Practice Run No.4: A Nice “Welcome Back” to the Hills

In Practice Run No.4by Steve

Straight Up and Over 4600m.

Been off the air for a little while which has actually been very nice. Being in a more remote valley (compared to the main Everest valley), there’s no phone nor internet reception. Can pick up WiFi at a few teahouses but even that is sparodic. It’s a great detox from the connectivity that rules our lives. Plus the past week has been fairly uneventful, in a good way, so haven’t had much to report.

After one day / two nights in Kathmandu  (which was more than long enough), I flew to Lukla on Tuesday morning. There were a few delays with the flight due to weather at Lukla, but not too bad. From Lukla, the bulk of the crowds headed north west up the Khumbu valley for the famous Everest base camp trek, while I headed east for the trek to Mera Peak.

Tuesday afternoon was just a short walk to Chutanga where we stayed the night. Then Wednesday was straight up and over the snowy Zatra La Pass, which at 4600m was a nice “welcome back” to the hills. After a month here back last November, I was running around at four and a half thousand meters feeling great. Now I was back to square one, puffing and panting and having to re-acclimatise all over again. The joys of alpine climbing. But it was great to be back in the hills and stretching the legs again.

Once over the pass we descended down in to the Hinku valley which we’ve been following North for the past couple of days. It’s a beautiful trail and very quiet, compared to the trekking super highway in the neighbouring Khumbu valley. It’s wonderful to be able to hike for long stretches in complete solitude.

Tomorrow we’ll head further up the valley to Khare (approx. 5000m), our last stop before heading up Mera Peak. The weather forecast is average at best with a foot of snow forecast for tomorrow, temperatures dropping over the coming days towards -18degC, winds up to 50km/hr, and wind chill down to -30degC. Should be fun….

“Go with the decision that will make for a great story”.