Episode 161: EVEREST!
The Tallest One In The Middle. This morning we passed a real milestone for the trek: we saw Everest in person with our own eyes from the top of Pang La.
Crossing this pass is always a real highlight on the drive to Basecamp or in our case the drive to our first camp since we won’t see BC for a couple of weeks. Topping out on Pang La is a real “event” and the road was coincidentally built to heighten the drama and anticipation.
You start the morning not far from New Tingri and drive until you see a small dirt spur road marked by a simple sign. The sign is blue and shows a drawing of the North Face of Everest with an arrow pointing “thattaway”. After passing through yet another military checkpoint you begin a long series of steep switchbacks. The road climbs and climbs and climbs higher and higher until you begin sensing that there’s something up ahead out of view. It’s something big but the view is completely obstructed.
Finally the road levels out for a short distance and you make a right turn around a blind corner and BAM! There’s an unobstructed view of some high peaks in the distance. Of course these aren’t just any peaks…they’re 4 of the highest mountains in the world, all in a line. There’s Makalu the 5th highest in the world reaching 8,481m/27,825ft, Lhotse the 4th highest in the world at 8.516m/27,940ft, and Cho Oyu the 6th highest in the world at 8,201m/26,906ft.
Then, in the middle, clearly taller than the rest is Everest. Chomolungma. The tallest mountain on the planet at 8,848m/29,035ft.
Our weather was glorious and the peaks shone brightly against a deep blue sky. It was a perfect moment and the only thing we couldn’t see was Everest’s Kangshung Face.
That mysterious place is our next destination.
Total Running Time: 33:55