We made it to the Khumbu! It took two attempts at boarding planes and two tries at a helicopter, but weather and mechanical issues finally allowed us to depart Kathmandu 8 hours after arriving at the airport. We ended up on a few helicopters straight to Phakding, the next major stop up the Khumbu valley from Lukla, and yesterday trekked up to Namche. All is well with me and the team is getting on well together. Today, we’re taking a rest day in Namche before heading up the valley tomorrow. Namche is lovely and today, on a hike above town, we got our first views of Everest and Lhotse!
The people of the Khumbu are well known for their hospitality and kindness. Yesterday, I met a new friend, Chhiring, a Tibetan whose family fled over the Nangpa La during the 1950s at the same time as the Dalai Lama’s exodus. Upon hearing of our climbing expedition, he said we needed a gift for good luck and safety. I returned today where he gave me a string that had been blessed and tied with a sacred knot by the Dalai Lama himself. I returned later in the day to buy a Tzi stone for additional safety. When I return to Namche in a few months I’ll stop by his home to have lunch and yak tea with his family. Remarkable.