20 July 2009

Everest Region December 2003 - Day 14

Dragnag to Gokyo

You can see a slideshow of my best pics from Everest on flickr.
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If you would like a background sound of the ice-covered lake Taboche Tsho ("Lake 2"), then click here. More about them below.

The Ngozumpa glacier is the longest glacier in Nepal (about 23 km). It is covered in so much detritus that you feel like you are walking through a quarry. Only this quarry has frozen lakes and ice cliffs scattered throughout (see above), so watch your step! The route changes fairly frequently, and it is not unknown for people to get lost trying to cross it to Gokyo, especially after snow. Fortunately, we had an easy time getting across.

Right: a view northwards up the glacier (which begins up at the white cliffs on the right) towards Cho Oyu (8153m).

Cho Oyu

Once we had crossed the glacier, we encountered our first Gokyo valley lake, Taboche Tsho (Lake 2). Normally sparkling blue in all the photos we had seen, it was covered in about a foot of ice. Nature is beautiful, even when it is not sparkling blue, and we were rewarded at this time of the year with the privilege of hearing the lake "sing". A similar haunting sound as whale song, though closer to a cross between stomach gurgles and light-sabre sound effects. You should be able to pick out the sound of stones being skipped across the ice, lending their own stimulus to the constant creaking and groaning of the ice.

Gokyo Village

Having arrived at Gokyo and had lunch, Helen and I went for a wander around Gokyo's sacred lake - Dudh Pokhari ("milk lake") - vaguely heading for Renjo La. Rounding the lake is very easy, and well worth it for the photogenic views of Gokyo village from across the lake, and some very interesting cairns...

Stone Bishop Praying to the Buddhist Lake Goddess


At the back of the Gokyo lake is what appears to be a Hindu shrine to a goddess. I have not yet been able to find out much about her, but I believe it to be the only Hindu shrine I found in the Everest region. Apparently the Dudh Pokhari (holy to both Buddhists and Hindus) is visited for Janai Purnima (August full moon = Rakhi Day?) for ritual bathing in the sacred waters! Brrr! At least the water would be liquid at that time of year.

The sunset that night was particularly beautiful. The view is west towards Renjo La, divine in its own right.

Gokyo Lake

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As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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