Day 2 – Tuesday 13th – Phakding to Namche (3440m)
The second day between Phakding and Namche Bazaar was a lot more difficult. Namche, at 3440m, is the main gateway to most of the trails in the mountain. It is a very big, very built up village/town.
I assume either because of all the uphill trekking, or because I hadn’t broken in my shoes, my right achilles became really saw, and really ‘painy’. But, nonetheless, I marched on.
The final 30-60 minutes up to Namche was the most difficult. All of it was steep uphill, with a really sandy path. My pace had slowed to a snail pace. I realised my bag was way too heavy. With my bag, the added 2L of water and my camera, I was carrying close to 16kg. That’s fine for a Sherpa who are walking supermen, but for me, that’s a bit too much. I would need to shed some stuff in Namche.
On the way up to Namche, there’s a few checkpoints where I needed to buy a permit to hike in the area, and a TIMS card, as well as registering my entry and expected route and time of departure. All in all, these cost around 4000 Rupees ($40).
It’s not unusual to be stuck behind a queue of Yaks. It’s best to get in front of them, or let them all pass before crossing. If they’re coming the other way, just let them pass first
Slightly frosty lens
Take 2…I can’t remember which mountain this was, useless
The earthquake took this building down
Hiding some goodies
About 30 minutes from Phakding towards Namche. 1/5 sec, F22, ISO100, polarising filter. No tripod, just lent the camera on the rails of the bridge.
Namche has tourists. A lot of it. It has about 3 bars and a club or two. It has a German Bakery which is a frequent destination for most tourists – with its awesome baked goods (sweet and savoury) and a pretty good pizza considering your 3.4km in the air in Nepal.
In Namche, I needed to drop some weight from my bag. The bag will only feel heavier the higher I went and the lighter the air became. I gave my snacks (chevdo) to my porter who said it’s his wife’s favourite snack. We agreed to give the supply to her when we passed the hotel at which she worked the next day. I took my sandals and a few other bits of clothes that I wouldn’t need out, sealed it in a plastic bag and asked the hotel to look after it. I think I managed to shed 3kgs. I decided to only carry 1L of water and just refill or buy as I go up.
FYI water purification tablets are essential. At high altitudes, you need to be drinking about 3-4L of water a day, which can quickly add up to about £10 worth of water.
There’s also a few ATMs in Namche, so I topped up my cash supply. After Namche, there are no more money changers or ATMs.
That night in Namche was very cold. It was a taste of things to come. I didn’t have a sleeping bag, only the sleeping bag liner. I took the blanket from the other bed. Within a few minutes, the bed hard warmed up. By 2030, I was out cold.