Category: Solu khumbu



Dudh Kund Pokhari

Click on photos to enlarge them

From 13  to 27 May 2016

General feelings

This adventure in the mountains had some ambitions:

  • To leave Khanbari, the big city of the Sankuwasabha district in the northeast of Nepal, joining the Solu to return to Kathmandu by Salleri in jeep.
  • To go, according to our physical fitness, towards Kongde and Dudh Kund and try the ascent of a small 6000.

But it is necessary for it to accumulate the numerous ascents: 13 877 meters, more than 44 Eiffel Towers and descents, sometimes vertiginous. We had neglected the necessary efforts to enter into the Solukhumbu, at the heart of the Sherpa Country .

The good weather will not be there everytime and the rain will prevent us from benefiting, sometimes, from the beautiful panoramas.

Carrying the tent, the burner, petrol and the food all the route for three small days of autonomy is to pay an heavy tribe. The freedom has its price and we will be rewarded by the magnificent landscapes of Dudh Kund. The low cloud ceiling will unfortunately condemn any attempt of ascent. That will happen another time!

The numerous rhododendrons forests let expect multicolored sights at spring. This period is to be favored without hesitation!

However, these 15 days will have allowed us to discover magnificent villages, outside main roads, in basic conditions sometimes, but always welcomed with broad smiles and this sense of hospitality from people who do not know the superfluous.

Preparation:

On Google Earth, with Lonely Planet and Voyage Forum. A question did not receive any answer: how to go towards the Kongde base camp is a mystery for us to be clarified. If you know, we would be pleased to learn!

Bags are less loaded that usually because we take a minimum of food (2.25Kg). We plan to get supplies at the closest places from the segments where we will be in complete autonomy. We will not find cheese in the various shops. We will content ourselves with Chinese noodle soups and with biscuits.

15.6 Kg for me and 9.5 kg for Sylvie, including the Easton 1Kg tent which will hang on during the snowstorm on Camp 1: it held correctly but ties on the double roof unstucked with the humidity, the next day in Dudh Kund! evident manufacturing defect! We will see how  the retailer reacts… Because of this defect, we would have to give up going farther!

Stove MSR XGK EX: the pump was replaced after the breakdown of October, 2015 at 5473 m. With 500ml of gasoline given in Khandbari (take care, gasoline is sold only in Tumlingtar).

Shall we eventually find reliable equipments? High prices and marks do not seem to be the panacea.

Mattress: Thermarest Néoair XLIT – Very useful

Sleeping bags: Valandré Bloody mary

Access and Budget

Oman Air is the best  and  lowest offer this year with a round trip for 475€  with a good service and short stopovers.

Internal flight to Tumlingtar with Yeti Airlines at 123 USD the one-way trip. With no problem at all. Return to Kathmandu from Phaplu in jeep. 11 hours, 1500Rs / person. Departure at 5:30am. Purchase of places in the lodges close to the Phaplu airport. The road is very beautiful on a long part of the route. We arrive (we have to leave also the same place) to the point 27.718078 85.347132, close to the Tribhuvan airport and to the Buddhanath. Advise: buy 1 additional place to avoid being 4 on a seat for 3.

Less than 900€ spent on 30 days, included souvenirs. Between 1500 and 4000Rs a day for two. The prices indicated in the logbook will be generally given for two people.

Situation

Situation trek Khandbari Phaplu

Timetable

agenda trek Khandbari Phaplu

Altitude depending on distance

altitude distance trek Khandbari Phaplu

Altitude at Night

altitude soir trek Khandbari Phaplu

Daily Height Difference 
dénivelés jour trek Khandbari Phaplu

This year, the daily cumulated altitude differences are calculated from the GPS traces. The main difficulty of this trek consists in the ascents and descents for crossing the valleys.

GPS Traces et waypoints:

Traces are defined with a point for 30m to avoid the saturation of the GPS memory. They are in free access on Wikiloc, with some significant waypoints, indicated in this logbook. All Waypoints are given in an Excel sheet  in GPS/tableur Spreadsheets

Our new GPS GARMIN ETREX 10 is great. It uses fewer batteries than the precedent: 2 AA approximately every 5-6 days. It can be linked with the computer to copy the traces and waypoints.

The waypoints on the excel sheet were corrected after the trek, where it was necessary. The distances between waypoints are on the other hand approximate. The daily distances are exact. Finally, and as usual, our paths are not necessarily the best. They can change in time, the collapses and the construction of new roads. All trekkers remain responsible for their own routes.

To be noted:

The new road after Kattike Ghat go by an unnecessary pass. It must be possible to by-pass it by going along the Irkhuwa valley,  as it is indicated on the map (Jiri Pikey Peak 1:125 000).
We voluntarily avoided the center of Bung, by-passing it by the right.
We followed the indications on the map by going from Panggom to Taksindu via Bupsa. It’s a big mistake because this route requires half an additional day of walking in inconfortable ascent. Unless going to Lukla, the best is to come down directly towards Karikhola from Panggom. The track is physically visible, but absent on the map!

Logbook:

Friday 13th May, From Khandbari to Chalise (970m) wp K14

Awake 5h15, t=21°c, departure 7h15, Arrived 17h, 22km in 9h45, cumul ascent 1160 m, cumul descent 1398 m

This is not so simple to go out of a city by foot from a small track, even with the GPS. Our friends in Khandbari suggested  to putting us on the good path. But it is a question of pride… We also want to escape in the early hours to walk as much as possible without rain. After some hesitations, we begin the big descent towards the Arun river. We join a track which has to connect Tumlingtar to the upstream of Arun (probably on the bank, opposite to Kattike, just before the monkey bridge which drives to this village).
Solu 2016 joli maison vers Kattike

We cross very beautiful villages and find sometimes small restaurants. A drizzle begins to fall by 9:30 am which stops also quickly. The way is pleasant and we lunch in Kattike, on the other bank of the Arun. We understand there would be 3 jeeps a day until Ghote bazar (one-way trip at 500 Rs ?). The only jeeps we see have their hoods wide open and they seem to have given up their ghost. We don’t moreover know from where they can come. We continue by foot and, as usual when a new road has been opened, the track is difficult to find. To follow the road would mean making considerable detours. Solu 2016 descente vers l'Arun
Solu 2016 rizière vers Chalise

We cross an unforeseen pass at 928m. We did not find any alternative, that one, in particular, which was to follow the left bank of the Arun then of the Irkuwa khola. We stop at Chalise. The first house, in the entrance of the small village, offers the hospitality. There is no guesthouse here. We take a basic shower with the small water pipe, in the garden. And this evening, it will be dalbath, of course. (800Rs with the overnight stay and Tibetan tea)

Solu 2016 incontournable dalbath à Chalise       Solu 2016 proprio de Chalise

Saturday 14th May, from Chalise to Tendo (1372 m)

Awake 5h30, t=20°c, depart 6h30, Arrived 17h, 16.5km in 10h30, cumul ascent 1194 m, cumul descent 617 m

Solu 2016 vers Tendo

It rained a large part of the night and it is only at dawn that the drumming of drops on the roof sheet steel stopped. The weather is clear at the sunrise. We have a Tibetan tea for the breakfast and we finish the rests of the day before: bananas and rootis. The way rises at first regularly. It is necessary to be careful to cut the new road at the good moment to avoid endless detours. We quickly arrive to the village preceding Gothe bazar, Tabutar. This is, in fact, the terminus of the 4-wheeled vehicles. We are happy to leave this kind of civilization. There is a nice guesthouse in Gothe bazar, the first one since Kattike. After Gothe bazar, the way becomes a narrow track. We stop several times to take a tea or a mango juice in small taverns.

