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Thami

Duration                             2 days

Max Elevation                   3750m

Standard                              Medium

Season                                  October  to  May

Start/Finish                       Namche Bazaar

Summary                          A short side trip to a more traditional Sherpa village. Excellent mountain views.

Thami lies at an elevation of 3750m, near the foot of a large valley to the west of Namche Bazaar. This is the departure point for crossing Tesi Lapcha, the 5755m pass leading to the Rolwaling valley. Only ex­perienced, well-equipped and well-informed parties should attempt Tesi Lapcha because frequent rock falls near the pass present a very dangefous complication.

If you are in good shape and well acclimatised, it is possible to make the trip to Thami and back to Namche Bazaar in a single day, but it’s a long, hard day, so it’s better to spend a night in Thami to see the peaks in the clear morning. This side trip provides a good acclimatisation day before proceeding to higher elevations.

THE TREK

Namche Bazaar to Thami

3-4 hours, 500m ascent, 50m descent

The trail to Thami starts from the Namche gompa and leads west past a large array of prayer flags, mani stones and a chorten. The carved mani stones all the way to Thami are some of the most complex and picturesque in Khumbu. Contouring around the hill on a wide and almost level trail, the route passes through forests to Phurte, at 3390m, where you will see a forest nursery that was established by Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. You can see Laudo gompa high on the hill above. A few Westerners study and meditate here under the tutelage of an English-speaking lama.

Cross a ridge marked by a chorten and trek into another side valley, crossing under power lines to the large village of Thamo, at 3440m, where the Kwangde View and Everest restaurants offer lunch. Thamo is the headquarters of the Khumbu electricity project the original power­house was built below Thamo, but the site was destroyed in the 1985 flood, and the generating plant was moved far upstream to the village of Thami.

Climb past Khari monastery at the top of Thamo and trek above the fields of Thomde to a few teashops at Somde (3580m). The scenery becomes even more dramatic, and there is a good view towards Tesi Lapcha and the peak of Pharchamo (6187m) above it.

From Somde the trail traverses high along the side of the valley, then makes a sharp descent to„a bridge high abovejhe river. The paintings on the rock cliff are of Guru Rimpoche and Green Tara. Cross the bridge and make a steep ascent beside a stream to thami, a total trek of about three hours from Namche Bazaar. The Thami Lodge is at the foot of the village, and there is an unnamed lodge in the centre of the village that gets the morning’s first sun.

Thami is in a large valley with good views of the snow peaks of Teng Kangpoche (6500m) and Kwangde (6187m) to the south. To the north of the village is a police checkpost that doesn’t allow trekkers to travel further north on the trade route between Nepal and Tibet. That trail leads to Nangpa La, the 5740m pass crossed by trains of yaks carrying goods between the two countries. The pass is still a major crossing point for Tibetan refugees, and is also used by both Sherpas and Tibetans for the trade of yaks, wool and Chinese goods.

About 150m above Thami is the Thami gompa, a picturesque monastery set among the many homes of lamas and lay people. It’s perched high on the side of a hill overlooking the valley. As you climb through juniper forests towards the gompa, stay left; it’s a one-way trail that makes a long detour around mani walls. The large chorten ded­icated to Geljen Sherpa is in memory of a pilot from Thami who was killed in a plane crash nearby.

The reincarnate lama operates the Tashi Delik Lodge below the gompa, and several monks sell paintings alongside the trail. The gompa was renovated in 1998 and has a new roof and several new paintings by artists from Thami, including the guardians of the four directions in the entrance-way. The statues in the main chapel are of Chenrisig, Guru Rimpoche and Sakyamuni.

This is the site for the spring celebration of the Mani Rimdu festival, held about the middle of May each year. During Mani Rimdu, many Sherpas set up temporary restaurants near the gompa and offer momos (meat-filled dumplings), thukpa (noodles) and endless quantities of tea, chhang and rakshi.