Everest Base Camp - Day 5 (Phortse - Dingboche)

Dingboche Travel Blog

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Thamserku

First two brief comments about the day:

  • Today was by far the most ass-clenching day of walking that I did in Nepal.  The trail between Phortse and Pangboche is not a main trail and so is quite narrow in spots with literally a 300-400m sheer drop to the Imja Khola below.
  • I'm beginning to wonder if I need to get a T-shirt that says "I came to Everest Base Camp and all I saw were the clouds".  The clouds rolled in again today and by the time we left Orsho after lunch we were fully enveloped in the cloud layer once again.

But back to the beginning.  We ate breakfast at 7:00 AM and broke trail just a little after 7:30 AM.

Walking on the trail (in front of me)
  Captured a few decent photos but already could glimpse the clouds rolling in up the valley.  Prim told us that the airport in Lukla had been closed all day yesterday and based on the weather conditions today it would probably be again.  Our first bit of walking was uphill out of Phortse to the valley trail proper.  Here the pucker factor kicked in as we bounced up and down on the narrow trail.  A few yak trains that passed by added another degree of excitement as we hugged the valley wall while they passed along the outside edge of the trail.  That was one lesson learned quickly when a pack trail (be they yaks, mules, cows) crossed paths with us.  Always take the inside and never let an animal run you off the edge.  Its often a long, long way to the river below.
Shots with Everest, Ama Dablam, and others in background

The first wisps of clouds streamed past us by 9:00 AM.  We still had some views and could see Tangboche monastery across the valley, but more about that later when we pass through on the return journey.  After ascending up through 4000m (13123 ft), we then descended slightly to Pangboche (3930m - 12894 ft).  We had a short tea break here before charging onward to Orsho for lunch back on the main Everest Base Camp trail that we rejoined in just outside Pangboche.  Climbing gradually back through 4000m we arrived for lunch in Orsho (4190m - 13746 ft) just as the clouds completely enveloped us again.  Eating lunch in the small teahouse on site we could see white wisps streaming by thickeningas the minutes ticked by.  Leaving lunch it seemed almost like white-out conditions on the trail occasionally.

Seeing nothing but our immediate surroundings we walked steadily towards Dingboche.

Games of Shithead in Dingboche
  Not fast mind you - at these elevations and continuing the ascent ever upward was a hard slog.  We even had one more descent and climb down to the confluence of the Imja Khola and Khumbu Khola to cross over the river before the final climb to Dingboche.  Depending on which sign you believed and where you were at in town we have reached 4400m (14435 ft).  We crossed above the tree line now with only low scrubby brush and plants, along with some grasses our only flora.  We are in Dingboche for 2 nights with another acclimitization day tomorrow.  After some more cards in the lodge dining room where a thermostat put us at about 7C (45F) before the stove was lit (and maybe 13C - 55F after), we had dinner and then everyone slowly headed to bed with myself being the last to head to my room at 8:30 PM.

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Thamserku
Thamserku
Walking on the trail (in front of …
Walking on the trail (in front of…
Shots with Everest, Ama Dablam, an…
Shots with Everest, Ama Dablam, a…
Games of Shithead in Dingboche
Games of Shithead in Dingboche
Phortse in the morning clouds
Phortse in the morning clouds
Mong on the opposite side of the v…
Mong on the opposite side of the …
Looking up the Gokyo Valley
Looking up the Gokyo Valley
Walking on the trail (behind me)
Walking on the trail (behind me)
Thangboche Monastery on the south …
Thangboche Monastery on the south…
Clouds rushing in.
Clouds rushing in.
Rest Break
Rest Break
Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
More clouds rushing in
More clouds rushing in
Thamserku
Thamserku
Everest, Lhotse, Peak 38, Ama Dabl…
Everest, Lhotse, Peak 38, Ama Dab…
Shots with Everest in background (…
Shots with Everest in background …
Imja Khola
Imja Khola
Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
Mountain Goats
Mountain Goats
Pangboche (highest year round sett…
Pangboche (highest year round set…
Leaving Orsho the clouds have enve…
Leaving Orsho the clouds have env…
Confluence of the Imja Khola and K…
Confluence of the Imja Khola and …
Crossing the Khumbu Khola
Crossing the Khumbu Khola
Dingboche
photo by: guybooth