Saturday, 27 October 2012

Everest Trek - 26 days part 1

Mt. Everest - 8848m

This blog entry is the longest I have ever written so far and it had to be split in 2 parts as the capacity ran out - too many pictures ;)
When I create my blogs I always live through the experience again. It is awesome!!! I understand if you don't find time to read everything. Scroll through the headings of each day and see what you like. At least have a look at all the stunning pictures! This Everest Region is just awesome!!! I could look at these beautiful mountains forever :)

Before I started off on my trek I left a note on a few days beforehand, to look for a trekking companion as the route from Jiri to Lukla wasn't so well trekked. A few people responded, but the timing matched only with one - an American guy called Steve, 60 years old. I met him in Kathmandu and decided we will start to trek together to see how it goes. 

Sat. 22nd Sept. – Day 1 “Bus ride to Jiri!”
Kathmandu – Jiri (1995m) – 8 1/2h
Sagarmatha Lodge                                                Cold shower :(       Food :)

We left Kathmandu at 7.30am in a Micro van. It was a nice, well kept bus – pretty unusual for Nepal ;) We were only 4 Western tourists on the bus, the two of us and a Spanish couple. The rest were all local Nepali people. That hopefully meant, that the trail is not packed. The driver was pretty good, not any kind of lunatic I had experienced beforehand. It felt like a pretty secure bus ride and that was a good start :) We stopped for lunch and took a few small breaks in-between. At 4pm we finally reached Jiri and got a room.

Sagarmatha Lodge - Jiri

Local shop in Jiri

Jiri's surrounding landscape

Main road in Jiri

I had a shower and we explored the town for a little while. Jiri is a small village with a lot of village life going on. They are growing tomatoes here and on the way we saw cauliflower and cabbage fields.

Sun. 23rd Sept. – Day 2 “Tough going on the 1st trekking day!”
Jiri – Shivalaya – Deurali (1995m – 1790m – 2705m) – 9h
Lama Guesthouse                                                Hot shower :)            Food :)

After a lovely, tasty breakfast we started off. Only after 10 min we met a local woman, who was on her way to Mali so we walked with her. I had a lovely long chat with her – she was 26, got married with 17, has two kids 5 and 7years old and she is a teacher at the local school. I walked about 2hours with her. 

Beautiful houses on the trail!

The trail was pretty steep at parts and not very clear at all, but we didn’t get lost. It was nice to have her around until we reached her school. We waved goodbye and headed to Shivalaya, where we had lunch at a small cosy cute place, where I ate my first Dal Bhat. 

View from the lunch place into the back garden - drying bedlinen & meat in the same place ;)

We had to register at the police checkpoint and made our way up to Sangbadanda. From the lunch spot until our final destination we had to ascent 1000m!!!! Yes, it was exhausting – especially for the first day. The last hour I could really feel my backpack and I was so happy when we finally reached Deurali at 4pm! Long day and especially the last two hours of the hike were on difficult terrain, lots of gravel and uneven surface.
Lama Guesthouse - Deurali

We met the Spanish couple again, which had been on the same bus and we had a lovely, chatty evening. They lived for 12 years in the UK and quit their jobs and are travelling since nine months. It was funny as they had trekked Annapurna and Langtang this year as well like myself :)
Mani walls in Deurali

Mon. 24th Sept. – Day 3 “Met new likeminded trekkers!”

Deurali – Kinja - Sete (2705m – 1630m – 2520m) – 8 1/2h

Sunshine Lodge                                    Hot bucket :)            Food :/

I had some porridge for breakfast, it was a big portion but not tasty. I ate it anyway as I needed some strength. We descended down to Bhandar for an hour, which was a nice walk through beautiful scenery and landscape. They are growing corn, tomatoes and cabbage here. 

Monastery in Bhandar

The trail continued along a ridge around the valley, passing many waterfalls. It was boiling hot and the sun was blazing down!
I forgot to mention, that we had a beautiful sunrise this morning and we saw snow-capped mountains for the first time. So stunning!

