everest base camp dingboche to lobuche

Dingboche to Lobuche – Day 13 – Trek to Everest Base Camp

It’s Day 13 of our trek to Everest Base Camp, the weather has forced us to re-route and today we trek from Dingboche to Lobuche.  We’re on the main trail to Base Camp now, it’s a lot busier on this side of the valley.


Read a Day by Day Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp

The route that we’re now on is the standard route that most trekkers take from Lukla to Everest Base Camp.  We, as you know, wanted to do the Cho La Pass route, so that we’d see different valleys and views.  That wasn’t to be.  But there is a whole heap of other treks to do around here.

Alternative Treks – The Three Passes Trek

Our problems with the weather aren’t as bad as some folks.  The Australian family we shared the dining room with last night and this morning are here in Nepal to “do the” Three Passes”.  It’s a trek that goes over the Kongma La Pass at 5,535 meters, the Cho La at 5,420m, and then the Renjo La at 5,465m.   And it’s pretty intense by all accounts.   But it’s all weathered in, so the family is stuck.

They’ve not, and they won’t manage to, hit a single one of the passes because of the snow.  Instead, they spent 2 days snowbound at Dzongla, on the other side of the Cho La pass from us.  They had five feet of snow while we had a foot on the other side.  We thank our lucky stars that Ramesh and the team took us down and didn’t let us attempt the pass.

Trekking at altitude carries risks. We insured ourselves through World Nomads – buying specific altitude coverage in case of altitude sickness. We were also able to renew our policy while out of our home country. Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more..

With the amount of time left in their trip, there’s no longer time to make the other passes.  It would mean them tracking back the way that we came to get to Gokyo, to head over the Ren Lo Pass.

Delhi Belly Update

I’m also happy to report that the human liquidizer has been banished.  Now all I need to do is retrain my bowels to not need to void at 10 pm, 3 am and 5 am.  Still, it’s a relief to have control again.

Dingboche to Lobuche

This morning’s wake-up call is at 6 am.  I don’t set alarms anymore, other than the bowel alarm of course.  As we usually end up in a tent next to Darryl and Rod, I get the dulcet wake up of an Armed force trained Brit-Aussie accent which is not unpleasant, but somewhat authoritative.

We’re all packed and breakfasting by 7 am (Yes Manny included) – there’s an omelet and chapati this morning.  And we’ve discovered the Vegemite – there are definite benefits to trekking with an Australian company! Ellen gives some indication that an export vegemite business to Norway probably isn’t on the cards either…

Breakfast at Dingboche

Dingboche to Lobuche Logistics

If you’re interested in the details of how far we trekked each day and what the altitude gain is, here are those details.

Dingboche to Lobuche Distance

It’s 8.4 kilometers from Dingboche to Lobuche, around 5.2 miles.

Dingboche to Lobuche Altitude Gain

The altitude of Dingboche is 4410m, and the altitude of Lobuche is 4910 m.  Today we have an altitude gain of 500 meters.

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Dingboche to Lobuche Time Trekking

We took 4 hours and 30 minutes hours to trek from Dingboche to Lobuche.

Dingboche to Lobuche Map

Dingboche to Lobuche Map

It’s a long day.   It’s not on the original agenda, because originally we would have headed over the Cho La and arrived at Lobuche.  Instead, we headed down from the bottom of the Cho La Pass, Thangnak, and trekked to Phortse Tenga before we started heading back up again.

Stupa en route from Dingboche to Lobuche

Marty’s off again with Meg, doing his “Man who Runs with Sherpa” thing and the rest of us are in three groups.  Moni leads the fast group today, with Ellen, Marty, and Michael.

Views on the trail from Dingboche to Lobuche

Nigel, Darryl, Rod, and I are with Lapka, Manny moves between groups.  His camera seems to stay with Lapka.

The Trail Dingboche to Lobuche

After an initial hike up, it’s a gradual climb, both because of the altitude gain, and because we stop so often.

Dingboche to Lobuche Trail conditions

Viewing the Back of Ama Dablam

We’re seeing a different side of Ama Dablam, the gloriously shaped mountain that has framed so many of the photos that we’ve taken so far.

She’s just as beautiful from here.

Views of the Mountains Dingboche to Lobuche

The trail is much busier though, as we head up towards Thukla.

Heading to Thukla, the trail is busy

We’re now in the valley that heads directly to Everest Base Camp and there are long trains of trekkers, strung out in a single file.

Busy Trail from Dingboche to Lobuche

Traffic Jams on the Trails

Early on we’re slowed by one of them.  At their head, is a double amputee. (it’s the guy in blue).  It makes aching legs seem inconsequential.

Traffic Jams Dingboche to Lobuche

There’s also a constant stream of porters carrying bags, bottled gas, and even toilet rolls.   Common courtesy dictates that the downhill walker gives way to the uphill walker.  Also that we all give way to the porters – we’re on vacation, and they’re making a living.  I fail to see much courtesy shown to either group by many of the groups we see.

Valley Views Dingboche to Lobuche
Dingboche to Lobuche
En route from Dingboche to Lobuche

At Thukla the trail goes UP

Thukla sees several trails converge.  We cross the small bridge, scramble up a “shortcut” to bypass the tea house here, and then Rod and I pretty much grind to a halt.

