Day 4: Namche Bazar to Tengboche (5/8)
Trip Duration: 5+ hours
Elevation at Namche Bazar: 3,440 meters (11,286 feet)
Elevation at Tengboche: 3,870 meters ( 12,664 feet)
Elevation Gain: 430 meters (1,378 feet)
Distance: 9.2 km ( 5.7 miles)
We woke up the next morning in Namche and began our trek to Tengboche. It was clear we were getting further along our trek as several of the mighty peaks were revealing themselves and getting closer with each step including Ama Dablam (6,823 meters or 22,385 feet), Lhotse (8,516 meters or 27,940 feet), Everest (8,849 meters or 29,032 feet), Lobuche peak (6,119 meters or 20,075 feet), and Tham Serku (6,608 meters or 21,680 feet).
Along the route, we were able to enjoy the lovely Rhododendron trees which were in full bloom showing off their vibrant white, pink, and red flowers. Perfect timing coming in May.
We were really enjoying the trek when Govinda (our sherpa and now life-long friend) decided to add some music to the hike. This was the first song he played and it became “THE” song of the trek. The native song is about the Rhododendron and made us feel even more in sync with the whole experience. (Song in video below). How beautiful?
Thanks Govinda for the beautiful music which we still listen to today as it brings us back to that exact moment and always brings a smile to our faces. Additionally, thanks to Govinda for carrying the bulk of our luggage so we were able to appreciate the beauty around us rather than worry about a sore back and shoulders.
Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Heading north of Namche, electricity for charging phones, cameras, etc. will be more expensive as it is supplied by wind, sun, and/or water.
Now for one of the most inspirational moments of our entire trek. Meet Adam (Azrulkhan Hasrullah) the first disabled climber to reach Mount Everest Base Camp using only his hands. When we came across Adam we were in complete disbelief. We couldn’t imagine doing the same trail without any legs. I was in tears, tears of happiness. So next time you tell yourself “I can’t do that”, think of Adam. You can do anything you set your mind to.
We arrived at Tashi Deleck Lodge & Restaurant, a teahouse with absolutely stunning views from the balcony including panoramic views of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, other mountains/peaks, and the Tengoboche monastery.
At the restaurant we enjoyed some warm Dhal Bhat (a traditional dish of Nepal) consisting of steamed rice, vegetables, and dumplings. We found this dish to be tasty and quite appetizing, which was very lucky, as Dhal Bhat is one of the main dishes offered throughout the trek.
Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Dhal Bhat is one of the main dishes offered along the trek and is the secret to sherpas and porters strength as they have it about three times a day. This gives rise to the famous saying: "Dahl Bhat, 24 hour power, no shower" as taking showers is not common along the hike.
Across the Tashi Deleck teahouse is one the most famous of buildings along the trek, the Tengboche Monastery. This is the largest monastery in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal. Behind the monastery is an unrivaled view of Mount Ama Dablam (unfortunately blocked by clouds in the photo below). Further below you can see the monastery with a clear sky view.
Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Flushable toilets (or lack of) should not be expected after Namche. Many will have a simple hole in the ground you flush with a bucket of water.
Altitude Sickness and Thunder Snow
That night shortly after falling asleep I woke up with intense altitude sickness. I felt nauseous and dizzy, I wanted to throw up but couldn’t, I had a migraine, I was freezing cold, you name it, I had it. I was in total fear, not only what was happening to me in the middle of the mountains with no doctors around, but also afraid Kurt would make us turn around.
I woke Kurt who searched his bag for the diamox (medicine for altitude sickness) we had brought but he couldn’t find it. So Kurt then alerted our sherpa, Govinda, of my condition who proceeded to search for the tea house staff. Luckily, a fellow traveler overheard the situation and gave us a couple pills for me to take. I popped the pill and proceeded to try and go back to sleep. I felt bad for several hours but eventually I feel asleep and when I woke up the next morning feeling significantly better.
We are both firm believers in natural medicines and avoiding drugs when possible. So the fact that I took these pills shows how bad my symptoms were and how bad I wanted to ensure we could complete this incredible adventure in one piece.
We stocked up on Diamox at the next village that sold it and decided we would take a pill each night to help alleviating potential altitude sickness. We didn’t feel much nausea the rest of the trip at all but still had to deal with the thin air and did get the “Khumbu cough” later.
Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Altitude sickness can be very serious. When experiencing symptoms you may consider taking Diamox, taking a rest day, or hiking down in elevation and taking a rest day at a lower elevation to see if your symptoms subside.
That same night, there was also an intense storm. There was loud thunder and lightning and several inches of snow. It was scary to look outside and see the snow coming down heavily with loud crashes of thunder and wind whipping the snow and trees around. But the next morning, it was calm and beautiful to see the snow covering the landscape.
Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche(5/9)
Trip Duration: 6+ hours
Elevation at Tengboche: 3,870 meters ( 12,664 feet)
Elevation at Dingboche: 4,410 meters ( 14,469 feet)
Elevation Gain: 540 meters (1,805 feet)
Distance: 10 km ( 6.4 miles)
We woke up the next morning to beautiful snow covered mountains and trails.
Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: Teahouses higher than Namche will not use burning wood to keep you warm. Instead they use Yak dung. That's right, Yak poo that was dried out by the sun is stacked in the furnace and burnt. Don't worry there isn't really a smell due to the poo being dried out. You also you won't be complaining as your numb fingers and toes start to regain feeling.
We stayed at Hotel Bright Star, home to one the world’s highest billards (or as they call it Snooker) parlour.
Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek 101: We highly recommend bringing baby wipes for a daily baby wipe shower. The higher you get in the mountains the more expensive a hot shower will be ($3-$7USD). You also might not want to strip down with the frigid temperatures. Baby wipes are a great way to feel refreshed and clean after a long day hike.