Deurali at 6am

First snow-capped mountains
I met a few locals on the way, some porters who walked to Lukla to pick up some tourists there. They are running up & down these trails, it’s amazing really! They do two days in one ;) 

I reached Kinja around 11 and met a German couple from Berlin. We got chatting and agreed to see each other in Sete to stay there overnight. I had some tasty potato roesti for lunch and a good rest. The guy from this lodge was lovely. He was even able to speak some German ;) 
Then we started a steep climb up to Chimbu. OMG was that steep. I had to stop several times to catch my breath and to rest. After 1.5 hours I finally reached a small lodge, met the German couple again and had a break there to gain some energy for the next hours to come. Finally - the last climb for today up to Sete! The path was full of gravel all along and really hard to trek on. 

I felt so happy when I saw the four guesthouses up the hill! Sete, I’m coming ;) I checked all of them, none had a proper shower, but the first one was newly built and looked really nice. It wasn’t completely finished yet, but the two brothers running it were working on the last bits and pieces. They just installed the electricity to have some light in the dining area and offered me a hot bucket, which I kindly accepted! A bit later Steve arrived and the German couple. We all had a lovely chatty evening and the German couple Sina & Raffael and I decided to start walking together tomorrow. So happy about it! Steve said he would take his time and go later. Fine with me! The rooms were lovely, new wooden built and I had a good night sleep.

Tue. 25th Sept. – Day 4 “Best lodge ever!”
Sete – Lamjura Pass - Junbesi (2520m – 3560m – 2680m) – 7 1/2h
Apple Garden Guesthouse                        warm shower :)            Food :)

I had some curd with apples before we started off at 6.30am.
It was a steep uphill trek to Dagchu, which was a tiny village with some farmhouses. We saw small cows, baby goats and took a little rest there. The weather was clear and sunny, so we were able to see some beautiful snow-capped mountains again. Very beautiful!

Cute milk churn!

Little rest to have some water!

More snow-capped mountains

We trekked further up through gorgeous enchanting forests, which reminded me about the Robin Hood movie! There was even a small pond and a lot of rhododendron.

Ascending further to Goyom (3060m) we saw lots of goats and porters carrying up food and clothes. We had a lovely view onto the white-tipped peaks of the Rolwaling area like Dragnag Ri 6801m.
Finally at 11am we reached the Lamjura Pass, which was a pile of stones wrapped with prayer flags and just beforehand was a beautiful stupa. 

Stupa just before the pass

Lumjura Pass - 3560m

This is the highest point on the trek between Jiri – Namche Bazar! We heard and saw at least 30-40 planes flying in and out of Lukla! Oh god, it might get crowded very soon on the path! But first we will enjoy our time towards Namche and then we take it from there.

View towards the valley and Junbesi

Cute Nepali girl

From the pass it was a long descent to the bottom of the valley through a fir and rhododendron forest. We passed some deserted small houses, some Mani walls and coloured mantras carved into a rock face. 

Coloured mantras

We were looking for a lunch place, but we couldn’t find anything. So we decided to press on towards Junbesi and have lunch there. I was so tired that I dropped my hiking stick 3 times! Not a good idea to trek without a lunch break ;)
Finally we arrived in Junbesi. It was a cute little village in a valley. We saw the Apple Garden lodge and decided that will be our place for tonight. 

The lodge was gorgeous looking inside, with real proper wooden floor and the rooms were really spacious! Really beautiful! 
Apple Garden Guest House
My gorgeous room

Apple Garden next to the lodge

We had some lunch and a shower and I decided to explore the village a little bit. 

Local stupa in Junbesi
Water prayer wheel
I met some students from the largest Hillary school, which was just next to our guesthouse. Some students came over, wanted to chat for a little and asked me to take pictures of them. They’re so cute, aren’t say?!

