Kothe (3/29/2019)

3/29/2019 Kothe (3,580m)

On 3/27, we took off from Kathmandu in a 14 passenger propeller plane heading for Lukla (2,840m). We were diverted due to ice on the runway but eventually made it after the sun had more time to do its work. After some lunch and a walk around town to get oriented, we set off for 3 days of strenuous hiking to get from the Khumbu Valley over the Zatrwa La pass (4,610m) and down into the Hinku Valley.

The pass was unusually full of snow, the most snow in some 12 years according to locals. In terms of travel, we had to move slowly and carefully across slushy, icy terrain, turning 6-hour days into 9-hour days. In terms of science, the flora was completely snow-covered, save for some daring little pink primula flowers - the ecology work would have to wait. Fortunately, Chris and Morgan's human geography work carried on with help from Nepali students, Mahindra and Benup. They were able to interview many local people about their experiences here in the mountains over the last decade since John was here last.

After an exhausting few days involving 1,770m of elevation gain and 1,030m of loss, we were excited to arrive in Kothe (3,580m). As we walked through the entrance to Makalu Barun National Park, we were greeted by a young toddler, and we knew we were back in a little civilization - warm tea and food wouldn't be far.