Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Breathtaking Trail to Tengboche

Everest 2015  •  April 1

Tough night for me last night, just could not get comfortable due to the damp, cold climate in our room. However, my sore throat is much better! We got up early, moved our trekking duffels to the staging area at the hotel entrance, grabbed breakfast, and started walking to Tengboche.

Team Awesome, geared up and psyched up for the trek to Tengboche.
Team Awesome, geared up and psyched up for the trek to Tengboche.
In order to keep our loads light, we get help carrying our kit up the mountain, human and otherwise. This Yak carried my duffel to Tyangboche. I HEART YAKS!
In order to keep our loads light, we get help carrying our kit up the mountain, human and otherwise. This Yak carried my duffel to Tengboche. I HEART YAKS!
Steep stairs lead out of Namche. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Steep stairs lead out of Namche. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Why are the kids here so adorable? (Photo: Justin Merle)
Why are the kids here so adorable? (Photo: Justin Merle)
The trail to Tyangboche is easy going, and spectacular.
The trail to Tyangboche is easy going, and spectacular.
Yes, we are excited to be here. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Yes, we are excited to be here. (Photo: Justin Merle)
How do you like my stylish gaiters? I took 'em off at the next break... lots less yak dung and mud than anticipated.
How do you like my stylish gaiters? I took ’em off at the next break… lots less yak dung and mud than anticipated.
The twin bridges we crossed several days earlier, on the way up to Namche.
The twin bridges we crossed several days earlier, on the way up to Namche.

SUNSHINE! Yes! Blue skies everywhere for almost the entire day! The weather was warm, there was a gentle breeze, and the going was pretty easy (down to the river by a long traverse for two hours, then lunch, then up two hours for about 2,000 feet to the ridgecrest where Tengboche monastery sits.

Yes, this is how I roll in the Khumbu. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Yes, this is how I roll in the Khumbu. (Photo: Justin Merle)
The ID physician in me could not resist taking this photo... Listeria, anyone? Brucellosis? I'm so eager to culture this cheese....
The ID physician in me could not resist taking this photo… Listeria, anyone? Brucellosis? I’m so eager to culture this cheese….

The views were just plain amazing. I cannot emphasize this enough. I have watched endless movies, read books, and studied photos of the Khumbu region for years, but none of that prepared me for the incredible beauty of this place. The mountains are so sharp, clear, and austere. Everest was out in all her glory, with telltale cloud plume (as the jet stream parts around it, a low pressure system forms in the lee, which encourages the formation of a standing cloud there). Ama Dablam, reputed to be the most photographed mountain on Earth, was jaw-droopingly beautiful as well.

Ama Dablam. The most beautiful mountain I have seen... and very challenging to climb (the route takes climbers along the dark ridge on the right, then up to and diagonally across the hanging Dablam glacier. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Ama Dablam. The most beautiful mountain I have seen… and very challenging to climb (the route takes climbers along the dark ridge on the right, then up to and diagonally across the hanging Dablam glacier. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Everest on the left, Lhotse on the right. Clouds in the lee mean the jet stream is hitting the peaks... we have to wait for the stream to move north before considering a summit bid... this usually happens mid May.
Everest on the left, Lhotse on the right. Clouds in the lee mean the jet stream is hitting the peaks… we have to wait for the stream to move north before considering a summit bid… this usually happens mid May.
I'm liking this view.
I’m liking this view.
Blake loves it when the wind blows through his silky locks...
Blake loves it when the wind blows through his silky locks…
Kim. Need I say more?
Kim. Need I say more?
Mountains in the clouds. For real.
Mountains in the clouds. For real.
Justin shows us the sights. (Photo: Wayne Piett)
Justin shows us the sights. (Photo: Wayne Piett)
Andy photobombs the prayer wheel and Ama....
Andy photobombs the prayer wheel and Ama….
Phortse, the home town of our guide Phinjo Sherpa, seen in the distance. We did not go to Phortse, but saw it from the trail to Tyangboche..
Phortse, the home town of our guide Phinjo Sherpa, seen in the distance. We did not go to Phortse, but saw it from the trail to Tengboche.
Up into more scrub-like terrain. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Up into more scrub-like terrain. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Spanish moss and rhododendrons. The terrain changes here by the hour, as we climb higher and higher.
Spanish moss and rhododendrons. The terrain changes here by the hour, as we climb higher and higher.
Rhododendrons in bud. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Rhododendrons in bud. (Photo: Justin Merle)
This Yak should get royalties from The North Face.
This Yak should get royalties from The North Face.
Enjoying hot tang for lunch. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Enjoying hot tang for lunch. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Foot care is important! (Photo: Wayne Piett)
Foot care is important! (Photo: Wayne Piett)
...Especially when your feet look like this. Note; The painted nails are not mine. (Photo: Justin Merle)
…Especially when your feet look like this. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Yak attack! (Photo: Justin Merle)
Yak attack! (Photo: Justin Merle)
Siva keeps cool under cover. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Siva keeps cool under cover. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Dalton, ace photographer, shoots the yaks... with his lens. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Dalton, ace photographer, shoots the yaks… with his lens. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Andy: Perpetually happy (Photo: Justin Merle)
Andy: Perpetually happy (Photo: Justin Merle)
Andy chills out at the lunch break...
Andy chills out at the lunch break…