I also visited the gompa “Thashi Thongmon”. An older Nepali man just opened it up and I was able to have a look inside. It was beautiful!

Coming back to the guesthouse I had some tea with an apple momo :) So tasty as they were having lots of apple trees in the back garden! I met another guy from the UK, who stayed in our guesthouse for a few days, as he got sick, but he is planning to walk 2morrow as well. Steve arrived later on and we all had dinner together in our lodge. The lodge owner had dried apple slices in the kitchen and I tasted some! Mmhh, delicious ;) 

Wed. 26th Sept. – Day 5 “Our 2nd pass!”
Junbesi – Ringmo – Trakshindu La Pass - Nunthala (2680m – 2720m – 3071m – 2220m) – 8h
Himalayan Trekker Lodge            warm shower :)            Food :)

This morning we had a great view onto Numbur 6959m! After some tasty apple momo’s we started off walking uphill. We met the porters again from yesterday and walked a while with them. The trail was looping in and out of side valleys and it was beautiful to walk there. The scenery was stunning and reminded me about the Alps :) Finally we reached Phurteng 2900m, where we had our first real glimpse onto peaks like Thamserku 6608m, Kantega 6685m, Kyashar 6770m and Kusum Kangru 6367m. Unfortunately Mera Peak and Everest were hiding behind the clouds.

View from Phurteng - 2900m

After a descent through pines over a large suspension bridge we had a steep climb for about 30min to Ringmo. It was a small village with a magnificent view onto Numbur 6959m! 

Numbur in the background - 6959m


The couple from Berlin - Sina & Raphael

Another 45min ascent with never ending stairs, which felt like leading to a castle and were winding around several corners, we finally reached the Trakshindu La pass! 

Beautiful ingrown stupa

Trakshindu La Pass - 3071m
We had reached 3071m and we decided to have lunch there. In the meanwhile a lot of mules arrived to cross the pass.
Lots of mules crossing the pass!

Yippie, 2nd pass done ;)
On our way down we kind of followed herds of mules, which were surprisingly even slower than we!
The descent was a trail of mud and rocks; it felt like you were walking through a stone quarry. But it wasn’t too difficult overall and I managed to pass by the mules and finally walked freely to our final destination for today called Nunthala. The owner of on lodge was open to negotiate the price, so we stayed there. Just after I had showered it started to rain. Perfect timing :) There were a few more trekkers coming in, two guys from Israel and an Austrian & German guy. We had a lovely chatty evening and I ate Pizza with local mushrooms! They tasted delicious!

Nunthala -2220m

Thu. 27th Sept. – Day 6 “2nd cosy lodge!”
Nunthala – Jubing – Khari Khola - Bupsa (2220m–1680m–2010m–2360m) – 6 1/2h
Sundup Lodge “The pink one”            warm shower :)            Food :)

Sunrise in Nunthala
After a tasty breakfast – apple pancake with homemade jam - we started off descending down to 1400m! So happy that my knees were ok, no pain at all so far :) We reached the 109m Suspension bridge to cross over to the other valley.

View leaving Nunthala

Walking through valley's

Beautiful waterfalls

Stunning fields

Rural Nepali scenery

Mules coming up the trail

A local porter carrying up a lot of wooden planks

After a short walk we came to a gorgeous village called Jubing. Lots of flowers, banana trees, cute houses and very idyllic!

From there many mules were hiking up to 2000m to Khari Khola with us in the blazing sun, but beautiful scenery accompanied us. 
Monastery in Khari Khola
We walked down through the village and stopped at a small guesthouse for lunch. As it was so hot we dried our clothes in the sun while eating Dal Bhat. Some more trekkers passed by during our break. After lunch we started to hike up to Bupsa. 

This was another steep climb with a gorgeous view over the valley. The goal was the colourful monastery up the hill - Bupsa. 

After an exhausting hour I finally reached the small village with lots of colourful lodges. 

