Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp Trek Day 3
In March 2015, I set off on the adventure of a lifetime with 3 good friends. Day 3 would be a small Namche Bazaar trek as we acclimatized on our way to Everest Base Camp in Nepal to stand and look at the beauty that is Mount Everest.
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 2 of our Everest Base Camp trek had been incredibly difficult, and we were looking forward to our “rest day” in Namche Bazaar. It wouldn’t quite turn out to be 100% restful, but it was a great day of fun!
Namche Bazaar Trek to Acclimatize for Everest Base Camp
Elevation: ~11,200 feet to ~11,600 feet
Mileage: ~1+ miles round trip – uphill there, downhill back
On day 3 we luckily got a “rest day” in Namche Bazaar, which sits around 11,200 feet. We had gone to bed early the night before, exhausted from a very long and difficult day of trekking. As expected, I was wide awake around 6am. I was actually awake around 4:30, but finally gave up on trying to sleep around 6.
Since there were other people staying in the teahouse now, I decided to take advantage of everyone still sleeping and make my way to the heater to warm my still-fairly-wet clothes and boots. Steve and Sarah joined Ransom and I around 7, and then Gyanu joined shortly after to take our breakfast order.
As the sun came up, we had this incredible view from the dining room as we ate. In terms of the weather for the day, the sky looked like it could go either way. Half was perfectly clear, half had some threatening clouds.
On day 3 of the Everest Base Camp trek, it’s recommended that you do a Namche Bazaar trek to the Sagarmatha Conservation Memorial to acclimatize. It’s helpful on your rest days to hike high, and then sleep low. An added benefit is that the Memorial is generally the first clear viewpoint for people of Mount Everest!
We decided to get dressed and take the short 30 minute hike up above Namche Bazaar in the snow and hope for clear skies. A lot of people will apparently only trek to Namche Bazaar and then turn around since you can get great views, and it’s much shorter than going all the way to Everest Base Camp.
The skies were still fairly clear when we started our hike, but by the time we got to the top, it was completely socked in and starting to snow lightly. Sadly, we couldn’t see anything (Mount Everest was out there somewhere!). Never fear, we made the best of it! This may have been one of the most fun parts of the entire trip.
Adults turned children, we played in the snow for a good hour or so, taking videos and pictures and enjoying the “break” from trekking. The Namche Bazaar trek doesn’t quite count as trekking with all we had done so far.
Exploring and Shopping in Namche Bazaar
It was still snowing lightly when we got back to the hotel after our Namche Bazaar trek, but none of us wanted to sit inside so we walked around and did some shopping. Namche Bazaar is the town where all surrounding towns come to trade goods, so there are tons of shops. We all had pretty good gear, but we wanted to make sure we would be prepared if more snow came (ie/I needed to buy some waterproof gloves).
Luckily, we found microspikes for about $15 so we stocked up and got a pair for Gyanu as well (our Porters didn’t want any…they are too hardcore for that). These were for sure the best investment of the entire trip, along with the gaiters we bought beforehand.
We also found some Yak cheese – we had seen signs since Phakding and I LOOVVVEEE cheese, but most places were closed. Luckily the bakery down the road had some…we may have gotten a bunch of pastries as well. The pastries were quite different from what you’d find in America – not nearly as sweet, but still tasty.
On the way home from shopping, we got caught in the line of fire of a snowball fight between some local kids, but luckily managed to make it through safely. It’s pretty rare for Namche Bazaar to get as much snow as it did, but everyone was making the best of it!
We got back to our tea house around 6:30, stacked our wet clothes back around the space heater, and sat around relaxing. Before the trip, we had read stories of people who skipped a shower in Namche Bazaar and later regretted it, so we decided to check out the situation.
Ransom went first. He said that the water was warm, but there was a rather large hole in the wall so the room was cold. I figured I’d give it a shot…and it was pretty miserable. The hole was about 8”x8” to let the steam out, but considering it was dumping snow outside…it was less than ideal. We also hadn’t brought towels, so we were drying off with our clothes. On a warmer day, I’d recommend the shower, but not if it’s snowing. Just say no.
For dinner I had noodle soup with green onions and lots of garlic – it was pretty tasty! We settled in for bed around 7:30 hoping that the snow would stop and we could make it on from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche the next day, which sits around 12,687 feet. We knew there was a lot of hiking through the snow ahead, but we had no idea whether there would be a path or not.
All we could do was hope for the best, and prepare for the worst! To bed we went, excited to get back on the road again.