Wednesday 31st May, Kyang Juma, 3600 MASL
Today was a double back day. I remember very clearly my last Himalayan double back day, where we had to reverse out course back up a glacial valley across almost impossible to walk on rocks, over a fairly high pass, down a steep traversing slope in the snow. I remember even more clearly the unexpected emotional reaction I had to that walk upon reaching camp. At least one of you reading this blog will recall the same. For the curious, go here and read the Day 15 and Day 18 comments on that front page.
Today was not like that.
Our original plan and schedule was to walk today from Thyangboche to Pengboche, and then onto Phortse tomorrow. There’s a slightly shared element to this story, which starts with the news that the path between Thyangboche and Pangboche has been damaged by landslide. Both Michael and Rishi had made inquiries and determined that the path was not safe.
Apparently, and this is the sad bit, a yak slipped off the path a few days ago falling over 1000 metres. The slightly shared element comes from the movie Himalaya – an excellent movie and well worth tracking down if you've not seen it.
Faced with the possibility of a dangerous traverse, the decision was made to reverse our steps from Thanygboche to the little village of Kyung Jumah. This little village lies near the junction of the path to Gokyo Lakes, and we will follow that path tomorrow to get to Phortse.
So we reversed yesterday’s steps. It wasn’t a particularly hard walk, down the hill to Phungi Thenga, across the Dudh Koshi again, and back up to king junior where I am now. Unfortunately one of our number slipped on the descent into Phungi Thenga and has injured his foot. After some excellent first aid rendered on site, it was decided that the only option was to medivac him by chopper to Kathmandu. These most unfortunate event aside, the walk was fairly uneventful. [A late afternoon message from him reveals that he suffered a bad strain (as opposed to a break), and that only some 6 hours after the incident he is safely resting at the Radisson having been treated at the Kathmandu hospital. Pretty incredible service.]
So let me start at the beginning of the day. Because the day was going to be a relatively short walk there was no great rush to leave Thyangboche. For most of us the day started with a visit to the Thyangboche Monastery, followed by a most pleasant coffee and cake in the sunshine looking down the valley to Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. I have to say that days rarely start better than this.
The fall/foot incident aside, the walk here was uneventful. The 5 klm (approx) walk took us about as many hours (with a lunch break). One of the photos below gives a sense of the track.
Here's a sense of the day ...
Thyangboche Monastery shortly after dawn
From the Monastery forecourt
Young monks off to prayers and chores
Early morning Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam
Coffee time in the mountains
Incoming rescue chopper
Crossing the Dudh Koshi
Centre of photo - the path down from Thyangboche to the Dudh Koshi. Thyangboche can just be seen in the saddle in the top right hand corner of the photo
A Himalayan Thar greeting us as we arrived into Kyang Juma
Lovely hot (outdoor) shower at the inn ...
A relaxing post-walk San Mig
The start of tomorrow's up, up, up track to Phortse
Tomorrow's trek up to Phortse (3800 metres) is particularly special, as four of our number (Robyn and Mike, Deb and Russ) will see for the first time the Phortse water project which they have supported and sponsored. The project was managed by Lakpa Thering Sherpa of Action for Nepal, who managed the similar project in Lukla which I posted about a week or so back. More tomorrow.
Until then ...