When trekking at high altitude it is important to increase your height gradually in order to avoid altitude sickness, sometimes called Acute Mountain Sickness. This can be potentially very serious and even lethal. The best way to do this is to have days where you sleep at the same altitude for a couple of nights. Today is the first of these nights, sometimes called a rest day, but in truth not so much. The aim of these days is to climb high in the day, and then sleep lower at night, thereby exposing your body to the altitude but giving it time to react.
So, today was a fairly relaxed start with breakfast at 8, then straight into the climb to the Everest View Hotel, where fantastic views of Everest can be enjoyed over a very civilised cup of tea. Today was our first view of Everest on this trek.
The day’s walking starts with a bang, straight up the busy streets of Namche Bazar and relentlessly climbing steeply up the mountain side behind. This continues for about 2 hours and is totally unyielding. There are many viewpoints along the way. A large pile of rocks on an outcrop can be climbed for an excellent photo opportunity, there is a wonderful view of the army base with its high altitude helipad. Later we can see a school with children playing in the playground outside.
Somewhat later, the slope became more gradual and the going got a little easier. Here we saw the beginnings of a brand new development, designed to showcase the recycling efforts in the national park. Here is also the site of an airport, which has not been used to land planes for a number of years. The runway is poorly surfaced with dirt and rocks, but of a reasonable size.
Shortly after this we get our first sight of Everest as we round a corner by a stone wall. At first sight it is easy to write off as not that big, but that is because we are still quite some distance away. Soon, we reached the Everest View Hotel for our cup of tea and wonderous views.
After sampling the views and taking as many photos as was acceptable, we began our return journey, back to Namche Bazar for lunch and a lovely warm shower. This was followed by a visit to the various shops and then back for dinner, then on to, what is claimed to be, the highest Irish bar in the world for some heavy drinking (of hot chocolate) then back to bed. A hard day awaits us tomorrow, we’ll need all the rest we can get!