I'm no Heinrich Harrer, nor Brad Pitt for that matter, but after miraculously escaping Katmandu without getting sick, we ventured off on our own little walk around the Himalaya. We spent the first seven days walking from tea house to tea house, through small villages, past remote monasteries, finally catching our first glimpse of Mt. Everest on a corner of the trail in a collection of houses called Phurthang. In the end we will spend 34 days walking through the mountains.
Yes, it's true - you can get anything you want in Namche Bazaar including chocolate cake and an espresso, which we indulged in after wolfing down a "vegetable" pizza. This is where most Everest expeditions begin after flying into Lukla airport and it's where the second part of our journey starts from as well. On a Namche side note, it is here that I've said good-bye to my trusty and loyal old orange puffy jacket which has travelled with me to the summits of Bolivian peaks, skied cold smoke powder in Kyrgyzstan and cozied up at home in Montana. Farewell, my duct tape covered friend. Happily, in true Buddahist style, my jacket has now been reborn to hopefully live an even better life on the shoulders of a now warm Sherpa in Namche.
We're slowly acclimitizing to the altitude, and as I type this we are hunkered down in sleeping bags on a clear chilly evening at around 15,900 ft a stones throw from the Tibetan border. Once the sun disappears behind the mountain, the temperature plummets so we'll spend the next 12 hours or so tent bound until hot coffee and porridge motivate us toward Sundar La (18,300 ft), Goyko and onwards toward Cho Oyu.