Oct 15, 2012

Enroute to climb Ama Dablam - Back in Namche Bazaar....

Following a delicious breakfast of porridge, cereal and bottomless cups of tea from a spotlessly clean lodge we set out under a cloudless blue sky from the small village of Monjo this morning up 'Namche Hill' to the thriving metropolis of Namche Bazaar... As usual we are graced with absolutely breathtaking views through the Khumbu Valley in the shadow of Everest off in the distance.  I've done this walk now numerous times and the views never cease to disappoint. The narrow path cut into the side of the hill  and heavy yak traffic means we often walk in a long and winding 'trekking train'; the sounds of the white-water of the Duda Kosi river far below broken only by the 'clink' of our trekking poles chipping against the rock underfoot and the occasional porter carrying small battery powered radios playing what I can only assume is the Nepali Top 40.

The smells along the trail enliven and overwhelm the senses. The valley is filled with smell of sweet blossoms, richy fertilised earth turned over by local farmers planting potatoes in their fields, the intoxicating smell of crushed juniper underfoot, the sweet milky smell of the porters carrying their heavy loads,  and the occasional pile of steamy yak dung planted unceremoniously in the middle of the trail. Whilst it is a rather unique combination of scents and not altogether unpleasant, I don't suspect that 'Eau de Nepal' will be bottled and sold in a French perfumerie any time soon.

While the path is undulating and steep in certain sections, it is by no means impossible and for anyone considering a trek in the Himalayas where they can enjoy relative 'creature comforts' (beds, culture and hospitality of the local people, fantastic food, breath taking views...) I would highly recommend it. There are literally people of all ages, shapes and sizes along the trail making the experience their own. 

A challenging part of the walk has been to try and stay on the left side of the 'mani-walls', 'stupas' and prayer wheels which are found along auspicious sections of the trail and at the entrance to the numerous villages through which we pass. Mani walls are generally about 4-feet in height and can range from 4 feet - 30 feet in length and are made up of flat stones carved with the mantra (prayer) "Om Mani Padme Hum" which means (roughly) 'Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Diligence, Renunciation, Wisdom'  Given the early arrival of the high winds on Makalu last month I refuse to take any chances with charma and have been giving each stupa, mani wall, and prayer wheel its due respect!

Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel (or prayer wheel) is also believed to give the same benefit as saying the mantra, and Mani wheels, small hand wheels and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside, are found not only in Nepal but everywhere in lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. 

We made it up 'Namche Hill' in almost record time and settled into our gorgeous lodge which looks out over Namche. Breathtaking view of many mountains and routes (the Losar ice climb will be EPIC in a few weeks time!). SO many things to do, so little time.!

It's also been great to see old friends here - Tsadam, KC at Sherpaland, as well as the team here at the Internet Cafe and the bar downstairs where I've spent (perhaps!) too many evenings enjoying the hot rum punch...!

Our group 'splits' tomorrow as Valdes, Chad and I (taking advantage of our 'Makalu Acclimatisation' continue on to Phortse and then on to Ama Dablam Base Camp. The rest of the team will continue with their acclimatisation here and meet up with us in a few days time.

It's great to be back in the Khumbu and to be moving on tomorrow - am very much looking forward to our day into Phortse, meeting up with the Sherpa team and the adventure ahead on Ama Dablam..!

Police checkpoint to check permits...


Post a Comment