Today we are in Tingri at 4300 metres /
14,100 feet. Our climbing team of 7 foreign members from 5 countries together
with 3 Sherpas are resting here for 2 days, getting used to the high altitude.
Under blue skies we roam the streets and walk surrounding hills. Now we are
officially on the Tibetan Plateau. The weather is sunny, windy and the temps
warmed up for a few hours in the middle of the day. We can see Mount Everest
and Mount Cho Oyu (our destination) from here. The surrounding plateau at the
base of the big mountains is very green, with abundant water flowing. We saw
quite few ducks wading in ponds during our walk around dusty Tingri yesterday.
This town is a trading center for the Everest region. Groups of nomads wander
the streets trying to sell fat sheep. Kids skip along the road to and from
Shopkeepers load and unload piles of boxes,
tools, ropes, food. The chugging sound of one cylinder diesel tractors echoes
up and down the street as horse carts trot by.
While having breakfast of pancakes and eggs the team discussed the destination
of today's acclimatisation hike. We decided to walk up a brown hill outside
Tingri. Dogs from the villages often follow walkers high up to the hills, but
unfortunately we were left without their company this time.
Walking up some 400 metres on gentle scree
slopes brought us to the top decorated with prayer flags. Under a clear blue
sky we had excellent views over Everest, Cho Oyu and the Tibetan plateau with
its fields in countless shades of green.
Tomorrow morning we are excited to drive up to Cho Oyu basecamp at circa 5000
metres / 16,500 feet, so we can begin our attempt to climb the 6th highest
mountain in the world.
We visited the Milarepa cave on
our journey towards Tingri. Milarepa was a Buddhist Saint instrumental in
bringing Budhhism to Tibet. As he arrived to the country he settled in a cave
(we had the honour to visit the tiny cave) that later became a monastry. Much
to our delight, a young monk showed us around the entire monastery.
Today the weather was on our side. The skies were crystal clear with a little
bit of cloud cover far on the horizon. After about a half hour's drive from
Milarepa's monastry and cave Shisha Pangma appeared in all its magnificent
beauty. We had ample opportunity to admire the mountain from Yakri Shong La at
5050 metres. Not long after this spectacle, Cho Oyu, and the smaller mountains
in the range imposed on us with no cloud cover and not a bit of wind on the
respective summits. The mountains stayed with us as we made our way to Tingri,
where we checked in at the Ha Hoo hotel.
We enjoyed a great lunch and went for a short walk to Qomolangma viewpoint,
build on the remains of an ancient fort on top of the old Tingri town. Dan
guided us through this typical Tibetan town with all its narrow and little
The food we have enjoyed during our journey has been delicious and very
appetising, we have consumed very healthy vegetables, meats, rice, etc. Of
course during all of our dining experience we have use the traditional chop
stick, very easy for some to use and very funny to be seen used by others as
well, even Matti has managed to become a graded apprentice in the use of chop
The whole experience of the team sitting together as one around a large table,
with the central spinning consoul for the food to be shared more easily, has
been a great boost to our team building experience, with the sharing of
stories and working out our next days programme as well. If anything the
amount of food that we were given has far surpassed my expectations and I for
one would recommend our hotels in Tingri and Nylam to anyone.
seen from the Qomolangma viewpoint in Tingri. James Grieve Photo.
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