Solu 2016 vers Tendo 3Solu 2016 vers Tendo 2Solu 2016 vers Tendo 4

We arrive to Tendo under a flood of rain. Fortunately, we find a kind soul to welcome us: there is not of guesthouse in this village and before Phedi.

Sunday 15th May, from Tendo to Djobari (2215 m) wp62

Awake 5:50, t=18°c, departure 7:10, Arrival 12h, 4.2km in 4:50, cumul ascent 931 m, cumul descent 75 m

It rained all night long and it’s always raining upon awakening. We do not hurry. Furthermore, we are tired by the previous two days of walking. The rain stops during the breakfast (tea and biscuits). It takes less than one hour and a half to join Phedi where there is two lodges in the entrance of the village. We do not take the precaution to fill our bottles of water before the big ascent and we will have to beg water on the way. We arrive at Djobari early but we decide to take some rest in a small lodge the owner of which it is necessary to find before being able to settle down. We are rewarded for the efforts of the morning with a beer and biscuits for the lunch.

The school is in reconstruction close to the lodge. The damages are probably a consequence of the April, 2015 earthquake. Many houses are damaged, padlocked or in reconstruction on the road. The villagers assemble its frame while the children attend their class in a temporary building. The class is disrupted by our arrival and we are transformed into local and improvised entertainment.

 

Solu 2016 vers Djobari 1

Solu 2016 vers Djobari 2Solu 2016 vers Djobari 3

Monday 16 May, from Djobari to Salpa (3357m) wp67

Awake 5:40, t=15°c, departure 7:20, Arrival 3:45, 8.4 km en 8h30, cumul ascent 1394 m, cumul descent 247 m

Solu 2016 vers Salpa 1

First change of batteries for the GPS. The weather is correct this morning and we take our time for the breakfast with tea and biscuits bought to the store of the lodge. I pay 1800Rs for all: night, beer, dalbath, apple spirit, biscuits, mango juice and tea.

The village extends in height and we discover another lodge, more centered, with a real restaurant. We’ll not find more water before Salpa as we pass by long crests and the soil becomes sandy.

Solu 2016 vers Salpa 3

At middle way (place called Kharka on the map), we go on by the right, according to the advice of several locals and against the indication of the GPS. This detour makes us pass by the lake while the map indicates a main way directly to Salpa. It has maybe disappeared in a collapse? A thunderstorm surprises us at the beginning of the detour and we just have time to protect ourselves in a hut-cowshed. We hesitate to return towards the abandoned village (Kharka) or to try our luck towards the lake to camp, less than a kilometer from there in theory. We cross an impressive rhododendrons forest. Some are still in bloom. The view must be magic in spring.

We have no more than one liter of water when we discover, instead of a lake, a totally dry basin on a sandy bed with some huts (WP65). It is almost 3 am. Impossible to stay. A local indicates that Salpa is just on the other side of an almost vertical pass. We decide to go. The sacred lake is on the other side of the pass, reached in half an hour. It is incised and offers no panorama. Some workers work on the arrangement of its sacred banks. The lack is invaded by mists and does not tempt us to establish a camp there.

Solu 2016 vers Salpa 4 Solu 2016 vers Salpa 5

We discover Salpa, based on a crest. The village seems abandoned and there is no tap water. Salpa seems to have for only vocation to welcome the pilgrims. There is fortunately an open building. The owner offers us the shelter in a very basic shed where will pile up porters and her family during the night.

Tuesday 17th May, from Salpa to Gudel (1975 m) wp70

Awake 5:45, t=6°c, departture 7:15, Arrival 3:45pm, 14.7 km in 8h30, cumul ascent 337 m, cumul descent 1691 mSolu 2016 vers Gudel

The night was interrupted by noisy arrivals of porters. We gave up blanquets, openly sticky. The owner, remaining a businesswoman, asks us 1800Rs of which 1200Rs for the dalbath!

Alerted in the early hours by more or less harmonious sounds, we attend a procession leaving from the big gompa in front of our shelter, led by a young man who wears a feathers headdress . I am surprised, seeing the pilgrims taking him in video and in photos (I make nothing else).

Long life to all religiosities when they do not incite either to the hatred or to the violence!

It was not question of the slightest toiletry in Salpa and we stop near a torrent to wash ourselves and for a small laundry. Wp68. The sun is with us for our happiness. This hillside is also very bucolic, papered with rhododendrons.

Solu 2016 vers Gudel 2

Solu 2016 vers Gudel 1

A rusty panel indicates Sanam and an inhabitant recommends us to continue in this direction. We prefer to go on by the valley to avoid a new useless pass. The way in the valley is less taken and sometime more difficult to find. The weather remains clear until 2:30 pm, as a Chilean doubles us as a racing car. It is our first trekker in 4 days and even the first one since we are in Solu and Makalu.

A thunderstorm arrives while we discuss. Panchos, frequently used up to there, areuseless because of the violent wind. It is time to arrive to Gudel before being dipped. The lodge which opens to us, Kopila Guesthouse, is perfectly clean. Never seen at this point before!

Wednesday 18th May from Gudel to Khiraule (2539 m) wp72

Awake 5:30, t=14°c, departure 6:40, Arrival 5:30pm, 9.4 km in 10h50, cumul ascent 1264 m, cumul descent 712 m

Solu 2016 vers Kiraule 5

Everything began correctly with a breakfast as worthy as in Khumbu. Sylvie is brutally struck by a tourista while we begin the descent. We stop in emergency for half an hour. The rhythm of the walking will feel the effects of it during the day. We abandon the main path to avoid the center of Gudel by going on the left (would be better to try by the right). The crossing of the small hamlets is very nice but the path often gets lost in the terraces of the fields. We ask several times for our direction to the inhabitants, a little bit surprised seeing us walking there…

Solu 2016 vers Kiraule 1Solu 2016 vers Kiraule 4

We stop for the lunch in a magnificent lodge: Panch Pokhari Lodge wp71. We take our time (1:30) to appreciate this luxurious place. We are far from the Makalu basic stopping places. We complete our endless rise towards Khiraule, slowly and by enjoying the tranquillity and the bucolic charm of the region. A small paradise opens to us and we stop more often than to get back our breath, to take advantage of what the way offers.

We arrive late at the lodge. it is adjacent to a temple in the circular temenos, composed of manis and lined with old pines. Magnificent!

Solu 2016 vers Kiraule 6

The night has felt when we go out of the dining room, fed of dalbath and raksi. The panorama, as far as go our looks, is papered with small lights, so many houses, as stars, uncountable. The place is silent and inhale the serenity. We didn’t rose for nothing.

