I’d read in Lonely Planet that Kathmandu Airport can be chaotic for domestic flights where yiu may queue there for hours and then suddenly have five minutes to check in, and board etc. It seems they don’t really schedule flights, just queue them up.
However we struck luck. Left Kathmandu Guest House (which was great) at 5.30 am and sailed through the airport in under five minutes to be on board our plane by 6 am. However just as we were about to take off, fog closed Lukla Airport. While disappointed that we had to head back into the terminal, I was glad they were not going to try and land in fog as Lukla Airport is known as the most dangerous airport in the world. There have been seven crashes in just the last ten years with 36 fatalities.
Anyway the dog lasted only an hour and we were boarding again by 7 am and away.
Some great views of the mountains from above the clouds.
And after all my worry, a fairly smooth landing and we’re at Tenzing Hilary Airport. The elevation is 2,840 metres.
You can see here a plane taking off. The runway is only 460 meters long and it is a sheer drop at the end. I think taking off will be more terrifying than landing!
At the start of the path is this gate to Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, who was the first Nepalese woman to make the summit of Mt Everest in 1993. Sadly she died on the descent when the weather turned bad.
Incidentally the first woman of any nationality to make the summit also had it hard. Junko Tabei climbed it in 1975. On her way up she got buried by an avalanche and was under snow for six minutes until she was dug out.
This is the start of the track. Later on it is much much rougher as you climb over rocks everywhere.
The first day is a net drop of 300 metres or so. However there is still lots of uphill also.
Some nice colour.
There is a golden rule. Never ever get between a yak or any beast and the edge. This part is very busy and we had to give way dozens of times to different beasts.
A memorial cairn carved on the rock.
A troop of mules.
Quite a few settlements along the way.
One of three bridges we crossed. Quite stable actually.
You always pass to the left of the many religious monuments.
Then we got to Phakding. I wasn’t walking in this gear as it was quite a warm day earlier on and you get hot walking. But once you stop walking it starts to get really cold.
Around 12 kms, so only a half day to get here. The elevation here is 2,610 metres.
Also love the quility voice on the billboard!
The room we’re in. Pretty basic but comfortable. It even has its own toilet which is luxury for out here. The quality of the accommodation declines significantly as we ascend, I’m told. So this is the five star version! No heating so will get very cold at night.
I liked this lone tree at the edge.
The view from the end of the town. We cross down into there tomorrow and at the far left you can see the path ascending up. Tomorrow will have around 1,000 metres of vertical ascent.