EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK DIARY DAY 9
DZONGLA TO LOBUCHE
Starting Point: Dzongla (4,860m/15,950ft)
Finishing Point: Lobuche (4,910m/16,100ft),
Trekking Time: 2.5 Hours
Accommodation: Himalayan Eco Resort
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is definitely a challenge. With more than half of our adventure under our belts, we welcomed the simplicity that day 9 brought us. Our journey from Dzongla to Lobuche offered us more stunning views without the crossing of glaciers, schlepping up high passes or testing our limits with extreme altitude. It was on this day that we left the more remote trails of the Three Pass Trek and rejoined the main Everest Base Camp route.
The clearly marked trails leaving Dzongla follow the moraine and descend alongside Chola Lake. The little village on Periche can be seen dwarfed by the majestic Ama Dablam.
Instead of heading towards Periche, our path veered left over the moraine and into the Khumbu valley. I was both excited and nervous at the same time.
It was at this point that I could see the wall of mountains where the valley begins. It’s at that very place that where Everest Base Camp lies – and where we would be heading in the next couple of days. It was another one of those moments on the route that made the trek and what we were experiencing feel very real.
We continued to follow the undulating trails from Dzongla to Lobuche on the left hand side of the valley. On our right, we were accompanied by the Khumbu Glacier – covered in debris with pieces of ice attempting to peak through.
After a couple hours of easy trekking, we made it to Lobuche. You can hardly call Lobuche a town but it felt like a bustling metropolis compared to what we had seen over the past few days. We went from hardly seeing anyone to being surrounded by tons of people. It was official – we were back on the main Everest Base Camp Trek route.
We checked into the Himalayan Eco Resort, grabbed a cup of masala tea and rested in the communal room. Our teahouse was fully booked. The communal room was rammed. There was loud, constant chatter. It was a shock to the system. We were the only ones staying at the luxury teahouses during the first few days of our trek, and hardly saw anyone when we left the main route and headed onto the tougher Three Pass Trek. We definitely were not alone in Lobuche.
Lobuche tends to be one of the last overnight stops en route to Everest Base Camp. Trekkers have the option to leave Lobuche early in the morning, take a lunch break in Gorakshep and then head to Everest Base Camp (and back). Doing so makes for a very long day and often means that people miss out on one of the popular side trips – getting view of Everest at the top of Kala Pather (5,643m).
Enjoying our cup of masala tea, we chatted with lots of people. Some climbers were using Lobuche as a base to summit some of Everest’s surrounding peaks. Some trekkers were waiting for their travel partners to return from Base Camp and Kala Pather side trips. And other trekkers were like us, waiting to make their way further up the valley to Everest Base Camp. It was almost a shock to the system to have so much activity going on around us.
It was in Lobuche that we bumped into the Base Camp Manager for one of the largest Everest Expedition companies – Adventure Consultants. You can’t read or watch films about Everest with hearing about the tragic incidents of the 1996 Everest season. Rob Hall, Scott Fischer and John Krakauer – these are almost household names given the wild success of the film Everest.
It was really special having the opportunity to talk about all things Everest with her. She was en route to Base camp to make sure that everything is set up before the season’s summiteers arrive. Talking about the company, the amount of work that goes into the preparation and hearing the stories of the summit hopefuls was super cool.
Whether you are staying in Lobuche or just passing through, a stop at the “World’s Highest Bakery” is a must. It might take fifteen minutes for the water to heat up for your latte, and the apple pie might be stale – but it’s a proper coffee shop at almost 5,000m! We may or may not have visited twice. ☺
After our cuppa, we took advantage of the nice weather and took an afternoon acclimatization hike. We crossed over the neighboring ridge and made our way further up into the Khumbu Valley. With this little boost in height, the surrounding mountains were on full display. Everest was hiding, but we had great views of Pumori (7,161m), Lingtren (6,749m), and Nuptse (7,861m).
Before heading back to our teahouse in Lobuche we meandered further along the ridge into the Khumbu Valley. In the distance, little specs of orange and yellow could be seen. They looked like little specs of dust under the soaring mountains and icefall above. Everest Base Camp. That was it. That’s where we were going. That’s where we would join an expedition team for an overnight experience that we would never forget.
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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.