Lobuje, and Mount Everest from Kala Pattar
Near Everest basecamp, tucked in a little meadow at the side of the Khumbu glacier, is the little village of Lobuje. Lobuje has been called "the armpit of Nepal", but nothing could be further from the truth. Although the elevation of 4950 m makes many people miserable, spectacular mountain views abound, and although the biffy wasn't pretty I certainly saw a lot worse elsewhere in Nepal.
Everest basecamp is just a short distance away from Lobuje, but most people skip basecamp in favour of an ascent of Kala Pattar, as did I. Although the basecamp site may be convenient for climbers, you can't see the summit from there. Also, in the fall of 2001 there were no expeditions on the mountain.
Morning light on Pumo Ri.
Pumo Ri is a striking pyramidal peak towering over the west side of the Khumbu valley. The dark shape in the foreground is Kala Pattar, a scree pile ascended by tourists that offers tremendous views of Mount Everest and its neighbors.
Mount Everest, from Kala Pattar.
This is the famous view of Mount Everest that everone comes to see. The glacier-clad mountain on the right is Nuptse. The rock tower in the background is mount Everest (8848 m), and the pyramidal shaped mountain in front of it is its west ridge. As the Khumbu glacier wraps around Nuptse it forms the infamous Khumbu icefall, a treacherous area which climbers bound for Everest must negotiate.
Mount Everest, summit block.
Climbers ascend the mountain via the right skyline ridge. Everest buffs who have read Krakauer's "into thin air" will recognize the south col (center right), the south summit (pimple just right of the true summit where the angle lays back), and the Hillary Step (little notch halfway between the south summit and true summit).
On top of Kala Pattar.
Nara and I on top of Kala Pattar (5600 m). In the background is Pumo Ri. The place where we are standing is a little precarious. The next picture below shows the tremendous drop-off that is less than a metre behind us.
Pumo Ri and Kala Pattar.
Pumo Ri forms a dramatic backdrop to Kala Pattar. The rubble slope leading up to the top of Kala Pattar comes to an abrupt end (see previous picture), halting keen scramblers who want an even bigger view. If you look closely, you can see people heading to and from the top.
The view from the top of Kala Pattar is spectacular, but it is a busy place. After a while we wandered down toward Pumori basecamp and found some more peaceful surroundings. The light on Nuptse kept improving as the day went on. The many tiers of glaciers and icefalls that cling to Nuptse's west face makes for the most stunning mountain vista I've ever seen.
Yak and Kantega.
A yak grazing, near Lobuje. The mountain in the background is Kantega.
A look back at the Khumbu valley, while on the way to Cho La and Gokyo.