EBC Day 09 – Acclimatisation at Dingboche
The plan was to spend a day acclimatising once again here in Dingboche (Sophie's group was doing the same, before heading up to Lobuche via Dughla the next day). I had decided to carry on with them for the next day or two and to skip the high-altitude pass of Kongma La since the pass was not on the GHT pass list. This meant that instead of trekking up to Chukhung from Dingboche, climbing up Chukhung Ri and then crossing Kongma La to Lobouche the next day, I would instead head up the path that lead to Chukhung (elevation : 4730m) for a while before coming back down to Dingboche for the night.The day started off slow and relaxed as I tried to clear my head of some peculiar dreams that I had the night before; the tasty but expensive cheese omelette and a couple of cups of hot coffee helping me to achieve that. The hot coffee was the only thing I really had available to drink that morning, considering that my water bottles and water reservoir had completely frozen over in the night. I wasn't complaining though as the mug of hot coffee felt good in my hands, sitting on a wooden chair in the frigid temperatures.I made my way out shortly after, heading east towards Chukhung. The imposing four-sided pyramid of Makalu (elevation : 8463m), the fifth highest mountain in the world, made its appearance and kept me company along the way. The feeling of being able to walk around without having to carry a heavy backpack around with me was absolutely wonderful. I was used to carrying a heavy backpack on overnight hiking trips, but those trips had never exceeded 5 days. I felt light on my feet and hopped from stone to stone and boulder to boulder with glee, and occasionally scampered down to the streams that trickled off to the side to wash my face in the icy cold water.The temperature was relatively warm (10 degrees) but the wind chill factor from the wind that was whistling down through the valley made it feel significantly colder. I walked up to a ridge where the valley opened up to reward me with some glorious views, before heading back down to Dingboche for lunch.
After lunch, I decided to head out and look for the trail that lead up to the Nagartsang gompa. I started walking up the side of the hill, but ran out of trail pretty fast. I decided to forget about the Nagartsang gompa and just to explore the area, so I carried on walking up. There was a point where I tried to follow a steep icy creek uphill, but found to my dismay that the creek kept on getting steeper to the point where I had to traverse out rather than descend back down the same way that I had come up. I saw a few flags in the distance and decided to head towards them, eventually coming upon another gompa on a small ridge. The views here of Dingboche lying at the foot of the regal Ama Dablam were spectacular!