Max Lowe received a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant to document social change in Nepal’s Khumbu region alongside our 2012 Everest Expedition. The expedition is being covered live on the National Geographic magazine May edition iPad app. Read Max’s previous Everest dispatches.
As darkness fell on my last night at Everest Base Camp, with it came a taste of winter. In the morning we awoke to almost a foot-and-a-half of snow blanketing the previously rocky landscape. Olivia, Cory’s wife, and I said our goodbyes, and headed out down valley. At the pass above Dugla I stopped for a moment at the cairn honoring my father Alex and his friendship with the Sherpa people whom he loved. I could not imagine a more beautiful vista for the monument to his life.
A long day ensued, but just before nightfall we made it to Phortse Village where warm soup and a soft bed were most welcoming. The next morning we set out bright and early to Namche Bazaar. After wandering through a seemingly barren land of rock and ice, it was nice to re-enter warmth, forestation, and even see the occasional wildlife.
Walking back into Namche after being in Base Camp and the upper villages of the Khumbu felt like coming back to the big city, even though Namche consists of no more than perhaps 600 people. Coca-Cola and Pringles never tasted as good as after a 26-mile hike at altitude. After lunch and a quick rest, Olivia was off and headed down to Lukla to catch a plane out and back to civilization. I, on the other hand, settled in at the Panorama Lodge, which was to be my home for the next four to five weeks. The owners Lhakpa Doma and Sherap Jangbu welcomed me in with open arms.