24 February 2016

EBC Part 3: Dingboche And Lobuche

Most mornings we rose about 5.30 (a lie in was 6.00). Breakfast was a choice of porridge, eggs, bacon, toast, cereal, yoghurt, jam, butter, honey and lots of chai. 
Porters carried our kit bags to our next destination, we loaded our rucksacks onto our backs and set off.

Leaving Tengboche for our next lodge at Dingboche. We were never far from the river Dudh Kosi, a raging river that flows from the highest peaks. It wasn't very raging here, more like a gentle meander, but during the monsoon it would be a raging torrent!

The impressive Ama Dablam in the distance. 


True Grit
The going often got tough for Bonnie & myself. We supported and encouraged each other and we had our mantras. With each step she took Bonnie’s mantra was “Courage & Confidence” Mine was "I can do it". I had a henna tattoo on one of my forearms which read “You can do it ma”, to remind me of what my daughters would say when I was struggling. It wore off after a while, but I still looked at where it had been when I needed encouragement. I also had two sayings going round in my head; “Each step takes me nearer to my destination” and “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”!
This particular day I decided that Bonnie was made of the stuff that built the west and I was made of the stuff that built the British Empire - True Grit.

Essential chores, washing clothes

and drying yak dung

What a handsome beast and what a gorgeous coat. 
There were quite a few wild yaks and ones that had reached the end of their working life and were set free to roam the mountains.

Dingboche, a village in the Khumbu region

We couldn't make out if this was an emergency helicopter or a sightseeing one.

The Khumbu lodge. Home for the next two nights.
  6.5 hours walking, a much better day. Beautiful weather and scenery. We were above the tree line now at 4,400 mtrs. 
Because we were always last to arrive Bonnie and I got a great welcome from the others in our group. I think they were pleased to see us arrive safely! We were a lovely group and bonded right from the start.

This was a really nice lodge, one of my three favourites. 
It was one of the many that used yak dung, it was blissfully hot and cosy.

My room was lovely, how did they know pink is my favourite colour :-) It was very cosy, it faced west which I hoped would warm it up a bit, it did, but not for long! There isn't any heating in the rooms, it would be too expensive and besides trekkers usually have all the essentials for cold weather. I hired a down jacket and a down sleeping bag, as they are very expensive to buy.
I went to have a shower and stripped off in the freezing cold. There were two plastic shower pipes but I couldn’t work out where they fitted to get hot water. After a few minutes of shivering I gave up, got dressed and made do with wet wipes. I found out later that the hot water had run out and the pipes had been disconnected. Most of the lodges rely on solar panels for hot water. I did get one the next day and it was excellent, lovely hot water!!

Western toilet. It did flush but paper had to be put in a bin beside the toilet and after a while it smells. We had to supply our own toilet paper.

Day 6:
The weather was cold and the water from the outdoor tap was freezing but I needed to wash a few bits. Tsurin got some hot water from the kitchen for me. Later some people (think they were staff) were washing their hair in that freezing water!! They were very hardy. 
I started to wear my really cold weather clothes today.

We stayed for 2 nights in Dingboche. This day the rest of the group did a 5 hour round trek to a place called Chukkung. Bonnie and I decided we would prefer an easier day but wanted to do something to assist with acclimatisation, so with the help of Tsurin we climbed to Nangkar Tshan, just behind our lodge. It was 4,600 mtrs and took us 3.25 hours with stops for photos and to admire the scenery.  


Day 7:
Preparing to leave. After packing everything Ken had forgotten to put sun cream on, so I put some of mine on for him. 

On the trail to Lobuche. The weather was glorious.
It was somewhere about here I realised that I had left a pair of socks on the line last night, I left them as they needed a bit longer to dry but then forgot about them. I didn't even notice them as we were leaving! It was also about now that I felt one of the side effects from the Diamox, I had some slight tingling in some of my fingers. It wasn't anything to worry about and it didn't last for long. 

The yaks look like cute reindeer but we were told to keep away from them as they can be very bad tempered. Josh touched one by the horn and it turned on him, but another time he stroked one and it was ok. I’m sure some of them are quite docile.

Phurba and me, lunch break

Sherpa Phurba sunworshipping

Phurba was very patient with Bonnie and myself, he wouldn't let us walk too quickly

Boys have to be 16 before they can take a job as a porter, 
the lad wearing the red hat didn’t look much older than 12 or 13.


This area had a lot of shrines and monuments honouring those who have died on various Everest expeditions. 

It was very poignant

Our next stop, Alpine Lodge at Lobuche, 4,926 mtrs 5.5 hours walking. 
A good day but I got cold this afternoon, I was wearing good gloves but my hands were cold and I was tired. 
We had a slight fall of snow. 
I didn’t like this place, everywhere was untidy and smelt of urine. 
John & I went for a walk in search of apple pie, he had heard that there was a bakery in town, sadly there wasn’t.

The lodge wasn’t comfortable or cosy. My room didn't have anything on the floor, just bare floor boards. But again it had all I needed - a comfortable bed. It was a brand new lodge, still in the process of being finished. I think we were some of the first to stay there.

Squat toilet
OMG the toilet, it was new and very clean but the smell, oh the smell, I think the sewers were backed up, it was vile, it was so bad I thought I would never get it out of my nostrils. When I needed to use it I had to hold my scarf over my nose! 
I didn’t even bother looking for the shower, it was too cold, I was in basic survival mode now. 
However the dining room was warm and the food was delicious and plentiful, and they did a very nice hot chocolate drink.
Someone had one of those gadgets you put over the end of a finger to measure heart rate. 
We all registered good except Ken, his was text book perfect.

Next stop Gorak Shep and base camp.


  1. The more I read of this the more I am in total awe of what you did. Incredible. I'm not sure I could have endured the living conditions, but the scenery is truly spectacular.

    1. Thank you Jessica. I can be quite a fussy person but when I was there in those conditions it suddenly didn't matter, I just got on with it. It was worth it for the experience.

  2. This is such an amazing tale and I'm enjoying it SO much! xx

    1. I'm enjoying re-living it too, it's bringing back some lovely memories. Glad you're enjoying it :-) x

  3. This is just astonishing - I had no idea - way behind on blog-surfing. Absolutely fascinating. Fabulous shots too.

    1. Thank you Mike. I'm behind on visiting blogs too, it takes me a long time to read all the ones I like!

  4. I am fascinated by this travelogue, Polly. A trip to remember!

    1. Hello Amalia, I'm really enjoying all the lovely memories as I'm writing about it xx

  5. Amazing shots Polly, I could feel and almost smell everything you describe and have shown. This is a trip that I would know I would never be able to go on, but they way you have written and shot the scenery has made me just immerse myself in fully (apart from the squat toilet - let's not think about that one :) ). xx

    1. ha ha, no we won't think about that one now! :-) Thanks for your lovely comments Chel. I'm not a writer but I'm chuffed that you have got so much out of it.


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