On a map, the path between Namche Bazaar and Tengboche does look like a relatively easy walk. By the end of the day, the difference in altitude between the two villages is just a small climb of 500 meters. Unfortunately, this is just half of the truth: After a steep climb out of the Namche Bazaar village, the trail levels out. It then descends slowly from 3500m to 3200m, before ending in a steep climb of about 700m.
The underestimated part of the trek
If you would ask me about the hardest part of the trek, then this climb to Tengboche would be my top one on the list of challenging experiences. I completely underestimated the terrain and the effects of thin air weakening the body. However, on an enormous plus side, the way to Tengboche is very scenic. Seeing Mount Everest (8848m) during sunrise right in front of us was the carrot that kept us going enthusiastically. Right to Mount Everest, the panoramic view along the way featured Lhotse (8516m) and the oddly shaped Ama Dablam (6812m), plus another dozen of peaks I couldn’t figure out their names.
Enjoying tea houses
There were some tea houses along this stretch of the trek. We decided to have a small break at a tea shop in a hamlet, just before the steep climb to Tengboche. Finally, we arrived, after a total of five hours trekking, around noon time at Tengboche. Not exactly a village, this settlement consists of a handful of huts and a beautiful monastery. And – to my big surprise – a bakery shop that had freshly baked cakes and pastries.
Visiting the monastery, walking around the crest of the mountain – and the eating of cake was a perfect program for the afternoon. The lodge we stayed in was already more simple than in the lower areas of the Khumbu valley. So we said good-bye to hot water and greeted thin cardboard-style walls that separated the rooms. However, the owners of the Tengboche lodge were very welcoming and friendly, and the food for dinner was excellent.