Today I trekked from Phakding to the village of Namche Bazaar at 11,286′. The trekking route navigates across two valleys and is made significantly easier by several suspension bridges. The early Everest expeditions were required to climb the steep valley faces that have been cut into the mountains by millions of years of erosion from the river below. Later expeditions would cross rickety wooden suspension bridges that required courage and, preferably, a windless day. Today the crossings are steel suspension bridges that allow trekkers to cross without peril and with their full attention on enjoying the incredible views of the Khumbu.
I plan to be in Namche Bazaar for two nights acclimatizing to the higher altitudes here. Namche is a comfortable village and is celebrated by trekkers for the quality of the bakeries and coffee houses. Tomorrow I will go on a short hike to higher elevations and my first view of Everest since arriving, then return to Namche for the night. This “climb high, sleep low” routine is a central part of the acclimatization process.