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  1. #1

    Default Back from EBC

    Hi, there, everyone! Or... namaste!

    I want first of all to thanks the help I received here before I did go to Nepal. The infos were really usefull. Thanks a lot, people!

    I got back from Nepal in Nov., 21 Nov.

    The trek was great, really great. We trekked 1 month (31 days), from Jiri to EBC-Gokyo.

    Kathmandu has a unique way to be. Thamel is dirty, confusing, polluted, with narrow streets crowed by cars, rikshaws, people, bikes and motorbikes. It is noisy. We (me and my babybrother) just love it!

    The deals for buy gear starts good. It's very easy to bargain and get good prices, but is easier to waste lots of time at it and after a few hours I just couldn't stand anymore of the "what's your price?". So, after 2 days in Thamel I was desperate to go trek.


    The protagonists of the trek, taveling over the Kathmandu-Jiri old bus. Photo by Marcéu, my brother, who auto-cut his own face. I am the other, the ugly one.

    Day 00

    The bus to Jiri was agradable, even if we had to travel the first 2 hours inside of a over-croweded small bus until it got out some army barriers. The other armies stops didn't care about traveling in the roof. Yes, we did go in the roof and was fantastic, even if was 8 hours of it. The people were friendly and good-humoured. We were the only tourists there, so we got lots of atention, what wasn't always welcomed, like the guy who seats in my brother legs or the one who decided my shoulder looked nice to have a nap on it.

    The way of driveing bus on the roadway isn't much opposite of the one in Thamel. Lots of honking, whispering, claping, shouting, ziga-zags, etc. Lots of dangerous situations on the way and wtih others cars/trucks/bikes/people/cows, but after a few hours you just accept it like it was and relaxed. One time our driver smashed a mirror of other bus and didn't even sptoped to see the damage. I guess he didn't want lose the good momentum of the bus.


    Danda la, 2440m, our first mountain high pass and also first deserved rest after leaving Jiri towards Shivalaya. For a long time, days, we would meet and re-meet people who we saw at this pass, nepali and trekkers. Marcéu is the yellow one, talking with a nepali guy. Lots of backpacks lying there, as you can see. Photo by me.

    Day 01

    After sleeping in Jiri, finally the trek! we start very entusiastic on the street behind Jiri, just to desperate when saw the first uphill a little further. With 25kg of mostly useless gear and 1 past-year of no exercise at all, I just wasn't prepared for that. The views were great, but the pain were greater.

    We had our LP with us, and so I've read that was better to go no further then Shivalaya on the first day, because if we go to Bhandar it would be a long and hard day. But since I'm latino, therefore I'm a MAN, I decided go to Bhandar. Staying in Shivalaya is for pussyes an tourists. Bhandar is for MACHOS trekkers. The crossing of the firts bridge and the arriving in Shivalaya still early in the mornig reassured me that I was OK and had enough stamina and testosterona to push to Bhandar.

    Yeah... very nice, but when I just got out Shivalaya, what is there? a BIG, HUGE, LONG, INFINITE rock staircase. I thougted that it was like the ones we got early in the morning, but no... that -beeeeep- just keeps going and going and going and going. They say that "the first time we never forget", so this first serious hill will be remembered by us as "Deurali ascent" and would be equivalent of "nightmare", because it is what it was for me: hell on earth. The sun, the dust, the backpack, the huge steps... all screamed: "we gonna kill ya!"

    Around 16:00h I was very desapointed and thinking seriously in come back to the nice hotels in Kathmandu and forget this yak's life [by the way, not much yaks on the way to Lukla. Looks like there is it after just for the tourists's amusement. But there was LOTS of over-loaded porters]. I have no ideia why I didn't did it but keep going. At 17:00h, almost crying, we got in Deurali. Because was getting dark and we were so tired, we let to get in Bhandar next day. We sleeped like rocks.


    I'm not sure if this photo is from the Sete or Deurali's ascent. The notes says ete, so as Sete will be commented.Hours and hours of this, under a evil Sun. After Kenja, cames the Sete Ascent. That one is Marcéu, my brother, figthing his way up to the hill. My photo, of course.

    Day 02

    Next day we get up very early, to try cross Bhandar before the maoists wake up. We heard that was in Bhandar that they where collecting the "donations". But we had no such lukc, because once we get there we were so hungry that had to stop for breakfeast. While we are eating, a old guy cames inside very smoothly and hand us a book of what I thougted be a kind of lotterie. Was the maoist... 5000 Rupies... per person...

