Lobuche East Climb with Everest BC – Posted in: My Quest
“Namaste” from Nepal meaning Hello.
A survey expedition to the Himalayan peaks for a summit of Lobuche East at 20,075 feet with its rocky east face rising above the Khumbu Glaciers and less than 10 miles from the summit of Everest.
PROGRESS & ITINERARY:
4/13 – Left Los Angeles nearing midnight on China Southern Airlines for 21 total travel time to the other side of the world. Not bad considering how long it took Mallory & Irvine almost 100 years ago.
4/14 – After 15 hours, arrived in Guangzhou, China before our final 5 hour flight.
4/15 – Arrived in Kathmandu in the afternoon 11 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Once settled at hotel took a walk looking for a vintage ice axe and a bite to eat. No luck on the ice axe and went back to hotel and hung out before heading to bed.
4/16 – Headed to airport to catch 8:30 am flight to Lukla at 9,199 feet (3,440m). What a mess but all ended well with a private helicopter ride above the Himalayan range. More to come on this story. Meet our guide and two porters and after a late lunch trekked to Phakding at 8,562 feet (2,610m and yes down) taking 2 hours as darkness approached. First night is this unbelievable landscape.
4/17 – Left at 7:45 am to today’s hard trek to Namche Bazaar at 11,286 feet (2,804m). Trail bustling with many teams and porters, we stopped after 2 hours in the last small village for some egg noodle soup before the steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. A grind but stopped about half way up for our first sighting of Everest and Lhotse. Unbelievable! Arrived around 1pm in this historical city. Rest day tomorrow aside from a small hike above town to keep the legs going. Life is Good.
4/18 – Namche Bazaar acclimatization day. After a short hike above town for even a better view of the highest point of the world, rested with a beer and a shot of triple cask scotch in afternoon sun.
4/19 – Trekked from Namche Bazaar on a traverse until we dropped steeply to the valley floor of the Dude Kosh river then up again to the Tengboche Monastery at 12,664 feet (3,860m) for lunch and a quick tour of the monastery. Continued another hour and half dropping and then up again to our guest house in Pangboche at 12,930 feet (3930m) with a direct view of Amadablam. Great day and fully engaged in the expedition.
4/20 – Woke up early to a amazing sunrise with mountains all around and Everest peaking above the ridge. Warmed up with a nice fire fueled by yak dung before breakfast. Trekked to Dingboche at 14,271 feet (4350 meters) about half the distance of yesterday and only 2 hours. Looking forward to a relaxing evening and a rest day tomorrow.
4/21 – Today is our final rest and acclimatization day at Dingboche. Woke up early before breakfast to catch the morning sunrise with a hike above town to experience our first view of Lobuche. Snow started to fall in the late afternoon as we look forward to getting back on the trail tomorrow to the village of Lobuche 16,108 ft (4910m) also named for mountain we look to summit.
4/22 – Hit the trail early for Lobuche which I consider the final day of our expedition approach. From the village of Lobuche we are within reach of our 3 climbs including Everest Base Camp, Kalapatthar and Lobuche High Camp to Summit. Stopped in Thukla at 15,153 feet (4620m) for lemon tea before ascending to Thukla Pass where many fallen climbers are memorialized. Arrived in Lobuche 16,108 ft (4910m) in the early afternoon for a full day of preparation for the rest of the expedition. This is where the fun starts.
4/23 – Left Lobuche at 7am for Gorak Shep at 16,994 ft (5,180m). Decided to hang out and have lunch to let the clouds clear instead of dropping our gear and climbing straight through. Stepped on the trail around 11am in route to Everest Base Camp at 17,601 ft (5,365m). The weather was cloudy with light snow most of the way until the first large orange tents came into view about 15 minutes before arriving. The entrance had a large memorial decorated with prayer flags where lots of celebration and pictures were taken. We stepped down to the Khumbu glacier then trekked the entire length of camp which was much larger than expected. As we continued, the Khumbu Ice Fall came into full view as the weather cleared perfectly. We enjoyed watching dozens of climbers work down the ice fall until a few came out of the entrance just below us. What a remarkable day being in the presence of the highest mountain the world! The weather began to change and we turned around and heading back to Gorak Shep which is the highest point we will sleep on this expedition.
