We've made it back to Kathmandu after what has been a very full on trip (possibly a little too full on). Reflecting on the last 4 weeks they have been very busy:
The next day we headed to Jiri and Shivralia by bus with a driver who thought he was in a stock car. Overheated brakes, brinkmanship passing and roads that would test most 4wds made for an exhausting day.
From Namche we quickly climbed through the alpine scrub layer to spend the next two weeks in rock, snow and over-grazed, brown yak pasture. While we were heading off as up to three separate groups, everyone was pushed hard by the altitude, effort required, and new cultures. For the scenic group, climbing to Gokyo Ri and and then to Everest Base Camp was a significant achievement. Kalla Patthar (the small hill above Everest Base Camp) provided truly stunning views and despite the crowds we were all able to find a quiet place to appreciate the history and drama of the region.
Our attempt on Lobuche East was made on a poor weather day and proved frustrating for some. The initial part of the climb should have been a 1 hour scramble over easy rocks, instead it became an uncomfortable shuffle up slippery snow covered rocks that took 3.5 hours. Colin and our guide Tshering made the false summit in alpine style and poor visibility. The rest of us retreated having had some magnificent, but brief glimpses of the surrounding mountains through gaps in the mist.
For me the evening in Base Camp was worth while. The near full moon illuminating the surrounding peaks at dusk was magic.
Now back in Kathmandu we are enjoying 3 days to recover. It is remarkable just how much we all need a few days off. Well most of us, Colin chose to run from Lukla to Jiri over two days and arrived last night on the bus.
We are departing for Singapore in a few moments.