October 20, 2006:
Gokyo to Dole
Got up at 6:30 am and had breakfast (toast and pancake...can't see it anymore). We had originally
planned to walk past the Fourth and Fifth Lake and see how close we would be able to get to the
Cho Oyu Basecamp. But now, because of the snow, you could not see the trails anymore. We started
to walk towards the Fourth Lake for a while, but we were slipping and sliding and probably
wouldn't make it even close to where we wanted to go. On top of that, the clouds rolled in already at
8 in the morning and we did not want to get caught back there in snowfall. And having a sore
throat, making the decision to go back and to head down to Dole was an easy one.
The way down to
Machhermo was quite steep
and had many man-made
steps. After about 2:30
hours we reached
Machhermo. We had lunch
at the Namgyal Lodge, a
very nice place. If I ever
were to overnight in
Machhermo, that is where I
would stay. Had
tomato/noodle soup and
swiss roestli with egg.
Talked to an English couple
who were spending the day
here to acclimatize. They
were going to climb Island
Peak and even try Ama
Dablam. Gosh...I wish I'd
be 20 years younger.
On a general note, I think going the Namche - Tengboche -  Pangboche - Dingboche - Lobuche -
Cho La - Gokyo - Dole route is much easier than going the Namche - Dole - Gokyo - Cho La -
Lobuche - Tengboche route. But then, I am an old fart and like doing things the easy way.
After checking into the lodge and getting my room, the dining room story ensued again. It started
snowing outside. All day I was not too happy about having left Gokyo a day earlier than planned as
I really wanted to go to Cho Oyu Basecamp, but now I am glad we left Gokyo as it must be worse
up there.

A nice group of Dutch people were in the lodge and also 4 English. It is much warmer in this dining
room than in the one in Gokyo as they heat their fireplace with wood and not with yakshit. I had a
nice long conversation with one of the English whose group just came from a Rolwaling trip and
now went to Gokyo to de-acclimatize. To each his own. Slept pretty good although it is very cold
outside, but I was comfy in my down bag.
After lunch, we continued our way down towards Dole. Although the going was easy, I was getting
tired and worn out from this trip. I think the biggest problem I had was not eating any meat. Living
in Texas, I eat lots of beef. And I did not have any beef for 2 weeks now. I am already dreaming of
hamburgers and steaks.... instead of, well, you guessed it!!

Anyway, after another 2 hours, around 3 pm, we reached Dole. Dole was pretty much booked up
and we only got a room in the third lodge we asked, the Himalayan Lodge (the building with the
green roof in the center of the picture below).
So we headed back to Gokyo, packed up and around 9 am started our hike down towards Dole. On
the crossing to Dragnag there was no footprint in the snow, telling us that nobody yet had crossed
the Ngozumpa Glacier that day. We were wondering how Cho La would look like.