Today we are heading for Lobuche, 16,108ft, the terrain is very sparse now, as we are above the tree line. Our team split up to go in two different directions, but still arriving in Lobuche later today. Ake, Brad and Kevin are hiking over a pass called Kongma La, 18,159ft, that will take them about 7 hours to Lobuche and B-1, Bob and myself with Panuru and Bollie are going up the valley via Dughla to Lobuche, taking about 4 hours. We left the lodge around 8am, again it was a beautiful sunny morning and the mountain views were spectacular. We followed the side of the mountain, looking down to Pheriche and the valley below. We passed by stone huts where Sherpas come to spend the summer months with their yaks because of the warmer days and the lush vegetation. We arrived at Dughla around 9:30am and stopped for a drink. We could see climbers on Mt Lobuche through binoculars hiking up the glacier to the summit. Dughla is a glacial lake, small hamlet and mountain pass. The place consists of several huts, maybe three, located at an altitude of 15,075ft, and is essentially a resting place catering to hikers. From here it was straight up for 650 feet, but because of the thin air walking feels a little bit heavier. At the top of Thokla Pass, 15,846ft, we came upon the memorials for fallen climbers and Sherpas, along the ridge as far as you could see were chortens or rock memorials, with a name carved in the stone or a brass plaque. The symbolic prayer flags flowing from the memorials. There were climbers from many countries, following their passion and chasing their dreams. Doing a job. Such as Scott Fischer, Alex Lowe, Anatoli Boukreev and many Sherpas. Since the year 2000 thirteen Sherpas died on Everest, and then sixteen in this years disaster, the most of any single nationality. Leaving the area walking a bit slower thinking about your purpose, your home, it is now clearer than ever that climbing Everest is deadly serious
Not far from the Thokhla Pass is the Khumbu Glacier, the trail follows along the left side of it to get to Lobuche. We arrived here around noon for lunch, staying at a very nice tea house, the Himalayan Eco Lodge. Ake, Brad and Kevin returned about 3:30pm, having had a very cold and rugged hike over the pass. We rested all afternoon before going for dinner and cards.