Three Passes Trek day to day journal
(22 September to 19 October 2016)

Day 01 (Thursday, 22 Sept 16 - Kathmanud-Lukla 2850 meter-Monju)
     It was the very end of the Monsoon season. The weather has stayed rainy and cloudy since some weeks. It is the beginning of tourist season. Many climbers, trekkers and guides were trying to fly to Lukla.
I had an early breakfast @5:30 am, took a public bus at 6:00am from Samakhusi, Kathmandu. It was 6:45am by the time I reached Kathmandu airport domestic terminal. It was a crowded place; I met some people saying that it was their third attempt to fly to Lukla.
     That was the day that everyone looked happier and rushing around with some hope to fly to Lukla. Weather was clear on both sides (Lukla and Kathmandu), but there was a delay due to some technical problems on the runway. I overheard that some of the passengers were throwing blames on airport staff for their negligence.
     Someone cheered, “Hey! The first flight took off”. Then, many others followed him. Passengers rushed to the check in counter. One of the check in counter official spoke, “Passengers of the third flight will be called after the second flight takes off”. I set back because my ticket was for the third flight in Goma Air.
     My flight took off at 10:28 and landed in Lukla at 10:56, it was 28 minutes flight. I felt very lucky to have flown in a single attempt. At times Lukla flights go very scary with jerking movement due to cloud, wind and rain. This time the flight went very smooth because there was no heavy cloud on the way. We could see the valleys, rivers, villages and hills clearly but not the mountain ranges. High Himalayan mountain ranges were hidden in the heavy cloud.
     The last few minutes in flight we got into thick cloud blinding everyone of us. Then, the plane suddenly came out of the thick cloud showing off the Lukla airport at the front. Every one of us looked at each other with big smiles and deep breathes. Every one of us clapped to have happy time with smooth flight and safe landing. “Flying to Lukla is an adventure itself”.
     It was just the beginning of trekking and climbing season in Nepal. There were many porters to sell their services to the trekkers and adventurers. Seeing the huge backpack a few guys came to ask me if I need a porter. I politely replied them that I was doing by myself. I carried the backpack that was about 20 kilogram with camera and lenses. There were some chocolate bars, energy bars, biscuits etc. Such consumable items can be reduced day by day to make the backpack lighter.
     Mountain tops stayed in the cloud for all the time, the lower valleys stayed partially cloudy and sunny. I moved on from Lukla enjoying the scenic natural beauty. It was lush green everywhere; I felt it too green because I came from Dubai where everything is bright white and brown sandy color. It was hard to believe that how green the nature could be.
     To be comfortable with sunny and cloudy weather condition the white balance in the camera was set accordingly. I was the slowest of all the trekkers because of heavy backpack and many stops for photography. At times I had to wait for a long time for a life existence and light within the frame. Afternoon became totally cloudy that made photography impossible. I still enjoyed the beautiful views of river and valleys. I stopped at Shangrila Guest House in for lunch then Namaste Lodge in Monju for the night.
Day 02 (Friday, 23 September 16 – Monju-Namche 3445 meter)
     Weather got even worse. It was cloudy and the temperature had dropped down to 13 degree Celsius. I started to trek at 7:30am. No photo opportunity due to cloudy day. I was in the Himalaya but did not see any of the mountains, yet.
I took slower pace while picking up with altitude above Dudhkoshi river valley. By the time I reached Namche 3445 meter above sea level the time was 2:00 pm. I stayed in Yak Hotel.
Day 03 (Saturday, 24 September 16 - Namche Acclimatization day)
     There was a heavy rain throughout the night, last night. The rain settled down by the morning, but the cloud did not clear. No chance to see any of the mountains, yet.
     Namche Drinking Water Project inaugural ceremony was to be held at about 4000 meter above the village of Khunde (at the bottom of Khumbiila). Mr. Chime Kalden Sherpa from Yak hotel had asked me if I was interested to join them on trip to the ceremony. I accompanied with the members of Namche Youth Group to participate in the inaugural ceremony. It was too difficult for me to catch up with them. I did not think that I would make all the way with them, but I did it.
     We stopped at Khunde for a tea time. We got in a heavy rain on the way to Khunde Monastery. Some guys had umbrellas and others had ponchos and plastic sheets. But, I was under the Gortex jacket, a halfway wet by the time we reached the ceremonial site. Two Lamas from Khunde Monastery carried out the inaugural ceremony under an umbrella held by a man. But, one of the Lamas held an umbrella by himself. While the Lamas were chanting prayers the gate valve from the reservoir tank was opened to release the water down to Khunde, Syanboche and Namche. Tea and biscuits were served to the attendees in the ceremony.
     After the ceremony we came down to Khunde for a lunch. It was the best lunch ever with plenty of fresh wild mushroom. Some of the guys did not eat the mushroom. Most probably, that was the one in their everyday meal at home. I love the Mushroom better than anything else; I ate a load of it.
     I stayed alone behind above Syangboche hoping that the weather may get better by afternoon, but got even worse. The temperature dropped down to 9 degree Celsius. I walked down to Syangboche, stopped at Phinzo lodge near the airport for a cup of tea. After tea I walked down to Namche in the heavy cloud and light rain.
Day 04 (Sunday, 25 September 16 – Namche due to bad weather)
     There was a heavy rain last night, still raining in the morning. Nothing more I could do than lying on the bed. Weather forecast showed bad weather for the following days, too.
