The trek this morning retraced our steps of yesterday up the grueling stair climb out of the village. We were promised, following the initial stair climb, a “Nepali flat” trek taking us to lunch. Nepali flat turns out to be seriously undulating but not a constant ascent or descent. The terrain today was wooded along the valley where we enjoyed even more spectacular mountain and woodland views.
Most of the morning we could see the giant mountains that will be our backdrop for the next week or so and we stopped for tea, all very civilised, with an amazing view of Ama Dablam before a steep 400m descent to the river for lunch.
The lunch menu is now very familiar to us and seems to be the same in every restaurant, not surprising given all provisions have to be brought in by yak. The restaurant was by the suspension bridge across the Dudh Kush river and we watched quite a jam build up as a baby yak was trying to cross his first suspension bridge and was terrified (we all know that feeling) so would not move and blocked the bridge. Finally our Sherpa guide, Mingma, helped the yak driver persuade the baby yak to cross and the bridge traffic started to flow again.
After lunch we faced probably our toughest climb to date a relentless 600 meter march through the pine forest from the river valley up the hill to Tengboche. This was an intense experience as the climb is hard and hot work when the sun is out but as we climbed in to the clouds it started to snow and we all began to freeze. The trick to being in the mountains is to layer clothing and we all often stop to layer on or delayer as you get hot or cold.
Tengboche (Thyangboche) is a village in Khumbu Pasanglhamu rural region located at 3,867 metres. The village is famous for it’s important Buddhist monastery, Tengboche Monastery, which is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region.
Tenzing Norgay was an inhabitant of this village, and his notoriety being one of the first to reach the summit of Mt Everest in 1953 had a profound effect. Thereafter, the monastery has acquired international interest, as it is on the route to Everest base camp for routes made via the Khumbu icefall and west ridge. Everest expeditions visit the monastery to light candles and seek the blessings of Gods for good health and safe mountaineering.
It was cloudy and flicking with snow when we arrived at the monastery but we were lucky enough to get there in time to see the Buddhist monks start their prayers. Inside the monastery the monks were lined up on platforms in an ornately decorated prayer hall honoring the Buddha. With the red and orange robed monks chanting their mantra and ringing bells and cymbals and gongs and the burning insense it made for a truly authentic and timeless experience. The courtyard of the monastery closely resembles Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
The monastery is considered the gateway to Mount Everest. After overnighting in Debuche, approx. 100m below the monetary, with a last hot shower for two weeks on offer, we will cross through that gateway and continue our climb to Dingboche. Mount Everest and Island Peak are getting closer.
A question we have been pondering all day is considering that a female yak is a nak, what is yaks milk?