I was looking for the Sundup Lodge (The pink one!) as the sister of the Apple Garden Lodge in Junbesi runs this one. She gave me a good deal and the rooms were very cosy, spacious and wooden. 
Sundup Lodge - my beautiful room
Wow, we even had a stunning view from the bedroom window! Can life get any better?!
As we arrived early we washed clothes, I had a stroll through the village and just chatted away with the other trekkers. The weather was beautiful! 

The owner of the lodge was a lovely woman with a small boy called Sandup. 

Sandup - the lodge owners son
Her husband is a dedicated mountaineer. He climbed several peaks incl. Mt. Everest, mountains in Pakistan and he’s right now leading an expedition to Dhaulagiri 7661m. Amazing pictures decorated the wall in the dining room about him and he’s just 26 years! Dinner was really tasty, I had some Spaghetti and as dessert a Mars bar, which was fried in some tasty dough! I was so hungry – I guess I burned so many calories already ;)

Sunset in Bupsa

Fr. 28th Sept. – Day 7 “The plane crash!”
Bupsa – Kari La Pass – Paiya – Surkhe - Chheplung (2360m-3145m-2730m-2290m-2660m-2840m)– 8h
Hilltop View Lodge                        warm shower :)            Food :)

Sunrise in Bupsa

With banana pancake for breakfast we started off towards the pass. Another steep climb for 1.5 hours, but we were rewarded with soaring views over the valley and the Himalaya range! Amazing!

The trail continued descending through enchanting forests with lots of oak trees, dzopkyo (mixture of bull/yak) and mules flocking the trail. I followed some herd of mules for almost an hour today and the dzopkyo are massive animals and even a bit scary.

Enchanting forest

Dzopkyo (a mixture of bull & yak)

more Dzopkyo 

We passed a small village called Paiya with some cute little guesthouses and followed the trail towards Surkhe. We had to walk pretty careful, as there were many loose stones on the edge. It felt like a mules trail as they were just everywhere ;) the mules are carrying rice up to the villages or even as far as Namche.


Way towards Lukla

We had lunch in Surkhe and then I continued by myself to Lukla. I wanted to stop there to buy some tea and some more chocolate bars. It felt like a never-ending walk, which went up, and downhill but mostly uphill. 

Never-ending walk
Finally at 2.30pm I saw a sign saying Chheplung 3min! I was irritated as I thought I had reached Lukla. I had even asked many local people on the way if that is the right trail to Lukla and everybody nodded. Well I should know better, Asian people always say yes, even if they don’t know ;) Oh well, here I was in Chheplung, 45 min past Lukla. I decided to find a lodge for the night, drop my bag and walk into Lukla.
Hilltop View Lodge - Chheplung 2840m
It took only 30min to walk back towards Lukla and I found a small local shop, which was selling tea and chocolate bars. Perfect! So I stocked up and walked back to Chheplung. 
At my lodge I saw the two Israeli guys coming up towards the village. I waved at them and they came to the lodge and decided to stay here. It was nice to have company again as I had lost the German couple. The man from the guesthouse was very nice. We had some really tasty dinner - Spaghetti and real tomatoes with it! 
Afterwards we discussed some trekking routes with the lodge owner and he recommended going over the Renjo La Pass to Gokyo. He also told us that a plane crashed this morning from Kathmandu to Lukla and all 19 people died. Apparently an eagle flew into the turbine and the plane went down and burned out. Scary! Maybe I will walk all the way back to Jiri. Let’s see ;)

Sat. 29th Sept. – Day 8 “Tourists & bakeries!”
Chheplung – Namche Bazar  (2840m – 3440m)– 51/2h
Tashi Delek Lodge                                    hot shower :)                        Food :)

The lodge in Chheplung last night used Solar Energy only, so we had no light in our rooms. I got up at 5.30am and it was still dark outside, so I used my headlamp to rearrange and pack up my stuff. After a tasty apple pancake I made my way towards Namche. I passed by many villages and it was a lovely trek. 

