Greetings from Gokyo at 15,800 feet perched on the banks of the scenic turquoise Gokyo Lake. We've covered a significant amount of terrain and gained approx. 4,400 feet since our last post from Namche Bazaar on Tues. Oct. 24th. Our Garmin InReach tracking map shows exactly where we have been, stopping overnight in the villages of Khumjung and Machermo:
For those who have seen the Discovery Channel series "Everest - Beyond the Limits", you may find it of interest that we stayed with Phurba Tashi at his Tashi Friendship Lodge in Khumjung. Seeing Phurba Tashi in his every day family life milking naks (female yaks) and running a small lodge, was in sharp contrast to his role as Russell Brice's lead Sherpa (sirdar) with the responsibility of making life and death decisions high up on Everest - all displayed in dramatic fashion on TV.
Anyhow back to revealing the name of our "secret mountain". Since we are now within days of hiking to reach the base of the mountain and it seems unlikely anybody else could catch up to us at this point, the name of the unclimbed peak is ...drum roll ...Tharke Khang!
Like nearby Burke Khang and Everest, Tharke Khang is also a border peak straddling both Nepal and China (Tibet). We first set eyes on the mountain two years ago while climbing Burke Khang and it is both majestic, rugged-looking, and high at 6,710 meters or 22,143 feet. It's also extremely remote and difficult to access in part due to the large glacier crossings.
Last month while still at home we had a bit of a surprise when we learned that Reinhold Messner's son was at the base of Tarke Khang and was preparing to climb it. The Himalayan Times reported the news and we quickly researched and confirmed that despite the similar but different spelling to Tharke Khang, it was in fact a different mountain altogether (also known as Glacier Dome) and is located in the Annapurna Region. Our first ascent attempt was still a go!
This little scare was yet another reason we felt it was best to keep the name a secret. So now you know the rest of the story and are in on our "secret" ...until of course we post this blog report on Facebook. :-)
Thanks again for following along. Our next stop is base camp. We will continue using the InReach Explorer for map tracking and satellite text messaging but we're not sure about the timing of the next post since all communication is via satellite from here on out.