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Hi Mountain Zone, this is Pete Athans reporting from Thame Valley here in the Khumbu. It's...I'm sitting here at about 12,450ft and it's about 9 o'clock at night. It's practically completely dark aside from a little bit of a hunter's moon just kind of peeking out from some of the clouds. If you could see through all of those you'd see the majestic face of Kwangde sitting up there and several unclimbed peaks that would be an absolutely incredible experience for an experienced alpinist to go and climb.
We've been trekking now for a couple of days and it's been fascinating to come up the valley and see not only the different types of people who are up here, and not only the trekkers who are here, but obviously the Sherpas themselves and the differences between the villages. We've come up from Namche Bazaar, which is truly the commercial center of the Khumbu Valley, to the village of Thame which in many ways is the heart of the traditional Sherpa village. It just has a lot of very traditional homes still made of that stone and wood-hewn roofs with stones on top to keep them from blowing away in the high winds. Not too many corrugated iron roofs, which you see a lot of in Namche. Thame is still one of those very unvisited types of little villages and it's truly in the center of the mountains, a very expansive to its north and to its west towards Tibet and very reminiscent of that place as well.
I had a great opportunity to go and visit Lhakpa Rita's home Lhakpa Rita I've climbed Everest with three separate occasions and they were making raksi over there, which is a type of beverage that's alcoholic, it's distilled from chang, which is almost like a hard cider. And it was nice to get some raksi hot off the stove there and kind of warm the cold feet and hands that obviously are kind of suffering a little bit from the cold temperatures here in the night. It is winter here although a much more southerly latitude and it's nice to sit around the Sherpa fire and swap some stories about life in the West with them. And talking with them about the family of Lhakpa Rita, their great grandmother is actually alive at 105 years of age, which is absolutely astounding. I've never heard of a Sherpani that old. But I guess she still gets around. She's got some cataracts, but still gets around carries loads around so it's pretty incredible.
So once again, it's amazing to be back in the heart of these incredible peaks, and to be in the homes of these wonderful people, and to be taking some people who've never been here before and to experiencing them seeing that culture for the first time, which is the excitement that makes guiding really a lot of fun. But, I hope all of you are well and look forward to talking with you all soon. Keep an eye out for further dispatches and some images that we'll be sending shortly. Tomorrow we'll be going up to the Thame monastery and visiting the reincarnated lama who lives up there and having a short audience with him and then continuing over to the village of Khunde and Khumjung, where incidentally I was married in 1991. So, I look forward to sharing that with you all tomorrow. Take care and good night.
Pete Athans, MountainZone.com Correspondent