October 10th 2008
Start: Gorak Shep, 5150 m, 7:50
Arrival: Dingboche, 4300 m, 13:10
Breaks: 35 minutes in Lobuche, 40 in Dughla and 20 minutes on the way to Dingboche
Estimated climb: 150 m
Estimated descent: 1000 m
|Given the time we had left, we were faced with either doing Everest base camp or a detour into the Chukhung valley. We decided to do the latter and started our descent at 7:50.|
|A last look at Gorak Shep from the Changri glacier moraine.|
|Pumori, Kala Pattar and the Changri glacier moraine.|
|Prayer flags in front of Pumori.|
|We arrived in Lobuche at 9:20 and had some toast with honey before continuing on at 9:50. Today was the first day where we noticed how crowded it had become in October. Despite the occasional rainfall in late September and clouds moving in early on some days, it seemed like a good idea to start in the last week of September and be ahead of the huge wave of trekkers that we were passing on our descent. We arrived in Dughla at 10:50 and the lodge was packed with guests. All outside tables were occupied and we barely managed to squeeze onto a table inside. We shared it with a japanese organized tour whose leader checked her customers blood oxygen saturation. I asked her to check mine, too, and it was down to 84 percent. At least my heart rate was only at 60.|
|We had a quick lunch (fried noodles and potato momos - now the dishes were dirty, as well) and left at 11:30. Cholatse was starting to gather first clouds.|
|On the other side of the river we took the higher path leading to Dingboche above the valley. It offered exceptional views of Amai Dablam and the valley below with Pheriche. It was also very empty which was a nice change from the morning.|
|A typical yersa with two houses and some fields.|
|The ridge above Dingboche had a Stupa and lots of prayer flags. By now, Amai Dablam was also starting to disappear behind clouds.|
|Behind this ridge the path turns left to descend into Dingboche. Lhotse becomes visible (on the left) and Island peak is in the center of the image (the one with some clouds directly above and around it and a black rock face all the way to the top).|
|Villagers digging for potatoes.|
In Dingboche we ended up in the Arizona Inn. It had a beatiful all-glass dining room on the second floor which was nicely heated by the sun and offered great views in all directions. Our room was very nice as well with the windows facing southwest, down towards Pangboche and Namche Bazaar. Both lunch and dinner were excellent, this lodge has a great cook! In the afternoon we did our laundry and chatted with a swiss group which happened to be from Wädenswil, about 5 kilometers from where we live!
Our lodge had a little Yak problem. The gate to the main path through the village was open, and quite often Yaks or horses would saunter into the courtyard in front of the lodge. The grandmother of the lodge would then throw stones and chase them out again but sometimes she was too slow and they started to nibble at some trash bags or the wheat stacked against a wall. It was quite amusing to watch but we did not understand why they did not close the gate. A second thread of entertainment was a Yak cow in an enclosed yard which had Yak bulls coming as close as possible on the other side of the wall and putting on a venerable show of grunting, snorting and treading dust.
Sunset was very nice, Lhotse was glowing pink behind a scattering of clouds.
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