Enjoy this photo essay of ten adventure-filled days in the Khumbu Region of Nepal, the highest place on earth. The primary goal of my journey was my wish to see Mount Everest with my own eyes, but as you will soon discover, seeing Everest was only a small part of this unique and privileged experience. Namaste!
A topo map of the Khumbu Region. Lukla, the port of entry by air, is bottom left and Mount Everest is top right.
Boarding the Twin Otter with my fellow trekkers in Kathmandu.
Yikes! Not what you want to see before flying to Lukla!
Cozy and unpressurized!
Looking North, first glimpse of the high Himalayas.
Upon arrival, each planeload of trekkers and cargo is met with throngs of porters looking for work…
Lukla is the gateway to treks in the Everest Region.
240 degrees heading, 12 degrees down, and only 1600 feet long! Hillary Tenzing Airport tops the History Channel’s list of most extreme airports in the world!
Day 1: Trek from Lukla to Phakding.
Stupa above the clouds.
Memorial gate just North of Lukla.
One of several river crossings
Footbridge destroyed by recent earthquake (the detour was a bushwack on some slippery and steep terrain)
Dealing with the vertical terrain is part of life here.
Mani Stones (Om Mani Padme Hum)
Monster prayer wheel
There are no roads or vehicles here. The only way that materials and supplies get into the high country is on the backs of human beings.
Our beasts of burden (jopkes).
Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440 m).
Our lead jopke driver
The very high bridge before the steep ascent to Namche.
This nice young man lost his pack and had no food or water (He walked all the way from Lukla to Namche that day!)
Himalayan Mountain Goat
Colorful Mani Stones.
Namche Bazaar lives up to its name as a major trading crossroads.
Namche is built almost exclusively of hand-wrought stone.
Day 3: Acclimatization Hike from Namche to Syangboche (3780 m) and Everest View Hotel. Formula for acclimatization: climb high, sleep low.
From Namche, just after sunrise.
The weather here can change dramatically and in a heartbeat. This cloud bank rolled in like a tsunami in a matter of minutes.
Namche from above
Syangboche Airstrip (not to be confused with an airport)
The Alpine meadows are home to grazing livestock.
… and the most delicate vegetation.
Midday, looking Northeast from the Everest View Hotel. The distinctive profile of Ama Dablam is on the right, but we were disappointed that we did not see Mount Everest, shrouded in the mass of clouds on the left. Maybe tomorrow?!
That evening, I enjoyed the hospitality and company of the local chess players.
About to play the champion of Namche.
Day 4: Namche to Tengboche (3860 m).
I was allowed one picture, no more, of these Nepalese soldiers.
Always go clock-wise around the Mani stones!
Chillin’ in the shadow of Ama Dablam!
Nima, our lead guide. His grandfather made it to the highest camp during the first ascent of Everest by Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Attending services at Tengboche Monastery.
Day 5: Tengboche to Khumjung (3780 m).
Just before sunrise at Tengboche. Mount Everest is shrouded in clouds on the left.
And then the clouds parted!!! (Everest is the pyramid on the left!)
The Nepali name for the highest mountain in the world is Sagarmatha.
The Tibetan/Sherpa name is Chomolungma.
And then she disappeared into the clouds for the rest of the day.
Stupa in Tengboche
Some colorful, hard-working characters
One of many reminders of just how dangerous the mountains can be.
Women, too, brave the high peaks and have lost their lives here.
Lunch! Spam, flat bread, potatoes, yak cheese, carrots, beans, and dal bhat. Dal bhat (rice with lentil soup) is such a staple that the joke is that you have dal bhat for lunch and bhat dal for supper!)
Rainbow upon arrival in Khumjung.
Carrie scores some Pringles!
My new religion
An insane load.
Unfortunately, this outhouse drains right into the river, the only reliable source of water.
Framed by a huge Mani Stone.
Day 6: Khumjung to Thame (3800 m).
The word of the day: RAIN.
Yak dung stove.
Artifacts from the successful Hillary-Tensing expedition.
The Hillary School.
Day 7: Thame to Namche.
Bal Kamar (Val Kilmer) and me.
Returning to Namche was like seeing a dear old friend.
Day 8: Namche to Phakding.
Furry guardian angels are everywhere.
A mani stone garden
Day 9: Phakding to Lukla.
Playing for Rupees at 9200 feet!
Ten days without a shave…
Me and Doug… smooth as a baby’s bottom!
Celebrating a safe and successful trek with our guides, porters, and cooks…
Presentation of tips to show our appreciation…
We all donated gear…
and our crew drew cards to see who won what!
Sampling some local hooch!
Paying my respects at plane crash memorial in Lukla.
Day 10: Lukla to Kathmandu by air.
Flying west, looking North.
The approach to Kathmandu…Which brings us to the end of our Nepal adventure. Thanks for joining me and best wishes to you in travel and life!