On the fourth day we left Namche for Deboche. The first half of the day is beautiful. We trekked out of Namche going up for maybe 30 minutes. Then the path proceeds more or less flat at a steady altitude for about 2 hours before it drops off pretty steeply through the forest again towards the Khumbu river. We crossed the river over a hanging bridge and sat down in the sunshine for lunch.For us lunch is usually a mater of getting fluids in. So a noodle soup and lots of hot ginger-lemon-water. Above 4000m, if a trekker is lucky, there is hot or warm Seabuckthornberry juice available. That stuff is super potent and very nutritious. I also love the taste. It also does not require anybody to schlepp it up the hill. The women collect the berries locally and then process them, by mashing and boiling them into a syrup. For consumption, the syrup is diluted with water. Really good, highly recommended. After lunch we entered the pretty long and steep ascent to the Tyengboche monastery. We saw many porters with incredibly large and heavy loads on their backs.
This porter was carrying tea-house supplies, such as tea, eggs, meat, pasta, garlic, onions, etc. The porters get paid by the weight of their load and the distance they carry it. Building materials, if they aren’t urgent are also carried on the backs of men.A single propane gas bottle weights 30 kilos. Porters carry them, too. The strongest porters in their prime years can carry up to 75 kilos (165lbs).As we kept ascending, I heard pretty bad coughing ahead of me. I looked up and saw a small porter with his back to me and a pretty heavy load. When I approached I realized that the small porter was a small boy. Yuba, our guide joined and translated. The kid was sick, coughing and feeling dizzy. I gave him some food and drink. He was 13 years old and was carrying 40 kilos from Namche to Görakshep – likely a 4+1 day trip for him. He was not having a good day at all. In moments like this you realize how unjust the world is. At 13, I was still enjoying my careless and worry free childhood and suffering from the agony of school. This kid, MUST work to support his family and cannot attend school. With 6 year education, his “career” is very limited. He can hope, to stay healthy, so that his earning power increases as he get stronger. Then we will “enjoy his peak carrying power” for maybe 10 years before his body will demand a price be paid for the years of abuse through heavy loads. It was heart-breaking.
Anywhere on the trail, trekkers share the path with yak and donkey caravans. They move at incredible speed. Sure they look slow, but they move steadily. And they have a clear advantage to humans – four-hoof-drive. We eventually topped out at Tyengboche and spent some time around the monastery. Unlike last time we were there, it did not start to snow immediately after our arrival.
It wouldn’t take long before a Yak caravan we had passed on the way up had caught up with us. Tyengboche was not our destination this day. We still ha 20more minutes to walk to Deboche, where we stayed for the night. The walk from Tyengboche to Deboche is a descent through a “magical forest” that leads past Rivendell.Rivendell, from what I have heard sounds a lot more promising than it actually can deliver. The girls from WHOA travel spent a night there and complained about moldy and wet rooms. In our years trekking in the Himalayas we have never had any complaints like these. The rooms are basic and clean and they provide shelter.
We are getting closer to ascending beyond the 4000m threshold. This will happen tomorrow when we go to Dingboche.
Until then stay sharp
Cheers Markus \m/
P.S.: Due to other commitments, the next entry will follow Saturday the latest.