    I heard after that that many people got better prices, but with THAT guy at THAT day, there was no bargainig. Or pay, or go back. Not just us, but everybody who was there. Around 15 people. Good day for someone's purse...

    After the "contribution", the maoist came shake our hands very hard. It was the most expensive handshaking of my like.

    After that we just flew on the way. We forgot all the troubles of the day before and life was good. So we just keep going down, straight, down, straight. No uphill. I thougted the worst was gone and fell the MACHO talking again and saying to go to Sete, another, following the guide, long and hard day. But I thougted my EGO were more correct then any stupid book, so... we push.

    The bad is that after lunch, what we find? yes... the "Sete Ascent". This one to be breaked in half.

    What is wrong with Nepal??? there is almost no straight patch on that trek! we just go up and down, uuuuuuuuuup, dooooooown.

    At 18:00h we got in Sete. I was a little better then dead. Completely exhausted, headaches, nauseas, dizzy... I thougted it was the sun, but when next day I got in the Lanjura la at 15:00h, I knew it was AMS. So I just sleeped there and would see how I was going to be the next day.

    To be continued...


    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 19th April 2006 at 12:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    West Coast Canada


    Looking forward to more!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Stockholm, Sweden.

    Default Good to see a "report back"

    I had been wondering since a couple of weeks what had happened to
    Hendrik and Chief Brody and others who have asked questions and
    been given help on this site. It is good to see Hendrik filing a report
    after "mission accomplished".

    Since I have trekked in from Jiri several times I can really relate to
    Hendriks vivid descriptions of the many challenges facing a machotrekker
    wannabe the first days out of Jiri.

    "Lamjura is a Bitch!" I wrote in my diary the last time I fought my way
    up that long climb.

    I agree with Sharon, looking forward to hear more.
    Spare us no details of your hardships Hendrik!

  4. #4

    Default Part II

    Thanks, guys, for the good reception and I’m happy that my narrative amuse you people, even if in a so bad english. Hope you can understand most of all.


    Little exemplo from the last steps on the Sete Ascent. Is that and worst for almost 2 consecutive days. Photo by Marcéu, showing the way over the crest that takes to the Lanjura pass.

    Day 03

    Like I said, we got in Lanjura Bhanjyang very late. The LP told us that is possible to be there at noon leaving from Sete, and see the little planes passing very low on the pass. Some kind of touristic manoeuvre the pilots do to amuse their importante ($$$) guests (us!). But since I couldn’t walk 10 minutes without having to stop and take big breaths and lay down for a while, we got there 15.00h. The dead-alive guys in Resident Evil looked more alive then me. At last that ones could run. I barely could breath. At this time I realized I had AMS. 3400m looked like be my limite of climb without aclimatize and the MACHO pushing didn't exactly helps it.

    So, with the Lanjura la on view, I breaked down and told my brother that had to esleep there. He wants go to Tragdobuk, “just after” the pass, but one of the sides efects of my AMS was to be deaf to anything else but my over-powering will to go sleep. So, we took our lunch there. Yes, lunch at 15.00. In the rush to get over Lanjura la, we didn’t had lunch. Not good, eh?

    There, in a small and nice lodge I discovered RARA. Follow trekkers going to Nepal, don’t let the nice list of soups in the menus follish you. Most are the well know instant soup we are so used to have at home (if you are an bachelor as me, you’ll understand). So I got a RARA thinking it was some kind of local home-made soup. But the damn thing was just instant soup and, worst of worst, it was very, very, pikant. And I HATE with all my will, with all my heart, peppered food. To eat that RARA was as bad as ascending Sete or Deurali: the plate seens bottomless. All the way from Jiri I tried to discovery which word they would understand for "don't but pepper on the food". Sadly I myself knew no word for "pepper", so I used "pikant, hot, sharp" and some other useless expressions. Later I learned the magic word "pepper" and my toilet-life became easier. Boy, that people just love peppered food!

    After I go sleep. It wasn’t 16.00h and I was already sleeping (later, when came my brother’s turn to have MAS, I would know how luck I was to be able to sleep with AMS) and at 18.00h he cames in waking me up to go dinner. If I was not so sick I swear I would send hem running down back to Sete.


