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Trek In Solukhumbu Valley.....Gate Way To All 8000's...Everest..Lhotse..Ice Land Peaks....10th Day Onwards.....

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Trek In Solukhumbu Valley..10th Day Onwards

Day 10... Lobuche (4,940m)- Gorak Shep (5,170m) ...


A long, tough trek. We descended slightly from Lobuche onto the Khumbu glacier. The trail almost disappears here, so the best way to go is to follow the yak poo, as there are frequent yak trains headed to Base Camp with supplies everyday. We saw the yellow tents of Base Camp in the distance and got very excited. As we approached Gorak Shep there were a seemingly endless amount of hills to ascend, traverse and descend which was tough going.

                                        On the way to Gorak Shep at 5140m.

Gorak Shep is a frozen lake bed covered with sand that sits at 5,164m (approximately 17,000 vertical feet) near Mount Everest. It is the final acclimatization stop on most common treks to Everest Base Camp from Lukla, following what the Dalai Lama dubbed "the steps to heaven." This route takes trekkers from Lukla to Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Pangboche, Dingboche, Lobuche and on to Gorak Shep. Most trekkers stay overnight there, as their trekking permits will not allow them to camp at Base Camp. Also, Gorak Shep provides the best "launching pad" for an ascent of Kala Patthar, which looks like a giant dune looming over the lakebed. For many trekkers, summitting Kala Patthar provides both the best views of Everest, and the highest altitude that most will reach without a climbing permit. Gorak Shep means Dead Ravens..We got there before lunch though and settled into a really nice lodge which was much warmer than those in Lobuche and Dingboche. Gorak Shep is a really nice collection of lodges and tea houses in a sheltered valley facing Kala Patthar


 
                                   Lodge @ Gorak Shep Where We Stayed..

Day 11... Base Camp Day! Gorak Shep (5,170m)- Everest Base Camp (5,360m)...

We woke up with a bad news..yesterday,a Spanish team climbing Pumori had gotten hit by a massive avalanche. They lost five of their team members. And just before we arrived in Gorak Shep for lunch, a woman had been injured in a freak rockfall on Kala Pattar; we witnessed the helicopter rescue as we climbed that afternoon. We also watched a fit young American couple, nice people who had been trekking at our pace for several days, walked away from Kala Patthar when they realized they couldn't cope with the altitude.

A hard lesson from the Himalayas: even if you want to help, sometimes there's absolutely nothing you can do..


 
Looking from Gorak Shep to Kala Pattar and mount Pumori in the back ground...


We met Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who holds the current world record for the fastest ascent of Everest- an incredible 8 hours from Base Camp.He has also climbed Everest 3 times in 5 days without supplemental oxygen. I couldn't believe how lucky we were to meet him. He is heading for the summit again this year with an all women Nepali expedition who we also met at our lodge in Gorak Shep. A very exciting morning and we hadn't even started to walk yet!

 
Everest summit clouds...Mount Everest; a massive black pyramid; fog lies like a veil on its summit.


Willpower was the only thing that got us to Base Camp. It was a hell of a walk, along a knife edge ridge, and hopping across boulders on the Khumbu glacier. It was the most physically testing day of the whole trek and it tested us mentally too. We made slow progress and it took us about 3 1/2 hours to get there, with only a couple of rest stops en route..

 
Khumbu Glacier seen on the way to the Everest Base Camp..


The huge Khumbu Glacier flows between Mount Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse Ridge and is constantly moving.The Khumbu Glacier is situated between Mount Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse Ridge. It begins in the Western Cwm, flows down between the two mountains, and swerves to the right through the Khumbu valley. As it melts, the Khumbu Glacier drains into Nepal’s Lobujya (Lobuche) River. Mount Everest is continuously being eroded by the glacier.


 
The beauty of Nuptse, its west face a stunning sight...From Gorak Shep..


It was worth every step though and the pain of the labor intensive trek was soon forgotten when we arrived at the the base camp of the world's highest mountain. Base Camp is a crazy crazy place. This year, there are over 45 expeditions there with about 1,000 people living at base camp for 3 months. We were hungry so first stop was the bakery. Can you believe it?! A bakery! And some bakery it was too. The man was a genius and served us up the best apple tart I've ever had (just out of the oven) and a well deserved cup of tea. We spent the next hour and a half checking out the base camp scene. It was a lively place with music blaring from tents, excited chatter and it felt quite chilled out.


 
Sun Rise on Nuptse, 7879 meters, as seen from Kala Patthar..


We walked to the edge of the camp to the base of the dreaded Khumbu Ice fall. This is the most dangerous part of the ascent to the summit and is where most fatalities on Everest have occurred. Climbers must tackle it early in the morning before the ice starts to melt and releases blocks of ice the size of houses. It is a pretty impressive sight from Base Camp and must be extremely intimidating for climbers.Everest is a shy mountain. It's hidden from Khumbu trekkers by the massive Lhotse and Nuptse ridges, which are smaller, but big enough to eclipse Everest unless you climb high enough to get a peek.

