I guess the photo from my last entry is a metaphorical representation of how brown and lumpy Kala Patthar is set in the context of its setting among the world’s most stunning mountains. It’s not much of a stretch of the imagination because Kala Patthar really is brown and lumpy, and you eat a lot of potatoes on the trek to the top of the Himalayas, and at some point everything looks like a potato. To be more accurate, I would say that especially at the the final mound atop Kala Patthar, with it’s sizable, chunky boulders did I start to get these ideas. Thanks to the light head and the surreal setting I was getting a little creative. You have to wonder what a pile of chunky boulders is doing on top of a worn, rounded mound in the middle of a snowy, pristine setting.
Regardless of whatever ancient, fossilized material it may be, Kala Patthar is a perfect viewing deck to see all around you. There was kind of a steep drop off of the north side of the mound, so I was too scared to really get up for a clear view, but I definitely got the full spectrum of Pumori to the north, Mt. Everest, Nuptse and Lohtse to the east, Changri to the west, and the wide glacier valley to the south. I was finally standing there, taking in with my own eyes the spectacle of the encompassing mountains, and a clear view of Mt. Everest, with high stratus clouds wisping over the top, and down to base camp and the Khumbu Icefall. After reading and hearing so many amazing accounts of the struggles and triumphs in these superlative monuments I couldn’t believe I was there to see them for myself.
I couldn’t imagine myself clambering up and along the same perilous route, but I was to in person and the possibility was present. I could tumble down my little Kala Patthar viewing deck and hike another couple of hours to base camp, and I would be standing there with that ominous maw leading to the jowls of the savage cold and the rending of the fierce avalanches in the western cwm. This was not distantly relegated to my imagination in a movie of a book, I was right there and my imagination was ignited with what could happen. Fortunately there were some safeguards to stop from running off to do all this on a whim. For one, there was nothing set up at base camp, then there’s the hiking permit for Mt. Everest. Wandering anywhere beyond base camp will cost you a fortune in fees to the Nepalese authorities. Then there was the small detail that I had already finished my chapati and nak cheese sandwich for the day. Time to turn back to our camp in Lobuche for more potatoes.