Day 15: The Earthquake (& Descent) Day
Chukhung (4730m) → Tengboche (3867m)
Yep, that's how we were awakened on this morning with the building shaking all around us. We learned later that it was a ‘moderate-intensity’ quake of 5.5 but the epicentre was also nearly on top of us, right in the Solokhumbu/Everest region. We sure as hell felt it. Ultimately turned out there was no damage or casualties from this, the 475th aftershock of the devastating quake from the year before.
I was also really struck by the fact that we just sat there eating it despite having had time to exit the building, or at least get in a damned doorway. I think I felt like I froze. I forget Darby's exact explanation, but I think it had something to do with her having lived in the Bay Area for ages, and being used to just riding these things out.
Speaking of which did I happen to mention we unanimously decided, the night before, to completely bag the ascent of Chukhung Ri (the third peak)? Well, we decided to bag Chukhung Ri. As shattered as we were after the back-to-back exertion extravaganzas of Kala Patthar and Kongma La and as over-the-moon as we were to be effing descending and as topped up for life as we'd got on amazing mountaintop settings the last thing either of us fancied was a side-trip climbing our exhausted asses up 700+ metres, all the way back to 5456, for another really nice view. No we were very happy to bank our trekking winnings and get our precious arses the hell down out of the Himalayas. Downward!
First, though, on our way out, I had to approach the counter to pay for my beers, coconut crunches, and second dinner. (I had still been hungry, so had basically just ordered a second dinner the night before). But before I could do so, Aakash appeared from out of nowhere forbidding me to pay for the extra meal.
Man. That's quality. But then I slapped my British Airways Premium American Express card on the bar. The man behind it who was also called Aakash, and had proven to be a very cheeky chappie
Oh, well. Now! downward!
Darby and I, presumably more happy and relaxed to be descending, had some of our best chats on this segment.
Presumably the notes below are also from our conversation.
And trust this jaunty spirit comes through in narration of video below.
There were, let's say, a few interpersonal challenges along the way. (Few or none of which made it in here, due to me trying to cleave to my general principle of limiting said things to nice things.) Anyway, it was very nice that we were ending the trek in a way that was very nice, interpersonally speaking.
Me: “We're under 4500.” [checks altimeter] “4374.”
We stopped for lunch in a “sweet, true mountainside village” that I initially thought was Tengboche, but became clear that it wasn't when we only stopped for lunch. :)
And at long last into Tengboche, where we toured the famous monastery there, and where pictures are forbidden, which was kind of a relief honestly. In conclusion, I shall let my last note on the day lapidary, but no less exuberant for that speak for itself.