DAY 9 Trekking: Gorak Shep to Namche Bazar
After getting back from EBC, we all sat in the teahouse, by the fire, absolutely freezing and uncomfortable with altitude headaches. It was then, by the fire, that Vaughn half-jokingly suggested trekking all the way down to Namche Bazar (it usually takes two to four days to get down there), and we were all so uncomfortable that we agreed to at least try!
After a night of no sleep (literally no sleep), we all (minus Emma, who slept in) headed out at 6am, skipping Kala Pattar.
This was by FAR the toughest day. You don’t realise how much downhill you were blessed with on the way up until you’re heading down (which is really up). We arrived in Lobuche by 8:30 and caught up with some friends who we had met in Dingboche, including Trevor! We left by 9:30 and had a tea break at Periche at 10:30, and continued down to Pangboche for lunch. After that, we knew that there was a steep ascent up to Tengboche. I honestly thought it would be so much worse than it was, but that being said, it wasn’t a walk in the park.
After reaching Tengboche, there’s a steep descent down to the river, which is BRUTAL on your knees. It was honestly terrible; I highly recommend using hiking poles if you have them.
After reaching the river, there’s an uphill bit that you’ll have forgotten about. It’s not very nice. It seems to never end. It’s really uncomfortable, especially since we had come from Gorak Shep. Most people would have stopped by this point, which I think is smarter than trying to make it to Namche in one day. If you stop prior to this, I don’t think this bit will be as hellish.
Once you reach the “flat” bit to right next to Namche, you’ll realise that what you thought was flat is actually uphill. At this point, we were all exhausted. My knees were in INCREDIBLE pain, and I was emotionally exhausted from the lack of sleep I had gotten the night prior. I had fallen behind the guys (who were sprinting down), and couldn’t see them, as fog made it impossible to see ten meters in front of you. It was a little scary walking along a Cliffside, as the fog made it impossible to see how far you’d fall, and I was so physically and mentally drained that the possibility of accidentally stumbling off the side of the mountain seemed very real.
I caught up to Saroj and walked the rest of the way with him.
When we had finally made it to Namche, we were all struggling to walk properly. It was truly an exhausting day.
I peeled off my socks and found that the bottoms of my feet were entirely covered in blisters. Needless to say, we had a rest day the next day (excluding Vaughn, who powered through to Lukla). We spent 12 hours at the Liquid Bar, drinking beer, eating popcorn, and celebrating making it down!
Read about the last days of our trek tomorrow!