Trek to Phortse.
We were to discover that project work in the high himalayas was no easy matter
and this journey of discover started with our trek to the village.
As Phortse is not near any roads our journey started at Lukla airport, a mountain
landing strip 4 days walk south of Phortse.
We flew into Lukla airport (2800m) in one of the most hair-raising landings imaginable.
Lukla Airstrip is built on a slope on the side of the mountain and is only just long enough
to allow the Twin Otter planes to brake before hitting the mountain ahead. The other
end of the airstrip just falls off the edge of a cliff, so taking off isn't much better.
Our trek north lead us through the mountain villages of Phakding, Monzo and other smaller
inhabitations before making the grand climb out of the Dudh Kosi River valley up to Namche Bazar
the administration centre for the Sagamartha National Park.
We lodged in tea houses found by our guide Pasang Nuru Sherpa (Panuru for short, a Guide from Phortse
who had asked Tony Freake earlier that year if he could guide us to the village, on hearing of our coming)
where we lived on a seemingly endless diet of fried potatoes fried vegetables and fried noodles. Little were we to know that the diet in
Phortse would continue this trend especially as it was the potato capital of the Everest Region.
We were also assisted in our travels by two porters (Kaminaru & Krissi) chosen by Panuru from the village of Phortse.
This early part of the trek was broken up by the number of high suspension bridges we had to cross while
moving up the valley. These always added to the excitement as you wondered whether they were going to hold, or
had to reverse due to oncoming Yaks (Yaks most definitely have right of way - unless you are feeling stupid of course).
We stayed in Namche Bazar for two nights to assist acclimatisation (we were now sleeping at 3600m)
and spent the day in between exploring the surrounding villages of Khumjung and Khunde. Here we met
Tsering Dorma Sherpa the chairperson of the Area Development committee of which Phortse was just a part. We sat eating
at her Bakery, the highest in the world it claims, and well worth a stop for a bite.
The yeti skull at Khunde was a bit disappointing, looking more like a bears paw, but the trip into Khunde allowed
us to stop off at the medical station based there (looked after currently by two Canadian doctors). We left greetings
from Tony Freake before returning to Namche Bazar.
View from the Mong La
The final day of the trek took us over the Mong La (4000m), a long climb over a pass before we could
look down on our destination, the village of Phortse.
One final descent to the Dudh Kosi river and we climbed up to the village of Phortse to be greeted by an eerie
mist covering the bare terraced fields as the evening drew in.
Trek To Phortse |
Gokyo Peak |