Mount Everest Base Camp Trek, Day 3: Acclimatization at Namche Bazar

We get out of bed at 7 am and order ourselves a simple breakfast at the lodge. The weather isn’t looking very promising. Dense fog is stuck to the mountain tops.

For our acclimatization tour that is programmed for today, we intend to climb slowly to almost 4000 meters above sea level and then descend again. All in the context of avoiding altitude sickness.

The whole acclimatization trip doesn’t even sound as such a bad idea, when we listen to the stories a Finn guy is telling us at the breakfast table. Despite the fact that he was accompanied by a guide, the latter was focused too much on his own profit and forced the poor Finn up the mountains too quickly. As a result his body was insufficiently attuned to the thin air and he got a severe headache. Altitude sickness was the verdict of the doctor. And even in such a bad state already that he actually should have been hospitalized. Unfortunately his adventure ends much earlier than expected. Hopefully we ours will last a little longer.

Our big backpacks get a day off today. We exchange them for two small daypacks and start of with our acclimatization tour. Along stone steps that turn into a fairly steep paved walkway we are being led out of Namche Bazar. Clearly other walkers are acclimatizing as well, since their pace is also remarkably low. After all, this is how adjustment to decreasing oxygen levels at higher elevations is done.

The path changes into a sandy path and takes us around the same altitude meters along a mountain slope for a long time. For a moment we can catch a glimpse of snowy rocky peaks. But after blinking twice, they have hidden again behind thick clouds.

The path is surrounded by blooming rhododendrons. Their predominantly white, pink and red-colored flowers contrast beautifully with the gray mist.

Past a wooden bridge we climb further up to the left.

We see two small children playing on the hills. They have their own woven baskets, in which they carry sand and stones. Clearly they are already dreaming of becoming sherpas when they grow old.

Steadily we climb to the village of Khumjung. Behind us we notice the weather clearing up a bit. We are giving a nice view of the Everest massif as a reward.

We stroll through the village and decide to eat a bowl of soup in one of the many small restaurants. Although the place is very cozy, we are the only guests. The cute son of the owner looks curiously around the corner a few times.

Photos against the wall tell us that the (grand?) father of the cute little boy conquered the summit of Mount Everest in 1993. He didn’t use a posh climbing harness, but helped himself with some self-knotted ropes around his waist. One can only have respect for that!

When the first raindrops start to fall, we prepare for the way back to Namche Bazar. First we have to cross a mountain top, which brings us to 3880 meters altitude.

The Mount Everest View Hotel is located at the top. Besides its expensive room prices, the hotel is also known for its beautiful views of Mount Everest. However, the people who have checked in today won’t get what they bargained for, since dense fog clings stubbornly around the world’s highest mountain.

During the descent we put on some extra layers of clothing to protect us against the icy wind. It is unbelievable how quickly temperatures can drop in this region.

We meet four hikers who seem somewhat unprepared. They are looking for directions to the Mount Everest View Hotel. They don’t have a hiking map. Let alone a compass … And signposts like we know from hiking paradises like France and Switzerland are virtually non-existent here. Wim points them in the right direction and tries to give them a boost by telling them that it’s just thirty minutes of climbing. But it only seems to discourage them even more.

Suddenly Namche Bazar pops up again in the valley. A steep path leads us down. Before we reunite with our big backpacks, we buy two extra rolls of toilet paper in a shop. We are running out of them at an enormous speed, since we both have diarrhea. In a place that suggests to be a pharmacist, we get some medication. We are given three different types of pills, which are not sold per box but per strip. For just under € 30 we hope to have found a Nepali panacea to keep a better stock of toilet paper.

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