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 Day 18 Dragnag to Phortse

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Dragnag

Phortse

Latitude

27° 56.48N

27° 50.72N

Longitude

86° 43.40E

86° 45.06E

Altitude

4,661 metres

3,831 metres

Ascent

200 metres

Descent

1,030 metres

Time (excluding rests)

5 hours 15 minutes

Distance

11 kilometres

The YetiZone yak, Zow, being loaded for the trip to Phortse

The fields of Chhartyang, where Zow grew up.

Gigantic landslide

The ancient stupa

Dole across the valley

The path to Phortse

Stupa above Phortse

Mani wall at Phortse

Work-shy unladen yaks avoid eye contact with their owners.

     Today's trek follows the valley south along the eastern side, which is less impacted by tourism, and finishes at Phortse, thought to be the oldest village in Khumbu.

Phortse, with Sherpa dunny in the foreground

     Leave the village by walking south following a path by the stream. Cross a small stone bridge, and follow a path on the left of the level area. After 20 minutes the path forks - take the left-hand path that contours the hillside. Pass the small village of Chhartyang, which is completely unmodernised and enables one to see the medieval potato picking lifestyle that was lived here until the 1950s (35 minutes). Cross a gigantic ancient boulder field that must have been formed long ago by a landslide. It is possible to ascend to the Cho La along a path from here. There are no lodges here.

     Continue along and pass the village of Chum (50 minutes). Cross a slate plank bridge just before Lower Chum. Cross a little stone bridge and pass a stupa. The path from Na joins on the right. The path begins to ascend steeply (1 hour 30 minutes). Continue upwards, crossing streams and bridges, until the village of Thorte is reached [27° 53.19N 86° 44.12E 4,377 metres] (3 hours). Here are two small lodges:

  • Sherpa Lodge
  • New Lodge

     They offer dormitory accommodation not dissimilar to that offered in Alpine lodges in Europe.

     Continue, passing a disused lodge building on a spur, almost directly opposite the village of Dole. Continue up a very steep section leading up to an ancient stupa. From here you can see over the far side of the spur down into Phortse (4 hours). It's all downhill from here to Phortse.

     Follow the path past fields and the stream bed. Finally, reach the tree line and continue surrounded by conifers and birch. Pass a stupa and a series of ancient prayer walls and a small gompa with a huge prayer wheel. Pass a gigantic row of prayer stones, the biggest outside of Deorali (5 hours 15 minutes).

     Phortse is thought to be the oldest Sherpa village in Khumbu and hence the original settlement after the Sherpa migration in 1533 AD. During his time here, von Furer Haimendorf found it to be the most conservative of the Sherpa villages, lending this hypothesis further credibility.

     From a trekking point of view it's great to be down to a lower altitude with warm air and the small of the forest. It's even warm enough to have a wash.

     There are numerous good quality lodges here.

The fields of Phortse

© Ian Johnson 2003

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