In the alpine zone at 4,000+ meters

Khumjung Travel Blog

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Snowy morning in Shomare, 4010m

Shomare – 4,010m

Trekking in the 4000 meters zone was a lot more tedious than in the lower altitudes. The air was much thinner and breathing became more laborious. Weather was cold and windy most of the time and it was very difficult to get out of the warm sleeping bag in the morning. Heating was available only in the common dining area and heat was generated by burning dried yak dung.

Scenery was just as magnificent as in the lower altitudes and the mountains were just as majestic with their 6000m to 7000m+ high peaks.

Dingboche – 4,410m

Dingboche was the next stop where we stayed two nights. The trek from Shomare to Dingboche was actually very pleasant as the ascent was quite gradual and one walked in the vast and open landscape with relatively easy trails.

Sun rising over the mountains
I had enjoyed this part of the trek very much despite the strong winds. We even met a fellow trekker who wore a skirt. She must have come from a really cold place as even though it was sunny, the winds were rather cold!

From Dingboche and as part of our acclimatization program, we made day trips down the mountain to the next village, Pheriche at 4,270m where the Himalayan Mountain Rescue (HRA) Clinic was located. There were three volunteer doctors from the UK who were there to provide medical service to the local communities and to carry out a study on altitude. In addition, they also provide free daily lecture on altitude sickness.

We contributed by participating in their studies and had my oxygen level tested at the same time. It was 88% at that altitude which was not too bad. Until then, I did have any headaches or any signs of altitude sickness.

A yak peeping at the camera
My trekking partner was a bit unfortunate and was constantly having dull throbbing headaches. He decided to go for an hour of oxygen therapy at the clinic and was feeling better after that. However, such therapy had only short term effects.

Thokla – 4,620m

The trek to Thokla on the moonlike and open landscape with sparse vegetation was equally pleasant. We had fantastic views of the Taboche Peak (6,367m). We had a one night stay in this village.

Lobuche – 4,910m

The toughest part of the trek in the 4,000m zone was trekking up the Thokla Pass which was a very long uphill moraine. It was not difficult but just very strenuous due to the thin air. Even the yaks had to be coaxed at some point to move up the moraine. At the top of the moraine was a memorial place for those who had perished in the mountains including local sherpas and foreign climbers like the famous Scott Fisher who perished up on Mt Everest in the big storm of 1996.

Putting dried yak dung into the stove to generate heat at the lodge

That was a reminder that mountains are not forgiving and all climbers and trekkers need to have the strength to turn back if the weather does not permit further ascent or if their bodies do not allow them to proceed further.

On our way to Lobuche at 4910 meters, we encountered a snow storm and by the time we arrived at the lodge, we were pretty much covered with snow. There were only a few lodges in this place and some of them were really small and dirty. We were lucky to be able to get the last room in Lobuche Eco Loge which was the most comfortable of all the lodges in this village. We finally were able to have a warm shower after going without one for two days. At the high altitudes, wood had to be chopped and burnt to boil the water and hence showers were expensive and a luxury!

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mountaingirl says:
Hand sanitiser as well. I remember they were quite useful :)
Posted on: Sep 27, 2014
halilee says:
LOL I don't want it to be cold!! I'll definitely have to bring some handy wipes to wash with for days I can't!
Posted on: Sep 26, 2014
mountaingirl says:
Hali, no worries, you are going next month and it will be cold, so I guess it is still alright if you don't shower every other day ... :)
Posted on: Sep 26, 2014
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Snowy morning in Shomare, 4010m
Snowy morning in Shomare, 4010m
Sun rising over the mountains
Sun rising over the mountains
A yak peeping at the camera
A yak peeping at the camera
Putting dried yak dung into the st…
Putting dried yak dung into the s…
Hindu monks, near Shomare, 4010m
Hindu monks, near Shomare, 4010m
Posing with a Hindu monk at Shomar…
Posing with a Hindu monk at Shoma…
On the way to Dingboche, 4400m
On the way to Dingboche, 4400m
Nice view of mountains on the way …
Nice view of mountains on the way…
Crossing a river
Crossing a river
Scenery on the way to Dingboche, 4…
Scenery on the way to Dingboche, …
Busy route, yaks and people walkin…
Busy route, yaks and people walki…
On the way to Dingboche, 4530m
On the way to Dingboche, 4530m
On the way to Dingboche, 4530m. Am…
On the way to Dingboche, 4530m. A…
With volunteer doctor Alice Murray…
With volunteer doctor Alice Murra…
Periche village below. Mount Evere…
Periche village below. Mount Ever…
Island Peak in center, Makalu on f…
Island Peak in center, Makalu on …
Another view of Island Peak (centr…
Another view of Island Peak (cent…
Taboche Peak in the background. On…
Taboche Peak in the background. O…
Tobache Peak (6467m) in the backgr…
Tobache Peak (6467m) in the backg…
Taboche Peak and Stupa
Taboche Peak and Stupa
An empty hut along the way
An empty hut along the way
Easy walk to Thokla, 4650m
Easy walk to Thokla, 4650m
On the way to Thokla, 4650m
On the way to Thokla, 4650m
Resting, while on the way to Thokla
Resting, while on the way to Thokla
Vast landscape and long walk to Th…
Vast landscape and long walk to T…
Prayer flags along the way
Prayer flags along the way
Start up the climb up the moraine …
Start up the climb up the moraine…
Up the moraine from Thokla, 4650m
Up the moraine from Thokla, 4650m
Memorial place at top of moraine f…
Memorial place at top of moraine …
Memorial place above the moraine
Memorial place above the moraine
Scott Fishers memorial
Scott Fisher's memorial
At top of the moraine looking down…
At top of the moraine looking dow…
On the way to Lobouche, 4900m
On the way to Lobouche, 4900m
On the way to Lobuche, 4900m
On the way to Lobuche, 4900m
Khumjung
photo by: mountaingirl