     Weather cleared a bit by 5:00pm, but only for a few minutes. I had gone up to the Monastery, and then the cloud came up from the valley below covering everything allowing zero visibility around. I went back to the hotel, and then to the Sherpa Barista Café to meet the owner Mr. Pasang T. Sherpa. I had two cups of Americana, I felt great to have been there.
     I expressed my sadness for not having seen any of the mountains, yet. I was told that some of the trekkers have been to Gokyo valley and Everest base camp came back without seeing any of them.
Day 05 (Monday, 26 September 16 – Namche to Thame 3850 meter)
     Last night was the rainless night, the morning stayed clear, cloud started coming in on and off from 8:00am. With the thought of having better weather on following days I had set a plan of going to Kongde ridge. Mr. Chhemi Kalden Sherpa from Yak hotel made call to hotel Yeti Mountain Home with recommendation about my visit to the place. We got a positive answer on that matter, I was happy to visit to Kongde ridge and make some great photos from there.
     I left for Thame because I must go to Kongde via Thame. But, on my way to Thame I collected different opinion on trail condition. It was not a good time to try going over at that time of the year due to much of rain, more than expected. It was like an extended Monsoon.
     Nothing showed me any positive sign on that trip. On my way to Thame I noticed that the sole of my boots have given away. I was very sad to notice that, it was in a very bad condition. I had no idea what was to happen next. Nothing was going good on that trip; I was mentally disturbed with that situation. I met Mr. Chhiri on the way, but both of us were unsure that where we met each other before. After talking for a while we came to a conclusion that we had walked together on the way back from Goraksep on my last trip. He was with his Zopkeys taking supplies back from base camp. He showed me a nice pair of boots, but it was too small for me. He was willing to sell that in relatively reasonable price because he was not using the pair.
     I carefully walked up to Thame, stayed in Sun Shine lodge that is run by Mingma Rita Sherpa’s family. I explained all my plans and problems to the family. They suggested me to fix the boots with super glue; they arranged one from a nearby local shop. Mingma’s wife told me that the sole will fall off if I walk on the wet territory, which meant it was not for going to Kongde ridge where I had to cross many smaller rivers on the way. I went to bed with unending thoughts for the coming days. I was with an original plan of crossing over three passes, but the boots …
Day 06 (Tuesday, 27 September 16 – Around Thame)
     Oh, No! There was a heavy rain throughout the night. The rain made my mission to Kongde impossible, it was for sure.
The morning was clear with the sun shine. My boots were placed at sunny side to dry up before the super glue being applied. After breakfast I walked around on slippers. Soon, the sun came up strong forcing me to peel the jackets. I walked up to Thame Monastery but did not enter there. I wanted to meet the young Lama the reincarnation of the previous Lama. I was told that he was always busy in the classes from early morning. My idea of meeting with the Lama was pre-planned from Kathmandu, but did not happen. Hopefully, in the next rip.
     I took a few frames from the ridge below the Monastery. By 9:00 am cloud started coming up from the valley below covering everything. I got back to the hotel and started fixing my boots with super glue. The boots were well dried up, the fixing job was done properly but not sure how long would it last for.
     I confirmed that I was not going to Kongde ridge with such boots and rainy weather. I decided to continue on towards Renjo pass from the following day.
     Light but unending rain started around 2:00pm. Thoughts brewed in my mind regarding the high passes and weather condition. Mr. Mingma Rita Sherpa, the owner of the Sun Shine lodge showed a pair of boots telling if they fit for me. But, it went a bit tighter for me. He checked on my boots and said that I had done a good job. “No doubt, you can go over the passes”, he said. Psychologically, I became stronger with his words. He further suggested me to carry an extra tube of Super Glue. So, I did.
Day 07 (Wednesday, 28 September 16 – Thame to Lungden 4350 meter)
     There was another night with heavy rain. I was sleeping under the tin roof, throughout the night I enjoyed the sound of the rain. It was a kind of meditating sound.
     Having a good size of breakfast, I left Thame at 8:00am. I looked back from the ridge; it was a perfect angle to photograph the village, river and mountain peaks. But, the weather did not support me to do so. Sorry! No photo.
I walked into a potato farm to have a chit-chat with farmers. There was an old man on the trail; I had some chit-chat with him, too. Further on, there was a very nice angle to photograph, but life did not exist within the frame. I waited for 30 minutes, but nothing existed within that frame. I clicked without any life, no other choice.
     From a ridge I noticed a Yak caravan at Themeteng coming towards me. I planned to shoot the caravan from a right angle. I took a right angle and waited there until the caravan arrives to that point. I was not happy because the weather was not right. The man behind the Yak caravan recognized me and said, “I met you before the day near Namche, you were coming up.” I realized that I met the Yak caravan on my way to Thame.
     Then, I decided to follow the caravan, but I was completely collapsed after 15 minutes. I gave up the mission to follow them. The Yaks were carrying 60kgs each on their back. They had incredible stamina in high altitude, their feet moved nonstop in the same pace. I sat down on a rock and let them move on. Soon, they disappeared behind the horizon.
     I reached beautiful & wide Tarange valley on the bank of Bhotekoshi river. In the open grazing pasture there were some Naks with calves (Male is Yak and female is Nak). It looked a perfect frame with hanging dark cloud at the background. I wanted to take some photographs; I moved closer to the calves. But, the mother got angry with my move, so she came to charge on me. I ran away to save my life.
