Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Trail to Tengboche

Everest 2016  •  March 31

Things looked a bit grim when we woke up… I guess conditions would have been worse if it had started to rain blood or frogs, but short of that it looked pretty darn rotten.  But, no worries, we are hardcore mountaineers!

Up into the freezing rain, mixed with graupel and hail… I took a page from my buddy Blake’s book, and purchased an umbrella… as soon as I pulled it out, conditions started to improve! 

A frosty, wet, uncomfortable start to the morning in Namche.
A frosty, wet, uncomfortable start to the morning in Namche.
We travel as a closely-knit group.
We travel as a closely-knit group.

By the time we reached the flat portion of the trail, it began to warm up and dry out.  We got our gore tex off, and enjoyed the amazing views on all sides.

Looking back down the Khumbu valley.
Looking back down the Khumbu valley.
The double bridge we crossed day before yesterday, seen in telephoto from the trail to Tengboche.
The double bridge we crossed day before yesterday, seen in telephoto from the trail to Tengboche.
High alpine flora surrounds the trail.
High alpine flora surrounds the trail.
As the mist burns off, the hillside acquires a dramatic look.
As the mist burns off, the hillside acquires a dramatic look.
We are not alone here.
We are not alone here.

When we were here last year it was a bluebird day.  Today was a bit more overcast, and it took a while for us to catch glimpses of Everest and Ama Dablam.  But, they were just as spectacular as I remembered, and the clouds provided some cover from the sun.  A beautiful walk!

Emily, Chris, Theresa, Cristiano, and Kaji.
Emily, Chris, Theresa, Cristiano, and Kaji.
The EstFest rolls in high style and authority.
The EstFest rolls in high style and authority.
Cristiano loves it up here.
Cristiano loves it up here.
So does Rafa.
So does Rafa.
Approaching a stupa on the trail.
Approaching a stupa on the trail.
The Tenzing / Hillary memorial viewpoint.
The Tenzing / Hillary memorial viewpoint.
This place is amazing.
This place is amazing.
Phortse seen through the mist.
Phortse seen through the mist.
Lhotse emerges from cloud shroud.
Lhotse emerges from cloud shroud.
Our objective, Tengboche, seen on the ridge top at center of the screen.
Our objective, Tengboche, seen on the ridge top at center of the screen.
Kim susses out the situation. All systems go.
Kim susses out the situation. All systems go.
Emily Johnston = Awesome.
Emily Johnston = Awesome.
Yiorgos Mikris, representing his home state with style.
Yiorgos Mikris, representing his home state with style.
Lopsang, our amazing trekking sirdar.
Lopsang, our amazing trekking sirdar.
A traditional home along the trail.
A traditional home along the trail.
The trail winds gradually downwards through rhododendron forests.
The trail winds gradually downwards through rhododendron forests.
Rhodies festooned with Spanish moss. Feels like home.
Rhodies festooned with Spanish moss. Feels like home.
This Tahr stems out like a pro to eat moss... exposure over 50 feet. Nice.
This Tahr stems out like a pro to eat moss… exposure over 50 feet. Nice.

Lunch was at the same place as last time, at the tiny village of Phunki Tenga.  A nice break at the bottom of the valley, next to the roaring river, before we regained our lost elevation, and then some, for about 2,000 feet of gain to reach the ridge top.

Guides and trekkers are very close on this team. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Guides and trekkers are very close on this team. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
We found that my teammates are irresistibly attracted to the tactile wonderfulness of my new Seahawks-themed Sherpa sweatshirt.
We found that my teammates are irresistibly attracted to the tactile wonderfulness of my new Seahawks-themed Sherpa sweatshirt.
This was the site of Andy’s terrible illness, when he curled into a ball and fell asleep. Kim was able to recreate the moment in breathtaking detail, right down to the jacket (the pouty lower lip was an improvisation). (Photo: Justin Merle)
This was the site of Andy’s terrible illness, when he curled into a ball and fell asleep. Kim was able to recreate the moment in breathtaking detail, right down to the jacket (the pouty lower lip was an improvisation). (Photo: Justin Merle)

From the river, the trail climbs through rhododendron forests, which were intermittently shrouded in mist.  It was a beautiful climb, which we did at a deceptively slow pace… felt slow, but was steady and sustainable… perfect!  After 4 hours and 15 minutes of moving time, we pulled into Tengboche, a perfectly respectable pace for this section.

The bridge leading up to Tengboche. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
The bridge leading up to Tengboche. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
Preparing to cross the bridge, and then up to Tengboche.
Preparing to cross the bridge, and then up to Tengboche.
We look amazing, no? (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
We look amazing, no? (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
The view from the bridge. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
The view from the bridge. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
We pose for our closeup on the river while photographed from below.
We pose for our closeup on the river while photographed from below.
We await the arrival of a yak train. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
We await the arrival of a yak train. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
There they are! (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
There they are! (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
Up we go... (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Up we go… (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Mingma Tenzing, Cristiano, and Susan gearing up after a break. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Mingma Tenzing, Cristiano, and Susan gearing up after a break. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Cristiano rules the valley. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Cristiano rules the valley. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Cristiano surveys the valley below.
Cristiano surveys the valley below.
Siva hikes in high style.
Siva hikes in high style.
Cristiano and I are getting along great.
Cristiano and I are getting along great.
This Tahr looks like something from Middle Earth.
This Tahr looks like something from Middle Earth.
Justin Merle. 'Nuff said.
Justin Merle. ‘Nuff said.
Part yak. Part cow. All awesome.
Part yak. Part cow. All awesome.
Our gradual ascent continues. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Our gradual ascent continues. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Eddie enters Tengboche with confidence and style. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Eddie enters Tengboche with confidence and style. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
A monk at the monastery gate.
A monk at the monastery gate.
Niki and Bob are awesome. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Nicky and Bob are awesome. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
This building sustained lots of damage, and has not yet been restored.
This building sustained lots of damage, and has not yet been restored.
Our hotel in the mist. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
Our hotel in the mist. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)

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The monastery gate at Tengboche. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
The monastery gate at Tengboche. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)

Tengboche is the spiritual center of Nepalese Buddhism. The monastery is very impressive, even after sustaining major damage in last year’s second quake. Clearly, the community has rallied and invested considerable money and time in making the place beautiful again.  In fact, I think it looks even more fresh and spectacular than last year.  It feels wonderful to be back.

Cafe latte and mocha cake make this place even more amazing.

Our favorite distraction in Tengboche: the bakery. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Our favorite distraction in Tengboche: the bakery. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Decisions... decisions. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Decisions… decisions. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Chocolate Mocha cake.. bliss on a plate. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
Chocolate Mocha cake.. bliss on a plate. (Photo: Yiorgos Mikris)
All that is good and wholesome in the world. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
All that is good and wholesome in the world. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
Rafa and Susan in the bakery. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
Rafa and Tania in the bakery. (Photo: Theresa Hagerty)
The amazing bakery never disappoints!
The amazing bakery never disappoints!

Tomorrow we will have a rest day.  Looking forward to it!

Blogging well past sunset. (Photo: Justin Merle)
Blogging well past sunset. (Photo: Justin Merle)

Word of the day: Auspicious

5 thoughts on “Trail to Tengboche

  1. Awesome adventure. OMG Cristiano ! Wow, I may have to make the trek…..send more pictures (of Cristiano) !! LOL

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