For the 1st time I saw much more trekkers than for the last six days ;) Not too many so! After a village called Ghat I passed a lovely stupa, mani walls and prayer wheels.

Around the corner I had an amazing view onto Kusum Kangru 6367m.

I met a local woman and we walked together for a while. I asked her about the plane crash and she told me that her brother in law was actually on the plane!!! He was just 41 years old :( She was on her way to Khumjung to take care of her sisters’ kids, while her sister had to fly to Kathmandu. Shocking, if you suddenly meet and talk to a person who is straight away affected by the crash!!!!

I passed Phakding, which was horribly touristy, Toktok, Bengkar, Chumoa and Monjo and reached the checkpoint for the Sagarmatha National Park. A bit further on I passed the last village before Namche called Jorsale. Apparently you should have lunch here, but it was only 10am, so I decided to go on. I passed another Police checkpoint before I crossed a suspension bridge.

From there you follow the riverbank over gravel & boulders before trekking back into the forest. From here the hard part starts!!! I crossed another suspension bridge, which I shared with a herd of mules and other trekkers. I had to hold onto my hat as the wind was blowing strongly! The climb was a torturous ascent, zigzagging through a pine forest for at least 1.5hours. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the first sign saying Namche!

So relieved and happy to have reached the police checkpoint! The guys were very nice there and even offered me a chair while waiting ;) They showed me a certificate, which you can get, after you come down again. So funny! But of course it is not for free!
From there it was still another steep climb up to Namche.
I headed straight for the lodge on the top of the hill, which I got recommended and agreed a price with the owner! The prices are sky-high, but nothing I can do about it. Well, I guess it is the Everest Trek after all!

Namche - 3440m
My guesthouse

After a hot shower I checked out Namche for a bit, checked the prices of chocolate bars and the local bakeries! Pretty expensive the stuff in the bakeries, but the chocolate bars were cheap ;) I bumped into the Austrian & German guy and the Israelis as well. Namche itself is touristy, but not as bad as I expected and not too crowded yet.
Back in my lodge, I met the couple from South Africa again and it was such a cool coincidence that they stayed actually in the same lodge! The dinner was really tasty and the lodge was pretty packed. We had trekkers from the US, China and all were organized groups. The small little girl from the lodge was so cute, she wasn’t shy at all and we had a great time. The South African couple and myself chatted for a long time and we had a great evening.

Sun. 30th Sept. – Day 9 “Acclimatisation Day!”
Namche Bazar – Everest View Hotel – Khumjung – Namche
(3440m - 3880m - 3780m - 3440m) – 4h
Tashi Delek Lodge                        hot shower :)            Food :)

I was warm enough in my sleeping bag, but I had trouble to sleep already. Seems like my body needs to adjust to the height, but I was resting at least :)
At 7am I walked down to the bakery to buy some cinnamon bread for breakfast! So tasty! It’s so nice to eat something different. It was so foggy, so I decided to wait a while before going on my half-day acclimatisation trek.

Fog in Namche
I started with a steep ascent of the ridge on a zigzagging path towards the airfield of Shyangboche. The grass airstrip was previously built to serve the Everest View Hotel. However no airline currently has planes that can land on this lofty altitude. Only helicopters can! In my eyes it wouldn’t make sense anyway as it is far too high up to fly into and I’m sure lots of people would get altitude sick straight away.
I hiked up further to the next visible lodge, where I asked the owner for directions to the “Everest View Hotel”. He told me it’s only 25min from here following a straight path around the ridge! Cool, I was pleased even if it was still unbelievably foggy and no view whatsoever! 

Exactly when I reached the hotel some clouds disappeared and I had a glimpse onto a snow-capped peak.

The hotel is the highest hotel in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records!

I went onto the terrace, where I met a group of Chinese with a trekking guide. They were very friendly and took a picture of me. 

There were two other mountains visible to the right covered in snow, but no idea what their names were.

I ordered some lemon water – the cheapest item on the menu – and enjoyed the view. 

