April 18th…Avalanche at Everest Base Camp was the news of the morning. At 6:30am an avalanche swept down between Base Camp and Camp 1 killing 16 Sherpas in its path. The worst tragedy in Everest’s history. We had to continue our hike but we did not know if Kevin, Brad and Ake would be able to climb Mt Everest. This day is one of the most challenging on the entire trek, as we gain more than 2600 feet in altitude to reach Namche Bazaar. We headed out on the trail at 8 am, a beautiful sunny morning, shirts were worn, no jackets needed yet. As we were leaving the Guest House about to climb the stone steps a pack of donkeys were descending the steps with full loads, we waited for them to pass before we went up the steps. Shortly we reached the Sagarmatha (Nepalese name for Everest) National Park entrance and check-in for our trek. We crossed the Dudh Koshi River 3 times this morning and the last one was way up high over the River. The path was very busy today with Sherpas, porters, yaks, donkeys and Trekkers causing traffic jams and yak jams on the bridges and trail. We arrived at Namche about 11:30am. Namche Bazaar, at 11,286 feet altitude, is nestled along the crescent shaped slopes of the Khumbu Valley, it is both charming and exhausting all at the same time. The narrow alleyways are lined with gear shops and tea houses and we were staying at the Hotel Namche which happens to be on one of the upper tiers. Namche is the largest town in the Khumbu Valley with a population of 1500 which swells dramatically in the spring and fall trekking seasons. We had another good meal in the tea house and then went to rest.
Bob and I decided to explore Namche Bazaar and did some shopping for Sherpa hats and warm socks. This place has everything you need to climb Mt Everest and more. We had dinner in the large dining room at 7pm, we have to order our meals about 1 to 2 hours before we sit down to eat. So there is a lot of time spent in the dining room waiting for meals. We pass the time by reading, playing cards and talking to other Trekkers.