Today we hiked from Pangboche to Periche, only a 2 hour hike. Yesterday we hiked about 5 hours down to the valley floor, crossed the river, and then came back up, gaining only 200 m net elevation. From now on we’re going up so taking care to build in a little rest time. The plan is to acclimatize here in Pheriche (4240m) overnight then hike up to Pyramid (4970 m), the worlds highest meteorological station (I think). Well spend two nights there acclimatizing and then head to the Changri Nup base camp and start the data collection!
For reference, here’s the last part of our trek in. You can see Khumjung where we were 2 nights ago, Pangboche where we were last night, and Pheriche where I’m writing from. Pyramid Station is also labeled, near the ring finger in this pic.
Yesterday on the trail I saw one of my boxes of scientific gear go by! This box contains a 400 MHz ground penetrating radar as well as a few other instruments. Masters student Josh Maurer is on the left.
Pheriche in the distance
On the way to Pheriche this morning
I’ve been enjoying the hike in (very different from taking a plane or helicopter to my field sites) and am looking forward to our day at Pyramid when we’ll be programming temperature sensors, etc. for the field.
Prof. Mike Dorais (BYU geology prof) has been teaching us about the geology along the way. The first night we all sat around a geologic map of Nepal and learned about how the Himalayas formed (and why there’s a yellow stripe of sedimentary rock at the top of Everest!). And he’s pointed out a few neat rocks along the trail.
I’ve enjoyed hiking and socializing with such accomplished scientists on the trek in and have been having very enlightening conversations about the importance of collaboration in science, why different people chose careers in glaciology, what the other grad students see as being next for them, etc. Thanks for reading! Will update again when possible!
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Alexandra is on her way to the remote field site in the Khumbu Region. She only has intermittent internet access and managed to email us some photos of her journey. Scroll down for a sight of Mt. Everest!
Morning in Khumjung
On the trail
Another trail shot
Me at our first view of Everest (on the left!)
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We flew to Lukla airport on Saturday, without any weather delays which are usually quite common. The plane fits about 12-15 people, two pilots, and one flight attendant who told us before taking off: “the flying time is 30 minutes and the weather is high turbulence.” But it was much smoother than I expected!
Waiting at bag check at Kathmandu airport on Sunday
Flying to Lukla from Kathmandu
Me at the Lukla airport
From Lukla, we started on our trek to our field camp at changri nup glacier. We follow the trek to Everest base camp for several days but then diverge and go northwest instead of onto the Khumbu glacier. Last night we hiked 3 hr from Lukla and stayed in Phakding (2610m).
Phakding (where we stayed saturday night, 2610 m, 3 hr from Lukla)
Today we hiked to Namche bazar (3440m) for lunch and we are staying in Khumjung (3780m) for the night.
Namche Bazar (the biggest town on the trek, 3440 m, 5 hr from Phakding)
The towns in the Khumbu have lodges and restaurants as well as gift shops for tourists. It feels strange to be so far into the mountains with some amenities! There’s no heating and the plumbing is pretty limited, but we’re sleeping in lodges every night with delicious food. And we’re having lots and lots of tea at tea houses en route.
We’re taking our time to acclimate to altitude. Our porters will meet us at the pyramid research station with our scientific gear and the rest of our cold weather gear (I’m carrying only about 40 lbs of gear now).
Standing at the entrance to Khumjung Village with Sonam Futi Sherpa (left), where we’re staying Sunday night. Sonam is a second year masters student in glaciology at Kathmandu University and the only other female member of the field team. Khumjung is her home town; we’re staying in the lodge her parents own and run.
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