Day 15: Gorek Shep to Pheriche

We woke this morning with the weight of trekking to Everest Base Camp weighing on us. Anne had another bad night of sleep and at one point I was really quite worried about her safety. We quickly decided that base camp wasn’t in the cards, though it was a particularly tough decision for Anne as it was one of the primary objectives of the trek. The reality is that Everest Base Camp is really just a bunch of prayer flags on a glacier that involves a long slog to get there. After the view from Kala Patthar yesterday, it seemed that base camp would be a letdown. Plus, given the pace at which Anne is now traveling due to her breathing difficulties, the round trip probably would have taken close to 4.5 hours and hence endangered our plans to make Pheriche that evening. So we ate breakfast and headed down the valley rather than up it.

We made slow progress to Lobuche where we stopped for tea. Anne ordered mint tea, which was confused for milk tea, so I swapped my hot lemon for hers and also grabbed her camera to put in my pack, thus helping reduce her load. As we descended, progress became quicker and by the time we were in Thukla for lunch, Anne was hopping along much more quickly, with less coughing and hacking.

At lunch we ran into basically the entire contents of our lodge in Gorek Shep, all headed to Pheriche for the night. We also met two Irish men heading up to climb Lobuche peak. They found a friend in Dorje, who started giving them beta on which camp to make and some limited details of the route.

The last bit of downhill to the lower valley went quickly, with Anne passing people as we dropped in altitude. In the valley, we spent time taking pictures of a summer yak station with its rock walled pastures and flags. It was just another 15 minutes to town where we checked into the Pumori Lodge. It was a nice place on the far side of town. The place was huge, clearly designed to hold the large crowds of the high season, though only contained 2 or 3 parties for the night.

Anne was in good spirits and we listened to audio books together, sitting side by side in the dining room basking in what remained of the sunlight. As a nice touch, the host served us warm hand towels before dinner to wash off our hands. It was unexpected and it really set a great mood for the evening. For dinner, Anne had egg curry. This was notable because Anne proclaimed it to be the best egg curry in Nepal. As she’d not really eaten much for the past several days I was delighted she’d finally found a full meal she wanted to finish.

Tomorrow we’re off to Tengboche, which should be around a 4 hour trek. Tengboche sits on a ridge overlooking the valley and is host to a large gompa. Families from all over the Khumbu send their children here to study so we’re hoping for some great photo opportunities!

Stats for the day:
Miles: 6.8
Ascent: 148m
Descent: 1002m
Total Time: 6:13