You can read all of my posts about the Everest Base Camp trek here!
After our early night the previous day, I woke up super early at 4am. Despite the early hour, I felt refreshed and was elated that today was a rest day with only a short acclimatisation hike scheduled. Today was also the day that we would catch our first glimpse of the mountain we’d all come to see – Everest! I had a masala omelette for breakfast, which I later regretted – although it was delicious I didn’t feel like it gave me enough energy for the trek that day. Carbs were definitely the way to go!
Soon after breakfast we were off on our acclimatisation hike. All Everest Base Camp trek itineraries have 2 rest or acclimatisation days built in once you have reached an altitude of over 3000m. In order to ascend safely and with minimal adverse effects from the altitude, you should take a rest/acclimatisation day each time you have reached another 1000m in altitude. To better assist you with acclimatising, it’s best on these rest days to do a short hike where you ascend in altitude and then come back down to the same point to sleep as the previous night.
We started on our acclimatisation hike by trekking up to the top of the village of Namche Bazaar – many more steps of course! The low cloud that had rolled in as we reached Namche the previous day was still hanging around, but we were hoping that it would burn off before we reached the peak of our hike so we could still see Everest. We reached a prayer wheel at the top of town which Deepak directed us to spin 3 times clockwise for good karma and blessings for our journey. From there, we started up yet more steep endless steps on the way up to the Everest View Hotel which sits at an altitude of 3880m – level with Tengboche where we’d be trekking to tomorrow.
I found it really tough going, my lungs were burning and my heart was beating out of my chest. My legs still felt strong thanks to all those early mornings on the stepper, it was really just my body struggling to cope with processing the lower amount of oxygen at the higher level of altitude. At Namche Bazaar, your body only gets about 65% of the oxygen that you would at sea level, and I was really noticing the difference.
2 hours later, we finally arrived at the Everest View hotel for a well-earned soft drink and a rest. Sadly the cloud had only intensified as we had climbed, so the stunning panorama we’d been so eager to see was shrouded in mist. We stayed for a while, hoping in vain that the cloud would lift, but all too soon we saw that it was going nowhere and decided to head back down. Deepak assured us that we would get the same panorama view tomorrow in Tengboche, so we would not miss out.
On the way down the going was so much easier from a breathing perspective, although much harder on the knees. One of our porters, Kabindra had also come along for the hike and we got to talking to him, learning that he was training to become a guide. Our other porter Anjan had opted to stay behind in Namche.
We arrived back in Namche only 1 hour after leaving the Everest View Hotel – it had only taken half the time to descend! We had lunch at our teahouse, The Nest, and I opted for the Nepali set again which was quickly becoming a favourite of mine. We then changed into some warmer clothes as the day had got quite cool as the cloud had intensified and ventured into Namche to pick up a few things and explore.
You can get pretty much anything in Namche that you have forgotten to bring on the trek, and even though the prices were more expensive than in Kathmandu, they were still much cheaper than Australia! I bought some extra pairs of socks, as I had put clean socks on that morning and really noticed how wonderful they felt!
After we had all made our various purchases, we all met up to go to the Namche Bakery. They have fresh bread, cakes and pastries baked daily and a real coffee machine! We soon also discovered that they had free wifi, so logged on while we were eating and drinking to do some updates to our families and social media. As pretty much the entire town was still in blackout due to the issues with the hydro power, their internet was in high demand and very slow! The blackout had even affected mobile phone reception in the town.
A relaxing afternoon on Namche done, we headed back to The Nest to tidy up our bags ready to set off for Tengboche tomorrow. A quick wet wipe clean off later, we headed down to the dining roomto relax and order our dinner. Deepak came to sit with us when we had finished our dinner for a chat and a bit of a briefing of what to expect on the trek tomorrow. To my relief, Deepak said that the journey tomorrow was a lot easier and a more gradual ascent than we had been used to, which I was much looking forward to!