the route
Another long suspension bridge
Overlooking the Dudh Kosi River
Viewpoint of the Tenzing Hillary Bridge at 125 meters (410 feet) high. The older bridge underneath has not been used in several years.
Our turn to cross the Tenzing Hillary Bridge
How sweet is this viewpoint?
The river rushing along a town
A few homes built along the cliffs
This is a reminder to be trash conscious. Don’t let your garbage end up in a pile like this.
A long procession of donkeys carrying equipment, a common site on the EBC trek
Mani stones, typically Buddhist prayers written in Tibetan
Himalayas 101: Be sure to always spin prayer wheels (or mani wheels) for good luck and always in a clockwise direction. 
We met Anchillee while having lunch and were happy to see him at several other stops during our full trek as he was guiding another group with a similar itinerary. The Nepalese are among the most friendly people you will ever meet.
A lot to see here, that’s me hanging out on the bridge, neat shanty homes, and a waterfall
How cool would it have been to see a snow leopard? The sign states there are at least four in the park.
Oversided load for this sherpa. He’s has half a house on his back.
The town of Namche
Walkways of Namche
Ready for a good nights sleep
Excited for tomorrow
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Accommodation

When we arrived in Namche we stayed at the Khumbu Lodge. The Khumbu Lodge has all types of rooms including 20 rooms with attached bathrooms and running hot water, 25 normal private rooms to cater to budget travelers, and nine fully furnished apartments.

Himalayas 101: In 1985, U.S. President Jimmy Carter stayed for several hours and ate lunch at Khumbu Lodge, there is a lot of history in this lodge. There were several things we really enjoyed about the Khumbu Lodge including an epic view from the dining area and also the epic view from the bathroom.

We also received great information from Pemba who ran the lodge. Thanks for helping us plan our trip and hire a sherpa!

Once the clouds would dissipate you could see the mountains in the near distance
The toilet from our teahouse had a window with one of the best views of the mountains (unfortunately blocked by clouds here)

As we previously mentioned, we each had been carrying our 25+ pound backpacks for the past couple of days. The uphill treks and altitude were really starting to get to us so we went to Pemba asking how to hire a sherpa. He was able to quickly make a few calls and organized a private sherpa for the rest of our trip This was amazing! The sherpa we hired was named Govinda and spoke English very well, shared stories with us, and took endless pictures of us while hiking. Some of our favorite memories were talking and playing cards with him and his brother after a long trek who was guiding another group. Thanks so much Govinda, it was a pleasure to meet you and we consider you family. Hope to see you soon again!

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All about Sherpas

Sherpas are indigenous to the Himalayan region and are trained in climbing, carrying heavy loads on their backs, and maintaining endurance in high altitudes.

What is the difference between a sherpa and a porter? The sherpa will travel alongside you the entire way, while a porter will carry the bulk of your belongings leaving you with just a day pack. (The porter is not as intimate of an experience but it is the cheaper option). Porters are often paid by the kilo. They are the ones you see carrying unimaginable weight loads on their backs as they pass you by. It is not uncommon for them to carry weights heavier than themselves.

Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Hire a sherpa and/or a porter. It will allow you to focus on enjoying the hike and carrying your pack will be one less thing to worry about. 
  • Sherpas have a maximum weight load they will carry but we certainly saw many sherpas/porters carrying well above what we would recommend.
  • They will schedule all your teahouses for you in advance.
  • Average cost of a licensed sherpa is about $25 USD/day and the price covers their meals, water, stay, and labor.
  • They are responsible for your safety as they posses the knowledge for safe climbing and they are adapted to high-altitudes.

Interesting Fact: 1/3 of people who have died on Mount Everest have been sherpas. For sherpas summiting Everest, it is a very dangerous and taxing job, though it is the most lucrative in the country.

Mount Everest 101: Always be mindful to let sherpas and porters pass you safely. They are carrying loads you couldn't imagine. Stay to the side of that trail when you see them approaching. As always, don't forget to give a "Namaste", it will make them smile.
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Day 3 – Namche Bazar Acclimatization Day (5/7)

Elevation Gain: 501 m (1,644 feet)

It is highly recommended to take a “rest day” / “acclimatization day” in Namche Bazaar when hiking EBC. After all, we had just gained almost 3,000 feet in elevation from the previous day while carrying our own packs. We were certainly ready for a rest day.

On “rest days” however, it is recommended to climb higher to acclimatize yourself.

Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Hiking higher on a rest day and then sleeping at a lower elevation does wonders for helping your body get used to the altitude. HIGH HIGH, SLEEP LOW.

Our acclimatization day, began and ended with walking around the town and soaking up the views and enjoying being in a big village in the mountains.

Nepalese people can carry the most impressive loads on their backs
Unbelievable views of Namche Bazar and surrounding landscape
The Nepalese children are the cutest!

But, of course, there is not much rest on “rest days”. We hiked up another 501 m/1,644 feet to Everest Sherpa Resort at an altitude of 3,841 meters/12,601 feet. The resort lies on a hill above Namche Bazar. Here are several amazing sights along the way:

A stupa in town with a remarkable mountain in the background
Aerial view of the incredible cliffside town of Namche

View near the Everest Sherpa Resort
This hotel is famed for having a view of Mount Everest from every room

On a clear day you are rewarded with 360º  views of some of the surrounding towering mountains peaks.

While waiting for the clouds to dissipate at Hotel Everest View we met two great people from Italy, Lorenzo and Francesco. We ended up joining them and their sherpa, Tes, for an additional hike out to Edmund Hillary School in Khumjung. The school was founded by the legend himself (Edmund) who was one of the first people to summit Mount Everest. We met a lot of great people on the full EBC hike. You really feel a connection with people who are undertaking the same challenge and it’s fun to meet up at each tea house and share stories and laughs.

Our friends, Lorenzo and Francesco from Italy, we met at Hotel Everest View. We enjoyed playing games at several teahouses in the coming days as we had similar itineraries.
Our first views of Khumjung
Kurt hanging with the boys before hiking down further to the school
Tes teaching us Nepalese – “Tashi Delek” a traditional Tibetan greeting to friends and strangers meaning wishes of blessing, good health, and luck
Brightly-hued doors at a teahouse in the Himalayas
School grounds
Look at these cute little Nepalese children
A bust of Sir Edmund Hillary

The most enjoyable part of going to check out the school was getting challenged by the kids in a game of volleyball. We definitely didn’t expect to play volleyball on this trip, especially not at 3,788 meters (12,430 feet) in altitude. It was a pleasure playing volleyball with some of the kids from the school and it was lovely to see a place of education for the kids in the Khumbu Region.

A “Walmart” on every corner of the world haha
Enjoying a nice dinner at the Khumbu lodge with friends we met at Lukla airport and fellow passengers on the helicopter ride in

After a fun day of exploring the town, hiking farther into the Himalayas, and playing some volleyball at a local school we checked in for a good night’s sleep. We were looking forward to what our next days would bring, which included a brightly colored monastery in the sky, a frightening snow/thunderstorm, and a bout with elevation sickness. More to come…..

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