I was pretty lucky, as the clouds seem to move so quickly, so we were able to see Ama Dablam 6865m! What a stunning and beautiful mountain!

Then I headed down to Khumjung 3780m, a small village with a Primary/Secondary school established by Sir Edmund Hillary.

After a stroll through the village I made my way back to Namche passing Shangboche and just before Namche I visited a small cute monastery with a lot of old books. It reminded me about the one in Manang at the Annapurna circuit.

Namche Monastery
Lots of old well kept books

Prayer wheel
View onto Namche
Some more mountains visible above Namche
At noon I was back in my guesthouse and decided to go for a small shopping stroll to buy some gloves. Then I treated myself for a cafe latte and a marble cake in the German bakery “Herman Helmers”. They have a really cosy area to sit at. Then I met up with Elaine from the UK, the girl who first wanted to go trekking with me, but she decided to fly into Lukla and to get a guide and a porter. She had just arrived in Namche and dropped me a text! So we met in the Everest Bakery and had an apple pie :) So tasty! Yummy! We had a good chat and when I returned to my guesthouse it was almost time to eat. The couple from SA was there as well, so we had an enjoyable chatty eve and we all ordered Pizza! We exchanged phone no. so we can meet up in Gokyo again as I decided to walk over the Renjo La Pass.

Mo. 1st Oct. – Day 10 “West coast of Ireland in Nepal?!”
Namche Bazar – Thamo – Thame (3440m - 3440m – 3820m) – 4h
Sunshine Lodge                        Western toilet – no shower :|            Food :/

I started off uphill, passing the monastery and all the mani boulders entering into a pine forest. 

The trail

I reached Phurte with a white stupa at the beginning of the village and a stunning view onto the Himalaya’s with prayer flags surrounding the stupa. 

At the end of the village I passed a tree nursery and then the trail climbed around a ridge, where I saw a sign “Laudo Gumpa”! Oh, this is the meditation retreat Daniel & Henrik (the German and Austrian guy I had met earlier on the trek) are joining for two weeks.
The trek towards Thame was beautiful. Stunning scenery, a few local houses and just a pleasure to walk on.

Mani walls

Local Nepali woman

Am I not cool?!


I reached Thamo, a small village of scattered stone houses with the ruins of the old Khumbu Bijuli hydroelectric projects destroyed in 1985 floods. There were a few cute guesthouses there and at the top end of the village was a nun monastery, which I stopped at.

They were just building a new gompa and the nuns were even painting the ornaments by hand. It will look beautiful when it’s finished. All the nuns living there are from Tibet and none of them could speak English. A pity really!

New built gompa

Painting pots in the gompa

Ornament being painted

The next village was Somde, where I stopped at the Sunshine View Lodge to admire the amazing view onto Kongde Ri and Parchamo, which both have exactly the same height - 6187m.

View from Somde

Kongde Ri and Parchamo - 6187m

After another steep climb the trail dives down to the river. Suddenly I saw the famous national bird of Nepal called “danfe”. I had only seen it on pictures or kids drawings so far, but now I finally saw it live! Beautiful bird!

Crossing a bridge I met a Yak herd, the first real Yaks I have seen since in the Khumbu region. They are massive! Unreal ;)

The weather was beautiful until now. Clear blue skies, but it was supposed to change. I already saw the thick clouds coming up from the valley and in a few minutes the whole landscape was covered in fog! I followed the steep trail up to Thame, where I reached a gate. After 10 min or so I saw the village with scattered stone houses. Thame was tiny, with a lot of stonewalls. It reminded me instantly about the West Coast of Ireland. Just the sheep were missing!

