8th September 2016
We took the newly paved road from our overnight stop in Shelkar up to the Gyu pass at 5200 metres hoping for a first glimpse of Everest. Unfortunately there was heavy cloud so we descended the switchbacks to the valley below. After passing through a few villages the clouds began to disperse and the mountain came into view.
Though many of the group had seen Everest from the Nepalese side before they were still in awe. The general consensus was that Everest is even more memorable from the Tibetan side. After a lengthy stop we continued by bus to our tented camp and then walked up a couple of hours to the Base Camp proper. By then the clouds had closed in but we were lucky again the next evening when we had clear views from our accommodation in Old Tingri.
The paved road and the visitor reception centre which is currently being built lower down the valley is designed to accommodate many more (Chinese) tourists. It's planned that from next year visitors will arrive at the tented camp via communal buses from the reception centre. Even the future of the tented camp is in doubt as the locals worry about plans to build more permanent accommodation for visitors to the area. We will have to see how this affects groups but we certainly enjoyed our visit.
In general there has been only relatively minor problems adjusting to the altitude so far. I hope it continues that way. We now head to Mount Kailash to walk the 53 km 'Kora' or circumambulation which I'm sure will be the highlight of the trip.
Max is currently leading our Lhasa to Kashgar tour.