Too Much Snow in Khumbu (October 2013)
Map (the itinerary is shown in blue dotted line):
My initial plan was to do the classical ′′Three Passes′′ trek (crossing Kongma La, Cho La, and Renjo La), plus the ascents of Chhukung Ri and Gokyo Ri. This was supposed to be an easy, straightforward trek, which must not be confused with the much more demanding ′′Three Cols′′ trek (Sherpani Col, West Col, and Amphu Lapsta). But 4 days into the trek, upon reaching Dingboche, snow started falling and did not stop for almost 3 days. There was then too much snow to cross any of the 3 passes and I did not have enough time to wait. Instead, I followed more traveled trails where yaks were tracing good tracks in the deep snow. This led me to Kala Patthar, which I climbed for the 3rd time (first in 1979, next in 1996). On my way back to Lukla, I crossed Kongde Ridge from Thame to Phakding. This relatively little traveled ridge offers spectacular views over the Khumbu valley and many of its surrounding peaks.
A nice consequence of the long snow fall was that the mountains were particularly beautiful for several days.
(Click on the map on the right to get a larger version of it in a separate tab.)
Partial View of Namche Bazar with Kongde Ri (6168m) in the background.
Chorten above Namche Bazar.
View of Lhotse (8516m) from the ridge above Namche Bazar. (More photos of Lhotse.)
Village of Khumjung.
Ama Dablam (6812m).
Gompa of Tengboche
Taboche (6542m) on the left and Cholatse (6440m) soon before the snow fall. (More photos of Tabuche and Cholatse.)
Snow dunes near Chhukung after the snow fall.
Fabulous Lhotse seen from Chhukung. (More photos of Lhotse.)
Yaks tracing their way into the snow below Chhukung.
Ama Dablam seen from between Chhukung and Dengboche. (More photos of Ama Dablam.)
Lhotse (left), Island Peak (center) and the Dingboche terrasses.
Taboche and Cholatse after the snow fall. (More photos of Tabuche and Cholatse.)
Peak Lobuche (6119m).
Pumori (7161m). (More photos of Pumori.) The small hill below Pumori is Kala Patthar (5643m)!
At the top of Kala Patthar.
During the descent from the settlement of Lobuche toward Pheriche.
During our descent we crossed many yaks carrying hay for other yaks at higher elevation.
Porters near Namche Bazar on the way back.
Intimidating yaks along the way.
Sea buckthorn berries.
Impeyen pheasant, the national bird of Nepal.
Motivating recycling by example.
Shiny red peppers.
Thyangmoche (6500m) on the left and Thame gompa on the right.
Sunrise behind Thamserku (6608m) seen from Thame. (More photos of Thamserku.)
Small village of Pare before ascending Kongde Ridge.
A steep (and icy) section of the climb to Kondge Ridge, with my guide-porter Gyangjo Lama.
View from Kongde Ridge over Namche Bazar and Khumbu peaks.