    On the way down to Junbesi, I could resiste make a pose besides a huge rock wall painted with some mantras. Marcéu wanted that I stop, but the wind there were so strong that I was afraid of falling.

    Day 04

    I did eventually wake up at 6.00h in the morning. Yes, more then 12 hours sleeping. I guess I was tired besides sick. Felling lots better, we headed to Lanjura la and expended around 30m there for pictures and sigh-viewing. Even if the pass was almost besides the village, it fells good to be there. MACHO, EGO and TESTOSTERONA, my holy trinity, starts to wake up also. Why not? I just had prevail over the worst Nepal could throw me, so there was no reason to be a pussy and slow down. Man, I can be super-stupid some times... lots of times... most times... alright, that is enough of “mea culpa”.

    In Lanjura we meet a small boy, around 8 years old, who adopts my brother and was determinated in domesticanting him in giving him, the boy, some candys, or pens, or rupies, or wherever. After the photoshoot, he tries to follow him for a while, but his mother cames in rescue of my brother and call the little demon, I mean, child, back.

    Like everybody who has done this trail, this was not the first time we meet such childs. As soon they see us, they start the mantra: “alô, pen!” (most commun) or “alô, sweet!” or “alô, flower!” or “alô, beatiful!” (this last one was a mistery for me) or “alô, rupie!”. Some times they try to make a little show in front of us, so they try to show that they deserve the reward. But we had agreed to not feed this kind of behavior, and we had nothing to give in our over-loaded backpacks. Thinking now I should have give then around 10kg of useless gear I had with me, but at the time I was still convenced that that stuff would be very usefull in the near future.

    But the boy in Lanjura was diferent. His mantra was like “alô pen, no pen. Alô pen, no pen. Alô pen, no pen. Alô pen, no pen”. I think he gots the menssage and needs no answer anymore.

    So we finally got the downhill pach. The next village must be nearby and we should be early in Junbesi. But we go down, down, down and by 10.00h I was convenced that NOTHING on the EBC trail is “almost there”, but I must say that the way to Junbesi was very nice, because it wasn’t very much uphill, or nothing like the scaries Deurali and Sete's acents. Felling MACHO again, I rush to Junbesi. When got there, we saw that the vilage was pretty much adapted to the tourist flow and the prices were a preview of what we would find on the way post-Lukla.

    Since still early and we didn’t like Junbesi that much ($$$), we decided go to the Everest First View Hotel, a “little” further after Junbesi, but... the damn thing was uphill. So, there we go, again, huphill and, again, the “little” further became an endless and painfull walk. Actually we meet the owner of the lodge on our way up and he keeps saying that we were “almost there”. Since “there” never became “here” hour after hour, I desesperate, what has became a kind o habit for me. All the sherpa people we meet on the way says the same “just 15 minutes walk ”, “just 10 minutes walk”. Soon I learned the difference betwee sherpa walk and my walk, and it was a HUGE difference. Normally I had to multiple the given time by 2 or 3. So, “30 minutes walk” would be no less then “1.30 hour walk”. The gap between the LP times and my times also became larger and larger. My MACHO-SUPER-TREKKER-DUDE starts to shrink. The epiphany wasn't far.

    Just 2 hours before sunset we got in the EFVH. The place was good, the views great, and the wind, sharp. I took my camera to have some shots of my objective, Everest, just to see that my objective, Everest, didn’t want come out of the clouds. “Oh, hell, tomorow morning I’ll try shot the little bastard again. For now I will kill my pains and deception on a nice fried mix rice and some tasty yak cheese”.

    To be continued....


    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 22nd March 2006 at 01:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Jiri to Lukla

    Great stuff Hendrik, good to hear someone talk so honestly about the Jiri to Lukla trek into the Khumbu.
    I have trekked that path myself twice and I still rate it about the toughest hiking I have ever done. It doesn't help that you hit it straight off the plane so to speak. If it was later in the trek I'm sure it would be easier.
    I don't think you had AMS at the top of Lamjura, I think you were just exhausted !!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    Great post, I can't wait for the next installment. Your english is wonderful and I can feel your pain.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Wales, UK

    Default Great narrative

    I'm also enjoying this, thanks Hendrik.

    The Jiri-Lukla trail running across the grain on the land rather than up a valley is a bit of a gotcha for trekkers, not least the Lamjura La sucker punch right at the start.