     I stopped at Marulung 4200 meter for a lunch break. The trail from Marulung takes uphill, but not too steep. From Marulung it takes about one and a half hour to reach Lungden 4350 meter above sea level. I reached Lungden in cloud at 5:00pm, stayed at Kongde View Lodge. I found the family (Mr. Karsang Sherpa & his wife) very friendly and caring of people. I was asked as what I would prefer for dinner. I answered, “I am fine with whatever you eat, give me the same.” Sure? He asked me. I confirmed, “Yes, for sure.” His wife said that she would prepare Syakpa for everyone. Syakpa is a kind of traditional Sherpa stew. The night’s Sherpa stew was the mixture of potato, vegetables and dried wild mushroom with some local herbs. It was a great dinner, ever. I did not want to be treated like a guest or tourist. I went to the kitchen to sit down with them. I ate three large bowls of Syakpa. With humor, they asked me if I could eat more. I said, “Please, keep for tomorrow.”
Day 08 (Thursday, 29 September 16 – Lungden in bad weather)
     As usual, it rained for the whole night. In brief, I had seen the tips of Kongde peak, Tengkhamo Tse and Mt. Numbur from Rolwaling range. Cloud came in, then I decided to stay there for the day. The idea of staying there was to take better photos on following days. I met the climbers who had to abort the expedition on Mera peak due to bad weather. They were very fit for high altitude. They said that they started their trip on 18th from Kathmandu, but never saw any mountain yet.
     I hiked up the ridge closer to Kyajo Ri 6630 meter. Most of the time, I was in the cloud. The ground was filled with varieties high altitude wild flowers. Many Yaks were grazing on the slopes.
Day 09 (Friday, 30 September 16 - Lungden)
     As usual, another night passed with heavy rain. The day cleared and there was sun shine. I decided to stay in Lungden for one more day and night to take photos around. I climbed up the slope to the ridge. Though the valley below was clear and sunny, cloud never moved away from the mountain tops. I was actually planning to take photos with valley, Yaks and mountains composed in one frame. But, that could not happen. The Yaks had moved further down the valley closer to Kyajo Ri. I photographed some of the wild flowers on the ground.
     The beauty of the place cannot be limited in words. I sat down on the floor and asked a question to myself, “Is this the heaven on earth?” I put all my thoughts of material life aside to concentrate on emptiness. It was so quiet, the sound I could hear was my own breath.
     There was no sign of clearing cloud from the mountain tops. I walked down the ridge on the other side. The ridge provided the view of long winding view of Bhotekoshi river including the valley below down to Thameteng and valley up towards Nangpa La.
Day 10 (Saturday, 01 October 16 – lungden-Renjo-Gokyo, 4800 meter)
     As usual, rained for the whole night. Usually weather clears after the storm, but this year never cleared. Since days I was expecting for a better weather after the heavy rain, but never happened that way.
     I had spent three nights at a place; I couldn’t wait for more days there. I was not keeping up with my original itinerary. Whatever the weather condition, I decided to go for Renjo pass 5360 meter above sea level. I moved on in the thick fog then the rain started in a while. Just after the village of Lungden the trail picked up on steep terrain. I was walking in the mixture of fog and rain. It took about an hour to tackle that steep section.
     As usual I took very slow enjoying the view and taking photographs. The last bit of climb above the lake and below the pass was too tough for me due to steepness, snow, rocky terrain and heavy backpack. I was counting the steps. I was stopping for break in every 10/15 steps.
     I had a plan to reach the pass in the late afternoon. The purpose of doing that was to Photograph the mountain ranges including Mt. Everest if the weather clears up. Instead, I got in the heavy snow-storm and thunder when I reached the pass. My dream of photographing the mountain ranges did not come true. Way down from the pass I walked in the heavy snow-storm and wind. I almost lost the track due to fresh snow on the ground. At one point, I was looking for overhang or cave to spend the night thinking that the following morning may be clear. I was confident to be fine at night with my gear.
     By the time I reached Gokyo, the time was 6:30pm. I stayed at Cho O U View lodge. Luckily, I got the room facing right on the lake, #11.
Day 11 (Sunday, 02 October 16 – Gokyo 4th lake, 4890 meter)
     It was a rainless night last night. Early morning at 5:30am I looked through the window to find Mt. Cho O U 8201 meter very clear. I was very tired since the previous day. I did not care of whatever existed out there. I went into my sleeping bag to have some good sleep. I had an easy morning with late breakfast. After breakfast I walked up to the 4th lake 4890 meter above sea level. Very dull weather, poor lighting I did not have any opportunity for better photography.
     Weather became worse, everything got under the fog. I turned back to the hotel, had a late lunch at 3:00pm. I had a good rest for the rest of the day.
Day 12 (Monday, 03 October 16 – Gokyo 5th lake, 5000 meter)
     I woke up at 5:00am to find everything in cloud. It seemed like it was going to rain/snow, soon. I did not know what had to be done the next. Keep sleeping or move ahead, no idea. I thought for a while, and then decided to make the way up to the 5th lake whatever the weather situation was. I went to the kitchen to order for a quick breakfast.
     I left the hotel at 6:00am breaking through thick fog. After a few hundred meters from Gokyo lake I found the fog hanging on a level right above my head. It looked like the roof ceiling. It was my first time to see such fog formation.
     When I reached the 4th lake there was a surprise for me, the weather further was clear and sunny, but not the mountain tops, yet. I looked back towards the 3rd lake it was raining and snowing up on Kyajo Ri. I had a better photo of the 4th lake. While I was heading up towards the 5th lake there was a figure seen at far away back. A single man was coming up looking confused. I yelled at him, later he joined me all the way to the 5th lake. His name was Mr. Dean from the UK, but lives in Australia.