I looked at two lodges, but the prices were too high or the owners not very friendly. So I kept on looking and ended up in the Sunshine Lodge, which was run by a cute lady. She was ready to negotiate and she cooked me lunch :)

I decided to go for a short stroll around the village in the afternoon even as the fog was hanging in there. I met another woman from Berlin, which was also trekking by herself and we got chatting for a bit. We had a cup of tea in her lodge and then went for a small walk. I showed her my lodge and she decided to come over and stay there for the night. OMG, I’ve seldom met a woman who was talking so much! It was unreal! She had funny stories to tell about her travels – she was 53 years and a carpenter. However I was so relieved that she would not trek up towards the pass. Instead she will return to Namche. The worst thing was, that she decided to drink Rum and I mean a lot if it. She emptied 2 small bottles, which was at least over half a litre and that’s at an altitude of 3800m! You actually shouldn’t drink any alcohol! I was more than happy to go to bed around 8.30pm to get some peace! My dinner was very tasty – Dal Bhat with refill! Energy for tomorrow ;)

Tue. 2nd Oct. – Day 11 “Where the heck is Lungden?!”
Thame - Lungden (3820m – 4380m) – 4h
Lungden View Lodge                        toilett :|            food :/

I decided to start later today as it was supposed to be only a 4-5 hour walk up to Lungden. So I got up at 6.30, had breakfast at 7 and then started off on my trek. 
View from Thame at 6am

Only a short walk brought me to Thame Ting, a small little village where a landslide went down previously and I had to walk a little bit of a detour to get back on the main trail. 

I met a family with 3 Yaks and I walked with them for quiet a bit. I had a chat with the man and his little son was riding all the way on the Yak! Pretty cool I have to say – the kid wasn’t older than 2 years. The scenery had completely changed into a kind of volcano lunar landscape.

Cute Nepali kid on the Yak

It reminded me actually of the Mustang area in the Annapurna region. It was lovely to walk between the Yaks with the locals. After 2.5 hours I had reached Marulung, where I met a group of people who just came down from the pass.
They told me the views are gorgeous and the trail is in good condition. So no snow and save to cross! That sounded good and it was a relief.

Leaving Marulung I crossed a bridge and continued climbing up a field of stones where no clear path was visible. Finally I saw a big stone with an arrow pointing down to the left saying Lungden. So I decided to leave the vague trail and to go down to the other one to follow the signpost. After walking for more than an hour I was really wondering if that was the right path. I did pass mani boulders and it was a clear trail, but I couldn’t see any village whatsoever! So I stopped, had a look onto my map and at least I was on the right side of the river ;) I turned around and tried to figure out if I had missed anything. In the far distance I could possible see a roof of a big house or lodge where the sun was reflected. I was wondering if that was the place I was looking for. Then I saw an upper trail and decided to turn around. I was even thinking if I couldn’t find the village I could always walk back to Marulung where I came from. Walking back on a narrow trail around ridges I was seriously wondering if that is the correct way. But suddenly in a distance I saw a proper house!!! OMG, hopefully that’s the place! I kept on walking uphill and finally saw a little, tiny village with maybe 8 houses in total.

I reached a lodge and a friendly woman asked me if I need a room I agreed and ordered lunch. I was so relieved, that I had found Lungden after all!!! 

Lungden View Lodge - 4380m
There were two Americans staying there, which had arrived the day before and I was curious who else would arrive. I ate Spaghetti and set down in the sun next to the owner. The lady was lovely and we chatted for a while. Around 2pm finally another trekker arrived, a Russian guy. A bit later an Israeli couple came as well, but they decided to stay in another lodge. The two Americans had a guide and a porter and I can actually walk with them over the pass tomorrow :) Very happy and relieved as I don’t want to loose my way!

I’m excited to be in Gokyo 2morrow! Apparently the lakes are stunning and the views from the pass as well. Let’s see!!!! I had a lovely chatty evening with the Russian man called Michael. He actually lives in Munich and could speak German!
He had an interesting personal story and we clicked straight away. He is 57years old and carries his own backpack!

