I had a great night of sleep at Pangboche. It was cold and quiet at night and the air was noticeably thicker at this altitude. It was perfect for a good night of sleep. Tricia’s breathing problem was still bothering her a little, though lower altitude may have helped. It didn’t hinder her enthusiasm going up to Ama Dablam Base Camp (ADBC). Ama Dablam was visible from almost the entire EBC trail and it had been our favorite mountain on this trip.
The first part of the hike to ADBC involved crossing a valley and a river fed by Khumbu glacier melt. The climb up from the valley was steep and a little sketchy. We suspected that the trail had been recently repaired following a landslide. As soon as we climbed out of the valley, the landscape opened up. We could see a trail leading us uphill. On the right of the trail there was an enormous valley filled with distinctive white stones. Once we got to the top of the first hill, the trail ran along the edge of this valley. The view was amazing and we saw very few people. The hike was about 2 miles long and the climb was 2,100 feet, starting from about 13,000 feet above sea level. Because we stopped a few times to make sure Tricia’s breathing wasn’t going to be a problem, it took us just shy of two hours to get to the BC.
There were about 20-30 tents at the BC. A guide for an Italian couple we met on the way up told us that there were about 20 climbers that week trying to summit Ama Dablam. We watched a group leaving base camp heading up to camp 1 that morning. It was impressive to think that people actually conquer mountains as steep and rugged as Ama Dablam. We lingered at the BC for about 30 mins. Once again, our timing was perfect. We had a clear sky when we got to the BC but when we left Ama Dablam was hiding in the clouds and no longer visible. Bummer for the hikers we encountered on our way down. That was a lesson we learned the hard way: the weather is extremely unpredictable in the Himalayas so start the day early.
By the time we got back to Pangboche, we were both hungry for lunch. I had a large plate of stir fried potatoes with cheese. Potatoes and rice dishes were my most common meals on this trip (I must have had more than 20 lbs of potatoes in 10 days) but my heavy carb diet did not cover my daily calorie consumption. By this point in the trip I had noticeably lost weight. I had to repeatedly pull up my pants while hiking because my waist had shrunk so much.
Tengboche was our destination that afternoon. The hike to Tengboche was mostly downhill with a short climb at the end. Tengboche is an interesting village with only 4 teahouses, all packed with tourists. There is a large monastery, which is the main attraction, in the middle of the village. Almost all EBC trekkers stayed in this town. It’s located just far enough from Namche and it perches on top of a giant mountain. By the time people climb up to Tengboche, it is only natural to want to rest for the night and acclimatize.
We compared a couple teahouses and checked into Hotel Himalaya. All the lodges were crowded. HH gave us a room with an Everest and Lhotse view out of our window. The bedding was a bit old but I didn’t care since I had been using my own sleeping bag every night on this trek.
What we didn’t realize was that our room shared a wall with the main dining room. The walls in almost all of the teahouses that we stayed in were paper thin. They did little to contain heat and even less to reduce noise. Even more unfortunately, a group of Italian(?) trekkers stayed in that same lodge that night, had their meals late into the evening, and got a little tipsy. One of them apparently carried a banjo with him on this trip… and it was a party. So another lesson we learned that night: when staying in a teahouse, do NOT get a room next to the dining room. I don’t care if you have a view of Everest or a unicorn pooping ice cream outside your window.
On day 13, we are returning to Namche!! Oh Namche, how I missed you!! Keep on following our adventure as we finish up our loop.
Interested in reading about our food adventures in Kathmandu? Click here.
Are you planning a trekking trip of own? Check out my packing list.