     The sun stayed out heating hard, my down jacket smelt from the heat. I had to peel off the jacket due to hot sun. There was a hole in the cloud right above the lakes and glacier. I wanted to photograph the Mt. Everest with the lake at the foreground. We walked around the lake that was the time cloud started shifting into the hole in the sky. It turned to be very cold when the cloud shifted in. Mr. Dean was very excited to find someone who has the full knowledge of the area. I told him that I worked as a professional trekking guide for more than a decade bringing people up there. We took a few photographs but without any mountain. By 1pm wind started blowing hard forcing us to find a pocket behind a boulder. We desperately waited for the weather to be clear but there was no sign for.
     My mission was to photograph the Mt. Everest with the lake, we waited till 3:30pm, but there was no sign of lifting the cloud. It was a long way back to the hotel at the 3rd lake, also a long way around the lake in high altitude. We were getting late for return trip. From the ridge between the lake and glacier we could see the body of Mt. Everest slightly through the hole in the cloud, for a few seconds. I asked him if he likes to wait for some time to try for a chance to photograph the Mt. Everest if it clears up in a few minutes. He said, “Once in a while or once in life time. Let’s wait for some times here.” We sat down on the edge of the glacier. It was already 5:30pm, but no sign of lifting the cloud.
     We rushed back, the darkness followed us somewhere between the 4th and 5th lake. It was my pre-plan to stay late in high altitude that’s why I had carried the head torch with me. He did not have a head torch; we carefully walked with one head torch. Imagine walking at night with one head torch in high altitude and rocky terrain at times! We reached the hotel at the third lake just a few minutes before 8pm. What a tiring task! We were fully exhausted.
Day 13 (Tuesday, 04 October 16 – Gokyo to Thaknak, 4750 meter)
     I gave up the idea of climbing up the Gokyo peak 5360 meter in the cloud. I had a relaxed easy morning. Mr. Dean climbed up, but nothing he had seen. That day was the day we would cross the Ngazumba glacier to reach Thaknak 4750 meter above sea level. It takes roughly three hours to cross the glacier. We moved from Gokyo @11:00am. Right at the entry point into the glacier there was a group of trekkers coming from Thaknak. I took some photographs, but the lighting was a bit flat already. One of the members in the group said, “No interviews please, only photographs. We cannot talk in high altitude.” I replied, “Yes, that is fine, photographs will do all the needful.”
     As soon as the group passed by, it was our turn to get into the glacier. While we were behind the moraine there was a loud thud in the main section of the glacier. I was curious to find that, but no sign when I reached there. It could be an underground ice cracking sound. I spent some time watching the rock falls into the glacial lake. There were some dangerously hanging rocks about to fall, but my not fall for some times. The trail on the glacier does not stay the same for all the time. Glacial surface keeps moving restlessly, we should find the proper trail by a careful watch. Confusion and mixed ups are normal while crossing the glaciers. Enormous energy of the mother earth, glacier moves on restlessly. Non-stop sound of rolling rocks and underground ice cracking are phenomena of the glacier.
     We reached Thaknak at 2:30pm. I wanted to stay in a quiet place. We stayed at different lodges in Thaknak. We decided to meet up at 5am on the following day.
     In the evening a group of some 20+ male and female students arrived in the hotel. They also had a plan to go over the Tso La. They were very noisy guys.
Day 14 (Wednesday, 05 October 16 – Thaknak-Tso La-Zongla, 4750 meter)
     As everyone knows that going over Tso La requires early preparation. The group of students started preparing since 3:30am. My sleep was disturbed; I had a plan to sleep until 4:30am. The group left for Tso La at 4:45am.
We had decided to meet at 5:00am, but Mr. Dean did not arrive. Leaving a message at the hotel for Mr. Dean I left for Tso La at 5:15am. It is all the way uphill; I could see the trekkers, guides and porters lined up in that gully, a far away from me. I was a bit panicked to have started late. I tried to catch up with them, but no way. Incomplete sleep, heavy backpack, heavy breakfast etc put me slower.
     I looked back from the way up where I found some more trekkers were coming up from the bottom of the climb. I felt better myself by seeing them gasping. I could feel what exactly they were going through. I wanted to take photograph of people coming up from below; I waited for them to arrive on the slope. I took the photographs, they passed by then I never catch up with them. All other trekkers were faster than me. They did not carry a heavy backpack, they did not carry heavy camera and lenses and they did not stop for photography.
     On the high slope at around 5000 meter above sea level cloud came in then started to snow. I took photos and video clips of myself. It was too difficult to tackle the uphill below the pass. It was too steep, on top of everything there was heavy snowfall and wind. Then, the groups crossing Tso La from both sides met up at the most difficult steep section that created a bottle neck. No two ways please! A Chinese trekker slipped over the fresh snow, nearly went over the edge. No way to find him back had he gone over. I bet; no one was at the situation to assist any other on that slope. Some of the porters could be the first timers on the pass could not make the way down. One of them dropped the load on the snow and climbed up to assist others. Not knowing where to go some porters had taken the wrong direction. I called them back to put on the right track. At every situation I keep my camera mounted on the tripod and walked with it. At the last difficult section I could not manage my steps to go over. I was struggling to find the proper angle to put my feet. It took some time causing more traffic up on high place.
