Nepal - Gokyo valley and Everest Base Camp trek

Dhole to Machermo


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Day 6 - Dhole to Machermo (4465m)

In theory this is a short and easy walk but people often start (or continue) to struggle with the altitude so it can take a lot longer. We are now well above the tree line and start getting some good views of Cho Oyu (8210m) right ahead of us at the border with China.

On the other side of the valley there are also some grat views of Taboche and Cholatse. There are some discrepencies between maps (for example on the Schneider map Cholatse is called Jobo Lhaptshan) and all of them somewhat get Cholatse and Taboche wrong in some kind of way, be it name, altitude or positon on the map (some confusion with a peak called Arakam Tse on the Hinmalayan Map House map that you can buy in Kathmandu). It took me a lot of headaches before I woked out that all the maps that I had (4 of them) had something wrong with these mountains.

Finally, after a great walk in wonderful open landscapes you arrive above Machermo, a small settlement hidden in a wide side-valley. Like all these places above the tree line, they used to be summer yak pastures with a couple of stone huts for the yakherds but have now grown a few lodges to accommodate trekkers.

Machermo is also now the home of a rescue post. Officially called the Machermo Porter Shelter/Rescue Post it was officially opened in October 2006 and is a project of the International Porter Protection Group . As its name indicates its first aim is to help provide a quality shelter (as well as medical help if needed) for porters but the western doctors stationned there will also assist western trekkers for a fee (this is ploughed back into the project).

The doctors are very knowlegeable about altitude problems and AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and hold a free talk every day (3.00 pm it used to be but better check in Machermo) on AMS and how to avoid it / deal with it. Nobody should miss this! If you arrive too late for the day's talk, stay an extra day in Machermo for it, it's worth it and could save your life (or someone else's) further up on the trek.

And please do have a look at The International Porter Protection Group web site so that you know what you may be doing wrong with your porters. Porters die every year doing their job and it is often the fault of their employer. Ultimately, the trekker is the employer. I am not implying that trekkers are callous and careless to the point of deliberately endangering the life of their porters but they might not know some things that matter. Inform yourself before hiring porters and look after them!


Day 7 - Machermo rest and acclimatization day


Again, as in Namche it is a good idea to have an acclimatization day in Machermo before carrying on higher up towards Gokyo. In matters of altitude time is your friend. The longer you take to ascend the less likely you are to get ill, the more likely you are to enjoy your trip. Ths is especially important in the Gokyo valley where there is no easy exit if you need to descend because of AMS (the Mon La is in the way of a descent towards Namche). Every time I was in the Gokyo or Everest Base Camp area I saw people suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness. Quite a few didn't even realize it which makes it possibly even more dangerous.

A good way to spend some time in Machermo is to ascend the hill above the settlement, slightly to the North. You get wonderful views of Cho Oyu, Cholatse, Taboche and can also see Everest.
Or you can walk up the valley towards the West following the course of the Machermo river.




Morning frost on berberis


Gokyo valley with Taboche and Cholatse peaks



The village of Khumjung and Ama Dablam



A yak and one of the first sightings of Cho Oyu (8201m)





View up the Gokyo valley from above Machermo



Taking a walk from Machermo


View of Machermo from above



View up the Gokyo valley from above Machermo (Cho Oyu is the central peak)



Cho Oyu (8201m) is located at the China - Nepal border beyond the Gokyo valley



Machermo dog and a sherpa enjoying the views


View of Everest, Cholatse, Taboche and other peaks from a hill above Machermo



Tne Machermo Rescue Post




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