Location: Namche Baazar
Local Time: 8pm, 27th May
Weather: Foggy and rainy, 10C
Hi everyone – Fiona here,
We’ve been walking all day having finally arrived back at Namche Baazar.
We’re staying at Camp de Base – the same lodge that Chris and Bridget stayed in on the way up – except there are some differences. For one thing, the trekking season has finished so the price for a room with an ensuite is now 100 rupees instead of US$10. The other difference is that there is no running water or electricity in Namche at the moment – so the ensuite is not too much good and there is no heating or lights! Oh well. I guess it’s best that we’re introduced to luxuries like these slowly.
After yesterday’s walk and the climb down, we have all got various degrees of sore feet and legs, so today’s hike seemed like it would never end. (Chris O – Mary says to thank you for the tip re tying her shoes.) Although we are heading down, the trail is anything but just downhill. Today we had two relatively big climbs to contend with.
The day started out foggy and then cleared until lunchtime. But it rained pretty much all afternoon, causing us to put our heads down and focus on walking. Some people are saying that the monsoon has already arrived. Sure feels like it to us.
During the walk we enjoyed increasing amounts of vegetation, including the rhododendron forests which are still at the end of their bloom. It’s great to see trees, flowers and grass again. Makes you realise how hostile the basecamp environment is – all rock and ice. But the landscape has also changed a lot since our trek in 2 months ago now.
It’s already a lot warmer here. Even last night in Pheriche, we were all amazed at how warm we were at night. We just realised that we are 2 vertical kilometres lower than base camp here.
After only 2 days walking, it feels like we’re already a world away from base camp – but still a world away from home as well. I don’t think any of us will miss base camp, and especially not the icefall, but the mountain had a majestic appeal that we are a bit sad to leave. As we walk down we wonder if or when we’ll be back again.
Tomorrow, we’ll hike to Lukla from where we’ll hopefully get a flight to Kathmandu the next morning. (The flights only go in the mornings and are prone to cancellation if it is raining or cloudy.) Once we get to Kathmandu, we’ll try to get onto the next flight to Melbourne (via Bankok). Hopefully we’ll also be able to catch up with some of our fellow climbers who left for Kathmandu a few days ahead of us.
Jo – in a way you are right about the route up from the south col to the south summit being fairly direct. What is difficult to gleen from the photos is the scale – you are looking at around 1km of vertical height there. So within that climb there are sections which are snow slopes and other sections which are almost vertical rock.
Also, in case it’s not obvious, Mary is trekking out with us and will be flying home on the same flight.
Phil M – The South Summit is around 8750m and Camp 4 is about 7900, so it’s a height gain of 850m.
Donovan – I did later think that it would be nice to get a rock from the summit as a souveneir but at the time I completely forgot about it. I may pick up a poster in Kathmandu to fill in my missing photos.
Dave and Stephanie – I’d definitely encourage everyone to follow their dreams, whatever they are. Yes, I found Everest incredibly hard, but I am so glad I’ve done it now. However, if you are thinking of trying Everest, it’s not to be taken lightly. I wouldn’t want anyone to skimp on the preparation necessary (namely experience on other mountains, experience at high altitude, training, gear, etc)
Sean – The very top of Mt Everest is a pretty small area. I’d guess at around 3 x 1.5m. It’s relatively flat but one side overhangs as the whole summit ridge is a cornice. The top is strewn with things that people have left there – mainly prayer flags, but also the odd framed photo and other things that I couldn’t make out.
So now just one more day of hiking to get through without twisting an ankle!
Very much looking forward to catching up with our families and friends when we return,