Last Acclimatisation Day

Viewpoint Dingboche

I wake up to the sunlight entering our room and, when I look out the window, I was absolutely AMAZED. I can see huge, snow-covered mountains all around. It feels as if I am still dreaming. After breakfast, we go to the monastery one more time for the morning puja (Buddhist prayer ritual) and then we are ready to head off to our next destination: Dingboche, one step closer to Everest Base Camp.

(from “Life of a Porter“)

When we leave Tengboche, we initially have to walk downhill through an alley of trees, which form a kind of interesting passage. We pass by a monastery for women to our left and in front of the houses we walk past, we see children playing, while the women are working in the fields.

After we cross a bridge, we are faced with an uphill path which is not surprising – after all, our destination is Dingboche, which lies 4,440 metres above sea level, and this means overcoming a difference of 570 metres.

The path is not actually that steep but the higher we climb, the less oxygen there is for us to breathe. It starts to become somewhat challenging and I can hear my own breathing, which is beginning to sound like an old rusty car.

Porters walking in the opposite direction

After we leave Tengboche, the landscape changes. The day before yesterday, we were still surrounded by pine trees but yesterday all I could see were some dry green “bushes” and perhaps some single taller trees. Our guide keeps telling me to enjoy the scenery, since the landscape will start to change even more, gradually and drastically.

We continue on our way and we begin to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings and the peaceful atmosphere created by the silence, the praying flags and the stupas. We look back and take a last look at the tips of the snow-covered mountains, which are now immersed in thick clouds.

The path is really beautiful, running alongside the milky-coloured river and it offers truly amazing views over the valley. We pass through some villages where we see some locals cleaning their guesthouses because it is the end of the season. We have a splendid view of the fields which are so nicely separated from each other. We are also lucky enough to meet some more yaks, which are simply having a break and enjoying their lunch.

At this point of our journey, the landscape changes drastically. When we started our walk yesterday, there were still some green bushes, but, after reaching a certain height, the most I can see around me are large grey stones and some boulders. This, along with the cloudy weather, presents an almost “sad” and very dark image.
As we approach Dingboche, I feel very happy because I know that tomorrow we will have our second acclimatisation day. This means that we can sleep in and simply enjoy the day without carrying our heavy backpacks.

After dropping off our bags, we don’t even bother to freshen up, since we want to walk around the village and check out the bakeries. We find three different ones and soon Francis, Fatima and I are sitting in one, sharing a cake and recovering. From afar we can see our three Indian friends (Sourabh, Dhruv & Toni) coming towards us and we accompany them to our guesthouse. In the evening we all sit around the heater which is placed right in the middle of the room.

Since we are the only people in the guesthouse, we really enjoy each other’s company; talking and sipping some milk tea. I am so exhausted that I miss half of the conversation since I fall asleep on a bench. After some time, when everyone is starting to yawn, we say goodnight to each other but, to our Indian friends, we say our goodbyes as they are planning to leave early in the morning, without having a day to acclimatise. They will be heading further to Lake Gokyo. I walk into my room and literally fall onto my bed.

Enjoying the evening together at Dingboche guesthouse

It is now morning and today is the day that we will acclimatise ourselves to the height. I decide that I will be taking it very easy today. I take my time eating my breakfast and simply enjoy relaxing for a while. Our guide tells us that we should head off for a little walk to a nearby viewpoint if we feel like it because this will help us to acclimatise as our next destination is at a higher altitude than Dingboche.

I really don’t feel like moving at all but at the same time I don’t want to miss out on anything so I decide to lace up my shoes and get myself ready. Walking without a backpack is very strange now, since I am now so accustomed to walking with it. The backpack almost becomes a part of you, containing all the important things you need.

We reach the top and it seems as if the fog has already enveloped everything. Added to this, the wind is making it very unpleasant to stay here for too long. It is almost impossible to enjoy the wonderful view but hopefully tomorrow will be different. We take some pictures and start to climb downhill.

Just close to our guesthouse we stop when we see a yak family grazing. There are even two yak babies, dancing around, one completely black and the other with white patches on its black fur. They are incredibly cute and I watch them for a while but keep my distance because I know that yak mothers are very protective of their young and can be potentially dangerous. We decide to continue walking towards the guesthouse, but we take the opportunity to look closer at the local life. To our left some locals are working with dried yak excrement, as they use it to make fire.

We reach the guesthouse and I decide that I will take the rest of the day off, napping and reading a book. I eat out-of-date and extremely overrated Snickers as I am craving some chocolate!

It feels really good to just relax and “do nothing” for one day – I really need it.

As tomorrow is a big day, I prepare some things and have an early night. Tomorrow we will have to climb to an even higher altitude and now Everest Base Camp is just around the corner…

Let’s hope for good weather!

From Tengboche to Lobuche via Dingboche

Good night

Credits

Image Title Author License
Viewpoint Dingboche Viewpoint Dingboche Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Leaving Tengboche alley of trees Leaving Tengboche alley of trees Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Leaving Tengboche, porter carrying goods Leaving Tengboche, porter carrying goods Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Porters walking in the opposite direction Porters walking in the opposite direction Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Praying flags along the way Praying flags along the way Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Stupa along the way Stupa along the way Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Cleaning up the guesthouse Cleaning up the guesthouse Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Amazing view over the valley Amazing view over the valley Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak's enjoying their lunch Yak’s enjoying their lunch Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Fields on the way Fields on the way Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak crossing the "milky" river Yak crossing the “milky” river Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
On the way to Dingboche 1 On the way to Dingboche 1 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
On the way to Dingboche 2 On the way to Dingboche 2 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Porters transporting construction materials to Dingboche Porters transporting construction materials to Dingboche Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Enjoying the evening together at Dingboche guesthouse Enjoying the evening together at Dingboche guesthouse Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
View of Dingboche 1 View of Dingboche 1 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
View of Dingboche 2 View of Dingboche 2 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
View of Dingboche 3 View of Dingboche 3 Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak family Yak family Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Baby yak Baby yak Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0
Yak excretions are used to make fire Yak excretions are used to make fire Isabel Scharrer CC BY-SA 4.0

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