WILDERNESS MEDICAL SOCIETY ISLAND PEAK CLIMBING 2019 SPRING
28 March 2019 Trek From Phakding to Namche
A luxurious night was spent in Phakding, playing a card game (which cannot be named in decent company) but resulted in the loser wearing a pair of pink leopard print underwear on their heads, hot showers, and delicious food. We were treated to an early morning wakeup call with hot black tea and warm washing water. It definitely starts the day out right, but not being accustomed to such niceties while on the trail, it makes one feel a tad guilty. With discussions of AMS and HACE at dinner last night, we were all sure to take our Diamox this am prepping for an approximate 9mi trek with an elevation gain of several thousand feet to a total of 11,283. We were treated with warm weather and clear skies for the day. As the sun came over the ridge line the views became more spectacular the further we climbed, and luckily we have a professional photographer who doubles as an ER resident by day to capture it all. (Thanks Ted in advance for sharing all your amazing photos!) We stopped for a tea and rest break with a perfect sun lit backdrop of Thamserku (9 peaks). After a few crossings of the Dudh Kosi, AKA “milk river”, where Aaron posed in different precarious positions, we crossed over into Sagarmatha National Park. We stopped for lunch just past the entrance to the park for lunch, where we were served what seemed like spaghetti and veggie empanadas; however the highlight for most of us was the amazing kimchee. As most of us have been tracking our mileage and altitude on watches, we knew that the next several miles were going to be an upward climb. I am truly humbled by the ease at which our guides and Sherpas navigate these trails, carrying huge packs and loads on their heads up and down the mountains. Crossing over the Dudh Kosi atop a very high suspension bridge for the last time, it was a short kicker up to our first view of Sagarmatha. I think most of us had an emotional moment seeing it for the first time. I certainly welled up as this has been a dream of mine since I was little. The last part of the trek we shared the trail with many ungulates and donkeys that we all secretly pet and encouraged up the mountain. We were all very relieved to round the last turn into Namche, which is a beautiful town of about 1500 nestled in between the mountains. Taking off your shoes never felt so good. Tomorrow we are promised another acclimatization hike with a 360⁰ panorama!