The night is a bit expensive, 500Rs, but as we are near the Paradise, it doesn’t matter.

thursday 19th May, from Khiraule to Inkhu khola (1982 m) wp74

Awake 6am, t=8°c, departure 8am, Arrival 3:15pm, 8.3 km en 7h15, cumul ascent 615 m, cumul descent 1136 m

Solu 2016 vers Inkhu khola 1

It rained a large part of the night after the sunny day of yesterday. This morning is cloudy and we have to join two impressive stupas which guard the pass. We cross fog patches. The descent towards Inkhu khola is difficult. We cross Nadjingsur, in a plateau, which possesses three correct lodges. We arrive to the bridge at about 3 pm and we have no courage to raise the 700m reaching Sibuje. We find a rustic lodge just after the bridge possessing a shower! (1800Rs for dinner, bed and breakfast)

Solu 2016 vers Inkhu khola 2Solu 2016 vers Inkhu khola 3

The Inkhu khola gorges are spectacular. The weather is unfortunately very cloudy and showers begin to fall at 4pm.

Solu 2016 vers Inkhu khola 4

Friday 20th May, from Inkhu khola to Panggom (2900m) wp78

Awake 6am, t=15°c, departure 7:30, Arrival 5:20pm, 7.1 km in 7h50, cumul ascent 1234 m, cumul descent 365 m

It rained all night long and it go on in the morning. Ponchos have never served so much! We stop to Sibuje in the fog ( wp75 ) for the lunch at 10:50 am. The ascent exhausted us while we are only at the middle of the way to the top. We refuel with a soup in noodles, an omelet and a tea (800Rs. These stops are so many opportunities to share the everyday life of the Nepalese families. A shower sticks us more than one hour. We leave in the fog. There are good lodges there ( wp76 ).

A shower surprises us again and we continue under the ponchos…

Solu 2016 vers Panggom 1

A panel indicates « Pangome Gompa » and we try to go there, against the indications of the GPS. We turn back because we have no idea where it can lead us. We will discover this Gompa on a height by arriving at Panggom. As the deviation leads to it, it was possible to go on the fork to pass by the gompa on the way to join Panggom.

Solu 2016 vers Panggom 2

The lodge (Himalaya Trekkers) which welcomes us is new and well maintained. It possesses even a hot shower! We are served with a correct dalbath and an excellent raksi with millet,  » barli  » and quince? Diuretic in any case! 2000Rs for the dinner the overnight stay and the breakfast.

A dance gets ready with brash young girls. We are informed but not invited 😉 In a so small village, a such concentration seems surprising. These girls are probably living in a hostel adjacent to the lodge. It would mean that they go to an Hillary school?  His foundation created a lot of these schools in the region. In this case, we could assert that it is a big success.

 Saturday 21th May, from Panggom to Jubhing (1656 m) wp 79

Awake 6:30, departure 7:30, Arrival 5pm, 13.1 km in 9h30, cumul ascent 1115 m, cumul descent 2416 m

Solu 2016 vers Jubhing 1

We pick in our reserves for the breakfast because the manager has messages to send and does not have too much time for taking care of us … While we are already on the way towards Bupsa, she shows from a window, that another way go towards Taksindu. We do not take this advice into account because the map indicates only one way, passing through Bupsa. The descent is soon transformed into rather stiff, illogical ascent as we have to join the valley. Sylvie takes one foot in a root while she is sliding. All her leg holds her weight and that of her bag in twisting. The first pain blurred, all the leg remains painful. She decides to leave slowly and by limping. I take her bag. We are fortunately close to Bupsa.

Solu 2016 vers Jubhing 2Solu 2016 vers Jubhing 3

The road towards Bupsa leads to Lukla and Namche. It is a big bend to go towards Taksindu because it is pointedly necessary to dive into the valley of Kharikhola. We stop in the first lodge, very clean. The owner gives us an anti inflammatory cream and recommends not to make anymore effort today. Meal 850Rs. Sylvie getting better, we leave towards Taksindu on the important track linking Jiri and Phaplu to Namche. The convoys of mules pass almost continously. The way is papered with stinking and slippery dung. It is sometimes necessary to push away animals with the stick not to be pushed aside. To complete the pleasure, it’s a Buddhist national holiday today. Repetitive speeches, spread by loudspeakers, accompany us a big part of the afternoon. We stop to Jubhing. Lodges, here, has no more the quality of those met since a few days.

Solu 2016 vers Jubhing 4

Sunday 22 May, from Jubhing to Nunthala (2198 m) wp80

Awake 5:45, t= 17°c, departure 7:20, Arrivl noon, 5.7 km in 5h40, cumul ascent 741 m, cumul descente 192 m

Solu 2016 vers Nunthala 2

The previous day cost us  1250 Rs for lunch and  1650 Rs for bed and dinner. The average of the spending is in average 25 – 26€/day

The sky is clear this morning and we can perceive some high summits of Khumbu. The walking begins with a little convenient descent in the dung of mules towards the Dudh khola. Then begin the ascent, under the sun, sawing our legs. But Sylvie’s knees gets better.

The batteries of the GPS are changed for the second time at 11:10 am.

Solu 2016 vers Nunthala 3

Solu 2016 vers Nunthala 5

We arrive to Nunthala for the lunch (magnificent Himalayan Trekker Lodge). The village is particularly beautiful and clean. We would almost imagine we are in Switzerland. People are smiling and it tempts us to stay. The decision is taken during the lunch: after noon will be a resting time before the next 4 days of ascent. We are go about in the main street and take back our strengths.

Solu 2016 vers Nunthala 6

Monday 23th May, from Nunthala to Taksindu la (3053 m) wp DK01

Awake 5:30, t= 16°c, departure 6:50, Arrival 11:15, 5.7 km in 4h35, cumul ascent 926 m, cumul descent 70 m

Solu 2016 vers Taksindu la 3

Is Nunthala endowed of an Hillary School? Big buildings overhang the village, as we had seen in Panggom. We go up without any trouble by comparison with yesterday. The sun is softened by a light mist. The panorama is unfortunately partially filled by clouds. The view remains magnificent. After investigation in Taksindu, we decide to continue until Taksindu la where is a recent lodge and the starting point for Dudh Kund, the Milky Lake.

Solu 2016 vers Taksindu la 1

We are now in the mist and Sylvie would eat a chicken with her feathers (she says). A new free afternoon for rest  in a very comfortable lodge.

Solu 2016 vers Taksindu la 4        Solu 2016 vers Taksindu la 2

Tuesday 24th May, from Taksindu la to Camp 1 (3884 m) wp 81

Awake 5:30, t= 9°c, departure 7:30, Arrival 15h15, 8.3 km en 7h45, cumul ascension 1037 m, cumul descent 210 m

Solu 2016 vers camp 1 1JPG

The departure is in the fog. Sylvie grumbles because she don’t want to leave in this bad weather. I hope that it will get up with the ascent. The way is very bucolic and well marked . It crosses a beautiful rhododendrons forest in the first part which becomes mixed after. We have a lunch when two young Nepalese double us: they join a camp of high pastures. They are the only human beings that we’ll meet during these three days. Rain begins by 2 pm.

Solu 2016 vers camp 1 2

We see beautiful massifs of yellow rhododendrons, still with beautiful flowers at these altitudes.

We made more or less half of the path to Dudh Kund when we find a correct place for a camp. It is always raining and we settle the tent in these difficult conditions. It will be necessary to content ourselves with the remaining water from Taksindu la because we haven’t found any source on the path.

Solu 2016 vers camp 1 3

Wednesday 25th May, from Camp 1 to Dudh Kund pokhari (4626 m) wp 83

Awake 6am, t= 0°c, departure 7:30, Arrival 3:20pm, 9.7 km in 8h15, cumul ascent 954 m, cumul descent 237 m

Solu 2016 vers Dudh Kund 1

The rain had stopped at night to start up again with renewed vigor. It is accompanied with gusts of wind then snow. This is the big storm. The temperature falls brutally. We are afraid that the tent flies away and that bags, protected by ponchos, fall in the ravine. I get up before the day rise to verify the installation. The spectacle is Dantesque with a moon quarter and some visible stars in patches of clear sky, and, far off, with the cleared big massifs, overhung by a strange black coat. I remove the snow accumulating on the double roof, making both walls contact themself. I go back to bed hoping that the storm will quickly stop.

When the weather calms down, the sky is totally cleaned. A carpet of snow recovers the surroundings. After the breakfast, Sylvie is not convinced to continue. I decide anyways to go on at all costs, now so close to the goal. She should come down easily to Taksindu. The perspective of the forest crossing makes her have a change of mind.

Solu 2016 vers Dudh Kund 3

First water source at wp 82. Sylvie is particularly slow and I begin to doubt our capacities to reach to the lake today. I decide to carry her bag. I ascent on approximately 500m  with 28 kg and some cramps will make me suffer at the stage!

Solu 2016 vers Dudh Kund 4

The weather quickly gets blocked with the rise of mists caused by the heat of the first sunrays. Snowing begins but there is no thunderstorm. The mist withdraws from time to time to make us perceive majestic summits and so close, a gigantic cliffs. We arrive, exhausted, to Dudh Kund. Surprised! There is no lake but an alignment of low walls. I forgot that the lake is further north. It is necessary to continue…

The lake is smaller than I thought. Its level lowered a lot as the various strata left on its banks show. The massifs appear by intermittence. We settle the tent on an small protected area of fine sand. 

Solu 2016 vers Dudh Kund 5

Thursady 26th May, from Dudh Kund to Taksindu la

Awake 6:00, t= 7°c, departure 9:00, Arrival 5:35pm, 17.6 km en 8h35, cumul ascent 554 m, cumul descent 2136 m

Dudh Kund Pokhari

The mountains did not appear in the evening and it snowed this night. The temperature remains however too high to have a clear and dry time. We dry the bags and affairs in the shy sun rays morning. I walk to get the rare moments when the landscapes appears from the mist. The place is magnificent. I collect some old coins on the banks of the lake.

Solu 2016 Dudh Kund 1Solu 2016 Dudh Kund 2 Solu 2016 Dudh Kund 3 Solu 2016 Dudh Kund 4 Solu 2016 Dudh Kund 5

I take advantage of our stay to locate the possible passages to rise on a crest or on a summit. It will be a waste of time for this time: the weather is far too unstable to be able to continue. The weather quickly goes bad. We decide to come down, again in the fog, and occasionally in the rain. We are happy to seek refuge in our lodge of Taksindu la.

Friday 27th May, from Taksindu la to Phaplu (2490 m) wp 84

Awake 6:30, t= 14°c, departture 8:30, Arrival 1:30pm, 14.7 km in 5h, cumul ascent 421 m, cumul descente 997 m

Solu 2016 vers Phaplu 1

We take our time this morning. The weather is sunny,  even if the massifs are already in the clouds. We have no regret to have shortened our stay in altitude. The road from Taksindu, is carriageable, at least by tractors and motorcycles. It is necessary to pay attention not to leave the old track which is frequently cut,  to avoid monstrous bends. The way crosses very attractive forests of hundred-year-old pines.

Solu 2016 vers Phaplu 2

Solu 2016 vers Phaplu 3Solu 2016 vers Phaplu 4

Solu 2016 vers Phaplu 5

The trek ends to Phaplu, a little bit glaucous city, as all the border cities .

Solu 2016 vers Phaplu 6

We book the return jeep in the lodge. Meeting at 5 am for a precise departure at 5:30 am.

Publicités

Kongde ri

Dhud Kund 2

Context:

We should be in Makalu in May, 2016. Rather than to return directly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu, we plan a trek from Khandbari, East to North West to Salleri (return by jeep) or Phaplu (return by aircraft) by Phedi, Bung, Panggom, Taksindu.

Two segments are planned to be close to the high mountain: one leading to the base camp of Kongde (6093m) and one leading to Dudh Kund (Milky Lake) close to another small 6000.

The major part is situated at low altitudes under 3000m, in the Hills. We should have a beautiful view of the high massifs in the North from Kongde as well as from Dudh Kund ri if the ascents are feasible.

The distance to be traveled is important: 236 km on 19 days with an acclimatization day towards 4000m and the 2 explorations. It will be possible to eliminate a segment according to the difficulties  found on the ground. The track towards Kongde is totally invisible on Google Earth. It will be necessary to follow the torrent leading to the base camp. On the other hand, the track to Dudh Kund is perfectly visible and recorded. The explorations to lead to points of view on the massifs to the North remain to be explored, in both cases.

Situation:

Trajet Solukhumbu Kongde Dudh Kund1

Click to enlarge

Timetable:

Kongde Dudh Kund Agenda

Altitude=f( Distance)

Kongde Dudh Kund Altitude Distance

Altitude at Night:

Kongde Dudh Kund altitude nuit

Daily Difference of Altitude:

Kongde Dudh Kund denivele jour

 

 


 

From 6 to 29 November 2014294

(You can enlarge photos by clicking above)

1. General feelings :

Boz51 (Voyage Forum) gave us the desire to make this trek with his article and his photos at the end of 2013. Many thanks to him for it!

If the valleys of Solu Khumbu are very busy, they are not less dangerous there. Helicopters are uncountable which fetch the carefree tourists suffering from the mountain sickness because they went up too fast.

To go by the transverse path by the 3 passes (Kongma, Cho and Renjo) allows to take advantage at the most of the beauty of mountains while avoiding the crowding of these long rows of walkers clashing their sticks in cadence, driven by a « guide » at their head and another one at their back … They cannot, fortunately, go out of the valleys to remain unbroken.

Three passes at more than 5300m, a small summit at 5640m and 170km in 23 days among which 10 at more than 4500m, are tiring! Especially when we carry 18kg and 14kg.  We take tent, food, stove to be autonomous. And the autonomy is costly here. With the evident comfort of the numerous lodges on the main paths, it will be hard to decide to pitch our tent under wintry temperatures (-10 to -20°C at night)

But what a wonderful weather! A sun dazzling all day long, during all the trek. Almost to be tired of daily sunsets on our favorite monsters … We were lucky when we think of the drama of October 14th [ 1 ]. The mountain maintains control over our fates.

And then, let us not neglect an advantage to be many on these most beautiful mountains of the world. We met men and women led by the same passion, with whom we spent great evenings to reconstruct, hastily, the World.

Nepal stays strangely outside of the time, in spite of sometimes very modern aspects: for example immediate phone to France at 5180m, in front of the Roof of the World. At the same time, the airport of Lukla is an unhealthy barrack (and that of Kathmandu is not better) in which we will catch a big cold, waiting for an uncertain plane.

