Founded in 1902 and situated at 16,340 ft, the Rongbuk (Rongphu) Monastery claims to be the highest in the world and gives superb views of the north face and north east ridge of Everest, rising over 12,000 feet above and some 19 miles away.
The monastery was historically significant to the British pre- World War 2 expeditions attempting to climb Everest from the Tibetan side, where they would stop to seek blessings from the monks before proceeding to setup base camp on the way to Advanced Base Camp below the North Col.
Today base camp is around 5 miles further on down the valley, with only those holding a climbing permit allowed to proceed further than this point. As a teenager, I developed a fascination with the history of the pre-war attempts on Everest, so to finally visit the monastery, and take in the fantastic view of Everest that it affords, was a dream come true.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor