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Title image - BAI takes you to: Everest Basecamp
Why climb with Berg Adventures

Leo Power Everest Marathon Dispatch

May 17, 2011 – Namche, Nepal, 3,450m/11,319ft.

I awoke at 5 am, read for an hour and devoured a breakfast of porridge, toast with honey, mango juice and strong coffee.

We experienced torrential rain last night but thankfully only a few light showers during today's 6-hour trek to Namche.

After the frenzy and pollution and noise of Kathmandu it is wonderful to be in clean mountain air, no automobiles, silence and serenity.



The porters never cease to amaze - some carry loads up to 120 kg/264 lbs!

We passed a number of bhattis (rest houses for porters) and my mom would have loved the rhododendrons (the national flower of Nepal) in bloom except I would never get her across the suspension bridges! The plant mostly flowers in March and April but I was fortunate to see some still in bloom at a relatively high elevation.

I also saw plenty of marigolds which are often planted in boxes to provide colour around village homes. When I arrived in Kathmandu I was presented with a necklace made from marigold flowers which apparently is a Hindu custom.

The stands of pine trees my dad would have admired and the fresh growth on the tips of the branches of fir trees reminded me of home. I love pine trees and many species do well at high elevation. Nepal has chir pine (long wispy needles), blue pine and plenty of other species. I noticed many homes had large stores of blue pine cones which are used for fuel and pine needles are used for incense and pine branches are used to purify, at least partially, the air in outhouses and in animal shelters.

I have been mesmerized by the fast flowing Shaptakoshi river as we trekked along and near Chumoa I saw an opportunity to have a refreshing dip, albeit a very brief one, and yes it was refreshing in both the literal and figurative sense! My intrepid guides, Nuru, Min and Jheta, were laughing in their usual congenial manner and naturally thinking I was a mad man! Great comic relief if only for a few seconds. An experience I won't be repeating on this trip.

We had lunch at Monjo and I enjoyed hot chicken soup, a fried chicken noodle dish and the tastiest greens I've ever had followed by miniature bananas.

Our next point of interest was the checkpoint at Sagarmatha National Park where Nuru and Min showed our passes to the staff at the checkpoint and I briefly read the background of the park in a small display room. Sagarmatha is the Sherpa name for Mount Everest and the Park, founded in 1976 and encompassing 1148 kms is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

We crossed another suspension bridge and had a great view of the confluence of the Bhote Kosi River which flows from Tibet and the Dudh Kosi River which flows from near Everest base camp/Khumbu glacier and after meeting it forms the Shaptakoshi River. The steep descent from the bridge, which was built by the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation, was referred to jokingly by Min and Nuru as the Hillary Step!

Suspension bridge Children playing

Left: Suspension bridge; Right: Children playing

From there the trail was steep and tough and I arrived Namche tired but elated at reaching 11,319 ft.

Our lodge at Namche is called Panorama Lodge & Restaurant and the owners are Sherab Jangbu and his wife Lhakpa Doma Sherpa.

They are friends of Wally Berg and simply excellent hosts and the food is sumptuous! Tonight I feasted on fresh tomato soup, and Shakpa, a delectable Sherpa stew described in the menu as "a tasty broth in a large bowl with vegetables, noodles, soft carrots, potatoes, meat and spices. A traditional dish of the Sherpa people."

Today's trek was again an incredible experience: Magnolia trees, small potato, wheat and vegetable fields, often enclosed by well constructed stonewalls were all a delight to view.

I met a woman and her daughter pounding wheat grains into flour in the time honoured tradition of a large wooden stick and a wooden container and lots of hard work.

I met dozens of fellow trekkers hailing from China, India, Australia, US, Canada, and other countries.

At Thopdara, Nuru pointed towards a view where I could view the summit of Everest for the first time but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate but I may have an opportunity tomorrow when we trek to a viewpoint at an Army Barrack at a slighter higher elevation than Namche.

– Leo Power