Finally, this place is artificially developed since Edmond Hillary, first man to overcome Everest in 1953 with Tengzing Norgay, transformed these mountains in a pilgrimage place for all those who want to have seen, once in their life, the Roof of the World. It is not there that we will discover the authentic life of the typical villages of Nepal. We cannot have everything.

[1] On October 14th, 2014, a cyclone, born in the Bay of Bengal, poured more of 150cm of snow on the massifs of Annapurna. Totally predictable and totally unforeseen, it killed suddenly more than 40 walkers of whom half of the carefree « guides » and of porters, buried under avalanches at the level of Thorung la in particular.

 2. Situation:

 

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 3. Timetable :0001c

4. Stages :

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 5. Altitude :

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 6. Daily height difference:

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7. Embarked equipments :

We plan 5 days of autonomy in food with a partial provisioning by lodges:  3.8kg consisted of sausage, semolina, dry bread, cheese, muesli, dried milk, chocolate, dried fruits, cereal bars, biscuits and spirulina ( 10g / j  on all the trek).

Shoes: LOWA – The Tibet pro gtx. Mine begin to suffer seriously after Dhaulagiri and Makalu

Backpacks: Osprey exbone 58, Gregory Wander 70

Tent: Easton Kilo (more space than the previous but less easy to rise: we make drill the longitudinal rod in carbon without understanding why)

Stove: MSR XGK EX with 500ml of gasoline bought from KTM. We will come down with 300ml.

Mattress: Thermarest Néoair XLIT

Sleeping bags: Valandré Bloody mary

We take for the first time micro crampons: Microspike Kahtoola which will be very practical of use and useful during the passage of Cho and Renjo.

8. Access et costs :

We took Air India tickets via Go Voyages (629€ per person). A delay scheduled the day before return made us miss the connection for Paris. Air India was correct by installing us in the hotel of the international zone at its expenses. On the other hand, Go Voyages was beneath everything while informing us about a modification of schedules without indicating the changes!

The ticket return KTM Lukla is bought 330USD by email at Yeti Air (Tara Air = subsidiary). It is an important cost for a catastrophic service. The company is only partially responsible because first are the airports of KTM and Lukla which are totally malfonctionning. I preferred to return in helicopter (cost 500USD, flight Tara Air  in the course of refund) because Sylvie, separated on another flight had been able to return on KTM while I stayed in Lukla with my plane out of order! See the Appendix 2  » Lukla, the mousetrap « 

Count a daily expense for two between 3000 and 5000 Rs (25 to 42€) according to the height of the lodge, including the breakfast, the lunch and the dinner with a correct bedroom but not warmed (it is not an option ;-).

A particular mention for the Namaste lodge in Gokyo whose cooking is excellent!

9. Waypoints GPS (Garmin Etrex Vista H) and traces :

They are listed in the Appendix 1. They indicate the points by which we passed. We do not promise that they are the best or  unique paths to arrive at the stages, in particular for the crossing of the glaciers because they move! The heights indicated by the GPS are close to those indicated by Google Earth

The GPS is a comfort for this type of trek. It is not a necessity. It allows to estimate the distance to reach the stage and to feel reassured when the path fades a little. It is necessary to say that weather conditions were very favorable. Some passages of the three passes or the two glaciers in the fog would have required the use of the GPS or at least a compass for a minimum of security.

10. The trek from day to day

1st day From Lukla to Phakding (2633m) 7.5km in 3.5 hours, descent -224m

Lukla Phakding

Although it seems strange, we took off prematurely from the airport of KTM. It is necessary to say that in Lukla, that’s hell. Hardly a plane poured hastily its lot of fresh walkers that it fills with exhausted trekkers to look for its flight on the so short and sloping runway! The roarings of engines at maximum power, before the take-off, are intercut with the noise of the blades of the helicopters which take off or land on a nearby small ground.
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The weather is clear in Lukla and it has to be an event because the feverish activity of the airport badly hides the probable inactivity of the previous days, due to the fog, to the wind or to the age of the captain.

We look forward to running away, the time to distribute the loads on backpacks. The path is wide, in descent and all is OK. We walk in T-shirt and the weight of bags hardly is smelt. There are a lot of people on the road and we must have crossed in one hour the equivalent which passes by Makalu in a year.

Crossing of dashing villages with pleasant lodges  alternating rain forests. That will not last, at least as for the vegetation …

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2d day from Phakding to Namche Bazar (3384m) 10.4km in 7h10, ascent +751m

Phakdind Namche

T inside at 6:15 am +9°C. Depart at 7:30

It makes a radiant sun again and it is sufficient to put us in a good mood.

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We buy without losing too much of time our TIMS 2*2000Rs then our entrances to the park of Sagarmatha 2*3000Rs. It is better not to go without paying because we shall be checked several times by soldiers on the road before Namche.

If the TIMS has a debatable utility, the entrance of the park allows at least to clean the paths.  12 years ago, they were strewed with garbage. Today, they are really clean. Paths out of the main way are not, unfortunately, the object of the same attention …

Today is more difficult because it is necessary to face the terrible ascent leading to Namche. I hope not to arrive too late because it is market day. But bags decide on our speed of snails.

The beauty of mountains begins to appear through pine forests and we discover after a turn, the still distant silhouette of Everest.

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In Namche, the market is still active when we arrive. We make a visit after being installed in one of the numerous lodges. Here the telephone always works ( Ncell) and will work until Gorakshep.

3rd day Acclimatization in Namche Bazar

The day is dedicated to the rest and to the small ballad in the neighborhood of Namche. We locate the path to Tengboche. We walk up  in pastures overhanging the city until the lunch. Clouds arrive in afternoon and the mist goes up gradually from the low valleys to invade the city and disappear with night.

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4th day from Namche Bazar to Tengboche 3857m, 11.3km in 6:10, ascent +473m

Namche Tengboche

T=12°C inside at 6h.

A complet blue sky is there and we take our time for the breakfast. It is the moment to take energy to face the ascents towards the high mountain. We standardized our orders, in front of the luxury of the offered menus: a small pot (1 liter!) of milk coffee for two, a pancake with honey for me and some porridge for Sylvie. In brief, a  » ressuscitation kit  » that we can only find in the touristic zones when we know that a meal, whatever it is in Nepal when it does not consist exclusively of Dahlbat is not a meal.

We will always pay attention to leave the convoys of mules or yaks on the valley side of the path. One French died, few weeks previously, pushed by the load of an animal. He fall in the ravine and his body was never found.

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The Ama Dablam makes its first appearance at a bend of the path. We have to go at the foot of this magnificent mountain then by-pass it during about ten day.
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We arrive in Tengboche at 1:30 pm. This beautiful monastery, surrounded by dry stones lodges, welcomes us on a headland with magnificent panoramas that we can even admire from our bedroom. We attend Buddhist ceremonies in which we understand nothing after a copious lunch.

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The waves of mist don’t manage to cross the hillsides we climbed in the morning and the sky remains bright for the show of crests on fire at sunset.

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I count not less than 35 people in the dining room well warmed on the fire of dried yak dungs, in the evening. Our first parts of Rumi begin, ideal solution to spend pleasantly the time while waiting for the dinner.

