Saturday, April 8, 2017

A day of up and down as we move to Pangbouche

I had an awesome night sleep last night and Anders did as well.  We were up about 6 or so and did our usual get ready stuff and moved our bags outside for Yak transport.  Breakfast was eggs, bacon, french toast and tremendous coffee!  We (Anders, Brent and I as well as Geoff, John and Kent) rolled out of Khumjung in yet another beautiful morning around 9 and proceeded to descend for over two miles down to the Dudh Koshi river and made our first of several crossings.

From there we begin a long 2000+ foot climb up towards Tengbouche and the monastery there where we met a Buddhist Monk friend of Brent's named Tinley.  Tinley joined the monastery when he was 10 years old and has lived there for 45 years.  We walked with Tinley up to an off the beaten path Chorten honoring some of the deceased members of the 1963 American West Ridge expedition--the first Americans ever to climb Everest.  One of those members was Barry Bishop, Brent's father who summited Everest in 1963 and died in a car accident in 1994.  Barry and Brent are the second father and son pair to summit Everest (the Hillarys were the first) and they are the first American pair to do so.

Brent had us open Everest beers and take a sip and then pour on the Chorten to symbolize drinking with the boys of 1963.  The 1963 team created the foundation and legacy for American Himalayan climbing and Brent said that by being here we had now entered that fellowship and are part of that American climbing tradition. (Heady stuff!)  Brent put a picture of his two sons by his father's memorial--it was a tremendously moving experience.

We took some pictures with Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Aba Dablam much more clearly visible than down valley...

In the picture below, Everest is the high peak in the left center with the big plum coming off of it--its quite a ways away and is mostly obscured by Nuptse which is the broad massif with the horizontal ridge line that dominates the left side of the big mountains in this picture.  Lhotse is the tall peak to the right:

Tinley then invited us into the monastery and into his private quarters where he served us tea and biscuits, showed a 300+ year old sacred Tibetan book that he uses in his meditations and then blessed each of us on our journey.  He invited us back on our return.  This was pretty amazing stuff for a boy from Minnesota.

We left the monastery and had lunch in Tengbouche and then headed up the valley to our final destination in Pangbouche.  In total we covered 7.7 linear miles over the course of 5 hours and 10 minutes.  We ascended 2,624 feet and descended 2,152 feet and are now at right about 13,000 feet.

We are now at our tea house here in Pangbouche, which is owned by a Sherpa who submitted  in 1991, on the first all Sherpa expedition.  He has an amazing number of artifacts from past expeditions including this wooden case from the Hillary expedition of 1953:

We are settling in and both feel great.  We seem to be holding up well to the altitude and the physical rigors of hiking in the Khumbu Valley.  Our spirits are great, we have a fantastic team and we are constantly aware that we are having an experience of a lifetime--what a privilege!

Thanks for coming along with us!

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