April 3: Rest day at Dingboche

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We spent another “rest” day at Dingboche. Still no swimming pool or iced tea. . . or electricity for that matter, although for 200 rupees (about three dollars) you can get a hot shower. This hot shower consists of a kettle of water heated over a yak dung fire, and poured into a bucket with a hose and spigot that is on the roof of a little tin shack in the yak pasture outside a lodge. You provide your own towel and soap, and be prepared to dry off fast because it’s chilly at 14,000 feet.

And as usual, there is not much rest on this rest day. We hiked up the ridge north of camp to a high point over 16,000 feet, to get acclimated to the altitude. This turned out to be a record elevation day for many of the members of our group. Everyone was doing pretty well at this point and looking forward to the challenges ahead.

As we hiked up the ridge, we could look down on Dingboche and the confluence of two rivers below town. We could also look up the Chukung valley and get our first good look at Island Peak. At 20,400, it is roughly the same elevation as Mt. McKinley in Alaska, but it is dwarfed by the surrounding peaks. It was given its name by Eric Shipton because of its location in the middle of the valley. Our climbing route is not visible from this side, but the whole setting is inspiring.

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