EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK DIARY DAY 5
THAME TO LUMDENG
Starting Point: Thame (3,820m/12,500ft)
Finishing Point: Lumdeng (4,600m/14,450ft)
Trekking Time: 5 Hours
Accommodation: Yeti Mountain Home
Day 5 of our Everest Base Camp Trek was all about pushing forward with the trek and getting us prepared for some of the challenges to come. Leaving what was left of the tree line behind, we slowly made our way from Thame to Lumdeng. This strip of the trek was the first time we started to gain some serious altitude – but did so gradually as we continued making our way through the river valley.
We crossed over the ridge from Thame and made our way through the neighboring village of Thyangmoche. As we left our new stomping grounds behind, the surrounding mountains began to reveal themselves to us even more. It didn’t matter how many hours we trekked with the same mountains around us, I found myself stopping often to admire the views.
Over the eastern hills of the valley you can see the mega peaks of the Teng Ragi Tau (6,940m) and Langmuche Ri (6,617m). Teng Ragi Tau overlooks one of the most dangerous high passes in the Himalayas – the Tesi Lapcha La (5755m). High passes are what allow movement and trade between the mountain valleys without having to go all the way down and back up the neighboring valley. You “simply” go over the mountains through these high passes. While we were on the 3 Pass Trek route, the Tesi Lapcha La was not part of our trek – so would be avoided (at least this time).
At the base of these 6,000m+ peaks is the Dig Tsho Glacial Lake. The glacial lake outburst flood that occurred here in 1985 brought some much-needed attention to global warming. What you see happening here, and in other mountainous parts of the world like Switzerland and Canada, is the melting ice from glaciers filling lakes that have been dammed up due to the moraines left by the recession. Erosion, avalanches and other wearing down of the moraines then causes them to break, resulting in significant flooding and downstream destruction. It is possible to take a side trip to the lake from Thame to Lumdeng, but there wasn’t time for it in our itinerary.
We navigated across the Langmuche Khola – which drains from the Dig Tsho lake and meets the Bhote Kosi – and continued along the trail further up the valley to Tarngaa. Continuing the trail along the western banks, we started to leave the lower parts of the valley, passed Dingjung and finally made it up to the former trading village of Marlung (4200m). There isn’t much to see or do in any of these villages, but Marlung is often a stop for trekkers when Lumdeng is full or closed.
It seemed like the first soul we saw on our route from Thame to Lumdeng crossed our path in Marlung. It was a long-haired and playful dog. He seemed quite spritely considering we were at such high altitude. I suppose I would be happy to see another living being in these parts as well. The pup followed us all the way up the valley until we got to our last stop of the day – Lumdeng (4,380m). Turns out he belonged to the owner of our tea house – Renjo Lo Pass Support Tea House. It was as if they sent the dog out to be our personal cheerleader/escort to get us to the tea house. That would of course be a treat considering what awaited us there.
Before setting off on our trek earlier this morning, our guide Prem reminded us that we would be leaving the luxury of the Yeti Mountain Homes for a few days and start staying at some of the more basic tea houses in the region. One thing you will quickly notice along the routes that veer off the traditional tourist path, accommodation is simple in its most simple form. Imagine four pieces of plywood as your walls and a thin layer of tin acting as your roof. It was time to say goodbye to the electric blankets, hot showers and nice, private toilets – and hello to simplicity. Having trekked all over the world – in far simpler – conditions, I knew what to expect and was cool with it. Rob on the other hand? He was not a fan. We called it character building.
After a cup of tea, we decided to spend the rest of our daylight going for an acclimatization walk – for fun, of course. We followed a very steep path behind the tea house that lead up to a ridge with some impressive views. At this stage in the trek, any walking is hard work. Whether you are in the mountains or not, walking up a steep incline for any prolonged period is going to take make you lose your breath. Sprinkle in the reduced levels of oxygen and it’s exhausting. Be sure to do them though. These side acclimatization walks are important for your body to get continually adjust to the altitude.
Clouds continued to roll in and out, but every so often we got glimpses of sheer rock face and jagged peaks greeting us. We ascended to the top of the ridge which was at about 5,000m. The ridge never fully cleared up for us to see what was in the distance – but beyond the clouds were mountains that lined Gokyo Valley. Looking back over the ridge and towards the river valley where our tea house was located, we could see amazing views of Rolwaling in the distance.
Back at our tea house, we propped ourselves up in the warm, attached dining hall. We were only a couple hands of cards in when other trekkers began checking in and joining the communal room. Up until now, we had been the only ones staying in the tea houses we chose (partly due to the price point as well as time of year). It was fun hearing the stories of those who had already traversed through the passes and were sharing the same experiences as us. One thing was clear from the chatter – we had our next day cut out for us.
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Check out the day as recorded by Stava. See the trails taken, overall elevation gains, trekking times and how fast (or slow) we made it from Point A to Point B.