Mt Everest Trek: Day three

By Ian Connellan November 7, 2013
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AG editor Ian visits a monastery in Nepal that’s worth writing home about.

The latest from AG editor Ian Connellan on his Himalayan tour. Read the first instalment.
Read more about the AG Society supported Ama Dablam Everest Trek in Nepal, run by World Expeditions. See a gallery of great images from previous Ama Dablam expeditions here.

DAY THREE: An 8.30am start and soon after we’ve crossed the Dudh Koshi and started along the less-travelled trails that follow the river’s western bank. The morning is cold, but there’s a warming sun and pretty soon trekkers are stripping off extra layers and applying sunscreen.

The track is up and down, rising along steep pine-clad spurs and passing through traditional Khumbu Valley villages such as Chhermading, Sano Gumela and Gyuphedi. There are spectacular views throughout the morning of Kusum Kanguru and 6608 m Thamserku. We’re getting higher now, climbing a few times during the day to about 2900 m, and a few of the trekking group are feeling it, although it isn’t preventing them from continuing.

I keep thinking that everything is about scale here. The landscape is the result of titanic natural forces and everything’s exaggerated. In many ways it’s reminiscent of the Alps — the steep spurs and deep valleys and soft pine forests, even, surprisingly, the colourful mountain architecture, which is vaguely like chalets in France and Switzerland. It’s scale that makes the difference. You’re rolling along beside a river at 2700 m, and there are peaks within sight that are four or more vertical kilometres higher than you. As trekker Alistair Walpole observes, in the Himalaya you have to tilt your head that much further back to catch the view.

The day’s highlight is a visit to Thaktul Monastery, near Thulo Gumela. A young monk, one of 18 or 19 who live there, shows us through the temple and – with World Ex’s Karma Jora and sherpa Lakpa Tamang acting as interepreters – tells us about their spiritual leader, Sangye Ringboche, who lives in Kathmandu.

The monastery is brightly coloured and its outside walls are lined with prayer wheels; Tibetan-style outside draperies flutter in the breeze above windows.

The monks’ robes are left in place in the temple, in readiness for the next meditation. From the front, it’s a picture-perfect view of Thamserku. Indeed a place to contemplate the infinite. We overnight near Monjo, surrounded by soaring peaks, and tomorrow will push on to Namche Bazaar, the main trading centre in this part of Nepal.

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Thanks to: AG Society Travel Partner: World Expeditions, AG Society Technology Supporters, Power Source Australia and Epirbhire.