The Rum Doodle

(the next paragraph is shamelessly copied from *another* blog)

Named after the world’s highest mountain, the 40,000½ft Mt Rum Doodle (according to WE Bowman, author of The Ascent of Rum Doodle, a spoof of serious mountaineering books), this famous bar is still milking a dusty (1983!) Time magazine accolade as ‘one of the world’s best bars’. It’s long been a favourite meeting place for mountaineering expeditions – Edmund Hillary, Reinhold Messner, Ang Rita Sherpa and Rob Hall have left their mark on the walls – and a visit here feels like a bit of a pilgrimage for mountain lovers. Trekking groups can add their own yeti footprint trek report to the dozens plastered on the walls. The restaurant serves up decent steaks, pasta and pizza and there’s often live music. You can eat here free for life – the only catch is that you have to conquer Everest first!

We met up there for lunch. I was craving a cheeseburger but the closest they had was a veggie burger with yak cheese. Yeah, I went for it. So the Rum Doodle is not known for it’s food, but that doesn’t take away from its legendary status.

We filled in a yeti’s foot for our trek.  chris, we *really* could have used your talent there. But it’s hanging there now. Our two spokesmodels show it off.

encore. durbar square.


took one more spin through the streets of ktm to see durbar square. once you begin to relax in this pandemonium of humanity, noise, dirt, demonic vehicles, smells and colors this place reveals more of itself to you. we were the only two people who looked like us, and nobody seemed to care. headed slowly through the maze of streets between durbar square and the center of thamel where we were meeting up with the others at the rum doodle for lunch.

Return Flight to KTM


Again Mountain Madness showed their muscle and had us on the first flight out.

We said our goodbyes, got another prayer scarf (never can have too many of those before a flight in or out of Lukla) and got on the plane. Again, it was a crystal clear morning.

No big deal. Just roll down the ski-jump-like airstrip at Lukla and you’re winging your way back to Kathmandu. No worries.


Some combination of emotions from completing a grueling trek which had been an obsession for well over a decade plus the release of sitting in an airplane, ipod playing a favorite song, and the mountains receding into the distance started a torrent of tears rushing down my bearded face.  My time with these friends was slipping away. Nothing I could do about it except let it be part of the moment.


Lukla. Starbucks?

This shows that Starbucks has either a sense of humor or a good dose of pragmatism knowing that copyright infringement halfway around the world in Nepal is pointless to try to stop. If it had been a fake McDonalds they would have targeted it with drones.

Anyway, there is a faux Starbucks in Lukla. Check out the logo. Instead of the mermaid it’s a mountain. Brilliant! We stopped in to buy a mug, expecting it to be a schlock spot, but it was really nice!  We changed plans, got a couple of coffee drinks, and sat down in an almost elegant place to celebrate the end of our hike.

We finished the last few hundred yards to the tea house, got cleaned up, and had a celebratory dinner with the Sherpas. The high point was some Nepali gambling where the only uncertainty was how long it would take to lose all our money to the house. The house’s winnings all went to a good cause so it was OK.

Phakding: Back from (in?) Oz

From the cold, grey underworld of high altitude, we had now descended over three days from 17,000 ft to the sunny and relatively balmy Phakding at under 10,000 ft. In an inverse Oz sort of way, we went from a bizarre world in black and white to a comforting one in living color. Loved the vibrant prayer wheel set in the orange flowers.

We picked up something else in Phakding…Maya. A four year old orphan, Maya had a tragic start to life when her unwed mother committed suicide in light of beatings from her alcoholic father, but with the help of a local family and Deana, Maya was heading to a school in Kathmandu supported by an American foundation. Maya was a testament to human resilience.


Long downhill to Phakding

We said goodbye to Namche. We were now on familiar trails…the same ones we took from Lukla to Namche the first time. We remembered it being a long, steep UP the last few hours on the way in, but none of us seemed to remember just how long and steep it had been for now it seemed like we were hiking down a steep grade for hours. No complaining. It was great.

We shared smug laughs about the fresh-faced trekkers making their way up the hills. The trails were SO crowded with people, dzokios, and regular porters carrying on normal trade and cargo transport between Lukla, Namche and places farther up. Boys that didn’t seem much older than 13 or 14 were carrying massive timbers up the trail and having to turn almost 90 degrees sideways when they met someone coming the other way.

We recrossed the suspension bridges and walked along the river. It started to hit, when we left Sagarmatha park, that this adventure was ending.

Namche Bazaar I love you!

My mind must have been drifting (vacant) after lunch. After hiking for awhile all of a sudden I recognized we were walking down into Namche Bazaar. Namche, sooooo glad to see you. We got our room assignments, and the smart climbers shot into their bathrooms for the first decent showers in about a week and a half. In fact, since we left Namche the first time.

Everyone split up with some going into town, others chilling at the tea house (my favorite option). No more shopping needed…I already had a yak bell.

Approaching Namche again, and not a minute too soon

We stopped for lunch at a little place situated at a little pass. Looking back at the pictures it seems to have been called Mong La (or just Mong from the map). Moods were improving even though the terrain was steep up and down. But then again it’s the Himalayas, not New Jersey.

Sara would have liked the organic food place. We went somewhere else a little farther down the trail, though. At lunch I celebrated and bought a Fanta for a few hundred rupees. Took me back to my O.G. days.