October 12, 2006:
Dingboche to Chukhung (4,750 m) and Chukhung Ri
Today was another acclimatization day, so to speak. As we gained 1,000 meters since our last
acclimatization day in Namche, we had to have another one. We wanted to go up the valley to
Chukhung and then up Chukhung Ri, the ridge above Chukhung. We left after breakfast. Weather
was awful, no views at all. It got a little better once we were outside Dingboche. We could see
Lhotse, Island Peak and even Makalu from far away, but in the valley it remained cloudy. Getting
closer to Chukhung it got even cloudier, This was upsetting to me as this was supposed to be one of
the highlight days with great views atop of Chukhung Ri. It was a long slog to Chukhung. It was the
first time on this trip the altitude got to me in terms of being breathless after a few steps.
We made it to Chukhung after about 2 hours and had some tea there. All of a sudden, just like on
the previous day, the sun came out and the clouds started to lift. Maybe we got lucky after all. We
started hiking up Chukhung Ri, slowly, very slowly, and around us the mountains became visible.
We kept going until my altimeter showed 5,000 meters. At this point, we were high enough to look
over all the ridges and could see Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Kali Himal, Island Peak, etc. And then,
more and more clouds lifted and the view became spectacular. Our Brazilian friends arrived, but
they kept going a little higher to the saddle. Even more clouds lifted and we finally got a glimpse of
Makalu. We probably spent about one hour up there and enjoying the views. Then we went down to
Chukhung and had lunch there around 1 pm. I ate veggie noodles with egg. The Brazilians were
there as well and the German couple I met in Tengboche. After a while, we started our walk back to
Dingboche. The weather turned bad again, cloudy and windy.
Despite the bad weather, the walk down the glacial valley to Dingboche was spectacular and very
enjoyable with on and off views of Ama Dablam to the left and Taboche ahead/right. We took our
time and soaked it all in.
View of Makalu during hike
to Chukhung
Lhotse through
the clouds
Lhotse and
Chukhung Ri
Chukhung from Chukhung
Ama Dablam on right
The Summit of Makalu
through the clouds
We were back at the lodge after 3:30 pm and had a surprise..... The lodge dining room was full of
frickin' Italians and Austrians! Both groups were loud and obnoxious, just as one would expect. It
is the trademark especially of the Italians and they surely lived up to it. (Sense a little hatred
towards the Italians here: Yes, they beat us in the semi-finals in the World Cup last summer, damn
Spaghetti eaters!). It was probably the most boring of any of my evenings in the lodges as both
groups stuck to themselves and I was the only other guest. Quite a change from the night before.
But I didn't care too much. I had a good book and wasn't in the mood to converse much anyway.
Ate noodle soup, fried rice and apple pie. Went to bed early and slept real good until about 5 am
despite being at an altitude of about 4,400 meters.
Taboche, 6501 meters (21,329
Chukhung Ri
Our Lodge in Dingboche