    Damn those greedy Mao-mao and their baksheesh - 5000Nrs is as steep as Lamjura, no wonder more and more trekkers are flying up to Lukla to miss this bit out, bad business for the local lodges.

    Is the "rara soup" the bland-if-not-spicy noodle soup? That's not the best, and not a patch on the "shakpa" or "Sherpa stew" that they serve higher up in the Khumbu - now that is proper soup. I'd ask if you have tried that - but I'll wait for the next few installments to find out.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Thodung Cheese Factory

    Before the Lamjura there is a side trek on the first day to the cheese factory at Thodung. It is a killer hike straight uphill to over and my mates did this the first time in Nepal in 1997. Can you imagine... we were all quite fit but it was really hot and we were collapsing on the stairs on the way up.
    Finally we got there and we were met by two of the most vicious Tibetan mastiffs you could ever wish to see......hey dudes, welcome to Nepal.

  9. #9

    Default Part III

    Wow, such good feedback. Thanks a lot, you guys! Even if takes like forever to write one chapter of my troubles, because of my handicapped English, your enthusiasm gives me courage to continue. Now I discovered how to add the English idiom in my word processor, so I guess I will lose less time correcting the words. But I can’t do nothing about grammatical correctness and flow of narrative.

    But I think from now on the thinks will be boring, because the 5th day is the Epiphany Day, so things on the trail got lots easier for me.

    Before starting the next part of my misfortunes, I would like to comment some of the feedbacks, OK?

    So, Kegarme (funny, the corrector suggests “kedgeree” for your nick… I have no ideia what is an “Kegarme”, leave alone “kedgeree”), I had the same thought of you about the first trek days on the Jiri-Lukla trail. It just STARTS too hard. If it started like the way up to the Everest First View Hotel, it would be better. But for newbees like me, an out-of-shape-newbee, it was just to much. Deurali and Sete at the first trekking days are a hard testers of our willpower. I almost failed the test and still have no idea why I did continue climbing, but now I’m happy that I didn’t give up on those dreadful ascents.

    Yes, there were more soups on the menus and later on the trek I became quite a fan of the potato and garlic soups, but that noodle over-peppered RARA soup make me a little to much not trust the soups on Nepal. I never tried the stew. It was too expensive for that. With the money of a stew I could have a rice or dhal.

    At my plans there were side treks to be done on the way from Jiri to Lukla, but since I was so tired and so afraid of not going having time enough to do the Lukla –EBC – Gokyo part, I sacrificed those side treks. The cheese factory wasn’t difficult to sacrifice, because, like you said those side trek involves going up, and going up was the thing I was most fed up doing all that day. I was on the Deurali Ascent, and the Deurali Ascent was already more than I could cope with on that moment. I really was physically and emotionally exhausted. There was no place in my body or mind to do anything else besides put an feet after other. On Deurali and Sete, I just hated the world.

    Now, to the business:


    Panoramic from a Gompa at the Trakshindu pass, on our way to nhuntala. From there are nice mountain views and there is a small village settled on the pass also. 3071m.

    Day 05

    I wake up very happy on the Everest First View Hotel. Took pictures of the beautiful row of mountains in front of me, have a nice breakfast, buy some extra cheese and had had a bath the day before. By now the baths still cheap, so we could effort having one every night, later this would change drastically. Also we didn’t need be careful about the food because it was also very cheap. It also was faded to change after Lukla.

    Everything ready, we got on the trail. After the EFVH is a nice trail. It goes up a little, but after some endless walk around the hill, it drops hard down. At this time my brother got the front. Also we got lots of fights on the way down. We already had having figths all the trip, but on the trail it concerns about having a pace which he and me could cope with and stay together. But was lots more shaped then me, and while he complains about getting tired for slow down, I was complaining about getting tired for faster up. It was an no-no situation and we expend all the downhill trying to convince each other that our method was the best. It didn’t help when I suggested that the pain he was starting to fell on the knee was probably because the pushing he was doing on the way down.

    All I now is that I saw that if I continue like that, pushing over my limits, I risk not enjoying the trek or something more bad and painful. So, at the time we got in the bottom of the valley and I looked up to the ascent to Ringmo and knew that that was only the iceberg point, that after that we still had to climb to another pass, the illumination fell on my. I decided to not end the day completely exhausted and burn down the MACHO-FELLAS and accepted that I’m a pussy-trekker and couldn’t keep up with my brother’s stamina. Damn, I couldn’t even keep up with old ladies that were trekking at the same time with us. I tried to convince myself that there was nothing wrong about being so weak trekker. Didn’t work well, but makes me fell better with myself.

