Onward upward we continue. In under 30 mins we were pleasantly surprised as Ama Dablam with its 2 ridges and ‘lonely hiker’ came into full view. In an instant we turned our heads to Everest with its white cap (called a banner cloud) and welcoming smile. Nuptse, in front, was still forming an impregnable fortress. Another beautiful sunny day and we quickly shed off our layers as our body heat increased.
We could clearly see the Hillary Step which Tenzing and Edmond bravely overcame as the last hurdle. We could see the Southern Col and South cwm which together saw many brave mountaineers succumb. Nuptse blocked the rest.
I’ve never seen something so tall, so large, so solid, so freaking high. And, we were at 3500m above sea level. Imagine sitting on Durban beach and looking at an almost 9km building. Awe, simple awe.
We slowly rounded Ama Dablam gaining a very different perspective. The ridge was much sharper, steeper and I tried to imagine what it would take to summit it. It looked impossible to my untrained eye.
We came across a quaint village called Kyanjuma as the warm morning sun mixed with the cool breeze produced a heavenly resting place. I could easily sit and write here for hours.
We left, entering the shady cool rhododendrum forest temporarily moving our view away from the mountains. A large herd of yak in a single disciplined file (different to the dzo which is a cross between a yak and a cow) gently glided past. Large beautiful creatures with deep black, brown or white long fur. Their large eyes displayed a deep gentleness and resignation. I instantly fell in love with them. They belonged to the mountain. They appeared more calmer and predictable than the dzo which unceremoniously bumped me.
We arrived in the valley, mainly descending but my watch showed 300m ascent. We stopped for a well deserved and delicious lunch and then started the tough climb. Again. Climbing. Step by step. Small steps. We climb. We just climb. Slowly. One foot then another. Check heart rate, check breathing. Stop. Move. Breathe. Continue climbing. Take in the view. Any distraction will do. Climb. Rest. View. Climb. The clouds gathered and all the peaks were hidden.
We suddenly reached Tyanboche, 5 hrs and 29 mins later climbing 733m and covering 10kms. After a refreshing hot shower (first in days), we visited the serene and world renowned Tyangboche Monastery. While Nepal is largely Hindu, most of the mountain tribes are Buddhists. We learnt about the stupa, mane and the various symbolism and incantations. One finds “om mane padme om” playing in shops and villages. The monastery like most religious places was a place of utmost serenity.
A cappuccino and chocolate mocha cake later was an over indulgence in this simple and dignified place, but it was good.