Trekking in Nepal – Everest Trek Schedule 14

Tuesday 7th November
An early start was essential if we were to go to Kala Pattar and back, then subsequently to Pheriche or Dingboche. We were up at 6 a.m. and soon on our way. Initially, the path from Lobuche gently wanders up the ablation valley. At the end of the valley path we had to climb over the hills that lay in front of us. The path climbs, twists and turns to thread its way onto the rough moraine of the Khangri Glacier. We finally reached the moraine hill at the side of the Khangri Shar Glacier. From the high point here the rubble-covered hill of Kala Pattar, in front of Pumori, can be seen. Ahead of us were several desolate glaciers covered with rocks and sand, the Khumbu and the Khangri Nup.

The road to Gorak Shep crosses the end of the Khangri Shar Glacier. It was hard to believe that there was a glacier under my feet because it is covered with rocks and sand. Crossing it seemed to take a long time due to the large number of undulations we had to negotiate. After crossing the glacier, we finally climbed to the top of the moraine. The dry glacier lake of Gorak Shep came into view. The descent through loose gravel and round the lake on its northeast shore took about ten minutes.

At 8 a.m. we reached the tiny hamlet of Gorak Shep and met Paul. Breakfast was eaten at the Kalo Patar Lodge. The service was excellent and very quick by Nepalese standards. I had some muesli that was very hot and nourishing and warmed me up.

We headed for Kala Pattar at around 9 a.m. Kala Pattar, which means ‘Black Rock’, is the most popular viewpoint in the area for Everest and the Khumbu Icefall. There are two trails to Kala Pattar. After crossing the sandy bed of the dry glacier lake we took the trail that leads straight up to the slightly lower and easier peak at 5554m/18,222ft. This small peak offers some of the best views of Everest. It was an easier ascent than the one up Gokyo Ri, but tiring nevertheless.

At the top the South Col of Everest was clearly visible as well as the immense west and south faces. It is certainly one of the most majestic mountain viewpoints in the world. Along the glacier facing us were serac formations that provided a fascinating contrast to the majestic mountain walls. The group of high summits of the Khumbu range, crowned by Mount Everest, looked sublime against the sparkling blue sky. The views were incredible, not just of Everest, but the whole panorama. Photos would not capture the moment. How could one describe this experience to friends back home? Experiencing the magic of the Himalaya filled me with a sense of awe and privilege.

Loads of pictures were taken. Although the views are very different to those at Gokyo Ri they are just as impressive. I attempted to take a 360� panoramic view from Kala Pattar on film. I hope I have been successful. A couple of hours were spent at the top taking in the views and snapping away. It was the closest view of Everest I have had to date, and Everest lived up to my expectations. While it may not look as impressive as some other snow-capped mountains, it does have a certain aura and stands out from the other summits surrounding it.

There was cheese omelette and toast for lunch back at Gorak Shep. The return journey to Lobuche didn’t take long. We quickly packed our belongings, settled the bill, and were on our way by 3 p.m. It only took an hour to walk down to Dughla. En route, a photo was taken of the Japanese memorials dedicated to the climbers who died in Nepal’s worst avalanche disaster in 1972.

At Dughla the path to Pheriche was chosen because it looked easier on the map and did not involve any uphill climbs. After crossing the first bridge, we were lucky when a local pointed out that we had taken the wrong route and were going towards Dingboche. After passing through an area of loose rocks we came to a U-shaped valley. In the distance Pheriche was just discernible. From here it was a nice leisurely stroll as the trail meandered down a picturesque open valley. It soon became obvious, with the drop in altitude, how much easier it was to breathe and how much lighter our rucksacks felt. I felt more energetic and did not have to pause for breath. The walk along the grassy flats past the yersa, Phulung Kharka, and on to Pheriche was a breeze. We stopped at the first lodge we came to, Snowland Lodge. It is salubrious compared to the lodges we have stayed at in the past week.

Pheriche (4280m), once a temporary yak-herding area, is now open all year due to increased trekking traffic. There are four lodges and a few houses along the track that runs through the village. A Trekker’s Aid Post has been set up by the Himalayan Rescue Association. It does research on altitude illness and provides medical care to trekkers and porters.

Our twin room is very nice. It is more comfortable than staying in a dormitory. The dining area was very warm and the meal very tasty. Peter went to bed early because he had a bad cough. The remainder of the evening was spent chatting away to an American guy from Washington DC. Apparently the dancing at the Mani Rimdu festival is on Thursday, not tomorrow. If I had known earlier we could have gone to Dingboche and made an excursion to either Chukhung or Nangkartshang Peak. Oh well, never mind, perhaps another time. It had been a long day but it was with renewed enthusiasm that I tucked in for the night.