Tricia and I both had a wonderful night of sleep. We woke up to the noise of people getting ready to cross Cho La Pass from Tragnag to Gokyo lakes. Tricia decided to get up to see the mountains around us since we couldn’t see any of them in the dense fog on the day before. I got up because Tricia came in and excitedly announced that we were surrounded by mountains (interesting discovery, lady) and I should take pictures of the sunrise. She was like a kid on Christmas morning with a wet sock (she stepped into a puddle just outside the front door of the lodge).
Outside the air was crisp and refreshing. We slowly walked up to a little hill with a panoramic view of the mountains around Dzongla. I could see Cho La Pass clearly, although it was probably over a mile from where I was standing. The visibility was astounding. We stood there watching the sun slowly climbing up above the jagged peaks while the moon slowly sank behind a ridge. It was beautiful and peaceful.
We had a leisurely breakfast at the lodge, which had emptied of trekkers and their guides by the time we sat down. A few porters were lingering, but were getting ready to head out. They will likely carry packs weighing as much as their body weight and catch up to their patrons before Cho La Pass. These porters do some real backbreaking work on these mountains. We saw some porters each carrying 10 foot long steel beam from Namche to Gokyo lake for teahouse construction. It was both jaw dropping and heartbreaking to watch their hunched backs carrying pieces of civilization up the mountains.
We packed our bags and headed the opposite direction as most tourists leaving Dzongla that morning. We were heading for Gorek Shepp, a little town that is the jumping off point to EBC for trekkers. It’s located on a flat area next to the enormous Khumbu glacier. It’s also in an area with barely any drinkable water sources, which we had heard makes Gorek Shepp an extremely unpleasant place to stay. We planned to get to Gorek Shepp that night, then go up to Kala Patthar the next morning and maybe check out EBC if we were interested. Then we’d get out of Gorek Shepp as soon as possible.
Before arriving to Gorek Shepp, however, we wanted to check out a place called Pyramid. It’s literally a pyramidal shaped glass structure that the Italian government built for science research. The research funding dried up two years ago and Italian scientists pulled out when the funding was gone. It was then opened to public as a lodge. We learned about Pyramid from a group of Israeli trekkers when we were in Gokyo. We were intrigued, so we made Pyramid our target lunch spot.
From Dzongla to Lobuche was a little over two hours of flat trail with minimal elevation change. We had no interest in lingering in Lobuche, which seemed to be a village constructed for one purpose: accommodating the enormous number of tourists headed to EBC. We found the sign for Pyramid 20 minutes after leaving Lobuche. After following signs pointing us off the main trail, it was another 5 minutes before we saw the glass pyramid for the first time. It looked like an alien ship landed in this rugged landscape. It’s surrounded by bare rocky mountains and looks up to a giant glacier to its south.
As soon as we walked into the door, we smelled food. The food smelled better than most lodges for some reason. We must’ve been very hungry. We were introduced to the owner, Kaji, who was extremely courteous and warm and offered us free tea with our lunch! There was wifi and electric sockets all around the room for people to charge their phones. It was not a fancy hotel by any stretch of imagination, but it was immediately clear to me that this place had better infrastructure than all other teahouses.
While eating, we chatted with fellow trekkers. After learning our plans to stay at Gorak Shepp, a French guy next to me said frankly that it’s not worth staying in Gorek Shepp, especially if we don’t plan to see sunrise from the top of Kala Patthar. We should stay at Pyramid instead. Although more expensive than other teahouses ($70/ night for 2 people), the accommodations included wifi, battery charging, flushable toilet, running tap water, and hot showers. We later learned the price also bundled all of our meals and unlimited hot tea.
We were convinced and decided to stay put for the night. We ended up staying two nights at Pyramid. It truly was a little oasis on this trek and Kaji was half the reason that this place was so awesome. He was friendly and constantly checking if we needed anything. He offered us many pots of hot tea, which we rarely turned down. And he gave us a tour of the Pyramid research area located in the glass pyramid above the guest rooms. It appears that most of the equipment is still operational. Kaji said he still collects glacial samples and other data (barometric pressure, rainfall, temperature, glacial size etc.) and sends them to a university in Italy.
Per usual, we retired early to our bedroom that night. I can tell my body was still exhausted from climbing Cho La pass. I needed rest badly even after a relatively short day today. On day 8, we were going up Kala Patthar for hopefully a spectacular view of Mt Everest. Keep on following my post on our adventures on day 8!
Interested in reading about our food adventures in Kathmandu? Click here.
Are you planning a trekking trip of own? Check out my packing list.