4/24 – Decided this morning to head down to Lobuche at 16,108 ft (4910m) for a rest day before starting the summit attempt of Lobuche 20,070 ft (6119m). Plan was to hike up to Kalapatthar at 18,225 ft (5555m) for a closer view of Everest however with the weather questionable and we will get a similar view on the summit ridge of Lobuche, I decided it was best for the team to get an extra day before heading up to Lobuche High Camp at 17,712 ft (5,400m).
4/25 – Woke up to a very cold morning and needed my sleeping bag in the middle of the night. Met the climbing guide in the afternoon then started our climb to Lobuche High Camp at 17,712 ft (5,400m). Expect the tents to be even colder tonight as we wake up for a alpine start at 2am before our final push of the expedition. Our guide who has supported five Everest expeditions with one summit set up a fixed rope on a large boulder near camp for a quick training using a ascender and rappel device which we will need on the summit climb. The Himalayans couldn’t be more beautiful.
4/26 – Woke up at 1am for a 2am start. Night was warmer than expected with the stars brilliant above on our final day upward. Snow and ice was immediate with numerous fixed rope aiding in the step sections with the largest a 80 feet near vertical wall to achieve the top. We continued in the night on the lower ridge with exposure on both sides. Sometimes it is good not knowing what lies below. Got into rhythm with a “rest step dance” with the mountain spirit and in a few hours hints of the coming morning became visible with silhouettes of Everest and Lhotse. We stopped near a large rock to put on the crampons and harness for the first time. A short time later we faced the base of the fixed ropes leading all the way to the summit. We clipped our ascender to the fixed line and started the slow progress up the south face. The great thing with an ascender is if you are waiting on someone above or simply need a break, lean back and enjoy the views. There were about 5 teams heading up together and once at the summit we enjoyed amazing views of the entire Himalayans range. Spent 30 minutes at the top taking pictures and quick snack before heading down. They say the summit is only half way and the trek down required careful footing every single step. Once back we took a break before packing up and heading down to Thokla at 15,153 feet (4620m). After a long nap in the afternoon, got up for dinner and enjoyed the company of the sherpas around a warm stove before heading to bed. What a great day!
4/27 – Left Thokla with the original plan to stay in Deboche but decided to push thru all the way to Namche Bazaar at 11,286 ft (3,440m). This would allow a full days rest before heading to Lukla the day after. Stopped for lunch at Shomoare at 13,152 feet (4010m). Another long day but worth having only one day left on the expedition. Celebrated with a round of beers with the entire team.
4Well deserved rest day in Namche Bazaar. Goal today is to buy a yak bell. Nice!
4/29 – Last trekking day of the expedition from Namche Bazaar back to Lukla at 9,199 ft (2,804m). Pushed thru and arrived before noon to catch a flight back to Kathmandu. Received boarding tickets and ready to go but after a two hour wait, flights cancelled due to wind. Headed to local hotel and enjoyed evening conversation with new friends.
4/30 – Our guide took care of business for first flight out on other airlines from what is regarded as the most dangerous airport in the world. I would compare the operations to an aircraft carrier coming and going at fantastic speeds. Planning to get my first real shower in two weeks and enjoy Kathmandu for the day. Will attempt to get tickets for flight home tomorrow as well.
5/1 – Took the first flight out of Lukla and arrived in Kathmandu early morning. What a ride! No luck changing flight tickets (no problem) and will spend the week enjoying the sites and resting before heading home. Celebration dinner at authentic Nepal restaurant. Life is good!
5/2 – Continued relaxation with walk to the Monkey Palace above the Katmandu valley and dinner with live music. Look forward to coming home with one day left. What a expedition!
5/3 – Walked around the Narayanhiti Palace which is a museum today after the removal of the king in 2007. Enjoyed the real story behind what happened over dinner with our guides including the experience of living thru the 2015 earthquake.
5/4 – End the journey! Flight leaves at 11am with a 21 hour flight time thru China. Arrive home 7:30pm with time change in Los Angeles. Look forward to coming home and start preparing for the next adventure.
Locally supported by Alpine Eco Trek
Alpine Eco Trek & Expedition is our licensed trekking company for this adventure. Founded by Ram Kumar, he brings 20 years of experience organizing heritage, cultural and pilgrimage tours, trekking, climbing and mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayan regions.