A big hello from the village of Dingboche at 14,500 feet! Yesterday morning we left Deboche and continued up the Imja Khola river valley. After barely an hour, we climbed to the village of Pangboche to receive the traditional blessing from the Buddhist Lama Geshe, given to travelers and climbers in the hopes that they will safely continue traveling higher into the Himalaya.
At Pangboche, Gary hopped on a helicopter and flew back to Kathmandu after battling a bug he’d picked uo that was being exacerbated by the altitude. He’s currently re-hydrating and resting in the city awaiting our return from the mountains.
Today was our rest and acclimatization day and we took a short hike over the hill to Periche for lunch. Back in Dingboche our group rested for the afternoon below the massive Ama Dablam–rising 8,000 feet above us. Looking up the valley, Island Peak sits apart from the rest of the mountains and Nuptse and Lhotse poke out of the clouds every once in awhile. Everest is behind a ridge from our location but the sheer presence of the mountain is felt throughout the region.
Dingboche is smaller and quieter than our last major stop, back at Namche. We are above treeline and beginning to feel like we’re truly in the high alpine. There are no vehicles and as far as I can tell only one gas generator in town. Heat comes from wood, yak dung, and the rare propane stove. This all leads to a distinct silence and fragrance of the village. It seems to be time to plant potatoes, so the main activity occurs in the rock-fence rimmed fields in town where Sherpa are planting potatoes with teams of two: one person with a hoe-type tool and the other with a basket of seed potatoes. Each team seems to be able to dig a hole, place a potato, and cover it as another hole is dug as a (very estimated) rate of one potato every two seconds.
Tomorrow we will continue our trek higher in the Himalaya, and plan to reach Lobuche at 16,200 feet. We’ll have another rest day up there to continue our acclimatization. After that, it will be just a few more days until our goal/halfway point (or just be beginning for Greg & Vanessa) of Everest base camp.
As Internet allows we’ll give you another update soon from 16,200 feet! Internet has not been all that good or consistent, so we apologize for the lapses between posts.