Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Trip to Everest Base Camp Day 6
In March 2015, I set off on the adventure of a lifetime with 3 good friends. On day 6 of our trip to Everest Base Camp, we would be enjoying a “rest day” in Dingboche with Ama Dablam in our backyard before continuing on to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
If you’re following along from day 1 trekking to Everest Base Camp, welcome back! If you’re new to this adventure, you may want to first start with day 1 of our Everest Base Camp trek from Kathmandu to Lukla and Phakding and then come back to continue on.
Day 5 of our trip to Everest Base Camp hadn’t been as difficult as some of the others, but it certainly wasn’t easy. been pretty tough. We had hiked about 24 miles so far, and gained just under 9,000 feet of elevation (there was a lot of uphill, then downhill, then more uphill). Today we would get to enjoy a rest day in Dingboche which meant rest, take an acclimatization hike up to Nangkartshang, and then rest some more.
The views of the Himalayas we would get to see today would far surpass anything we had seen so far!
Waking Up in Dingboche
On day 6 of our Everest Camp Trek in Dingboche, we woke up to another beautifully sunny day in the Himalayas. After spending the first 3 days in rain and snow, things were certainly starting to look up for our luck with weather!
Today we had a rest day in Dingboche before setting off for Lobuche the following day. We woke up, brushed our teeth, put on the same clothes we had been wearing for 5 days so far, and went upstairs for breakfast. It was quite cold out, but the sun would warm things up nicely.
There really wasn’t much to do around town since most everything was closed, but Gyanu (our guide) wanted to take us up a “small” hike up to 16,676 feet (from 14,800 feet) to help us acclimatize. The last thing you want to do on your rest day is climb uphill in the snow, but it’s extremely helpful for helping your body adjust. Hike high, sleep low.
We enjoyed some breakfast and tea and took our time getting ready before finally setting off for our day hike.
Hiking Nangkartshang Peak (Including Ama Dablam Photos)
Elevation: ~14,200 feet to ~16,800 feet
Mileage: ~3 miles round trip
The trail to Nangkartshang Peak stood right behind our Dingboche hotel and climbed steadily along a few long switchbacks for about a mile and a half or so. It’s slow walking, as you’re already starting around 14,200 feet in Dingboche, and finally you reach a Stupa and rest area before heading the rest of the way up. There had only been a trail made to this point in the snow, so the rest of the hike to the summit we would be breaking trail in very deep snow.
I was already exhausted from hiking for 5 days and my acrophobia was starting to kick in, so it didn’t start off great for me. But, I was committed to getting to the summit, one step at a time. Luckily, Ransom and Steve created nice footholes for me to follow in the whole way to the summit.
My body started to warm up, and focusing on stepping where the boys had stepped kept my mind off of how tired I was. However, it was also keeping my mind off of drinking water, and I would ultimately suffer for it later with a terrible headache.
We moved pretty steadily up towards the summit of Nangkartshang Peak with no flat areas to rest until you got to the top, so we kept a steady pace. Finally, we reached a flag and a bunch of cairns that told us we had reached the summit. From here, we had these incredible 360 views of the snow covered Himalayas – some of the most incredible views of my life.
Ama Dablam was completely covered in snow and ice, and we couldn’t get enough. Ama Dablam is a ~22k foot peak in Nepal, favorable among mountain climbers. The name Ama Dablam means “Mother of Pearl Necklace”, referring to the glacier around the peak. We had a fantastic view of Ama Dablam from our teahouse, but from Nangkartshang Peak, it was that much more incredible, if that was even possible.
We were also able to see the Himalayas in the opposite direction of Ama Dablam for miles and miles, taking in what we would have in store the next few days of trekking.
We stayed at the Nangkartshang Peak taking pictures for a while, in no hurry to leave. It was such a spectacular moment and we wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. As we were getting ready to head down to Dingboche, our Irish friends that we had been pacing with the last 2 days were making it up to the top. We left them to enjoy the view, and headed back down to Dingboche.
Downhill we went back through the snow until the boys decided it was playtime. I stood taking more photos of Ama Dablam and the Himalayas, as well as videos of the boys sliding down the mountain. Trekking can be difficult, so it’s important to find time to enjoy yourself in between!
We met up with Gyanu on our way down who had been waiting at the Stupa. Sarah unfortunately wasn’t feeling great so she had turned around, and Gyanu wanted to make sure that everyone was safe. He watched from the midpoint to make sure Sarah get back to the tea house safely, and sat and waited for us to come down. When we reached him, he joined the boys in some butt sliding which was pretty fantastic, and then we all returned to the tea house together.
Enjoying Our Rest Day in Dingboche
We got back to town in time for lunch, and all decided to rest for a bit, with more incredible views of Ama Dablam. Ransom got to work fixing the micro-spikes we messed up on today’s hike, and my headache kicked in right after lunch. As we all relaxed in the main room, I took a short nap on the bench as everyone entertained themselves around the table.
After a quick hour nap, my head felt fine (I had also hydrated a ton once we got back, realizing how little water I had drank on the hike). Still early enough in the day, we were ready to explore a bit.
Ransom, realizing he had lost his solar charger somewhere on our hike down from Nangkartshang Peak, decided to run up the first part of the hill we had hiked to see if he could find it. I chose to wait at the bottom. Sadly, no solar charger was found.
We had seen signs for a bakery in town and decided that sweets sounded like a lovely idea. We trekked across town only to find out that the bakery unfortunately hadn’t opened for the season yet. The benefit of trekking to Everest Base Camp in the early season was that we didn’t have the crowds. The downside was that very few places were open. Disappointed, we trekked back to our teahouse without any pastries or desserts.
The night of our rest day in Dingboche we were all feeling pretty good and well rested. Our 3 hour hike in Dingboche was a piece of cake when you’re used to hiking 8 hours a day! We sat around drinking tea and playing cards, Gyanu broke out more of the fruit he had packed for us (such a special treat!), and once again we were in bed by 8pm ready for the next day’s hike.
Ransom and I briefly braved the extremely cold weather to try for some awesome nighttime photos of Ama Dablam, and then we got in our sleeping bags, watched some movies on our phones, and passed out.
The next day we would be heading to Lobuche, and the day after we would finally get to Gorak Shep and Everest Base Camp! We were getting closer, but knew we still had a lot of ground to cover.