Day 6 : Dingboche Acclimatization Day (5/10)
Elevation at Dingboche: 4,410 meters ( 14,469 feet)
Elevation at Nangkartshang Peak 5,083 m (16,676 ft)
Elevation Gain: 673 meters ( 2,207 feet)
Trip Duration: 6 hours
It is highly recommended to spend a rest day in Dingboche to get used to the altitude change. Hike high, sleep low is the goal of any rest day as this allows your body to acclimate.
Accordingly we spent our “rest” day hiking up Nangkartshang Peak. The Nangkartshang Peak acclimatization hike took us above the valley which opened up to stellar views. This hike took a big toll on us, especially for Kurt, as we were reaching altitudes higher than 5,083 m (16,676 ft). This was higher than either of us had ever been. For reference to our USA friends, this is higher than the tallest mountain in Colorado, Mt. Elbert, which is 14,439 ft in elevation.
Kurt said very early on (maybe 45 minutes into the hike) that “I’m not going to make it to the top today, but we’ll keep reassessing every 15 minutes or so.” We continued to hike zombie-like up the steep mountainside. Kurt kept repeating we will turn around in a little bit, but we kept hiking very slowly. Sometimes having to take breaks after minimal steps/elevation gain. We just weren’t used to the air being so thin. Elevation can affect people differently and at different times. You could fly up this mountain without a problem and then have a problem days later or vice versa. The key is to just listen to your body and take things slow.
After almost 4 hours of hiking we finally reached the top. We surpassed over 2,000 feet. Can’t believe we made it. Kurt said if you asked him if we were going to make it, an hour into the hike, he would have said no way. And even 3/4ths of the way in, he didn’t think he was going to make it. We kept pushing though, and felt very accomplished when we reached the summit.
On a good (not cloudy) day, you should be rewarded with views of Imja Valley towards Chhukung, and on the other side the valley towards Lobuche. The hike up is beautiful as you walk past glaciers, rivers, and snowcapped peaks.
Luckily, the hike back only took a little less than an hour.
Upon returning to Dingboche, we spent the rest of the day shopping for some quick essentials and resting up for the next day’s trek.
No, we did not reward ourselves with some whiskey. We kept our eye on the prize, as we wanted to make it to Mount Everest Base Camp.
Day 7 : Dingboche to Lobuche (5/11)
Trip Duration: 6 hours
Elevation at Dingboche: 4,410 meters (14,469 feet)
Elevation at Lobuche: 4,940meters (16,207 feet)
Elevation Gain: 530 meters (1,738 feet)
Distance: 9.7 km (6 miles)
The next day we started early on our trek from Dingboche to Lobuche.
The route was much less steep than the hike of the hill the previous day. As a result we were able to cover ground more quickly and weren’t as winded doing it. Likely thanks to the rest/acclimatization day we took the day before. Not to say it wasn’t tiring, as we were still 14,469 ft in the air.
Along this route is a unique barren terrain that opens up to more sweeping views of the snow-capped mountains.
I believe it was around here we both starting experiencing the Khumbu cough. The Khumbu cough is thought to occur due to the inhalation of cold dry air that is inhaled more rapidly due to the exertion of hiking and the high altitudes. We also think that the dust that kicks up in the air does not help. The cough was very bad so take precautions to try and avoid it. We would recommend that trekkers use a neck scarf and a mouth covering to keep warm and keep the dust out. It would be wise to invest in a quality breathable mask.
Another amazing feature of this hike is the famous Khumbu Glacier. With elevations of 4,900 meters (16076 feet) and extending up to 7,600 meters (24934 feet), the Khumbu Glacier is the world’s highest glacier.
About an hour away from Lobuche you will come across Thukla Pass, a memorial for some of the people who have died on their way to summit Mount Everest.
After hiking for six hours we arrived in Lobuche and proceeded to celebrate with a treat at the acclaimed “World’s Highest Bakery Cafe” at a height of 5,000 meters (16,404 feet).
Our sherpa Govinda picked New EBC Guest House for our teahouse for the night.
The elevation at this teahouse was at this point the highest we had slept at. The air was thin. It was so thin a simple walk to the bathroom and back would cause us to lose our breath. Walking up the stairs? Forget about it. We had to either take a break or walk up like a turtle to not feel out of gas at the top. Walking up stairs had been difficult since Namche Bazar, and it got more difficult as we trekked higher.
During our stay here we met more people to play cards with. It was a common trend at each teahouse. There was not much else to do, but it was loads of fun. And we even bumped into our friend Anchillee, yet again.
After the close of a successful 7th day, we were excited for the next couple of days where we would finally reach Mt. Everest Base Camp.