Posts Tagged ‘Phakding’

EBC trek 23 March

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Two more days into the trek have brought me from Phakding to Namche. We took about four and a quarter hours on the first of those days to get from one to the next. The first two hours or so was relatively level and not at all strenuous. The second half was all uphill, the last hour up a fairly gruelling series of switchbacks. I am more unfit now than at any time in my life; haven’t been to the gym since leaving Buenos Aires last September and have only been out walking about five times in the intervening period. So doing this leg in less time than my guide estimated was gratifying. And my legs not aching today was a bonus.

Today was a rest and acclimatisation day. Namche Bazar (there’s a permanent street market here and a bigger market on Saturdays) is at 3450 metres asl, Phakding at 2950m asl. To reduce the risk of altitude sickness it is recommended to not climb more than 300m in a single day. Or if you do, then have one rest day for each additional 300 metres climbed. Another acclimatisation recommendation is “climb high, sleep low”, ie: climb past the level you will sleep at and then descend to actually sleep.

I tagged along with a group of Australians and their guide who climbed the 300 metres or so to the small hill above Everest View Hotel which offers 360 degree views of numerous peaks including Lhotse, Nuptse, Amadablam and Everest itself. It was a fantastic day again and the views were simply spectacular. It took a couple of hours including a stop in the National Park museum to reach the top of the hill and we stayed up there for about half an hour luxuriating in the stunning views. Everest was rather distant and constantly shifting in and out of cloud but otherwise there was hardly a cloud in the beautiful intense blue sky. It was pretty windy up there and the air temperature was about ten degrees (celsius). I think by the time we reach base camp, about 1800 metres higher it is going to be quite chilly, around zero degrees. The overnight temperatures will be considerably lower.

Tomorrow we’re going to Tengboche which is a slightly higher elevation than the hill we climbed today, but to get there we go down about 200 metres and finish the leg with a 600 metre climb. Five hours is my guide’s estimate and we’re leaving at 07:30 so should be there at lunchtime.

The closest I’ve go to any tango so far is listening to Biagi and Pugliese on my iPod yesterday.