After a great day of rest, which actually had very little time to simply rest, we left Dingboche and headed back to Chukung for the night. The flooding from two days ago has completely subsided back to its typical levels. After an early lunch we took a 3 hour hike around Lhotse to get a sense of the changes. There was a great deal of exposed bare ice and large sections of the glacier had been undercut by the flood waters. It was quite fascinating to see. Along the way, we also came across many sandy/silty ponded areas with holes that may have contributed to the flood. Additionally, on the surface behind the main flood areas were large scars that had uprooted some of the vegetation and shifted fairly large boulders. It was very interesting to see these aspects. We also returned to the initial breach site and walking through the flood channel got a unique view of the magnitude of the flood.
Today was mainly to get our bearings. Not to mention that all of our equipment was still in our camp – we were only planning on a quick rest day in Chukung with a short hike back and forth from Dingboche for the community meeting after all! Tomorrow, we have some of our equipment coming down from the camp, which will allow us to take some measurements on our way back to our camp at Imja. Alton is planning on staying behind a day to walk the lateral moraines and identify any larger melt ponds upglacier that may have drained. I hope to spend some extra time on my way back down from Imja after our fieldwork is finished, but for the time being we still need to finish up our intended work! It’s turning into a bit of a juggling act trying to re-arrange our itinerary, but truly a fascinating event to be able to study.
Once again, fair warning to not be alarmed by the lack of updates! Tomorrow morning I’ll be heading off the grid once again for a little over a week, but will post a bunch as soon as I get back!