As we pulled into Tengboche, we entered a cloud, which seems to be common for the afternoons here.  Uncomfortable way to finish the hike, damp and wet.  The tiny village here is picturesque cloaked in fog. There’s not much here, just a monastery, three teahouses, and a fabulous bakery (with brand new espresso machine). Plus, lots of dogs (they all look identical to each other, go figure), yaks, and horses. Sitting in the dining room of the teahouse typing this post, I am chilled even in three layers plus a hat. This is a dank place when in clouds, but I am optimistic that it will be sunny tomorrow morning.

Andy, Phinjo, and I pull into Tengboche. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Andy, Phinjo, and I pull into Tengboche. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Tengboche monastery
Tengboche monastery
A stupa greets us as we enter Tengboche.
A stupa greets us as we enter Tengboche.
These carved slate stones are often aggregated to form fences.
These carved slate stones are often aggregated to form fences.
Wayne rocks the ascent to Tyangboche, elevation circa 12,600 feet).
Wayne rocks the ascent to Tengboche, elevation circa 12,600 feet.

There is a cell tower here, but few bars unless I stand outside near the antenna, and certainly no data on my iPhone. The tea house offers wifi for $5, but currently it connects to nothing… the proprietor tells me that they are working on the problem back in Namche, which does not inspire confidence. Being online in the mountains seems wrong, but on the other hand, because I will be gone for so long I want to keep in touch with my family so they know I am fine. Thus, its a bit disappointing when I cannot get these blog entires up on time. But, just a bit.

Kim savors the coffee at the amazing bakery here.
Kim savors the coffee at the amazing bakery here.
This Yeti adorns the wall of the coffee shop. We'll keep eyes peeled for him.
This Yeti adorns the wall of the coffee shop. We’ll keep eyes peeled for him.

We will visit the monastery tomorrow.

Word of the day: “…” (No words, just awestruck silence.)

14 thoughts on “Breathtaking Trail to Tengboche

  1. I’m thrilled that the scenery exceeded your expectations. Must be truly awesome. But your poor feet! I am hoping that you will get some sunshine and have a chance to warm up. I’ll bet the hot Tang tasted pretty good. Take care and continue to enjoy. Katie, Rafa and the boys are on their way for Easter. We will miss you! xox

  2. Paul, I’m just getting caught up on your blog. You’re amazing and inspiring! Miss you at work, but so glad you’re doing this. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  3. yeahhhh try some of that yak cheese! yummy

    awesome photos and commentary once again, Paul

    thanks for letting us have this vicarious enjoyment of your adventures

  4. I’m a friend of Kim’s. I’m totally loving your blog! Tell her hi for me. You guys are all amazing. Praying for a great trip for all of you.

  5. Plz tell Kim Mama Hess bought an IPad today just to follow this amazing adventure better! Prayers/hugs to Awesome Team One!

  6. Wow, what amazing views!! What a great experience, wishing you all safety and great weather. Jean Stoermer

  7. Paul, your pictures are incredible! We are so happy to be following along with you on your trip. Oliver says your picture of the mountain peeking through the surrounding dark clouds is the coolest photo he has ever seen. Totally amazing. We love you!

  8. Dear Paul,

    Your nephew Oliver showed us (his class) your blog! It is so cool! We have a few questions for you.
    1. How cold is it in the village and at the top of Mt. Everest? -William
    2. Are the people in the village nice? – Sophia
    3. What kind of food have you been eating? – Ana Sofia
    4. Are you enjoying it there? – Myla
    5. What are the houses like over there? – Sarea
    6. How long did it take to prepare for your trip? – Makayla
    7. What kind of clothes did you pack? – Charlotte
    8. How long did it take you to get there? – Charlotte V.

    We love watching your trip! We can’t wait to see what will be on your blog tomorrow! Stay warm!

    From,
    The OK Corral (Grades 2/3 at PJS)

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