Trail to Thukla

This is a 200-meter increase in altitude in just a short distance.  There are steps and boulders.  Yak trains and porters.  The trail is wide.  Mostly.

Yaks on the trail Dingboche to Lobuche

Midway there’s a huge boulder where many porters are resting in the sun.  I’ve run out of clothing to remove and I’m still baking.


Many stops later, we walk under the prayer flags and arrive at the Thukla pass.

Arriving at the Thukla Pass

Memorials to Those Who Died on the Mountain

It’s here that we find the memorials to those who have been lost on the mountain. over the years.  There are many monuments.  I find Scott Fischer, who was lost to the mountain during the 1996 season.

Scott Fischer Memorial Cairn

Books About Everest

When I travel in a country, it’s important to me to read about others who have traveled here – whether that’s fiction or nonfiction.  In Nepal, I’ve found it impossible to ignore the differing accounts of the 1996 disaster on the mountain.

The 70-Year-Old Japanese Trekkers

At Thukla, Darryl and Nigel have made friends.  A Japanese couple both in their 70s are trekking to Base Camp.  They are carrying all their own gear. And they’re offering tea and discussions to a group from Spain.

Japanese Trekkers aged 70 Everst Base Camp Trek

From this point, it’s a relatively gradual incline to Lobuche.

Thukla to Lobuche Trail

What is striking though as we approach Lobuche is the increasingly strong smell of shit.

Arriving in Lobuche

Which is understandable.  The ground is frozen, nothing drains away for many months.

Arriving in Lobuche

When we arrived, we were guide-less, we’ve hit that middle group syndrome.  Not being quick enough for the fast folks and making quicker progress than the others. It turns out that the first group arrived 30 minutes ahead of us, and Lapka is some way back with Manny.  We split up and search for familiar-looking folks.  Lobuche isn’t that big – and I find them just as Lapka comes into the townsite.

The Eco Lodge at Lobuche

Our Eco-Lodge in Lobuche

Our eco-lodge is in the center of “town” and while first impressions are good, the dining room is warm and there are several other small groups eating and staying warm.  After a lunch of cheese pasties, spaghetti, and tinned tuna (there are potatoes, but they’re not in the chip format required by my mental state to force down), we get our rooms.

Room at the Eco Lodge in Lobuche

Our rooms in the Eco Lodge

And even now, in the middle of the day, they’re cold.  Everything feels damp because it’s all so cold.  This might of course have something to do with the fact that the outer windows don’t close.  That in itself is amazing.  That there is a form of double glazing.  But I suspect that the lack of insulation in the entire building, – including the walls is actually a bigger problem than the window.

Eco Lodge Lobuche Entrance Way

There are two toilets on this floor (there are also two more floors above this one).  Here we have a squat toilet and a one with a porcelain bowl.  ” It’s pretty amazing, ” says Kim, ” as judging by the amount of water on the floor by the toilets, I didn’t realize that there was plumbing at all.”

Toilets at the Eco Lodge Lobuche
Ladies Toilet Lobuche Eco Lodge

The melting snow from outside is actually higher than the level of the window, which is open of course, and it’s melting through the window.

There will be a requirement to wear crampons later in order to visit the facilities.    Gaiters too, adds Rod, as there will likely be splash back.

As we arrived by lunchtime and the rooms are colder than hell frozen over, we were all hunkered down in the dining room (stuffed into our red down jackets) for the rest of the day.  There’s a game of cards going on.

Dining Room at the Eco Lodge Lobuche

Most of the entertainment for the afternoon is provided by a group of young Americans, determined to cause an avalanche by the sheer volume of their conversation, if not by the combined weight of their egos.

The Upcoming Schedule

We turn to the upcoming days and the schedule.  What we’d glossed over in reading the marketing materials now seems all too real.  After the snow day that still weighs heavily on our minds and 8 hours uphill yesterday, the coming days seem endless and that positive mental attitude dissipates like the fizz in a 300 ml US$4.20 bottle of Sprite.

Everything we eat and drink here has to be carried in.  And the documentation from World Expeditions suggests that you take dollars and rupees with you for spending money on the mountain.

An expensive bottle of Sprite.

So I spent US$4.20 on 300 ml of Sprite – the universal cure-all for a stomach bug. Because of the stomach bug, our toilet paper stores were laid low, so a roll cost 300 NPR 3.00.  My nose ran constantly and my tissues ran out, so I spent US$2 on two small packets of tissues, twice.

There’s a reluctance to go to bed tonight, even though tomorrow will be another long day.  We’ll not only have to make it to Gorakshep by lunchtime – and we anticipate an early lunch – so too, does Ramesh, but after that lunch, we’ll head straight onto Base Camp and have to return to Gorakshep before dark.    Tomorrow is THE big day.  Tomorrow we go from Lobuche to Gorakshep and then from Gorakshep to Everest Base Camp.  

Essentials for an Everest Base Camp Trek

And… the most important thing…

Travel Tips for Exploring Nepal

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