5th day Acclimatization to Tengboche, chörten at 4183m

We have time and we give priority to acclimatization. The magic aspect of the place is an opportunity to spend the day pleasantly to rest. The headaches are not too present and managed with Ibuprofen.

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The morning is dedicated to look for and to follow the only path leading to mountains surrounding. I go to a small chörten combing a summit. It allows me to discover the glacier and the massif of Kangtega (6685m), Ama Dablam (6856m) as well as the massif of Nuptse (7861m), of Lhotse (8414m) and in the background, already, Everest (8848m).

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6th day from Tengboche to Pangboche 3955m, 4.4km in 2:20, ascent +98m

Tengboche angboche

T=+2°C inside at 6h.

We leave at 7:40 am. The rows of trekkers are already on the way. We have to learn to manage their doublings or crossings on sometimes narrow paths. Our stage is short and we continue the step with our quiet rhythm to protect the crew!

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We cross Pangboche to settle down in the last lodge. It allows us to explore easily the path to go to the Base camp of Ama Dablam.

We take advantage of it to bathe in the torrent. The water has to approach 3 or 4°C. The sun-drying is a real happiness. The evening takes place together with Hervé, solitary trekker. He is the first one whom we meet without guide. It creates movements of solidarity.

7th day From Pangboche to CB of Ama Dablam 4572m, 6.2km in 3:20, ascent +617m

Pangboche Ama Dablam BC

T=1°C inside at at 6h. We leave at 8:20 to arrive at 11:40 at the base camp. The ascent is rough and Sylvie has a persistent headache. It is not a good sign. The base camp has been certainly established at the bottom of a lake. Climbers’ numerous tents are installed there.

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We settle down at some hundred meters aside to give way to the dream. Especially as the camp is downhill and doesn’t arrange the most beautiful view.

The weather is always very clear but the small ice-cold wind pierces us. We lunch with pancakes prepared in the morning in Pangboche and with sausage. This one causes an indigestion which cuts our legs in the afternoon and the evening, experience to be avoided!

We lie in the tent in which temperature brutally falls from 35 to 0°C at the time of the sunset. It is a long night of waits and interrupted sleeps.

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8th day From CB of Ama Dablam to Pangboche, 6.2km in 1:45, made descent-617m

T=-4°C inside at 6h. We wait for the sun heating the tent to prepare the breakfast made of muesli, milk and cappuccino. The sky is a little bit milky this morning. We fold up the camp slowly to leave at about 10:45 am. We arrive at the lodge at 12:30 am, exhausted but headaches and nausea are practically erased. We have the afternoon to recover definitively from the food poisoning. The sun is again radiant.

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I wash Sylvie’s hair with the water warmed on our stove. I try to shave myself and give up definitively this type of useless exercise up to the end of the trek. We shall see in KTM.

The evening takes place together with a group of Spanish, around the stove. I wake up at night with a headache and difficulties to breathe. The lack of oxygenation causes headaches. We are not still well acclimatized.

9th day from Pangboche to Dingboche 4339m, 5.9km in 3:45, ascent +384m

Pangboche Dingboche

T= 0°C inside at 7h.

We leave late towards 9 am because we do not wish to join Chukhung today. The nighttime experience proved us that we are not still ready for the high heights.

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The ascent is progressive today and we take advantage of great panoramas. It is necessary to be careful to take the good fork because we abandon the big track which leads to the Everest base camp. Dingboche, where we stop at about 12:45 am, is now on the road of Island Peak and Renjo la, first of three passes which we want to climb.

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I thought that the path would be deserted but that’s not the case. This is not any more the crowd but there are still some groups of walkers on the road. In Dingboche, shops allow a possible food supply.

We find a lodge which gives onto Island peak and Lhotse. The dining room is admirably situated, in overhang, to attend at sunset on Lhotse. The steak of yak is excellent. And the bedroom is free.

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10th day From Dingboche to the Camp of Lhotse 4912m, 7.3km in 3 hours, ascent +572m

Dingboche Camp du Lhotse

T=0°C inside at 6:30. Departure at 7:55. The ascent is continuous and soft. We arrive in Chukhung at about 10:50 to take a tea and to leave at about 11:30. It is necessary to us to grope to find the way towards Island peak. It becomes more confidential because mainly borrowed by the climbers.

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We find at about 1 pm, at the middle way to the Base Camp of Island peak, a location with a view of the glacier of the Lhotse and the Ama Dablam. The sandy soil is frozen and a stone is needed to tap the pickets of the tent in the sand. There is not liquid water anymore here and it will be necessary to melt the snow for the meals.     175

At the end of afternoon I climb on the moraine to attend at sunset. The sky hides itself more and more and the gilded brightness on summits are a little sieved.

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Dinner of semolina, cheese, biscuits and chocolate.

11th day From the Camp of Lhotse to Chukhung 4726m, 2.2km ¾ an hour, descent -186m

T=-11°C inside at 7am. Awake at 8:30 am to try to benefit from of the sun, unfortunately absent.

The night was cold but the breath seems better. The sky is grey for the first time this morning. We leave only at 10:30 am because it takes time to make the breakfast: the jet of the stove is blocked and it is necessary to unsettle it to be able to light the fire.

Every picket sticks terribly on the frozen ground. It is necessary to dig a cone around each with the back of the blade of Opinel to unstick them from their gangues of ice-cold sand.

The descent on Chukhung is fast. We find a very nice « resort » which is not more expensive than a lodge … Because of cloudy weather, we cancel the ascent of Chukhung ri. It’s a pity because Yannick, met later, will tell us that the panorama at the top is extremely beautiful.

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We go in afternoon in recognition of the path leading to Kongma la, first pass of our trip.

The sky gets free at the end of afternoon for a more magnificent sunset as unexpected on Lhotse and valley

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12th day From Chukhung to the Camp of Khumbu (4906m), Kongma la 5514m, 9.3km in 9:40 am, ascent +180m

Chukhung Camp du Khumbu

We get up a little earlier, at 5:30 am because the step will be long today. The acclimatization time is finished. The path towards the pass of Kongma is well drawn and rises regularly on its first part. The sun quickly join and warm us.

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The last part is rough on the other hand because it is necessary to cross what appears to be the real cliff. Without GPS or the trace of the path (because snow for example), the progress would be unpredictable.

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Arrived on the pass at about 1:10 pm, the view is great, with a totally crystal clear sky.

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Some volutes arise from the top of Lhotse and an emerald green lake extends at our feet. We lunch on the  pass in a hidden recess shielded from the wind.

The descent is a vast scree, covered with ice in certain places. We left our Microspikes at the bottom of our bags and we are not proud of this lack of preparation. It is sometimes necessary us to go down on buttocks to avoid a fatal fall.

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We arrive at about 4:10 at the foot of the impressive moraine of the Khumbu glacier. We hesitate to cross it because it is late. We do not want to take the risk of losing us on the back strewed with cracks and with iced lakes. We thus decide to settle the tent on a bed of icy sand already in the shade. Here, as in the first camp, we do not find a torrent for the water supply. It will be necessary to us to melt some snow to prepare the meal of semolina mixed in a Turkish chicken soup bought in a Namche shop. Here is the globalization lived on the ground!

