Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Righteous in Pheriche

Everest 2016  •  April 3

A planned rest day in Pheriche. Just like last year, we took a morning hike up the hill behind town.  This hill is actually the medial moraine of the Khumbu glacier, which deposited masses of stone and earth here millennia ago.  It has since retreated, and has left a beautiful acclimatization route in its wake.

The gate to our tea house... an auspicious day for a hike. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
The gate to our tea house… an auspicious day for a hike. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
Pheriche looking down from the moraine, view up-valley towards Lobuche.
Pheriche looking down from the moraine, view up-valley towards Lobuche.
Our tea house... solar panels on the far left mark my room... same one I shared with Blake last year.
Our tea house… solar panels on the far left mark my room… same one I shared with Blake last year.
We make progress on the trail, under the watchful eye of Ama. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
We make progress on the trail, under the watchful eye of Ama. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)

Views of Tamsierku, Kantega, Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Nuptse, Lobuche, Cholatse, and Tawoche were amazing.  I even sneaked in a time-lapse video looking down valley, and it looks pretty cool.

Fearsome face of Tawoche.
Fearsome face of Tawoche.
Kantega and Tamsierku. Awesome.
Kantega and Tamsierku. Awesome.
Island Peak.
Island Peak.
Ama Dablam.
Ama Dablam.
Lobuche. Our summit is Lobuche East, just beyond the rock pyramid you can see here.
Lobuche. Our summit is Lobuche East, just beyond the rock pyramid you can see here.
Cho Oyu, sixth highest peak on Earth, just over the Tibetan border.
Cho Oyu, sixth highest peak on Earth, just over the Tibetan border.
Panorama from the medial moraine we climbed for acclimatization today.
Panorama from the medial moraine we climbed for acclimatization today.
Roger looking awesome at a break.
Roger looking awesome at a break.
Jerry and Chris.
Jerry and Chris.
Mingma Tenzing... Awesome.
Mingma Tenzing… Awesome.
Justin documents our progress.
Justin documents our progress.
My getup for the day hike.
My getup for the day hike.
Prayer flags stretch towards our objective. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
Prayer flags stretch towards our objective. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
Chris and Teresa. Adorable. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
Chris and Teresa. Adorable. (Photo: Chris Hagerty)
Dingboche from above. This village is separated from Pheriche by the medial moraine.
Dingboche from above. This village is separated from Pheriche by the medial moraine.
Nima Sherpa. Awesome guide, and owner of a tea house in Dingboche that was badly damaged in last year's quake...
Nima Sherpa. Awesome guide, and owner of a tea house in Dingboche that was badly damaged in last year’s quake…
However, as you can see, the brand new one is amazing... thanks in part to the IMG Sherpa Fund! Thanks to those who have donated!
However, as you can see, the brand new one is amazing… thanks in part to the IMG Sherpa Fund! Thanks to those who have donated!
Susan and Yiorgos. Awesome.
Susan and Yiorgos. Awesome.
Rafa. Master of Crane Style (at 15,000 feet AMSL).
Rafa. Master of Crane Style (at 15,000 feet AMSL).
Lakhpa Sherpa is amazing.
Lakhpa Sherpa is amazing.

We topped out just above 15,000 feet for the day, which is perfect for this purpose.

Emily rocks the buff like no other.
Emily rocks the buff like no other.
Ama and prayer flag.
Ama and prayer flag.
Ama Dablam. Gorgeous.
Ama Dablam. Gorgeous.
This homestead clings to a cliff over Dingboche.
This homestead clings to a cliff over Dingboche.
Prayer flags at a stupa on the moraine ridge.
Prayer flags at a stupa on the moraine ridge.

After lunch we visited the HRA clinic.  The Himalayan Rescue Association is a very impressive outfit.  Volunteer physicians and paid staff operate three clinics in the mountains of Nepal: One in Pheriche, one up valley at EBC, and one in Manag. For years they have provided a leadership role in providing medical care not only to climbers and trekkers for a reasonable fee, but also to everyone who lives in the region—virtually free of cost.  Their actions last year during the quake were essential and certainly saved lives.  Today we met with two lovely volunteers from Switzerland—a medical doctor and a psychologist / mountain guide, very cool combination.  They provided a similar coaching session to the one we had last time, succinct but full of good advice.

The Pheriche Hospital's front door.
The Pheriche Hospital’s front door.
The Pheriche Hospital.
The Pheriche Hospital.
HRA hours are very reasonable.
HRA hours are very reasonable.
The night bell.... A doctor is never really off call.
The night bell…. A doctor is never really off call.
HRA Fees are very reasonable. These fees subsidize the care provided virtually for free for the Sherpa.
HRA Fees are very reasonable. These fees subsidize the care provided virtually for free for the Sherpa.
Dr. Regula chats with some visitors.
Dr. Regula chats with some visitors.
The ward at HRA. They can accommodate two patients....
The ward at HRA. They can accommodate two patients….
Supplies at the HRA clinic.
Supplies at the HRA clinic.
Polly the oxygen concentrator...
Polly the oxygen concentrator…
Nice way to support the HRA.
Nice way to support the HRA.

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I was humbled to see a new extension of the memorial to those lost on the mountain… the original monument is no longer large enough, and so a new one has been affixed to the HRA clinic wall.  Fifteen names are bolted to it, all from the quake.  I believe the official tally is higher, at 19, but perhaps some of the fallen remain unidentified.

The Everest Memorial, Lobuche in the background.
The Everest Memorial, Lobuche in the background.
The number of blank plaques is sobering...
The number of blank plaques is sobering…
The expansion area of the Everest Memorial.
The expansion area of the Everest Memorial.
The fallen in last year's quake.
The fallen in last year’s quake.

This is a place that runs strong with emotion for me… not only the memorial, but also the location just next door where we spent the night on the way out and tried to drown our sorrows with endless rounds of beer, rum, and eggy chang.  Pheriche has been restored.   Perhaps, in a way, I seek a kind of personal restoration here, too.

Word of the day: Introspective.

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