October 31 Deboche


Our plans call for us to spend another night at Deboche: even though we are only a little over 1000 feet above Namche, we are going up slowly.  So today I am planning to hike back up to Tengboche in the morning, and perhaps take another day hike in the afternoon.

Tengboche Gate

When we are traveling as a group, we need to stay more or less together.  One sherpa takes the lead, and we generally stay with or behind him.  Groups in between stay with their own sherpa, and another one takes the rear and makes sure everyone else is ahead.  But on the days when we are not traveling, there is more opportunity to go out on our own.  I enjoy being able to travel as fast or slow as I please, and to explore on the side by myself.

Tengboche Gate


So I got away pretty early in the day and headed back up to Tengboche.  This time I found the monastery open.  The walls and ceiling were painted in intricate and ornate designs.  I did not understand much of what I saw, but there seemed to be offerings of food at the front, statues of the Buddha, scriptures, and drums and horns in the back of room.


There were benches with red robes folded on them.  Everything seemed so peaceful and comfortable, yet life outside was cold and hard. 



Monks' Robes


After getting a measure of peace inside, I decided to climb up the ridge, which rose gradually and then steeply up above the town.  There was a good trail, following a line of prayer flags and chortens.  Even in the short distance I climbed, the vegetation fell away: first the rhododendrons, then the shrubs, until I was climbing up through bare rocks.  Very distinct, very narrow vegetation zones.  As I got higher and higher, the weather started turning nasty.  First it started to snow very lightly, but then the snow turned into sleet and then the clouds descended, enveloping me inside.  So I turned back just short of the highest chorten, hurried back down, and headed back to camp. 


Tengboche from Ridge Above

As I got back to Deboche, it was just beginning to snow there also.  It did not exactly surprise me: the clouds had been building up a little more and a little earlier every day, so I expected eventual precipitation.  I was just hoping that tomorrow would bring back the clear skies and sun that this time of year is known for.

Even though it was alternating between snow and sleet, it was not much colder at dinner or even through the night.  I slept especially well, did not have to get up very often through the night, and noticed the stars come out sometime after midnight.

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