Location: Namche Baazar
Local Time: 25th March, 6pm
Weather: Fine, 23C
Hello everyone out there – it’s Fiona here.
We’re having a very relaxing day here in Namche – our first rest (acclimatisation) day for the trip.
Thanks everyone for your messages.
To Annie – in relation to your gear question, in hindsight we probably could have bought a lot more of our gear here – either in Kathmandu or even here in Namche. From our last trip here 10 years ago, we knew there were gear shops but didn’t realise the huge range that would be here now and didn’t want to be stuck without anything. Also, we would have needed much more time for shopping. But for any trekkers coming over, we’d definitely recommend purchasing any gear you need in Kathmandu.
So far, all doing well with the altitude
Getting to Namche is one of the times when climbers and trekkers are susceptible to the effects of altitude as it’s a relatively big jump. But so far, Chris, Bridget, Paul and I are all doing very well. You can certainly feel that the air is thinner when walking up the many stairs in town, but we all slept well, don’t have headaches, and certainly have our appetites. A couple of people in our team felt a bit under the weather yesterday but seem to be much better today.
When we arrived yesterday, the clouds had come in by the time we got here so we didn’t really get a good appreciation of our surrounds. We woke this morning to a beautiful clear sky, fresh air and amazing peaks surrounding the natural basin that Namche is built within. The whole town is terraced with stone walls dividing the small potato fields, homes, tea houses, and shops.
The height of the mountains around us seems incredible from here – they’re just towering above us on all sides. But as the highest is around (only!) 6600 metres, it’s quite daunting to think that Everest is more than 2 kilometres taller again. Oh well, I guess we’ll just keep taking it one step at a time and focus on reaching basecamp in good shape.
We went for a walk around town and took in many of the local activities. Yaks carrying loads right through town (their jangling bells let everyone know they’re coming), the clinking of probably 30 men chipping away at rocks to make bricks for new buildings, women tending to their fields and washing clothes outside, and lots of kids playing. Our team is camped in an area just above town, right near the police station. In the middle of our campground is a helicopter which crashed there around 4 months ago – very strange.
A busy agenda – market & bakeries
As we climbed up around 800 metres yesterday in altitude, today is a scheduled rest day. This morning we visited the Saturday market – this is the main trading place for the whole region and goods are brought in from many days walk away. (We may not have mentioned that there are no roads or vehicles here – everything is carted around either by porter or yak.) The market was very colourful – lots of vegetables, spices, pots and pans, fabrics, groceries, and even Nike shoes.
We then visited the Sherpa museum which included an original Sherpa home and a photo gallery of the local Sherpas, and of Everest climbs.
As I write this, we’re sitting at a café having just finished another lunch of pizzas and with a plan to road test the remaining bakeries we didn’t get to in the morning. If we feel very energetic, we may pull out the cards a bit later.
Better get back to the sunshine, tea and cards now.
Bye for now, Fiona