Today we walked from Dingboche at 4410m to Chhukhung at 4730m. It was an easy walk along a well used lateral moraine. The blueish glacier fed waters of the Imja Khola (Khola = River) race down valley oppisaite of our direction of travel. Standing pools of water usually had ice on the edges or completely frozen surfaces. The day started out w/ a little more cloud than has been the usual routine. The collision of cloud and massive stands of mountain made for interesting vistas.
After a quick two hours we arrived in Chhukhung at the Sunrise Eco Guest House. Another fine teahouse. These establishments are excellent value for money, by no means plush but an excellent way to see the Himalaya. The toilet, a squatter (basically a hole in the floor), porceline tilts steeply down to a wall and was covered by an invisible sheen of ice… if one was unaware of the ice during positioning oneself to use the toilet could have the experience hazardous to one’s health and pride.
We snacked on some hot RaRa veg (noodles and vegitables) before heading out on another acclimatization hike up Chhukhung Ri, the highest we have been yet. The last 30 minutes was brutal, each step a lesson in gravity and gas law. By the time we made the saddle at 5400 the clouds had closed in and it was snowing. Without any view to coax us up to the true summit at another 100m above us we opted to skedaddle back to the lodge, hot tea, and lunch.
The rest of the day was spent napping, reading, drinking tea, hanging out in the main lodge resting for tomorrows assault on Konga La Pass (5535 m), the first of the three high passes we will attempt on our trek.