October 25th 2017 –
In most of the lodges each room usually has two single beds, and if you’re lucky, an ensuite bathroom. The beds have sheets and a cover or two, but only the really brave would dare to sleep in the sheets in a room with no heating… in November… in the Khumbu. Standard operating procedure is to get out your sleeping bag, lay it on the bed, and be grateful you’re not on the floor. Think of it as camping in a plywood tent with a bed.
The most difficult moment of the day is leaving the comfort of your sleeping bag to visit the bathroom in the morning. Or any time during the night really. You can see your own breath in the room and you’re wearing a hat, both experiences a little surreal as you are technically indoors. Complicating things further, you don’t have a lot of clothing on because the sleeping bag is so damn hot. Too bad the water isn’t.
When I discovered that there was no hot water this morning, I messaged Binoy on Facebook (he was across the hall in his room) to ask if he thought the situation might change. Sadly, when the weather is cloudy, the solar panels don’t work, and the water runs cold. Within a few minutes Des arrived at my door with a massive thermos of boiling water which I used with a washcloth to clean the essential bits surrounded by bracing air. At this point I’m sure Binoy regrets adding me as a friend on Facebook.
Before we set off from Ghat, I assembled our team for a photo. There are three porters, Des, and Binoy, going with me to Ama Dablam Base Camp. There are a number of other porters taking supplies and equipment to Base Camp where I will meet our cook and the climbing Sherpa. One of the porters is Bim. I found out that his father is the last man in Nepal climbing incredible heights on narrow ladders made of bamboo to collect a psychotropic honey. I’m not entirely sure if he tries the honey which encourages him to do this every year. He was the subject of an incredible documentary filmed by National Geographic. Bim apparently used to go himself as a young boy to ‘hunt the honey’.
We set off from Ghat, travelling to Monjo where we stopped to have lunch. It is here that we entered Sagarmatha National Park (Sagarmatha is the Nepalese name for Mount Everest which means ‘head touching the sky’.) From Monjo we headed up the valley of the Milky River, crossing the Hilary Bridge and making the last push up to Namche Bazaar.
We spend the day in Namche tomorrow.