We say goodbye to Dingboche for the third and final time and climb the now familiar hill behind the village up to the Stupa, then it’s out into the valley and on to Thukla for lunch.
After lunch we divert away from the popular Everest Base Camp trail and tread new ground toward the Chola Pass. The 3 hours from lunch to the Tea House at Dzongla we didn’t see another trekker. We are taking the High Pass and Lakes route anti-clockwise which is also the less popular direction. As we left lunch we faced a steep 150m climb after which the landscape changed to barren beauty similar to the moors with low shrub fragrant sunpatsi bushes that are used for incense. The weather pattern has been consistent with clear skies bright sun until about 2pm then the clouds roll in and the temperature drops. Being at 4,500m+ we are in the cloud line and often find ourselves playing cat and mouse with the clouds but when they clear for a moment you glimpse the rock, snow and ice of the giant mountains above. Below are the deep turquoise blue lakes catching the glacial run off.
Tomorrow we head to the Chola Pass. 5am start from our current altitude of 4,830m and a long hard day ahead climbing to 5,400m at the Pass and then down to 4,700m for our evening stop.