Driving up the gravel road with death defying drops in nothing more then a dilapidated taxi is probably not the most sensible thing I’ve ever done in my life.However surviving the climb up to the once ski resort is all part of the attraction for one of my most favorite day trips i have ever done.
The road ends at 5300m and then its a 300m walk up to the summit.Although impossible to get lost and what sounds like a short stance its tough.On not acclimatized lungs the thin air makes it exhausting each step seeming like a mile ran.Luckily the views are breathtaking , alpine lakes, Grand Canyon-looking scenery, snow capped peaks, and a view of La Paz city off in the distance.
At the end of the the road stops is the still manned chalet, where you can warm up with a warm cup of coco or coca tea and enjoy the old ski pictures. Remains of the old wooden tow rope still act as a reminded to days gone by, before global warming hit.With the receding back of the glacier the ski resort now ceases to exist however it was Bolivia’s only ski resort and the worlds highest lift served area.It is reported that the lift was notoriously fast and difficult and because of the the extreme cold the lift only operated during the weekends.
A powerful mythology has grown up around the monastery at Tengboche (Thyangboche) as a result of the writings of explorers and mountaineers.Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, an inhabitant of this village, were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest on the British 1953 expedition and hence why this monastery has acquired international interest. Due to its routing Everest expeditioners visit the monastery to light candles and seek the blessings of gods for good health and safe mountaineering.
However the gompa is not as old as you might expect. The first gompa at Tengboche was constructed in 1916 by Lama Gulu, a monk from Khumjung, but the building was destroyed in the earthquake of 1934. A second gompa on the site lasted until 1989, when an electrical fire burned the stone and-timber structure to the ground.Sherphas , foreign aid organizations, Buddhish groups and mountaineering organizations then contributed allowing the monastery to be reconstructed with its doors opening in 1993.Luckily most of the gompa’s valuable books, paintings and religious relics were saved.
John Hunt, the leader of the 1953 expedition and one of the first mountaineers to visit the monastery ( offered the following description of Thengboche in The Ascent of Everest:
“Thyangboche must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The height is well over 12,000 feet. The Monastery buildings stand upon a knoll at the end of a big spur, which is flung out across the direct axis of the Imja river. Surrounded by satellite dwellings, all quaintly constructed and oddly mediaeval in appearance, it provides a grandstand beyond comparison for the finest mountain scenery that I have ever seen, whether in the Himalaya or elsewhere.”
scattered lodges and stunning surroundings at Orsho ,where the trail is surrounded by dotted memorials to lost climbers.