Welshman Walking Blog: Returns Part 7
Welshman Walking Blog : Returns
My Own Bucket List
When Bucket List was in its infancy, Co Founder Andy, created a blog called Welshman Walking. This was about his first journey to Nepal where he was heading to Mt Everest for the first time. The writing took him from the busy Airport at London Heathrow, all the way to the foot of the tallest mountain on earth, Mt Everest, and back to Kathmandu.
As with any journey his was so much more than just reaching the destination. The realisation of a lifetime ambition, the friends he made on the trails, the hospitality he enjoyed from the Nepalese people and the life experiences he went through all added to the story. I hope you enjoy reading about this journey as much as Andy enjoyed living it. We will be posting each blog throughout the next few weeks in the build up to some of our planned expeditions in spring & Autumn 2017! Keep a sharp eye on the horizon for more news.
Today was an acclimatisation day, to enable my body to get used to the high altitude before we headed any higher. However that still didn’t mean i could kick back and put my feet up with a few cold beers.
After a hearty breakfast and filling my guide and porter in on how i actually got into the lodge the previous night having been locked out in which they thoroughly enjoyed, we headed out for a ‘little hike’ to the viewpoints overlooking Namche Bazaar.
The little hike turned out to be not so little at all. Firstly we headed to the Tenzing Norgay statue viewpoint via the narrow and steep alleys of Namche village saying the local greeting ‘Namaste’ to anyone that was not inside keeping warm.
I was in good spirits after the previous day and was feeling eager to get some more fresh mountain air although the legs were definitely feeling it from the previous days exploits. As we climbed past the edge of Namche and reached the first viewpoint, we came to a site I will never forget. The huge peak of Mt Everest.
Seeing the highest mountain on earth for the very first time was awe inspiring to say the least and it was perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky whilst looking towards Mt Everest and although it was a long way ahead, it was awesome to see the mountain and the target for the next week or so.
It was also ironic that my first look at this mountain was next to the Tenzing Norgay statue who was the joint first climber with Sir Edmund Hilary to make a successful ascent of Mt Everest.
I was both honored and proud to be following in their famous footsteps albeit to Everest Base Camp. You could also see the benefits that mountaineering had brought this part of the world. Sir Edmund Hilary especially did so much for this area and his legacy lives on through the school, hospital and airport that are named after him.
However one thing I’ve noticed is that by raising the publicity of The Khumbu region and the Himalaya as a whole he improved so many peoples lives in so many different ways and the world definitely needs more blokes like him.
After taking what seemed like hundreds of photos of Mt Everest and some of the surrounding mountains including Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam we headed back to the top of Namche village where i could see this path snake all the way to the top of the mountain and at that point a dog started to follow us.
My guide mentioned that as we were now going to climb an additional 400 meters roughly in elevation to really take my time and to take a breather every 2 or 3 minutes. I was leaning towards the 2 minute mark if i’m honest and for a ‘Little hike’ it was a bit of a killer.
I took the opportunity however whilst having these breaks every 2 minutes to take heaps of photos of Namche from above. It was a pretty cool view from here also taking in Kongde Ri which we had passed the previous day.
As we got closer to the top i spotted another air strip which was even shorter than the one i landed in on the first day. A part of me was thinking, Jesus we could have been dropped here instead although the adventure so far was worth the tough trekking.
A few people came down from the top of this hill with what looked like MDF plasterboard being carried on their head. I wanted to give them a hand but id probably end up killing myself at this altitude carrying those things.
Along the top of this ridge i also noticed large birds of prey circling overhead. They looked big enough to swoop down and grab my porter. My guide told me they were the Himalayan Eagles and they were majestic and seemed to just glide through the mountain valley with ease.
I think i took so pictures my camera was almost smoking.
We carried on to the Everest view Hotel and reached the target altitude of 3880 meters. The dog that had followed us from Namche finally gave up as we entered this plush hotel and what looked like an expensive establishment. I enjoyed a coffee whilst taking in the mountain views and was thinking that I could never get bored of this.
Sitting there i could feel a cold breeze coming from the south valley and sensed the weather was changing. At that point and out of nowhere came the weather. Visibility went from being the most amazing view in the world to a misty mountain wilderness and the temperature dropped immediately.
We decided this was the time to make a move and we made a fast decent off the mountain we had hiked up earlier in the day reaching Namche in about 30 minutes.
As we got just outside of Namche, we headed to the Sherpa and mountaineering museum. It was a little like a Sherpa version of St Fagans, Cardiff(Welsh museum of life for anyone who doesnt know) in which they showcased the way Sherpa life was before the mountaineering generation came along and i was massively intrigued.
After having a relaxing time reading and taking it all in i also checked out the other section of the museum which was all about the famous Sherpa Climbers and Sir Edmund Hilary. You could certainly see that Hilary was treated like a god in these parts and numerous newspaper articles and items were from his climbing days as well as some of the other projects he was involved in.
Although the museum was great it was time to head back to the lodge for a hot shower and some food and couldn’t resist a pasta dish to get the energy levels up for the following day where we would be looking at a long hike down 300 meters and then up 600 meters to Tengboche Monastery and beyond.
An early night was in order and lights were out at 8:30pm. As i was nodding off to sleep my thoughts centered on the days amazing panoramas of the huge mountains and of the final target, the gigantic prize, Everest.