May 5 - Kongma La

 
     Today’s plan was to leave Gorak Shep after breakfast and head back down the Everest BC trail towards Lobuche. Before breakfast Doug took advantage of our location to climb most of the way up Kala Patar, the hill next to Gorak Shep. Here he was able to take some pictures of Everest in the clear morning air. Kala Patar provides the location for the iconic shots of Everest that are most often seen on posters and websites.
     Just before Lobuche we tuned left. Actually we just started walking off the trail, heading east until we came to the massive Khumbu glacier which we had been paralleling until now and found a small trail that crossed the glacier heading up a long and steep valley. At the top of the valley was our pass: Kongma La.
     Arriving at the very steep and rocky pass, we were afforded fantastic views down both sides and up the ridge to the towering pinnacle of a mountain called Pokalde (but more about that later). Surprisingly the one thing we didn't see looking over the pass were the tents of our camp. The yaks left our basecamp at Lobuche Peak two days ago and were supposed to be here with camp ready and the tents set up, but there was no sign. Not the ideal situation with the clouds lowering and the cold creeping in and poor visibility setting in. Dendi and Gyalzey set off to find the yaks while Hugo kept the team together, including the two porters ( Lakpa and Nima). Eventually the yaks were found and Pokalde Basecamp was established.