     Tso La pass 5420 meter above sea level was crowded with tourists, guides and porters. Snowfall stopped and light came in, but not really the clear and sunny. I ate the pack lunch of boiled eggs and chapatti. I had been climbing with snicker bars and water on the steep below. I waited until everyone goes off; I wanted to stay alone on the pass for sometimes. I walked down and walked on the snow flat alone, enjoyed more.
     Again, cloud came in, started to snow. At times it was a bit scary, but that was what I wanted be. The last part of the pass was even dangerous with freshly moved unstable rocks; it was a challenge for me. Soon, the icy section was over. I had to come down the rocky section that required huge strides at times. I walked in the snow storm all the way down to Zongla 4800 meter and stayed in Green Valley lodge. It was nice and cozy place.
Day 15 (Thursday, 06 October 16 – Zongla to Lobuche 8000 Inn, 5010 meter)
     There was snowfall last night. Early in the morning, I enjoyed the scene of ice hanging and falling from the roof. Everything was covered in cloud. Around 9am the sun light filtered through the cloud gave some light and hope for the rest of the day. I was too close to Tso La Tse the impressive peak but I never saw it. Instead of clearing the day, it started to rain quite heavily.
The rain settled a bit by 11:30am, I made a move for Lobuche. After some minutes there was a heavy rain and fog. I kept walking in the rain till I got wet. Through the fog I saw some figures moving down the slope, I was not sure what that was. Later I confirmed that they were the foreign trekkers without guide and porter. In bad weather they lost the trail and took the Yak trail that leads them to another valley, the summer grazing pasture. I gave them a hand gesture to come up, but they looked confused. I yelled, “You are lost, that is not the right trail. Come up!” They looked at each other and decided to take up. They pulled up to the right trail with slow pace. They were very please with my assistance. Everyone thanked me with very short breathe. I did not ask anything because they were not in the state exchanging conversation due to high altitude.
     By the time I reached the ridge somewhere between Lobuche and Zongla the rain stopped. Cloud cleared but the valley below, only. I could see Pheriche valley below, blue lake Tso La Tso (the lake at the bottom of Tso La Tse) and Lobuche on the other side, but none of the mountain peaks. If it clears I would have seen and photographed the valley with many mountain peaks; Pumo Ri, AmaDablam, Nuptse etc. I waited there in the cold and windy place for 3 hours, but the weather did not clear.
I had to move on. I stopped at Lobuche for a quick lunch.
     I reached 8000 Inn, Lobuche at 4:30pm, in the cloud. Mr. Kaji the manager and researcher at the Pyramid building for EV-K2-CNR Nepal sector arranged my stay at that place for the night and next. EV-K2-CNR is an organization that conducts the scientific research & conservation on high altitude fragile ecosystem in the region. In the same building they run 800 Inn (Lodge and restaurant), tourists and visitors are welcome.
     On my way to 8000 Inn I met some porters running down to the lower altitude with empty baskets to avoid the extreme cold and expensive food price up there. They were playing the folk songs in their mobile phone, I liked the way they did.
Day 16 (Friday, 07 October 16 – Rest day, 8000 Inn)
     As usual, another new day with bad weather. Due to bad weather I did not move anywhere from the hotel.
Day 17 (Saturday, 08 October 16 – Lobuche 8000 Inn to Goraksep, 5160 meter)
     In the morning I realized that I had insufficient drinking water yesterday. I was in bad shape that morning due to lack of water in my body system. I was dehydrated by midnight. My stupidity, I did not take any water to the bed with me. I walked downstairs to the kitchen to look for some water. There was no way of drinking cold water, I checked in thermos. There was about half a liter of warm water that saved my life.
     By early morning I was fully dehydrated with mild headache. My lips and nose were dried up, badly. At 5:30am, I went to the kitchen to ask for a liter of boiled water. The guys had just come to the kitchen to start the day. I was asked to wait for some times. After drinking a load of water with tea and sugar my headache was gone and started feeling better. I had lost appetite, a bit. I forced myself to eat more breakfast.
     At 9:30am, I moved for Gorksep. The rain and cold wind got me while I was crossing Changri Nup glacier. On their way to Goraksep every trekker crosses over the Changri Nup glacier that feeds into the Khumbu glacier. Many people do not know such glacial system.
     Mr. Kaji Bista had suggested me to look for Mr. Chitra the manager in Himalayan Guest house in Goraksep for a room. Finding a room was impossible due to high number of tourists reaching the point. When I said that Mr. Kaji recommended see him; Mr. Chitra was a bit confused. He provided me the double room No.114. I was lucky to have a room, I saw many trekkers not finding any room. They agreed to sleep on the floor in the dining hall.
In the afternoon, I hiked up the slope about a half way to Kalapattar. After dinner, it was 8pm I found it was snowing. I went to bed with the decision of going on Kalapattar whatever the weather situation would be there in the following morning.
     I spoke to Mr. Chitra regarding the opening hour of the restaurant in the following morning. My idea was to have a good breakfast and move to Kalapattar. The answer was; 6:00am. Too late! I took a liter of hot water with the thermos, rapped it with clothes and jacket then placed in the day bag. Also, I prepared some chocolate bars and biscuits. I was ready to move anytime.
Day 18 (Sunday, 09 October 16 – Goraksep-Kalapattar- Lobuche 8000 Inn)
     My plan was to start hiking to the top of Kalapattar at 5:00am. But, the guide of the next room trekkers came in at 3:30am yelling them to get ready for the peak. It was too early; I was a bit disappointed but could not help for myself. At 4:20am I hit the trail with the head torch mounted on my head. It had snowed heavily at night; the fresh snow was all over. I looked up and down from the way half to find about a dozen of head-torch flashing the slope on both sides. It was looking interesting, but could not collect any strength to photograph them.