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Beautiful sunset on Pumo ri (7165m). It is our new friend, having abandoned today the Ama Dablam.

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We go to bed at about 6 pm after an uncomfortable Rumi party: the pieces of paper are unstable on sleeping bags and we have -12°C in the tent!

13th day From the Camp of Khumbu to Lobuche 4931m, 1.7km in 2 hours, ascent +25m

Camp du Khumbu Lobuche

T=-3°C inside  at 8:30am. We adopt the same tactics as in the first camp, waiting  comfortably in our sleeping bags for the sun to come to lick the icy walls of the tent.

We are voluntarily lazy because the stage will be short today: we just have to cross the biggest glacier of the world.

We end quitly our breakfast when two fellows rush down from the pass. It has to be 10 am. Yannick and Fin left at 6 am this morning from Chukhung and are already at the foot of the moraine at the end of morning. They envy us to be able to settle where we want with the tent but they are 4 times faster than us. They hope to cross the glacier in 20 mn. They will spend 1  hour there by crossing without worrying about cairns. We will spend, us, 2 hours.

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14th day from Lobuche to Gorakshep (5172m), Kala patar 5640m, 9km in 2:50 + KP, ascent +241m

Lobuche Gorakshep

There is not far from Lobuche to Gorakshep and it is necessary to become used again to the long organized rows of trekkeurs with their sticks clashing in rhythm. The Lobuche’s pass is a bottleneck in which the patience is not an option 😉

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In Gorakshep, lodges are not lacking and the prices continue to increase. I negotiate 300Rs a room against 500. They will refund themselves easily on the meals. We find Yannick and Fin there who just come back from the Kala patar. What an energy! We lunch together before they come down towards Lobuche. As finer negotiators, they do not have to pay for their rooms (moreover, they never pay).

We leave at about 1 pm towards Kala Patar to arrive at the summit at about 3:15. Our objectf is to wait for the sunset there. My GPS indicates 5640m, in compliance with the point found on Google Earth. Yannick himself found this altitude. Nevertheless, the official height is only of 5545m there. I see a small hill, below, which could be the « former » Kala Patar. Strange. Maybe that the Nepalese State wants to avoid a classification in the trekking peaks list, worried of not killing the goose that lays the golden egg? You should not repeat it but it would be easy to him to collect 5000€/day  by taxing the ascent. If this hypothesis is correct, the trek without compulsory guide in Nepal has beautiful days.

We wait two long hours that the sun accepts to lie down. The experience is irreplaceable but it is necessary to manage the cold.

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Sylvie goes down half an hour before me and I catch up her at night. It is necessary to say that its fluorescent orange raincoat must be visible from the Moon. Always improvident, we forgot our headlight. We put ¾ hour to join the lodge.

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15th day In Gorakshep. Round trip to CB Everest (5247m) 4.6km in 3:30

Gorakshep EBC

T=-1°C inside at 7:30am.

I leave only at 9:30 am towards the Everest’s base camp, letting Sylvie rest of her yesterday descent. One of its toenails exploded.

Without the backpack, I feel wings. I arrive there at about 11:20 am. There is some trekkers but no tent on the moraine. We planned initially to camp there but we preferred the comfort of the lodge … I do not regret the walk because the landscapes are very different from those who preceded. I have now to enter in as much to go on the back the glacier. It is a world of blocks of ice, so big as icebergs, as congealed in their fall towards the valley

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The absence of tent is maybe understandable by the Sherpa’s strike begun in May, 2014, following the avalanche killing twelve of them and leaving their families in a total destitution.  We have the right to risk our lives to accomplish our passions. Taking risk with people who make it for their surviving seems to me a little bit shocking.

16th day from Gorakshep to Dzongla 4831m, 11km in 6 hours, descent -341m

Gorakshep Dzongla

T=-1°C inside at 6:30am.

Bad news this morning: the manager of the lodge learns us that the government decided to close the airport of Lukla from 26 till 28 November because a summit of the SAARC [ 1 ] will take place to KTM. Our plane has to leave the 30th and we are at risk to have crowd to Lukla looking forward to return on KTM. Without mattering on the weather which can very well conjugate its efforts to stick thousands of trekkers several additional days. These news waste us the morale and will be confirmed in Lobuche and Gokyo.

The time is at the descent. We go now to the second pass which joins the valleys of Khumbu and Ngozumba.

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The descent towards Dzongla, by by-passing in height a magnificent lake, is soft. We abandoned, inLobuche, the main road which comes down towards Namche. In Dzongla, several lodges competes in spite of the low attendance of the path.

[1] SAARC = South Asian Association for Regional CooperationDuring this « summit » will be decided the construction of a hydroelectric dam, cofinanced by Nepal and India for a billion dollar amount. Sanjaya (Friends of Nature) was right, when in May, 2014,  he was predicting that the » Gold of Nepal  » is the hydroelectric strength to get in mountains and to distribute on all the Indian subcontinent. He dreamed even, I remember, about an electric car for all the Nepalese.
We better understand why Lukla is a mousetrap (appendix 2): the airport of Kathmandu includes on the same place the domestic and international parts. It is not possible to manage simultaneously these two types of flights. When it is really necessary to make land international flights (case of the SARC meeting), it is necessary to cancel all or part of the domestic flights. What is made here by the government in its big wisdom! 😉

17th day from Dzongla to Dragnag (4717m), Cho la 5369m, 9.1km in 8:30, descent -120m

Dzongla Dragnag

T=-5°C inside at 5:30.

We leave at 6:45 am for a new hard walking. We took out our microspikes this time! We move again in a great environment and under a sky of azure. After a 45° slope , we arrive on the glacier. Crampons are very efficient on the ice and we feel safe.

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The sight on the pass is also magnificent and numerous clouds form when we arrive at about 11:15. We lunch of toasts of county and of chocolate… The cold wind pierces us as in Kongma la.

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The Ngozumba glacier has nothing to envy to that of Khumbu. It will be necessary to us to cross it tomorrow.

The descent is vertiginous as the ascent but less stable with big stones which ask only to come down with us. It is necessary, in the continuation, to go back up a small unforeseen pass which nevertheless peaks at 5150m, before joining Dragnag, already in the shade, at 3:15 pm.

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With days and especially with nights, the spirit of the trek has changed. It was initially to balance a comfortable part in lodges with an autonomous, uncomfortable part allowing to enjoy mountains, isolated in the most extraordinary places. Although the conditions are not harder than around Dhaulagiri or in Makalu, we lose the courage to install the tent in the big cold, to dinner briefly while the steak of yak and a well burning stove wait for us at some kilometers … This is how we gradually abandon settling in the base camp of Cho Oyu …

We spend the evening with Didier, retired Breton professor. He walks in inverse sens with a friend and without guide.

18th day From Dragnag to Gokyo 4758m, 4km in 3:20, ascent +47m

Dragnag Gokyo

T=-4°C  inside at 7h

We leave at 8:10 am by following the foot of the mountain northward to join the path which crosses the Ngozumba’s glacier. The track is correctly marked on the ground and we scrupulously follow cairns. From time to time we hear the fall of stones on the ice already warmed by the sun.

