Trek Day 10

Machermo to Phortse


Monday 20th November 2006


We had a lie-in until 7.30am when we heard the ever cheerful call, “Good morning, how are you today.”

My appetite was back and I had porridge, toast and an omelette for breakfast, washed down with a pint or so of black tea.  I think everyone had a feeling of accomplishment after Gokyo-Ri and spirits were high as we set off back down the trail towards Dole.  After a couple of hours we stopped at a lodge for tea and Andy, one of the young singles in the group, took down an old guitar from the wall and astonished us all with his singing.  The first couple of tunes were Neil Young songs then he sang another pretty song and we asked who it was by. Andy told us it was one of his own and went on to sing a couple more.  I could have sat for hours drinking tea and listening to the music in the worlds highest folk club but Lakpa rousted us out and back on the trail to Dole where, after crossing the river we stopped for a lunch of Sherpa Stew. 

At the lodge was a German trekker we had spoken to once before on the trail.  This time he sat and talked to us and we asked if he was trekking alone.  He told us that he had been with two friends but they had both succumbed to altitude on different days, one descending with a sherpa and the other by helicopter after becoming very sick.  He had decided to continue alone.  Altitude sickness seems much more of a problem to trekkers in Khumbu than it had been in Annapurna, probably because altitude is gained more rapidly here.



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Me on Gokyo-Ri

In front of Everest

The Summiteers



We set off for Phortse which had been pointed out in the distance from the Everest View Hotel all those days ago.  It’s a small community spread on a high plain, see photo on next page.  The climb from Dole to Phortse was steep but short and we soon arrived at a simple lodge with a good stove.  Sue was still unwell and went straight to bed, the rest of us sat to enjoy a good meal followed by a DVD!  As we had walked towards Phortse we had noticed electricity cables running along the hillside bringing power to the village.  This meant bright lights in our rooms and for the first time I could read without a headtorch.  In the dining room we noticed a small TV with a 14” screen and a DVD player and when everyone had finished their meals the lodge keeper proudly put on the Imax film ‘Everest’.  As you probably know this is meant to be seen on a huge screen in Imax 3D and here we were watching it on a tiny TV,  but in the Himalayas.  Everyone enjoyed it.  I’d noticed that the lodge owner was wearing a conical black hat with a red decoration and Lakma said that it was like a badge of honour that could be worn by sherpas who had climbed Everest five times, as this man had done.  I looked at him in a new light but just then his wife came in and saw him sat watching TV.  She shouted at him and he jumped to his feet and hurried out of the room; he might have climbed Everest five times but he was still frightened of his wife!   

A plentiful supply of yak dung kept the stove warm all evening and we went to bed tired and happy.



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We've done it! Back down

Carole and Ngima

Approaching Gokyo

Gokyo Lake