Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Monastery in the Clouds

Everest 2015  •  April 2

I slept VERY soundly last night! The sleeping chambers are separated by truly thin plywood walls, so thin that they probably should not be there at all. This leads to all sorts of humorous exchanges with our neighbors, who thank goodness are our teammates as well. Apparently there were many dogs howling and fighting into the wee hours, but thanks to the miracle of modern chemistry I heard none of it.

Looks cute, right? Wrong. This little guy was up all night barking for no good reason... that's why he looks tired now.
Looks cute, right? Wrong. This little guy was up all night barking for no good reason… that’s why he looks tired now.
OK I admit it, these puppies do look cute. Wonder what sort of worms they harbor...?
OK I admit it, these puppies do look cute. Wonder what sort of worms they harbor…?

As hoped, the day dawned clear and strikingly crisp. Everest, Lhotse, Cholatse, and Ama Dablam were stunningly sharp. A leisurely 8:00 AM start to the day for breakfast, then a visit to the monastery. It really felt as though we had traveled to Tibet. Although we were asked not to photograph the inner sanctum, we were encouraged to shoot the exterior and inner courtyard. This monastery was destroyed by fire in the early 1990’s, and rebuilt to precise specifications a short time later.

Recharging our batteries, in every sense of the term.
Recharging our batteries, in every sense of the term.
Cholatse. Wait a few days until you see it's fearsome opposite face.
Cholatse. Wait a few days until you see it’s fearsome opposite face.
One of the towers that looms over Tengboche. Check out that ice cliff!
Thamsierku, one of the towers that looms over Tengboche. Check out that ice cliff!
Ama Dablam as seen from Tengboche.
Ama Dablam as seen from Tengboche.
Tengboche monastery (Photo: Justin Merle)
Tengboche monastery (Photo: Justin Merle)
Ama and one of the gargoyles of the monastery.
Ama and one of the gargoyles of the monastery.
Closeup of the gargoyle... Elephant? Fish? Dragon? You decide....
Closeup of the gargoyle… Elephant? Fish? Dragon? You decide….
A small stupa outside the monastery.
A small stupa outside the monastery.
Fearsome cliffs surround Tengboche.
Fearsome cliffs surround Tengboche.
Main gate to the monastery.
Main gate to the monastery.
Guest quarters at the perimeter of the monastery.
Guest quarters at the perimeter of the monastery.
Ornate carvings and paintings in the courtyard.
Ornate carvings and paintings in the courtyard.
Dalton relaxes outside the inner sanctum. Heavy burlap curtains help fend off the cold winds.
A monk enters the inner sanctum with water to clean the floor before we enter.
A monk enters the inner sanctum with water to clean the floor before we enter.
He sports an IMG jacket, nice. (Photo: Andy Polloczek)
He sports an IMG jacket, nice. (Photo: Andy Polloczek)

We went for a short acclimatization hike up to see some of the chortens and prayer flags that adorn the ridge above the monastery. Chortens are small stone memorials to honor people who have passed away… in this case, we suspect that they honor prominent members of the monastery community, including lamas. Clouds came ripping in from the valley below, lending an etherial (and cold) quality that seemed appropriate for this setting.

Monastery from the ridge above the village.
Monastery from the ridge above the village.
Numerous chortens with prayer flags adorn the ridge.
Numerous chortens with prayer flags adorn the ridge.
Chortens lead up to the clouds.
Chortens lead up to the clouds.
Prayer carved into the rock above town.
Prayer carved into the rock above town.
Looking back down the Dudh Kosi valley.
Looking back down the Dudh Kosi valley.
High tech meets low tech. This phone tower worked very sporadically, at best...
High tech meets low tech. This phone tower worked very sporadically, at best…
Drying hand towels alongside yak dung under the phone tower. What could possibly go wrong here...?
Drying hand towels alongside yak dung under the phone tower. What could possibly go wrong here…?
Wood is a precious commodity in the Khumbu. this tea house seems to have plenty on hand.
Wood is a precious commodity in the Khumbu. this tea house seems to have plenty on hand.

The bakery called to us, and we answered by ordering coffee and pastries (the chocolate rum cake was fabulous).

Chocolate rum cake... the second slice you see was delivered to my buddy Blake back at the tea house. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Chocolate rum cake… the second slice you see was delivered to my buddy Blake back at the tea house. (Photo: Justin Merle)

A smoky evening in the dining room (which is heated by one wood stove and one propane stove), two bowls of ramen soup with veggies and eggs, a bowl of hot canned fruit, and a small snifter of hot grog, then off to bed.

LC enjoying the fine atmosphere at the dining room. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Kim needs no coffee to get happy.
Kim needs no coffee to get happy. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Lakpa is a very enthusiastic sherpa! (Photo: Justin Merle)
Lakpa is a very enthusiastic sherpa! (Photo: Justin Merle)
Thunang is also stoked. Always. (Photo: Justin Merle)

I am feeling just fine, aside from a small head cold which is typical up here, and is rapidly improving.

Word of the day: Leisure

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