    So, with a last fight, I and my brother got the divorced and from now on we would do our trail separated. He would do it on his pace, and me, on my own. It starts in the way up to Ringmo. Everyone raced past me and I was trying to figure out one new and less tiring walk. Soon I discovered that every step on the rocks had lower points. The porters and yaks normally aim for those points. So I started to do it also. In the beginning it was weird, because those low points weren’t one after other, so most times I had to cross the step on it length to reach the next low point of the next step. I must have look a kind of weirdo doing all that zigzags on my way up on a perfectly straight ascent. But, hell, it worked beautifully. With short and zigzags steps I got up there LOTS less tired then usual. My stop there was also very short. Just drink some water, check the maps, ask some directions and off I go. Also I needed less stops on the way up. Before I needed stops for every 15 minutes walk. Now I could endure 40 minutes or more. It was wonderful and with inner tears on my inners eyes I accepted without shame my new pussy me.

    The way to the next pass, the… lets check on the book…Trakshindu la was agradable. I mean, it was hard and the sun keeps baking us without mercy, but comparing it with Deurali and Sete, the ascent to Trakshindu la was peace of cake. A cake hard to swallow, sure, but a cake. We pass some houses that make pies and, as the LP suggests, we did ask for some. But they had none and ask to wait a little so hey could bake some. By now I knew that most “very soon” of the kitchen was similar of the “very soon”of they times about hour-walk, and said no thank you. I could risk lose the momentum my new beloved pussy-walk had give me. Besides the rupies I had with me, it was the most valuable thing I had..

    As expected, my brother got in the pass long before me. Around 30 minutes before. Considering that he walks really fast, I toughed that there was not much difference between us, but I keep quite. Our pos-divorce mood still a little to fragile for talk about sensitive stuff, and words like “walk”, “pace”, “tired” or “time” were tabu.

    Trakshindu is beautiful, even if not a important pass, the gompa and gate there are nice to taking pictures. There I took some photos of the gompa against the light, so later I could make a nice panorama photo. Later, now, I discovered that I don’t know how to do panoramas properly.

    After Trakshindu la, we headed to Nunthala. Going to Nunthala make me looks fool for some locals, because apparently, the name “nunthala” means “after the pass”. So, here I go, going down after the pass, asking the locals on my way if I was on the correct trail to go after the pass. Eventually later on the noon some noble soul explained to me the joke to me.

    On the way down we visited the monastery that the LP talks about. It’s a nice place, but it didn’t give me any gooses down the spine, so after an while, and after had a proper big dhal, we headed to “after the pass”. Since the way was all down, me and my brother did get there at almost the same time.

    It had being a good day. I wasn’t tired to dead at last and y new walk style paid oof in more then one way.

    I explain: a few months before the trek I did buy a new backpack. It is a Quechua Symbium 75+15 and it has a “new and revolutionary” system of suspension. I mean, the straps that goes on the shoulders has, on the point where it meets the bottom of the backpack, a very strong elastic. It is supposed to absorb the impact of the steps, sparing your shoulders and back to receive much blast from it. It sounds good and perfect for the long trek I was going to have, so I did buy it.

    But… I never tested the pack properly, so the EBC trek was the first time I would test the pack. Soon I discovered that the adjustment for the back length of the pack was to big for me. On “small”, it was just enough to keep all the load of falling on my shoulders. And the straps on my hips barely could embrace it. With the walk, the straps tend to loose a little, so I had to make constant stops to adjust then. Besides that, the “new and revolutionary” system of impact absorption SUCKS!

    That beeeep thing just keeps the pack bumping from side to side. If I bend a little, one elastic strings and the other shrinks, so every time I bend, the pack continue bending and here I go bending after the pack. Not nice and not fun and I was going to be stuck with that beeeep for 31 days.

    And this is the other reason why was good to slow down. Big and fast steps make the pack bounce like a ball, and me bouncing after it. Small and slow steps make the bouncing more bearable and hurt lots less.

    To be continued…


    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 22nd March 2006 at 01:16 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    I have to ask. Did the yaks and porters do the zig zap approach as well. I have this mental picture that it would be quite a sight. Your posts deserve the good feed back, they are a fun substitute to being there.

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