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Day 9: Namche Bazaar to Pangboche
Pikey Peak, Nepal

Ascent: 1116 m

descent: 571 m

Distance: 14 km

Elevation at Destination: 3985 m

This morning I was sad to say goodbye to Danny, who was heading down to Lukla to fly out to Kathmandu. He already had his own adventures booked in Vietnam and Cambodia before agreeing to accompany me for the first part of this trip. I was very grateful to have him by my side for the last ten days. The next part of my journey, the Three Passes trek, I would be doing solo.


Today was a hike of three parts, each with superb scenery. The first two hours to Phunki Thanga was the longest but easiest section. After climbing the stairs out of Namche, the path was mostly flat and thankfully composed of dirt rather than rocks. Around every corner I was presented with views of Everest and Lhotse, shining brightly in the morning sun. I think I took a photo from the same angle roughly 100 times, each one a few metres closer than the last. The only difficult part was the descent into Phunki Thanga, where I slipped over for the first time on this trip (I was surprised it had taken this long).


Part two started with a suspension bridge crossing, a permit check, then nothing but uphill for the next hour and a half. It was one of the hardest climbs yet, but according to my watch I was going faster than when I hiked up Pikey Peak. It definitely didn’t feel that way - I don't know how I could have walked any slower. At least I had the scenery as a distraction. This time, instead of Everest, I was staring up at Thamserku and Kantega, two peaks over 6,600 metres, but the sun was in the wrong place to get a decent shot. By the time I had walked far enough around the mountain and the sun had moved into a more favourable position, clouds had obscured the summits.


At the top of the hill was the village of Tengboche, which was dominated by a large, brightly-coloured monastery. A line of guesthouses circled around the monastery then continued on down a large open field. Many tour groups going to EBC stop here for the night, meaning the village can get very busy at times. I was keen to skip the crowds and move on to the next town.