Day Two : Phakding
Latest Tinder update says that Alice (who likes reading and fishing) is now 89kms away. “Cheeky”, says Pete, although I think he is referring to the density of contours in an 89km radius rather than any innuendo in their chat.
As we walk to Phakding, I pass the time wondering what a 'Pete date' might be like. Would he just turn up breathless after an 80km run, arrive at the door and then - Forrest Gump style - say, “Think I’ll go home now, “ and turn around and run back? Or would he take them to Yo Sushi and join his plate on the treadmill? The mind boggles.
The terrain is more mountainous as we progress, steep valleys and suspension bridges abound, testing my vertigo thoroughly. We seem to be heading downhill at the moment, which seems a little unnecessary given our intentions, but given the thin air, the respite is welcome.
Day Three : Namche Bazar
Alice appears to have disappeared out of Rupert's immediate sphere of romantic influence. I suspect she’s probably out of signal somewhere reading a book having done a bit of fishing. I imagine she’s a fan of Hemingway.
Today we slogged to Namche Bazar. A beautiful walk amongst impossibly steep valleys with high-speed yaks competing with road space with mules and the occasional English school group, who all seem to contain an errant child called Felix.
My vertigo-induced Tourette's got the better of me on one of the higher suspension bridges. Even Felix’s teachers stopped calling for him to witness my verbal assault on gravity as I staggered across the bridge. Pete strolled ahead whistling the Angolan national anthem, while Rupert reminded me of the time I tried to bog flush him at school. Given my vulnerable situation – on all fours and white with fear – I could see that this might have been an opportune moment for him to bring this up.
We arrived in Namche Bazaar at about 3:30 pm. It is a town full of hippies “finding themselves”. Presumably, they lost themselves in coffee houses as they seemed to be doing much of their reconnaissance there, wearing balloon pants and planning a global campaign against soap.
This is the “Gate Way to Everest”, and we will spend a couple of days here getting our selves organised. News from Samir, our base camp manager/wizard, is the rope fixing teams have fixed ropes across the Khumbu Icefall and as far as Camp 2, which is exciting news this early.
Will update in a few days. If I haven’t, it's because I have found myself in a coffee shop and will have abandoned my summit bid in order to partake in an eternal 'gap yah' with a couple called Viola and Tarquin.
Pete has asked if I could add his “blog”. Here goes. Enjoy.
15 April 2019
1600hrs local time
Location: 27 48’17” N. 86 42’39” E
Altitude: 11,822ft ASL
Pack weight: 37 pounds
Moving Speed: 3.3km/h
Elevation Gain: 3379ft
Average Heart Rate: 130 BPM
Max Heart Rate: 174 BPM
VO2 Max: 51