I woke up just before 6 am not needing to really pack but still not quite ready to get going
When I joined Ori outside I saw the worst cloud coverage yet of this trip. Other lodges and guesthouses stood around ours but at this foggy time in the morning they were non apparent as if this lodge was the only thing that had ever and would ever exist in this world. I was beaten down and frustrated. Our plan all along began with a less than inspiring start.
We are our expensive oat porridges and read our books for a bit before looking back out the window and noticing the area began to clear out
Quickly we shaped up all our loose ends and got trekking the two of us hoping that today this morning would be our day. The moment was ours and we needed to strike.
I carried across my shoulders in my trekking pants what can be loosely defined as a daypack since I left my real one in Kathmandu due to weight concerns. I brought my essentials in here as I did yesterday freeing my hands to handle my trekking poles that I needed these days more than any others to take off pressure from my aching knees
As we were rising the clouds began to clear. Clouds were still drifting but they were mere streams and not the all-encompassing beasts that we faced earlier. Things were looking up for us, haha.
We continued on scraping away up the trail slowly but surely. The utmost peak we strived for stood at 5550 meters at a fair enough climb from the 4700 meter village of Chukkung.
Each breath was labored not arriving easily to the lungs unless given a proper rest to catch one’s breath like a fleeting strand in the wind or slowly enough that the lungs could keep pace with the rising altitude. During those needed breaks and even when I didn’t really need to I looked off to my side and behind me at the peaks that were now fully in the open no longer hidden behind the curtain of clouds. The pain of the climb was abated by these views. I knew that if I continued climbing higher and Mother Nature blessed me in this time that I would see views better than this and beyond whatever my imagination could conjure.
After much longer than I had expected when it looked so much within reach when stood at the base of the valley, we reached the ridge where the path divided to the lesser Chukkung Ri, the balder vegetated sister of Chukkung Ri which was looming to the right in a cloak of jagged black.
The ridge had many Tibetan prayer towers made by slabs of stone and even some prayer flags
We had great views from this point with Ama Dablam the beautiful alluring temptress standing tall over Chukkung village at 6800+ meters. She may not be as tall as the 8000 meter and many other 7000 meter peaks that pierce the clouds and sky in this realm but is one of the most impressively beautiful peaks rising steeply without abandon that one has to wonder how anyone could possible rise to its summit. She would need to be a kind girl on that fateful day. We continued up to lesser Chukkung Ri summit where we took our pictures before enjoying the views for ourselves.
Ama Dablam felt so close beautiful and scenic standing out from wide stretching ridge that was covered thoroughly in snow and ice with an artist’s stroke of streaks filing down the ridge.
The sky was perfectly clear without barely a cloud in the sky. I couldn’t believe it yet thankful to my last bone to be blessed so fortuitously on this day and morning.
Island peak staring at us from far away. The peak fit its name with the summit rising from behind one of the many icy ridges in our panorama.
Beyond past all the rocky ashy and construction-like rubble of the unimpressive valley past the ridge stood another peak I can’t figure out the name for but was special looking like the stereotypical cliche peak that any director or artist would want in his picture or on his canvas.
We enjoyed the views for a long time. When I find a good view I want to stay long as possible. I worked hard for it and these views don’t come often so I want to savor it and give it its due justice.
As clouds were beginning to really take shape even though they are already had strong form in its infancy from way down the trail likely near Namche Bazaar we decided to get moving on to the real Chukkung Ri so that we could get up close view of the Lhotse range before disappeared altogether.
The climb up Chukkung Ri sucked with it being composed of mostly just rocky rubble. We had to walk on the edge of it mostly with many paths that winded this way and that that I wasn’t sure which way to take while trying to keep my balance and not fall to my death
We eventually reached the top of Chukkung Ri, a nice accomplishment and appropriate practice for tomorrow when we would be tackling our first first pass of the aforementioned trek name.
Staring at Lhotse range which was partly covered in cloud
The village of Chukkung and the rest of its low resting valley was covered completely in white puff but all the good stuff, the many glacial mountains remained untouched although Ama Dablam was likely the first to be tainted.
We saw Lhotse slowly getting covered by clouds and moved in its direction to get an up close view before it disappeared.
We had to climb up steep pure jagged black rock to the top but there the Lhotse range was with two of the 8000 meter peaks standing high and mighty down the line towards Tibet. We got to hear some of the cracks of thunder that reverberated from the falling glacial chunks collapsing to the bottom.
Before the peaks were taken over prisoners to the clouds and inclement weather, we sat for as long as we could to enjoy these mountains because I can’t guarantee another day or view like this with unstable weather killing my normally mountain mood.
I like many things in this world like peanut butter, playing football (soccer), a damn good salad, watching films, etc. but I love, love nature and mountains are the cream rising to the top untouchable to plenty of other non-essentials so when I am denied of this it hurts. But I guess I need to appreciate the unpredictability and luck that is so intrinsic to nature and when I am blessed with its jewels in its penultimate form I should value more for how rare it can be.
We descended and stopped to chat with Paz for awhile about sports, the mountains, and apparently the differences in how we term liquor. We joked that after a long hike we need a porter specifically to act as a messenger boy to the next village that we will be staying to get daal bhat cooking so that I have a hot fresh plate waiting for me when I arrive.
Daal bhat because it is the way, the only way to survive out here and it never disappoints
Checking map to see which peaks we viewed from our high point
Chatting with the guys; the two Israeli guys (helicopter from Kathmandu to Tengboche then trekked to here) that attempted island peak but were denied by the mountain when an unstable spread of snow and glacier called them back (couldn’t be crossed)
All six of us stayed hanging in the dining room chatting away about the most random of topics with me getting lumped in as a Jew with the various money and other stereotypes thanks mostly to the crazy yet conversation stirring two Israelis that just came back to the lodge
Sherpa Stew, delicious
Continuing chat hours on end. Loved the conversation and brotherhood. As much as I like the isolation of the mountains especially in the offseason it’s nice to be able to talk to people and cool people at that
Checked out stars, chatted some more, and then went to sleep needing as much of it as I could for a long day that we guessed could be nine to ten hours long over confusing passage