Posts Tagged 'Namche Bazaar'

Namaste from Namche

The little village of Namche is perched high on the steep side of a mountain. It is in layers or rings from top to bottom. The base of the village is the town entrance or gate where the steep trail is the only way in or out of the town from the bottom, another trail on the top ring leads out and higher up into the valley. We will take that trail tomorrow. Small paths of dirt and stone ring around the village leading to various homes and businesses. Both animals and people traverse these paths all day. The village really has only three sides the fourth is open to the huge mountains above and cliffs below, almost like the letter ‘U’. My tea house sits about half way up the sides of this large bowl almost in the middle of the U. From my cot next to the window I can see the mutli colored tin roofs in blue, green and rusty red. All the buildings are made of granite bricks hand cut and hand placed, the windows are trimmed in wood often intricately carved and painted either green or blue. There is a window plate of thin glass. The ground is dirt and mostly barren but despite this the view is stunningly gorgeous as these enormous snow covered mountains crown the view. The colors, sights and sounds make Namche a very special place.

I awaken to the first light although it is still very quiet outside. There is no heat in this small modest room. Two wooden beds with a thin mattress, a chair and a primitive table. It is very cold and I can see my breath. The prospect of crawling out of my warm sleeping bag is most unappealing. This I must get used to and force myself to do as this is how it will be every morning for the next two months. Because Namche is considered a metropolis by valley standards we actually have an attached bathroom and running water although it is frigid. I am assured it will get hot if I let it run awhile but the idea of getting wet has no appeal this early morning.

We assemble in the common room where we take our meals together as a team and socialize or play cards in the evening. This room has only one heat source a small cylindrical metal stove which is only lit in the late afternoon. Dried Yak dung is the fuel source. Judging by what I have seen on the trail there is an endless supply.
I am up early because we all seem to sleep a lot. Because it is so cold in the evenings everyone goes to bed early, a down sleeping bag rated to zero or less is our only heat source. So getting ten hours of sleep has becoome the norm. At dawn I quickly dress and those who want an early workout meet for a quick cup of milk tea or cofee in the common room. From there we hike up several hundred feetinto a military compund and at sunrise gain the most spectacular view of Everest, Llohste and Nupste. A really great way to start the day.

After breakfast we went on an acclimatization hike to a village about a thousand feet above Namche. It was difficult to get into the breathing pattern but once I was warmed up I had a great day high in the Himalayas. So now I am back in this funky little internet cafe, clean from a shower although I have so few clothes I am saving clean ones for later when I am really nasty. I can hear great tunes jazz, blues and yak bells and a million distractions of sights and smells. Namche Bazar, although so very primitive by what we are accustom to, has come so far even in the time I have been away. High speed internet has arrived and even here everyone is connected! I’m enjoying it while I can but tomorrow we leave Namache and head even higher.
Signing off for now.

Climb On!
Wendy

Namche Bazaar, Nepal

I love waking up in my tent.  The sounds of this village coming alive stir the senses.  Roosters crowing, someone calling their goats, the yak bells chiming and the tapping of the stone cutters already busy at work.  (It takes three years to build a house here.)

This will be the last email until we return to Namche after our climb in about a month.  Mentally I am trying to prepare myself.  I am already filthy as the countryside is pretty dirty and everything sticks to us.  But I have to let that go.  Today we head for Teng Boche then onward toward Everest base camp where we hope to arrive in a week.  From there on to Barunste.

Sleep was difficult the past two nights because of the incessant dog barking.  There are packs of them everywhere, and it seems when one would start he would get everyone going.  After complaining, we found out that the dogs carry on when there are animals about.  Okay… that makes sense, but there are animals everywhere.  Ah, but these aren’t just any animals.  This is Nepal and there are snow leopards and tigers!  So, after some reflection I’m kind of loving those noisy dogs now!

P.S. Today is marathon Monday.  To Maida and Mike – have a wonderful run.  I am with you every single mile.  Because for me it all started on that marathon route!  Wings on your heels you two!!

Namaste!

Climb On!

Namaste

I woke up this morning feeling homesick and melancholy, but I’m trying to practice the Buddhist philosophy and enjoy where I am at in this moment.

I’ve been really frustrated at the inability to use the satellite phone and send emails.  Connections are always poor and it’s really difficult to get anything to work properly.  I am having a funny experience today while visiting the Internet cafe.  There are ‘dzo’ everywhere (an animal that is a yak/cow hybrid), and as I am writing this blog a dzo is sticking it’s head through the window and watching all the activity inside.

We are staying another 24 hours here to allow our bodies time to adjust to the higher altitude and thinner air.  Just walking to the Internet cafe today was exhausting.  We are being attended to by an incredible team of Sherpa: Dawa (lead Sherpa and head cook) and Dawa Tenzig (high altitude Sherpa who never leaves our side).  As I sit in my tent in the evening I can hear them playing a card game with noises like I’ve never heard before – shouting and slapping.  Dawa prepares us rice, potatoes, daldaut and something called momo (like dumplings).  Everything is prepared without electricity and running water.  We are so grateful for them.  Next we are going about 5 hours north and we will be visiting the Teng Boche monastery which is the right hand monastery to the Dalai Lama.

We are still in Namche Bazaar, a vertical village at 11,500 feet in altitude perched precariously on the side of the Himalayas. The entire world passes from village to village on winding dirt roads.  As we have traveled from Lukla over the past 2 days the terrain has grown far more vertical and we are now just above the timber line.  It is dry and dusty and very primitive.  Heat is from yak dung burned in stoves.  The people are wonderful smiling, happy, courageous and go out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable.  This is the Sherpa’s region and an amazing place to all of us!

When I first saw Everest I just stood and stared for what felt like ten minutes. I noticed my legs were shaking.  I pummeled JJ with questions.  I memorized the names of the mountains surrounding her, all of which I had heard before, Llhoste, Nupste (excuse my spelling on all of these as I don’t have my English map with me), Ama Dablam, there they all were.  But it was Goddess Mother of Earth that spoke the loudest.  She is magnificent and beuatiful.  The ski is crystal clear, and the summit clouds spin off to the south since the jet stream is postioned right over her just now.  Climbers will wait on the mountain’s lower flanks until the jet stream moves 100 miles away and then make their attempt at the summit before the monsoon season begins.  It’s all about waiting.  And for me I will wait another year – and for that I am grateful.  Just being here and climbing the 17,600 feet to base camp is providing me with much needed mental preparation.

All along our journey we have experienced the flutter of prayer flags.  Just before we climb Barunste we will have our own prayer ceremony called a Punja (again excuse my spelling) and the prayer flags are already packed amoungst our gear.  It is a very special ceremony I am anxious to see and experience.  I am a guest of the Sherpa, but I feel so blessed to be with them and I know I couldn’t be in more capable hands.

Climb On!


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.