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The ascents and the descents on the back of the glacier are more tiring than we had planned. The very good weather of the morning covers gradually. We arrive at 11:30  at Namaste lodge recommended by Didier: the cooking is there excellent. Coincidence or mark of good forks, we find Yannick and Fin there.

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We shall not forget the Yack Sizler vegetables French fries.

On phone, Yeti Airlines’s Tulsa reassures us. The airport reopens 28 and the closure will have no incidence on the boarding of November 30th. Maybe.

We take the luxury of a hot shower afternoon!

19th day In Gokyo. Round trip towards Cho Oyu 4965m, 8.8km in 3:30

Gokyo vers Cho Oyu

The breath was difficult this night, with the headache that goes with it. Everything is back to normal again with some ibuprofen.

T =-5°C inside at 7am.

I pass a verbal contract  with Sylvie: we shall walk towards Cho Oyu during 2 hours, no more … The sky is particularly clear this morning. We exceed of a kilometer the 4th lake without being able to see the Everest on the right because we miss a small additional kilometer… We discover to the left Cho Oyu (8188m) and to the right Gyachung Kang (7952m).

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On the way back, we meet Arnaud and Christine. We’ll meet in Namaste Lodge!

20th day From Gokyo to Lumde (4400m), Renjo la 5366m, 11.5km in 9:40 am, descent -358m

Gokyo Lumde

T=-4°C inside at 5h30. It will be tiring today because we have to cross our third and last pass, Renjo la. We leave at 7:20 am to reach the pass at 12:30. We suffer in the ascent but microspikes are again very useful. We take advantage of it to cut the tortuous path by crossing the ice surfaces.

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We lunch on the pass where the sights are again magnificent. We perceive Makalu (at the back on the right of Lhotse) at the foot of which I was in May. This time and contrary to the Kala Patar’s point of view, Everest is the highest, also seemingly.

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The descent is also hard. It is because, probably, of the accumulation of fatigue since the start of the trek. On the road, before the big descent towards Lumde, there are magnificent places to establish a camp at the edge of a torrent

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21th day From Lumde to Namche Bazar (3384m), 19.1km in 7 hours, descent -1016m

Lumde Namche

T=-1°C inside at 8h. We took our time in the breakfast with Arnaud and Christine. They walk faster than us but we meet now every evening in the same lodges.

I had planned a stage to Thame but we continue towards Namche. It allows us to win one day to manage the departure of Lukla which risks to be difficult.

We go from the mineral and clear world to the world of forests and mists. By coming down, the weather covers itself and we go into the clouds which hang on to the hillsides of the mountain.

455c      454k

 

We arrive in Namche at nightfall. The circle is completed.

22nd day From Namche to Phakding (2633m), 10.4km in 6:20, descent -751m

The sky is grey on Namche and it will stay until Phakding. The valley below seems plunged into the twilight of a Tolkien’s tale. We phone to try to leave one day earlier Lukla.

470b     ??????????

23rd day From Phakding to Lukla (2857m), 7.5km in 3 hours, ascent +224m

The sky remains grey all day long. We have an important feeling of cold here, more than in high height. No plane landed or took off today. We shall see good tomorrow.

At the end of the trek.

Appendix 1: list of the GPS points

Coordonnées réelles Khumbu 2014

You can see the complete spreadsheet with time schedule, ascents, possibility of organizing a new trek etc. by the tab Autonomy Tools / tableur spreadsheet Excel

The site doesn’t accept .kmz files. The file will be sent on Wikiloc by this page on the right side.

Appendix 2: the mousetrap of Lukla

To go out of Khumbu, there are several solutions. To take the plane, it is seemingly the simplest and the fastest: in hardly half an hour, you do the route to Kathmandu in a twin-engine plane, like Indiana Jone. Statistics: a crash a year, it is sufficieent to avoid it.

You can otherwise lengthen your trek of 5 days by returning by Jiri, knowing that it will be necessary to add 11 hours or more of bus to join KTM. No statistics concerning buses.

Finally, the legend says that you can also pass by a village named « Salery ». The trek Lukla-Salery takes only 2 to 3 days. A jeep would take you then towards Kathmandu in 17 hours on a path which really seems no suitable for vehicules on the map. The investigation does not allow us to determine where arrives this hypothetical jeep and people interviewed in Kathmandu are at least perplexed.

The helicopter which can take off in a little less demanding conditions of visibility that the plane is the last option, but it is much more expensive. The prices rise without limit when planes do not take off any more. 400, 500, 700 USD. Business is business.

Because it is necessary to know that planes and helicopters move only at sight, that they have to cross over high passes because Lukla is surrounded with monsters with  snowy summits.

It is also necessary to know that the weather in Kathmandu is very different from that of Lukla: when it is possible to envisage a take-off in the early hours in Lukla because there is still no wind and because night mists are dissolved with the cold, Kathmandu often soaks in a thick fog. When the fog gets up finally in Kathmandu, winds got up on passes and the mist already invades the tarmac of Lukla.

In these two situations, the persons in charge of control towers, if they do not drink the tea, forbid any take-off.

In brief, Lukla is a mousetrap.

If you decide, nevertheless, to return to Kathmandu by plane, there are three golden rules to be respected.

1. Buy a ticket for the first morning flight. It gives you priority in front of the troops of flight of the day.
2. Remain Zen and  leave politely pass before youfor check in, the organized groups supervised by corrupted guides.
3. Ask Saint Claire so that the weather does not degrade before you embarked on the liberator zinc.

The True Adventure to illustrate the process:


This article is waiting to be translated, in a few weeks.

We want to return in the valleys of Solu Khumbu (first passage in 2002) by trying to cross three passes: Kongma, Cho, Renjo La, and to go to four base camps Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Everest and Cho Oyu. We should find ourselves in isolated passages while returning on the very busy paths leading to Gokyo and Gorakshep.
21 days of trek from Lukla with 5 to 7 days of autonomy under tent with  possibilities of intermediate provisioning. A lot of time above 5000m with the risk of snowbound passes, the risk also to find no plane from Kathmandu also because of the weather…

End of August, 2014: on-line purchases of KTM-Lukla Return tickets 330USD (very expensively but it is for a noble cause 😉 via the site Tara Air was made during the day and with the kindness of the Yeti Air staff. Having said that, impossible to buy directly on a secure site: it is necessary to transmit the copies of passport and bank card (2 sides) by email… And Paypal did not reach to Nepal yet apparently.

It will be necessary to choose among three options during the journey, according to our shape, to the climate, and to the poeple on the road: ascent of Pokalde from Kongma la (hillsides seem strong and maybe unbridgeable without special material), ascent of Chukhung tse from Chukhung, or go to the base camp of the Everest by climbing on Kala patar (option depending on the crowd met between Lukla and Pangboche). This last option is chosen for the description of the current project.
All our thanks to those of you who would set of their time to criticize this preparation!

Situation:

situation

 

gradient altitude per day

dénivelé jour140914

altitude at night

altitude soir140914

altitude for distance

Altitude f(distance)

 

Planed schedule

agenda140914

 

Option Pokalde

Option Pokalde 2 Option Pokalde 1

 

Option Chukhung tse

option Chukhung tse 2 option Chukhung tse 1

 

 

Total carried weight

liste embarquée 1 liste embarquée 2 liste embarquée 3

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