Day 13 – Pheriche to Thyangboche

A little bit of a lie in this morning – well at least until 6.30am!

Surprisingly, there are 4 Geocachers on the trip and a cache to be found to the east of us up a steep ridge and only about 900 metres (horizontally) away!  Chandra, one of our Sherpa leaders had (been) volunteered to take us over to it. He set a blistering pace uphill and didn’t stop there! Whether this was because he knew we were up to it or he was eager not to miss morning tea – I have no idea!  Whichever reason he didn’t let up at the top as we headed in the opposite direction to the rest of the group! What we thought was the top turned out to be wrong and there was another section to head up as we reached a track that is the “fast” way to base camp and is used as the route by many other walkers – with the new mover we saw in a short space of time I am glad we were on the less heavily travelled side route in the adjacent valley at this point! Reaching GZ for the cache we spent a good while looking for the cache and finally found it hidden safely!

Our route to join the others took us down a delightful valley where we were virtually on our own with great views down to the stream below before crossing a stream that joined from the side and meeting with the route we would have been on but for our detour!

View down over Pheriche.

Ama Dablam – 6812                                            First climbed 1961

Continuing down the main valley we reached a small village where we met up with the others at a tea house with a “Mountaineering Equipment Museum”- or at least a small cabinet with a few items! That said, the highlight was a 1953 British Expedition box that we could touch!

Along the route we crossed the river using a new bridge with the relics of the old one reassuringly still next to it:

The days walk ended with a long climb into Thyangboche at 3867m (12,70ft).  As with so many places here, the spelling and name varies according to the map you are looking at.   Thyangboche is also known as Tengboche and Dowa Choling Gompa.  It is a small village with a monastery at its heart.  It is set on a ridge with the usual prayer flags set high above it (flags are flown in 5 colours denoting the five Buddhist elements of earth, wind, fire, water and consciousness.)

The monastery is one of the largest in Nepal and is a centre for many Tibetan monks who have moved to Nepal.

Below the village is a nunnery and as we walked up we saw three nuns dressed simply in red.  One of them was walking along, holding her hands behind her back clasping an i-phone 7 which looked somewhat out of place against her simple attire.  Up at the monastery the monks were dressed in red with one standing out with a matching pair of high end Nike trainers and I am convinced he had cut his robes short to show them off better!

After a much needed late lunch we headed off to the monastery to the puja to watch and listen to them chant.

I was welcomed on the steps to the monastery by a short monk who reached his hand up close to my shoulders and asked how tall I was – perhaps checking if I exceeded the maximum height allowed!?

We sat, or at least I tried to, sit cross legged on the floor in an amazing building in front of a pair of 12 foot dungchen (copper horn pipes) which reverberated about as harmoniously as the chanting they accompanied.

The monks gathered wearing red robes called (kashaya) and sat (cross legged) on raised platforms adding two heavy layers of robes to their usual attire.  The out one looking like heavy velvet.  In these they were far better insulated against the chill in the air.

After watching for about half an hour Andy and I went looking for the geocache set high above the village – rather than managing the direct route we ended up walking (or rather scrambling) about 900m instead of 200 metres as we took a far more convoluted route than was necessary!  A quick find of the cache and with it the route we should have taken from the village!  Unfortunately no views were to be had from the ridge this evening as the whole are was veiled in cloud.

We had been told by Elka and Jed, who had stayed at the lodge two nights before, that it hosted rats as well as trekkers (they had rejoined us at the morning tea break having missed the Cho La Pass and EBC). The rat they had encountered in their bedroom had a penchant for sun glasses and having left a deposit on Jed’s pillow earlier in the evening decided his diet needed balancing and ate part of the rubber off the arm of his Oakley Sunglasses which were stored only a matter of inches from his head.  I woke up half way through the night convinced I had heard gnawing – but thankfully I could see neither a rat nor a hamster!