Day 4-5: Namche to Deboche

11/10/2015
Namche Bazaar: 3446m/11270 ft.
Deboche: 3867m/12687 ft.
6.5km, 4 miles, 6.5 hours hike time

Terrain: Gorgeous views from high on a mountain side, climbing steadily then sharply up to Tengboche Monastery on a rough trail. Trail continues down to Deboche.

We spent two nights and roughly a day-and-a-half in Namche Bazaar. It’s the first village that lies above the threshold where altitude sickness might begin so most teams spend a day there to aclimatize. On our rest day we did a short hike above the village to a clearing that provides the first view of Mt. Everest.

Tenzing Norgay stands forever in front of Mt. Everest on the back left, with its ever present banner cloud.

A nearby national park visitor center provides a fascinating overview of the Khumbu region, and at the base of the hill is the beloved Sherpa museum. This is a must see, filled with artifacts of Sherpa life historic and modern, as well as an extensive gallery of photos and equipment from famous climbers and expeditions.

A nearby national park visitor center provides a fascinating overview of the Khumbu region, and at the base of the hill is the beloved Sherpa museum. This is a must see, filled with artifacts of Sherpa life historic and modern, as well as an extensive gallery of photos and equipment from famous climbers and expeditions.

During our rest day I moseyed the single street of shops, reflecting on recent days as I picked up a few things we needed. I’m still nervous about holding back the team but after the journey up the hill to Namche I’m slightly more optimistic. Still, it was really, really hard, and I don’t take for granted that my gusto will last.

The night before we left Namche a raging case of travelers flu possessed me. One minute I was chatting at dinner and sipping my soup, the next I was dizzy from the smell of the yak steak and running for the restroom. Leaving dinner unfinished I crawled (it felt like) back to our room where my husband was processing photos. Vomiting violently I sent him after Sprite and to tell Ryan. Poor Ryan. Never tell people you want to know all about their intestinal workings unless you mean it.

After a consult with Ryan about the options I decided to push on ahead and try to make it to Dingboche, where would have another rest day.

On the trail the team was excellent about reminding me that I could walk as slowly as I needed and they’d leave a guide behind. If we had to stop early for the night the guide would stay with us to arrange lodging and help us catch up at the next acclimatization point.

I wanted to try and stay with the group, and knew that it was best to let this stuff barrel through your system and get over it quickly, though painfully. I praised sweet Jesus that this hit me now, while we had one more night in a good bed with a heated blanket, and access to a bathroom with real plumbing. It was a restless night, but it could have been much worse.

I struggled on the path to Deboche. Drinking Sprite and Coke for energy, I felt worn and uncomfortable and was always looking for the next restroom. Another long hill took us up to Tengboche monastery; if you’ve watched the 2015 movie Everest it’s where the teams receive their puja (blessing) ceremony. Each trekking day we stop for tea in the morning and later in the day we have a late lunch. Everyone kept raving about the baked goods that awaited at the Tengboche teahouse but if you look under the yellow lightning bolt in this photo you can see exactly how much I cared.

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And here’s me a few hours earlier at lunch. I was resting my head on that green bag from my pack but one of the sweet Nepali women brought me the pillows.

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Despite this, the monastery was beautiful and wrapped in that kind of sound-deadening mist that makes everything feel hyper-peaceful.

A short hike down a hill brought us to Deboche, a rustic teahouse about which I remember very little. It was a long, sick night.

 

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