In the last post I mentioned that the guides wake you up with bed tea at 6.00am. That’s the start of a very busy day for them. On our trek as there were nine trekkers we had three guides. The head guide was Pasang Sherpa, with 22 years experience as a head guide, Our assistant guides were Surendra and Dhurba, Surendra had been working on a trek that Kit, one of our group, had been on 12 years ago. So we were certainly in experienced hands.
After serving us bed tea and washing water the guides serve us breakfast and get the porters going (more about porters in a later post) .
On a typical day Dhurba would set the pace, Pasang would take up the rear with Surendra in the middle. However every time we got near a tea stop, lunch stop and our destination Surendra would take off ahead of us to get things organised. Lunch and tea would be served by the guides.
In the evening after serving our meals the guides would wait whilst the porters had their Dal Bhat before eating themselves. Pasang would then have to tot up the bill and pay in cash. So you can see the guides have a hard and long day.
The trekking seasons are very short, October to early December and March and April. We asked Surendra what he did in the close season. He replied “Construction work in Kathmandu…no work no money” His family live a long way from Kathmandu.
So on to Day 4. This would be a bit more challenging as we would end the day at 10,500ft (3,200m) starting off at 7,670ft (2,340m).
Not long after setting off we entered an area with the following warning. Click on the image to see it larger if you cant read it!
I’m not sure how much notice people take of this as Dhurba our assistant guide at the front was spitting on a regular basis but fortunately we saw no evidence of “open defecation”
The day continued as normal passing through Bamboo (no prizes for guessing why its named), Dovan before having lunch in a very busy village called Himalaya. There was much talk from other trekkers about how busy the accommodation was further up the trail and how much overbooking had been taking place. Would we have a room for the night???
An hours very steep climbing brought us to Deurali where Pasang broke the news that we had three rooms between us. So the two girls would have one bedroom and the lads would be in either a 3 or a 4, but at least we all had beds. Having tea in the “restaurant” we got talking to some Americans who were going to be sleeping in the restaurant. Two of them in particular were not too worried as they were on planet cannabis.
Day 5 was a short but slow climb, due to the altitude, to Machhapuchchhre Base Camp usually called MBC. Calling it base camp is a bit of a stretch as it has never been climbed.
Wikipedia says “Machhapuchchhre has never been climbed to its summit. The only attempt was in 1957 by a British team led by Jimmy Roberts. Climbers Wilfrid Noyce and A. D. M. Cox climbed to within 50 m (164 ft) of the summit via the north ridge; to an approximate altitude of 22,793 ft., but did not complete the ascent; they had promised not to set foot on the actual summit. Since then, the mountain has been declared sacred, and it is now closed to climbers.”
We arrived mid morning leaving plenty of time to explore. Unfortunately the clouds came down just after lunch and refused to budge until night. Again we had only three rooms between us so sleeping arrangements were the same as the previous night.