 
                 The Khumbu Ice fall at Everest Base Camp 18,500'ft


By the time we reached the lodge, we were absolutely wrecked. I have never known such tiredness! I somehow managed to summon the energy to make a 2 minute call home to let the family know we had made it and were in good form. It was early to bed and a happy, content sleep followed.


Everest and Nuptse\Lhotse south face at sunset, from Gorak Shep...

Day 12... Gorak Shep (5,170m) - Kala Patthar Summit (5,600m) - Pheriche (4,280m)...

 
I woke up at 6am feeling very low on energy and generally exhausted.I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to be able to attempt Kala Patthar as I was too shattered from the day before.We also planned to descend to Pheriche today to give our bodies a break from the altitude and that was going to be a long and difficult trek. We had breakfast together and I started to think that I might be able to give Kala Patthar a go..

 
                        Everest Base camp on the Khumbu Glacier..


I found it very difficult at the start, the slope was steep and I was tired. I soon got into a rhythm though, and from then on it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.The summit seemed so far away and for ages I felt like I wasn't getting any closer to it. I could see the prayer flags flapping in the wind at the summit, but they just weren't getting closer. I kept going nonetheless and finally made it to the lower summit at 5,554m


 
                            Everest Base camp on the Khumbu Glacier...


Kala Patthar doesn't have a proper summit, being basically a ridge up to Pumori, but we got to a local maximum of sorts that most people consider the "summit." It was strung with prayer flags; with a little stretching, it afforded us a glimpse of two turquoise-colored glacial lakes below the Pumori glacier., Kala Patthar is a rocky brown hill a few distance away from Gorakh Shep, EBC. Kala Patthar offers close views of the mighty Mt. Everest, Pumori Peak, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam and other Himalayan giants.
There is a flat ground or plateau lying at an elevation of 17,982 feet/ 5,242m, which serves as an ideal place for helicopters to land.


                                View From Kala Patthar...@ Sun Rise..


The real summit was still a few minutes away and involved some steep scrambling over boulders. I was so determined at this stage, but also in a lot of pain- my chest was really sore and my throat was extremely dry from trying to breathe in the dry air. My lungs felt empty and I couldn't get a full deep breath. I persevered anyway and slowly lifted my legs over the boulders. A long ten minutes later I was standing on the summit and a French guy congratulated me.

 
                             Mt.Everest at Sunrise from Khumbu Glacier.


It took us two hours to reach Base Camp (17600 Feet) from GorakShep in all.... To get there we continued along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacierin pain..difficulties... with spectacular views of the Khumbu Ice Fall, Mt. Everest, and Base Camp, Most of us had tears in our eyes when we saw the serene beauty all around, all the hard work has paid, we were all overjoyed and could not control the joy, we all hugged each other for minutes.My will power won over my physical ailments..difficulties...

 
                                On Way To Kala Patthar Below Pumori

                                   Mount Everest... Nuptse...
View from Kala Patthar; 5'545 m; on the Everest glacier (base camp at the very left); the beginning of the icefall leading to the south col; Everst's summit hidden in high fog; Lhotse to the right of the south col and Nuptse at the very right.

I looked down to see Sunil pumping his arm in the air congratulating me too and he joined me on the summit about 10 minutes later exhausted, but thrilled that we both made it. The wind started to pick up around us, and the prayer flags were flapping violently. We knew we didn't have much time to take photos as the temperature was dropping rapidly. We had to take our gloves off to operate the cameras properly which was extremely painful! After about 10 minutes up there together, we ran down as fast as we could to warm up. It was all very thrilling and it wasn't until we got below the lower summit that we began jumping up and down in celebration! Fantastic! 

 
Summit Everest...Then the fog lifts; and reveals the south saddle and the entire upper part.


It had taken us about 2 hours to get to the top but the descent was easy, and we soon warmed up as we moved quickly down the mountain. Ramesh was waiting for us at the bottom, waiting to hear the news. When we told him we got to the summit, he looked very surprised and responded with his most commonly used phrase, "Are you sure sir?" Yes we're bloody sure Ramesh! He was just surprised that we had made it up and down so fast. After a quick lunch we left Gorak Shep at 11am. By the time we reached Lobuche, the jubilation had diminished somewhat and I was bordering on physical exhaustion. 

 
                                 Prayer flags on top of the Kala Patthar...


This descent was proving to be the most difficult part of the whole trek for me so far. I really found it challenging. After leaving Thuklha we trekked through a beautiful valley..While looking up we saw giant snow covered Ama Dablam..I somehow managed to make it to pheriche and flopped into bed at 4pm. Just ate a sandwich in bed and slept soundly until 7am the next morning. In total we descended 1,300m that day. 


 
Avalanche near Everest base camp..There are two base camps on opposite sides of Mt. Everest: to the South in Nepal, and to the North in Tibet.

