After coming from sea level to nearly 12,000 feet in less than a week, it was time to stop for a day and let our bodies adjust to the altitude. Nearly all trekkers stop in Namche for at least two nights; those who don’t have about a 50% chance of needing an expensive helicopter evacuation later on down the road! After yesterday’s uphill slog, the last thing I really wanted to do was to climb up some more, but working out sore muscles is the best thing for them, so it was off to do some exploring around the town.
Our first stop was at the Sagarmatha National Park headquarters where they had a pretty decent museum that talked about the sherpa lifestyle, the flora and fauna of the region, and the geology of how the Himalaya mountains formed. The museum doubles as an army checkpoint, and the helicopter landing pad gave us our first really good view of Mt. Everest and the other high peaks surrounding it.
The museum was only our first stop, and we headed up hill to the Syangboche airstrip, which was in even worse condition than the one in Lukla. There were two or three flights of 6 passenger planes per day in good weather, mostly ferrying rich Japanese tourists to the Everest View hotel where they can stay in rooms that have extra oxygen pumped in so they can mitigate the effects of the high altitude. We hiked up to a lodge near the Everest View where we stopped for tea and the best views yet of Mt. Everest. We hung out there for a while, just absorbing the scenery and taking tons of photographs. Eventually we decided it was time for lunch, so we headed back down to Namche for amazing pizza at a German bakery in town. The rest of the day was spent in happy relaxation and repacking as we got ready to leave the “lowlands” and really head up to the high country.
Max elevation: 12615 ft
Total climbing: 2375 ft
Total Time: 11:29:06