Leaving Namche today to continue our trek to Base Camp. It was onwards and always upwards right after breakfast with a full stomach is challenging to climb up and up and up! It was a steady climb, the path in places clinging to the side of a steep slope. B-1 commented that it looked like a great ski hill in the winter, very steep and nasty. The views of Ama Dablam were spectacular rising 22,493 ft from the valley below. Approaching the Mong-La (pass) we stop for lunch at the Mountain View Lodge & Restaurant. We could see Phortse, the village we are staying at tonight, from the restaurant, looking down across the valley. After lunch it was a very steep downhill to the River below and then up again to reach Phortse. At the River crossing Kevin challenged B-1 to do ten pull-ups while hanging from the under side of the bridge over the raging River and Kevin would have to carry his backpack up the hill to Phortse. After ripping off ten of the best B-1 handed Kevin his pack and offered to carry mine instead, thanks B-1! Panuru, our Sherpa guide, is from Phortse and we are staying at his Guest House with his wife. While Kevin, Ake and Panuru went off to rock climb near by, we settled into our room, showered and read.
Phortse, situated at 12,500ft, a community of Sherpas working hard to develop their village. It is primarily a farming village with its chief crop being potatoes (we ate a lot of potatoes) and buckwheat. In the trekking season it’s men folk are employed as trekking Sherpas and Sirdars, mountain guides. Whilst the women folk, Sherpani, look after the family, tend the yaks, land and run the lodges. Panuru hired many of our Sherpas and porters from Phortse, some cousins and others friends. Panuru is working in conjunction with Conrad Anker and Ed Viesturs to build a climbing school to teach young Sherpas technical climbing skills so they can become mountain guides. Some of the Sherpas can afford to send their children to school in Kathmandu for a good education but it is very expensive, and the trekking season is their livelihood. We spent the rest of the evening with Panuru and his son, who was home from school helping his family run the lodge, and his wife who cooked our dinner. We were the only guests staying at the Guest House so we were well cared for.