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October 20: Dingboche-Lobuche

January 7, 2011

Back from another brief leave of absence… Was busy with the holidays (got a job! Maybe two or three jobs actually…) and visitors but I think things are getting ready to calm down a bit. Even if it’s just a little bit (Meghan and Erin, my roommates from Rome [bah! I think I used Facebook links for all my pics on that blog and now they’re nowhere to be found :(] come later this week!). But I’ll get in what I can while I can…

20 October
Today was probably one of the best treks so far. The weather was gorgeous again and the path from Dingboche to Lobuche wasn’t too strenuous, though we gained over 500 meters. Laura and the guides were a bit ahead of us at the onset because Wayne and I thought another cup of seabuckthorn juice was in order but we eventually caught up on the extensive plateau that comprised the majority of the first leg.

well look who it is!

looking down on pheriche

oh hello

We stopped briefly at a place called Dhukla where we may end up staying tomorrow if there are no rooms in Lobuche (again…). Tonight we’re in what I suppose is technically a room, and does have beds, but literally has a dirt floor and a dirt wall. No light and no pillows. A window frame with nothing in it (read: literally a hole in the wall).

Anyway, it was actually a pretty steep incline for a bit after Dhukla (which found me singing, “The Climb” over and over in my head as I’ve found myself doing for a bit portion of the trip. And sometimes aloud, to Wayne’s chagrin), but Wayne was kind enough to take my big bag.

making an inukshuk

good start (and check rinji in the back)

first impressions of lobuche

Pemba ran ahead when we reached the top (with half an hour to go at Laura and Angela speed) to try to grab some rooms, but as I mentioned, was unsuccessful. Wayne had warned us that according to his book about the 1996 Everest disaster Lobuche was “a shithole” but conceded that maybe in the past 14 years things had changed. It would seem they haven’t. [I’ve since read the book myself and will admit that perhaps things have improved a bit, for at least in our experience there weren’t unavoidable piles of human feces everywhere. For us it was more that there was just nothing there– to include reasonable¬†accommodations– and the price of food was particularly overpriced at what seemed to be about the only lodge in town].

And we were also forced to make a decision. For pretty much the entirety of the trek Pemba has presented us the option: Khala Pattar or Mt. Everest Base Camp. The original itinerary had called for both, but we were going to be short a day due to our delays. Of course we’d asked Pemba in each instance which was better and, predictably, his answer was always, “Same same.” We figured if that was the case we might as well get that picture with the Everest Base Camp sign.

But people talk in the lodges, and it was a common topic of conversation in Lobuche, and today we heard differently– that Base Camp really didn’t have much of a view of the mountains (certainly not of Everest itself), where as Khala Pattar (a baby peak that is actually about a hundred meters higher than Base Camp) offers really really gorgeous views of Everest et. al. Wayne and I were pretty easily swayed toward KP. Laura was pretty stuck on Base Camp. Pemba suddenly seemed to almost be endorsing KP himself, but said he and Rinji could split up for us if we wanted to do different places.

But we want to stay together, and in spite of all the naysayers (read: everyone) who say that it’s terribly hard to do both in one day we’re going to try. This requires a 3 am start, which could potentially give us a sunrise at summit? Fingers crossed…

i suppose a redeeming factor is that the views were still nice. clouds rolled in though and we got a little sprinkling of snow in the afternoon.

dusk sets in

oh AND the door couldn’t lock from the inside…

rockin’ the headlamps (our only source of light in that godforsaken place)

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