     It was too difficult taking height. I had to apply the Yoga style breathing technique with the theory of single step in one breath. Somewhere at about 5400 meter above sea level, the morning light broke in. But, the cloud did not lift up from the mountain tops.
     At the top of Kalapattar I took some photos and video clips of myself. I drank hot water with chocolate bars and biscuits. I was the only person having something to drink something hot from thermos.
There was no sign of clearing up the weather. I came down to Goraksep at the hotel. The hotel was too crowded with tourists, guides and porters. There were a few trekkers asking for room. I decided to leave the place, and then move to Lobuche. I did not see any reason for staying over there in bad weather. I made a move towards Lobuche, got in the rain and wind on the way while crossing over the Changri glacier.
Day 19 (Monday, 10 October 16 –Lobuche 8000 Inn-Peak above 5600 meter) I got up at 5:30am. It was a surprise; the weather      was excellent. Again I was confused for what was the next step to be done. My initial plan was to go over Khongma Pass 5580 meter. Then, I could not decide for the next step. I couldn’t go back to Goraksep and Kalapattar again.
Without any preparation I took up the ridge above the Pyramid. There was great view in clear weather, but not very photogenic due to brightness on the mountains. From high ridge at about 5500 meter I could see the complete view of Khumbu glacier, Changri glacier, Base camp, Goraksep, Kalapattar and Khonma Pass. Following mountains could be seen from the single point; Tamserku, Kangtega, Amadablam, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Mt. Everest (just the tip of it), Shangtse (the peak in Tibet), Lingtren, Pumo Ri, Chang Ri, Tsola Tse and Lobuche peak (on my hand’s reach). The view was a Wow! But, it was too bright for photography.
     I reached a rocky band with lots of unstable rocks. There was no way to go further up or contour around. I had to stop climbing from that point. I realized that I had gone up with a very little supply to survive. For the whole day in high altitude I had about 370ml water and two Snicker bars. The limited supplies had to be rationed, carefully. I drank a few drops at a time with a bite of Snicker bar. Strong wind started to blow up from the valley below. It was irresistible at times. I found a nice pocket between the rocks that kept me safe from the cold wind. The warmth from the sun put me asleep for about an hour.
     Around 3:00pm, the lighting on the snow clad mountains became milder. But, still a little too bright for photography. I took a few frames, but not happy with. I was desperately waiting for the milder lighting to take some perfect pictures. Oh! No! Cloud came in rolling up from the end of the Khumbu glacier. Soon, cloud covered the whole area. My dream of making perfect picture was gone into the cloud. Very sad!
     No choice other than coming down back to the hotel. I had to step down on the rocks very carefully because of unstable rocks everywhere. Had there been a small mistake my life would have been in question, for sure. On the slope I found some grass and Yak droppings that gave me a feeling of being nearby some settlement or village. It was the sign of life.
     It was one of the best view points in entire Khumbu region. I recommend everyone to try to reach the spot when time and fitness permits for. No other spot provides the view of complete Khumbu glacier and that many mountain peaks.
Day 20 (Tuesday, 11 October 16 –Lobuche –Khingma La-Chhukung, 4780 meter) Let me tell you what had happened last night.      After coming back from my hike to the peak I was badly exhausted. I tried hard to replenish with food and drinks, but was not enough. I had gone to bed with a liter of drinking water that was finished by 1:00am. I woke up at 2:30am; my body was fully dried out. There was a kind of discomfort in the whole body system. I knew that my body needed more water. I thought for a while for where to get water from. I knew there was no alternative water supply system. The water supply is from the clear blue lake about 300 meters above the hotel. The water was naturally very clean to drink and the same water supply was connected to the shower room, too. Fine! I went to the shower room with my travelling mug, opened the tap and waited for a few seconds to get some warm water. I drank more than a liter of water in one go. Then, the tap dried out, there was no more water left in the system. After a few minutes I went back sleep.
     I got up at 5:30am; I felt better with a very light headache. Weather was not as good as it was yesterday. I had a thought to start to walk by 7:00am, but delayed with slow process in breakfast due to loss of appetite and some chit-chat with the staff and Mr. Kaji Bista.
     I started to walk at 8:00am. By the time I reach other side of Khumbu glacier it was 10:00am. It was too late for going over the pass, but I had my own calculation on timings. My plan was to reach the top in the afternoon to take some nice photographs if the weather gets clear.
     On the side of the Khumbu glacier there was a summer grazing pasture. The trail took up from the pasture. Not bad at the beginning, but later it became harder and too difficult at the end. After 2and a half hour from the glacier the trail took up about 80 degrees vertical climbs. At times it required bigger strides to tackle up the hill. My camera tripod was used as the walking stick (Camera still mounted on it) to support me in climbing up. I met up with a group of trekkers coming down from other way (from Chhukung). The space was enough for single way traffic. I was stuck at a difficult point. They greeted me, “Namste!” But I was unable to return the greetings in words. I responded the greetings with hand gesture and smile. They had to wait until I made through that narrow and steep section.
     I stopped at some point to take the pack lunch of two boiled eggs, Chapatti and Snicker bars. The drinking water was still warm because that was inserted in the center of sleeping bag.
