Namche Bazar to Tengboche, Nepal
Saturday 7th January 2006.
Trek day 5: Namche Bazar to Tengboche
We have arrived at Tengboche. At 3875 metres (12800 feet) it is the highest point on our trek. We were woken at 7am and were ready to leave at 8:40am the immediate climb out of Namche is hard, slow going for the first thirty minutes. This was the fourth time we had done this little stretch in 26 hours. It hurt.
After passing the Sagarmartha National Park Headquarters we continued along the contoured path around the next mountain. This was generally level going with a few gentle rises and falls â€“ that is, gentle by Nepal standards. After about two and a half hours we dropped steeply down some 400 metres into the valley. I often found that going downhill can be as demanding as climbing. One has to step very carefully. One is always one false step away from falling, twisting an ankle or worse. You try not to think about the â€œwhat ifsâ€ and tread cautiously every step of the way.
Lack of Appetite
Near the suspension bridge over the river we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant attached to a lodge. I really appreciated the hot vegetable soup we were served. The main course was a different matter and I only nibbled at the food. Lack of appetite at altitude is quite common. Many of the others in the trekking group had the same problem. The hot lemon drink went down very well, however. Keeping hydrated is also very important at high altitudes.
After lunch we crossed the raging river over a very rickety wooden suspension bridge. From that point the track went straight up to Tengboche. Two and a half hours of unrelenting climbing with no down slopes and only a few metres here and there of what might be called level going. This was by far our greatest challenge on the trek. It was a monumental challenge for this old body of mine.
Not only was it a physical challenge, it was also a huge mental challenge. It was just a matter of one foot in front of the other all the way. That makes it sound easy; putting that one foot in front of the other quickly became to hardest physical and mental thing I have ever done. The breathing became more laboured, gasping for every smidgeon of oxygen my lungs could gather. The leg muscles screamed for me to stop after every step. Interestingly, even after this steep climb I had no residual muscle stiffness the next day. That part of my training worked.