We finished our acclimatization in the Khumbu very successfully. We climbed Island Peak with our friend Justin and had a fun time all around. Luckily we got to spend an evening with another friend Brian who is headed to Everest, and met a few other very nice people. The most interesting group has been a school group from New Zealand, visiting nurseries and schools all part of the Hillary Trust - some of which like the Khumjung School celebrates its 50th anniversary this May. Impressive. The kids are all between the ages of 15 and 19 and seem to be very amazed by the huge differences between their home lives and that of rural Nepal (however rich the Khumbu is by comparison to the rest of the country).
All lodge owners and perhaps the guy who has the most accurate finger on the pulse of the number of tourists in the Khumbu, Santosh from Namche Cyber Cafe is reporting the number of tourist is very low. It begs the question that when Nepal launches a Year of Tourism again does it scare tourists due to expected big crowds, or better yet, what is the incentive for coming? Do peak fees drop? Will they wave the visa fee for return visitors? There should be something, not just saying it is the year to visit Nepal - which kinda happens every couple of years. We will start posting from Makalu very soon. Oh yeah, happy Easter!
Here are a few photos from the trip so far: Photo at top is of a monk at Pangboche monastery.
Even the horses are hungry at the bottom of the hill in Phunky Tenga.
The Pre Island Peak Beer Justin bought, thanks!
Mani Stones line the path to Everest.
Kinga and Justin nearing the top of the face on Island Peak. It is steeper than most expect.
Me at the Kukuczka Memorial Chorten halfway between Dingboche and Chuckung, Kinga is a representative of his Foundation, we filmed there for a bit.
Yak bells, Made in Premana? No, few know that CAMP has for over 100 years produced the cow bells heard across the Alps.
Rice and other ceremonial items at the Pangboche Monastery.
Yaks in Dingboche during an afternoon snow storm.
Santosh, the Man at Namche Cyber Cafe.