Day 13:Crossing over Cho La Pass..5400m..Over On To Gokyo Valley...

We had planned to head out as early as possible as it’s safer to cross Cho La Pass prior to the sun hitting it and making the ice/snow slippery.This day was the most physically exhausting day of my life. We ended up trekking for over 11 hours at an altitude of over 5300m.we then set off trudging through the deep snow, making snow angels and writing our names along the way. We walked for 2 hours until we arrived at Dzongla for lunch. On the way to Dzongla we were surrounded by spectacular scenery. We walked through a valley surrounded by snow capped giants We walked for about an hour and a half to get to the base of Cho La Pass..


 
On the way to the Cho La; looking back east from where we came; once you reach this part it's a stroll through the snow.


The pass looked incredibly steep and scary and we were particularly nervous as a porter had been killed on the pass due to rockfalls a few weeks earlier. I looked up the pass really questioning if I had the energy to make the 700m ascent. I was tired enough just traversing over the glacier, that by the time I got to the bottom and looked up at it I just wanted to sit down and cry.I either had to climb up this thing or we would have to turn back and go an alternate route that would add an extra day of travel. So, summing up all the strength and courage I could find I slowly struggled and panted my way up..


 
                      We are almost at the pass...on the big snowfield.


I had to stop every 5 or 6 steps to catch my breath and the I could feel the lactic acid buildup in my legs....it was painful. I refused to look up or down (I didn’t want to see how much further I had to climb and I didn’t want to scare myself looking down at the steep drop). I just kept my head down and looked at my feet and plonked one foot in front of the other. At this point in my head I just kept saying....’one more step’, 'one more step’ etc. There were a couple of slippery sections and eventually I made it to the top of Chola pass (at an altitude of 5440m) completely spent. 


 
         Crossing Cho La...Stunning last part of the Cho La pass.


We stopped to savor the achievement of making it up there in one piece and admired the views.At the top of the pass we were surrounded by deep snow and spotted some snow leopard tracks in the distance. The mountains around us were breathtaking and stretched on forever. It really was a spectacular place to be. As we took in the surroundings, we ate our cold toasts and boiled eggs to refuel.Cho La Pass.Cho La Pass, situated at an elevation of 5,440 metres (17 780 feet), is a steep pass that can require some advanced trekking and mountaineering experience. While not technically difficult, it is steep and may require glacial crossing. From the Cho La Pass, trekkers typically descend into Gokyo Valley. 


 
Cho La Pass.Cho La Pass, situated at an elevation of 5,440 m


After crossing Cho La pas we descended into the Gokyo Valley and Gokyo Village..We pressed on and descended the steep decline, it was very icy luckily no snow and had to be very careful with our descent one loose footing could result in a nasty tumble abruptly stopped by one of many massive boulders on the path. Eventually the land levels out and its pretty much plain sailing for the rest of the day to Gokyo. Gokyo is a remote village sitauted next to a holy lake at 4,800m next to it is a peak Gokyo Ri ..


 
The Cho La Pass (5440m) connects the beautiful Gokyo valley (to Gokyo Ri) to the Khumbu Valley (to Kalar Pattar


Gokyo valley is dominated by Cho Oyo, 8'201 m, and Nepal's largest glacier.The lodges of Gokyo lie at the turquoise glacial lake, and in addition just an hour above lies the Gokyo Ri viewpoint: an amazing spot to see 4 peaks above 8'000 meters, marvel at the Ngozumpa glacier and enjoy the 360° view of summits. This a great place to spend some days exploring; a day hike up the glacier to the feet of Cho Oyo reveals more glacial lakes and views of Gyachung Kang and Hungchi.We reached Gokyo @ 2.30 p.m.and checked into our room for the night at the Lakeside Lodge (altitude of 4790m in altitude). The 3rd lake(Dudh Pokhari) is unbelievably beautiful and I was totally ecstatic to be here. The blue of the water didn't look real and with the snow capped peaks in the background I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place in the world.

 
Gokyo is a small hamlet of stone houses and stone walled pastures which nestles on the lateral morraine of the Ngozumba Glacier.


After lunch I walked down to the lake edge and sat on a rock admiring the view. I’d brought my book to read, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the lake and the mountain in the background. I was so at peace and content sitting there basking in the sun. In the afternoon as the sun went down it got quite cold so I reluctantly went inside the common room.

 
Gokyo Village and Dudh Pokhari (lake) with Mt. Cho Oyu (8201m) in the background

Dinner that night was another plain pancake with jam...We all were so exhausted by the trek so we could not eat anything more...but tomorrow we planned for the Gokyo Ri summit ascend to view the spectacular sunrise on the 8000's...so we were in bed by 7.30pm ..Good Night Gokyo...

 
The 3rd Lake of Goyko...named Dudh Pokhari..Largest Lake Of The 3 In Gokyo 

"I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of oneorganic whole."

                                       Continued..

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