Rest day at Khumjung

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We spent a “rest” day at Khumjung. Having a rest day meant that we didn’t relocate to a different town, we stayed in the same place for two nights. It didn’t mean that we sat around by a pool drinking iced tea. We hiked up to the top of a ridge to the west of town that gave us our first good view of Mt. Everest.

While in Khumjung, we also visited a monastery that is locally famous for having a yeti skull that — for a fee — we were allowed to get a look at. There was quite the elaborate story about how the yeti skull came to be in the posession of the monks. I am not sure what current science would tell us about the origins of this skull, but maybe it’s best to skip the DNA analysis and just let the folklore continue.

By this time we were beginning to get to know and appreciate the Sherpas that accompanied our team. There were five Sherpas who traveled with us, and their home base is in Khumjung. Attached is a picture of three of them. Kami Sherpa was the youngest of the three, a bit shy but very polite and energetic. Ang Nima Sherpa is fluent in Japanese and English as well as several local dialects, very personable and easy to make friends with. Ching Noru Sherpa was our Sirdar, and he took very seriously his responsibility as the facilitator and leader of the group.

The mountain above Kami’s head is Everest.

I think there is a common misconception that “sherpa” is a job description. It is actually a culture of mountain people; all Sherpa people have a last name of Sherpa. They are Tibetan in origin, and most still live in the mountain region near the Tibet border. They are Buddhists; most of the lowland Nepalis are Hindu. They are wonderful, warm, friendly people. Since they are so well acclimated to altitude, many of them become mountain guides for tourists. One of our other Sherpas, Lakhpa, had been above 8000 meters on Everest something like sixteen times.

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