Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ama Dablam: Our first view....

Our first view of Ama Dablam
Mary, Fiona and Tim hiking up the meadows with Kongde Sar 
and Nup in the background.
19 October 2014

Tashi Delak everyone,  

Today we woke up well rested after our hike up the Namche hill. It feels as though we are getting our first taste of alpine air, brought in cold and crisp from the Northwest winds. Often the Northern winds bring cold but clearing weather, and the vibrantly blue skies today, lacking a single cloud, were a beautiful indication of the pattern.

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast here at the Khumbu lodge, run by Pemba Sherpa. The AC team has worked with Pemba for the last 20 years, and he has taken great care of us. As Namche has grown, new entrepreneurs have attempted to lure business away from existing lodges, however we have continued to work with Pemba. Lasting relationships with our team in the Khumbu plays a massive role in the success of our expeditions, and individuals like Pemba are a joy to work with.
The whole Ama team with Everest and Lhotse directly 
behind them, and Ama Dablam on the right. 

After our breakfast we left the relative buzz of Namche and trekked into the quiet alpine meadows above town. The winding path and thinning air created the right conditions for a mellow pace. Thankfully vistas abound, allowing us plenty of opportunities for photographic attempts at capturing the beauty that is the Himalaya. As we climbed in elevation the length of the Khumbu valley and the sharp Kondge peaks fell away, with Thamserku and the hanging glacier on Kang Tega growing in size. These peaks were just previews for what was in store, as quickly we crested the hill and received our first full view of our objective, Ama Dablam, the Jewel of the Khumbu. Included in our view was Everest and Lhotse, dramatic with Western winds blowing snow off their upper flanks. Ama remained far more striking however, with its steep white ridges contrasting heavily with the cobalt blue sky.

These peaks remained in our view for the rest of the day, as we continued our trek into the local village of Khumjung. One of our Sherpa team members, Sangay Dorje, has his home in Khumjung and it was so enjoyable having him point it out to us. The town of Khumjung is where most of the locals who work in Namche actually live, and the lack of shops and increase in land dedicated to farming showed us a more sustainable way of life for these families. We stopped into a small bakery and enjoyed some sweet treats along the way.

As we descended we did not backtrack, instead opting for a less travelled route leading us back to the opposite side of Namche. This alternative took us away from the rest of the trekking groups and past the home and tea house of Dawa Thundu, our cook boy for the expedition. One of his family members offered us complimentary tea, and we sat in the sun enjoying it as the Sherpa kids kicked around a rather sad looking soccer/football. When we returned to Namche, we bought a new ball in anticipation of giving it to them tomorrow.

Tonight we have another great meal at the Khumbu lodge, and look forward to trekking on to Pangboche tomorrow, getting ever closer to the mountains.

Thanks for following the Ama Dablam team,

Andrew Yasso

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