     Before the pass there is a rocky section with lots of unstable rocks. At times, not sure which one to step on. I found some rocks freshly fallen from up the cliff. I looked up, it was very scary, and rocks may fall at anytime. I wanted to speed up, but no way could I do that. There was a lake on my right hand side, but did not pay much time to look at it. From that rocky section I could see the pass nearby, but it took a long time to reach there.
     Finally, I reached the pass at 1:45pm. The view was stunning with three lakes and mountain ranges. I could see Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Nuptse and Mt. Makalu. Mt. Amadablam was hidden in the cloud. Mt. Nuptse was just at my hand’s reach. I dropped the backpack on the floor to take some photos.
     I walked down to the lakes and took some more photos. I stood up on the brink of the deep blue lake then stepped back a few steps with some unknown fear because I was alone. Being alone at such place some imagination came up in my mind; Yetis may be watching at me from behind the peak.
     I spent quite an amount of time around the lakes. I started walking down at 3:00pm, obviously felt well because it was downhill all the way. Down the slope thick fog covered the area putting me in some confusion to find the direction. I sat down at a place for some water and a Snicker bar.
     Getting closer to Chhukung, the trail improved to flat. Mountain tops stayed cloudy, the valley below was sunny. By the time I reached Chhukung the time was 5:30pm. I met Mr. Lobsang Chheten Sherpa the owner of Khangri Resort at the hotel. The hotel was full. After a cup of hot tea, he carried my backpack then escorted me to Yak Land hotel. Ms. Yangji Sherpa, the owner of the hotel offered me a single room. It was small, nice, quiet and clean place to stay. I liked the place. I do not hesitate to recommend this place for anyone. Finding this hotel is a bit difficult because it is situated behind the big one, Chhukung Resort.
Day 21 (Wednesday, 12 October 16 – Around Chhukung) At 6am, I looked through the window, weather was incredibly clear. I put my warm cloths and moved out from the hotel without any tea and breakfast. By 9:00am cloud started coming in slowly. I got back to the hotel for a heavy breakfast. After breakfast, I asked Ms. Yangji Sherpa to wake me up at around 3:30pm if weather clears up. But, things never happened that way. I woke up myself at 3:00pm to find the mountains covered in cloud and more cloud was coming up from Dingboche valley below.
     With a plan of going to Imja Lake on the following day; in the evening I went to Khangri Resort to meet Mr. Lobsang to collect more information about Imja lake and the angles to photograph. He suggested me to Mr. Deep Rai at the Imja Lake project, he was the in-charge of logistic and manpower manager in the project. He mentioned that he had spoken to him regarding my visit to Imja Lake. He assured that he would assist me for anything required at the Imja Lake.
Day 22 (Thursday, 13 October 16 – Chhukung-Imja Lake 5140-Chhukung) At 6am, I made move for Imja Lake. By the time I reached Imja Lake project camp, the time was 8:30am. A very busy kitchen staff was available at the camp. He told that Mr. Deep will be back by 11:00am for lunch.
     Mr. Lobsang had suggested me to climb up the ridge to get better photo of Imja Lake. Imja Lake was hidden behind the lateral moraine. I was a bit hopeless at the beginning. I began to see the lake as I climbed higher and higher. I climbed the ridge all the way to just below the snow line, about 5600 meter above sea level. The spot was just about right for taking photograph of the lake.
     Interestingly, there was a species of rabbit like tailless mammals on the rocky area. There were falcons to prey on them to balance the ecosystem in high altitude.
     I walked back down to the project camp where Mr. Deep Rai treated me in a VIP way. It was the best meal throughout the entire trip. He was not supposed to do that much for me. I enjoyed the treat. After lunch we climbed up to the lake that is situated at 5140 meter above sea level. He showed me all the construction works that was near completion. I could see the JCB digger sitting under the tin shed. He said that the JCB was brought on MI17 Russian made helicopter on 6 flights. Helicopter cannot lift much heavier items in high altitude.
     Then, we got up on a huge boulder to take a photograph for ourselves. After taking photograph I had some difficulties in getting down from the boulder. I planned to take some photos of the lake from a close range, but cloud came in. At 4:00pm I started to move back to Chhukung. It was 6;00pm by the time I arrived Chhukung.

Day 23 (Friday, 14 October 16 – Dingboche 4420 meter)
     I had a good sleep last night; it was a relaxed morning with porridge and tea.
     My initial plan was to make a photograph of Chhukung in the afternoon with mountain ranges at the background. It was made impossible due to heavy cloud in the afternoon. That morning, before my way to Dingboche; I went up towards Khongma Pass for a while to shoot some images of Chhukung. I was unhappy with the images because they were shot into the Sun.
     I took the day really slow. I reached Dingboche, Peaceful Lodge for a lunch and night stay. Mr. Kusang the owner of the Peaceful Lodge offered a great lunch of potato chips with fried eggs on top. The lodge was houseful, no room available for me. I told him that anywhere would do for me. He arranged an unfurnished room for me, #14. It was fine.
     In the afternoon I went to Himalayan Café to meet the owner Mr. Ang Tsering Sherpa. I had some nice coffee and cookies. Late afternoon turned to be very cloudy. At 7:00pm the weather was clear with bright moon.
Day 24 (Saturday, 15 October 16 – Photography Around Dingboche)
Weather cleared up, I walked up the slope after a cup of coffee. I took some shots on the ridge, though not very nice ones.
I came to the lodge, had a breakfast at 9:30am. I and Mr. Kusang had some chit-chat for some time. He said that he was not happy for not finding a better room for me last night. He suggested me to stay for one more night at his place; he would offer the better room for the night. He insisted, but I decided to make a move down to Tyangboche.
