Everest base camp, day 4: Acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar

October 2014

Namche Bazaar is the main town in Everest area. It is set in a natural amphitheater over looking Kongde Ri.  Due to significant altitude gain, it is recommended that one stays for a day in Namche Bazaar for acclimatization. We promptly followed the advice.

Namche Bazaar
I had lost appetite and started hating food. Whether it was due to altitude or bad quality of food, I was not clear. The food was not impressive as hotels prepared them without salt and spice. Dal baat the only food nearest to ‘our food’ was completely bland and so was the chapatti. I started trying exotic (?) foods like Pasta, momos. It was a way to ensure that I ate something. Why can’t people prepare idlis and dosas? I and Subbu agreed that food at Annapurna circuit was better (and cheaper).

View from our hotel
Contrary to popular belief acclimatization is not a rest day. A good way to acclimatize is to climb higher in the day and sleep at the lower altitude.  Like majority of trekkers, we headed to Army camp 450 feet above our hotel in Namche Bazaar. As we neared army camp, the view of Aba Dablam was clear.  At 22,349 feet it looked un-climbable due to its steep faces. But each year it is climbed by several people!!

View of Ama Dablam
Army camp also has a museum. In front of the museum was a large open space where we got the first view of Mount Everest. It should have been a happy moment but at that time we were not sure whether it was Mt. Everest or not!! Our porter said that the Mt. Everest was not visible which was also seconded by a guide from other group. I couldn’t believe that porter could not identify Mt. Everest. He seemed to be very innocent who only concentrated on his job!!

The mountain at the center but rising behind Nuptse. Ama Dablam on the far right
Once we know that we were looking at Mt. Everest our joy knew no bounds!! It was an amazing sight though only the tip of Everest was visible surrounded by Nuptse (25, 791 feet) and Lhotse (4th highest peak at 27,605 feet).

The leftmost peak is Everest
From the army camp we could see people climbing another hill. It promised better views so we climbed though it was a steep climb of about 1200 feet. That brought us to Everest view hotel. Clouds were already hovering around Everest when we took a quick photo.

A marathon was organized on that day. Look at the route one need to take from the banner below. It is one hell of a walk (or run!!).

When we returned to Namche we decided to have lunch at the hotel we ate on previous day.  Free Wi-Fi and charging was irresistible!! But once I started seeing mails, I became busy for next couple of hours.

Trip meter that day. Click on the photo for better view
I received a mail that a fraud was detected in my corporate credit card. It does not have upper limit and I was worried. That problem was that the credit card was in my Home and I did not remember the number!! I tried to call Customer service but the first question they ask was the card number. But no one was in Home at that time. I had to call my Home who then called up my Mother and then she went to the Home and got the credit card. As signal was weak, I asked my wife to contact customer service and close the matter. But they did not agree for that.

Valley we climbed on the previous day
I had to call them up and then patiently answer all security questions. Finally they said that I had to call from my registered phone number!! With great patience I had to tell them that I was in “climbing Everest!!” and with great difficulty I was calling them. They reluctantly accepted my version and cancelled the card. Story ended well!!

A waterfall seen from Namche Bazaar

Back to main story. I observed a phenomenon when I was in Namche Bazaar. For all 3 days (including one day while retuning) the day started with clear skies. By noon the clouds covered the entire area. By evening it was again a clear sky!!

Evening view with multiple exposure

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