Wed. 3rd Oct. – Day 12 “On Top Of The World!”
Lungden – Renjo La Pass - Gokyo (4380m – 5360m – 4790m) – 8h
Cho Oyu View Lodge                        toilett :|            food :)

I got up at 5am, packed my stuff and had breakfast. The food was really the worst I had eaten on any trek so far :( Oh well, anyway I waited for the America couple, guide and porter to start the trek and we finally left at 6.15am!
View from the lodge before we started
View onto the other side
The trek started off really steep and I had serious problems to breathe properly. I also think the guide was walking a way too quick as the couple couldn’t keep up and they were not even carrying any luggage. So I found my own speed, the Russian guy as well and soon I overtook them. I followed the path and finally reached a plateau and the scenery was very unique! 

A pretty stunning lunar landscape and the sand on the ground was frozen! I had never seen something like that before.

The trail went pretty flat for a while, which was nice to catch your breath. Then the pass went around a ridge and soon I saw the first lake from a distance. It looked very nice and the mountains mirrored in it.

1st lake
From far away I thought I saw some more trekkers further up the hill but I wasn’t sure. I passed the lake and the trail went steep once again, very steep actually! After half an hour I caught up with the other trekkers. It was a guide and an older American woman. I passed them and the trail went on and soon I reached the 2nd lake.  

2nd lake

There I met the American husband and the porter. We had a lovely chat and I hiked up the step path. They actually started at 4am in the morning! OMG, seems like I’m not so slow as I thought I am!

Lovely flowers even above 5000m!

I saw a lot of high peaks surrounding us, but couldn’t figure out where the pass was! The guide from the American couple told me it would be at least another hour. OMG, if it will continue as steep as that, I might never reach the pass!!!! It was the hardest part of any trek so far indeed! The trail went over lots of gravel, big massive loose stones and you really had to concentrate where to put your next step. This trail was challenging by any means! 
Finally we reached some stone steps, which were a bit easier to walk on but pretty steep nevertheless. The path went zigzag and for the first time I was able to see the pass from a distance!!! OMG, that was still a good bit to go! It was nice to see a goal but it seemed to take ages until I got any closer. Finally I saw some people coming down. The 1st one’s today! They told me it’s a stunning view and I need to be quick before the clouds come in! OMG, how should I become even faster?! I was already at my limit! I had difficulties to breathe as the steps were so steep and the altitude didn’t help either. I looked at my watch- 9.30am. So I told myself to be at the pass at 10am! Well, I still felt like walking like a snail. Finally I had only 20 steps or so to go to reach the prayer flags. I got excited how the view might look like.

I finally stepped on the small plateau on the pass and OMG!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes! That view was breathtaking, awesome, gorgeous, impressive and almost too good to be true!

Please have a look on part 2 of my blog - this one ran out of capacity ;) Too many pictures!!!!


  1. Kerstin,

    What a lovely post! I walked the same route last year and enjoyed revisiting fond memories of a fantastic trek. The pictures show a big difference from the mostly brown - but still scenic - landscape I walked through in March. The lush green looks wonderful.

    A question! Do you recall if there was a Sunrise Lodge in Sete, or am I confusing it with the Sunshine Lodge? My first ever trekking day ended with an ascent towards Lamjura La that just about knocked the wind out of me. I ran out of juice in the outskirts of Sete end stumbled into the first lodge on the left, which I could have sworn was called Sunrise Lodge. The walls in the rooms had posters of Bollywood actor Salman Khan.

    The brother and sister pair who managed the lodge both seemed to be in their early 20s and were exceptionally nice. I would consider taking the Jiri route again if only to meet them again.

    1. Hi Zaba, Thank you for your lovely post and how cool that you have been at the same lodge!!!! Yes, it is run by a brother and sister and they are very sweet. I really liked staying there. The lodge was not completely finished yet, but they were so kind and warm. I'm almost 100% sure it was called Sunshine lodge and as you described it we must be talking about the same place! Yes, the Jiri rout is gorgeous. That's real Nepal :) and the nicest lodges on the way indeed. Will you go back to Nepal for another trek?