     I made a move at 10:30am. Getting lower and warmer I was excited with the move. I took faster steps, feeling I had forgotten something behind. After 45 minutes down from the hotel I realized that the battery and charger of my Nikon D810 was on in the plug. God! What next? I had to go back to the hotel. After reaching the hotel I was not in the mood of going back, it was getting late. Again, he insisted me to stay for the night there. I did so. He offered a room upstairs with the attached bath inside. The room was spacious with comfortable beds, and that provided a nice view through the window; Room #302.
Day 25 (Sunday, 16 October 16 – Dingboche-Tyangboche, 3850 meter) It was a cloudy morning. I took it slower, stayed lying on the bed till 7:30am. I had two large cups of coffee with milk and four slices of French toast for breakfast. I expressed my gratitude for the quality of hospitality he provided to me. He said that he would be more than happy to have me at his place every month, not every year.
     I left Dingboche for Namche at 9:30am. Cloud lifted up, the day was sunny. All the mountain peaks were seen clearly. I had some photos with trekkers and yaks on my way. There were a few mountain goats below Somare village. The main trail runs straight through the village of lower Pangboche, I took up the route through upper Pangboche village with an idea of taking some nice photos of Mt. Amadablam with some old Juniper trees and stupas at the foreground from Panbcohe village. There was a sudden change in the weather making impossible to take photographs.
     I had a lunch in a tea-house, and then walked down to the Imja river. I knew there was a nice frame of Mt. Amadablam with the river at the foreground, but the weather turned to be cloudy. I sat down on a rock waiting for the cloud to clear. But, it didn’t, and then I walked on.
     I reached Tyangboche in the fog. I stayed in Tashi Delegh Lodge that is run by Tashi Sherpa.
Day 26 (Monday, 17 October 16 – Tyangboche-Namche, 3445 meter) Weather condition got even worse that day. Tyangboche Monastery was hardly seen through the cloud. The valley below Tyangboche was clear, but not sunny. Though I have been on the route for several times I still enjoy the natural beauty as to a new place. Walking down through the pine forest with Yak caravan was unforgettable. More to it, the sound of the Yak bells was a meditating one. Weather never improved for the whole day. My late lunch stop was at Kyanjuma.
I reached Namche at dusk and stayed in Yak Hotel.
Day 27 (Tuesday, 18 October 16 – Above Namche) It was a surprise to find the clear weather. My initial plan of going down to Lukla was aborted and took up the slope towards Syangboche. It was a bit late to have started the day at 7:30am.
Standing on the ridge above Syangboche I could see many mountains including Mt. Everest from a single point. Looking on the other side I could see the hidden villages of Khumjung and Khunde. I followed the ridge towards the Everest View hotel then cut down to Khumjung village. I stopped by Amadablam View lodge. The lady from the lodge easily recognized me at the first sight. The last time I met her was about 18 years back.
     After lunch I walked through Khunde village to go to Ghong Ri. Since a few years I was thinking of taking a frame of Mt. Thamserku with the pine trees at the foreground, it has to be in the afternoon. My plan was spoilt again due to heavy cloud influx in the afternoon. I enjoyed the walk in the trees way down to Namche. I stopped at Phinzo Lodge in Syangboche for a cup of tea. Through the window I looked at the porters working in the cold weather handling the loads that was off loaded from the MI17 helicopter. After a cup of tea I walked down to Namche feeling cold.
Day 28 (Wednesday, 19 October 16 – Namche-Lukla)
      Again, there was another bad weather day. But, it did not matter to me because I was just walking back to Lukla.
     There was an issue regarding my flight ticket for Lukla to Kathmandu. I did not have the air ticket pre-purchased. I was in need of one. Mr. Chhemi Kalden Sherpa from Yak Hotel suggested me to meet Mr. Lhakpa Kaji at Alpine Lodge in Lukla.
At my departure Mr. Chhemi bid a farewell with a sacred scarf (Khata) as a sign of respect. I was really touched with his steps forward to me. I was with a kind of mixed feelings of happiness and sadness; Happy to receive a great respect but Sad to leave Khumbu. I walked down from Namche at 8:00am holding some tears in my eyes. My heart was weakened from unsuccessful expedition due to bad weather all the way. The weakened heart was touched with respect. There was the reason to have some tears in my eyes.
     I stopped at Shangri-La Guest House in Phakding for a lunch. Also, I had to collect my camera Canon G11 and audio devices for a video record. Those things I had left back there on my way up, I knew they would be too heavy for me in high altitude.
     I realized that it would be too late to arrange a few things by the time I reach Lukla. I called Mr. Chhemi Sherpa in Namche and requested to give a call to Lhakpa Kaji in Lukla for a room for tonight and an air ticket to Kathmandu for the following day. He kindly did all necessary steps for me.
     At the Alpine Lodge I was assured that I would fly to Kathmandu on the second flight, next day.
Day 29 (Thursday, 20 October 16 – Lukla-Kathmandu) Early morning from my bed I heard people talking, “Weather is clear, there will be flights.” As instructed last night I was at the airport at 7:00am. Mr. Lhakpa Kaji’s wife assisted me for arranging the ticket. Security checks in started around 8:00am. At 8:45 there was an announcement, “Goma air second flight.” Yes! I was there. It was a wonderful flight and safe landing in Kathmandu.
     That was all how my expedition went through. I hope you enjoyed reading my journal. It is a must do adventure trip in a lifetime. What I say is, “Do it now or regret at your old age.” Start planning …