Everest Base Camp
Hike up to Everest Base Camp
It was a long flight and I arrived pretty tired. The stop at Delhi didn't impress me but then it's just an airport. The flight there was probably the biggest culture shock in a bit. Mostly Indian, older and the majority quite overweight. For the most part I suspect parents visiting their successful offspring overseas. The guy next to me was quite wide but did his best to try and spill over on to my side.
Kathmandu was a lot busier than I expected somehow. The baggage claim was a hive of activity and it wasn't at all clear where our bags were coming out. Given the time it'd taken to pay for my visa my bag actually arrived pretty promptly.
Outside the airport my prearranged ride was waiting. The most interesting thing on the ride in was the massive queues patiently waiting to petrol. They went on for blocks.
I had plans to make some day trips out of Kathmandu but as I ended up working right until I left have kind of crashed and just spent a lot of time sleeping and reading. Was absolutely knackered when I got here. It's a chilled vibe at the place I'm staying and can just sit out on the deck in the sun during the morning.
The first couple of days had some impressive rain and thunderstorms, one that I got caught out in. I checked out the temple zone which was bordered off but people where wandering in and out as they felt like. You can see there's been a bit of damage from the earthquake.
Thamel is the tourist district and is a hive of activity. A lot of little winding streets and lanes full of pedestrians and motor bikes pushing their way through. It's a crowded busy place and somewhere I can only take in limited amounts.
+17/10/2015Meeting the group
Met my group for the trek to Everest Base Camp today who seem like a nice bunch. There'll be eleven of us: Jen and Charlie from Melbourne, Rosie and Nas from Sydney, Michelle a young Canadian girl, another Michelle from Taupo but living in London, John from the UK, Michael from the UK and was a late arriver, Dwy my room mate from Melbourne and Simon also from Sydney.
Michelle found out rugby was on the Irish pub across from the hotel so we were up until 3 to watch the ABs play France. We thrashed them but as we were leaving at 7am maybe not the best idea.
+18/10/2015Lukla to Phakding
We had an 8:30 flight from Kathmandu to Lukla that got slightly delayed to just after 9. Scenic flight with much of Nepal looking like terraced hills and very green. A nice sunny day to start our hike as well.
The walk to Phakding was fairly gentle with only one uphill stretch that got my heart thumping away and was I suspect a taste of what's coming. We actually descended 190m overall today and it sounds like tomorrow's hike is meant to be quite challenging.
+19/10/2015Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Another sunny day and this time an 830m increase in altitude. There was a more challenging climb just before Namche Bazaar where it went straight up.
Namche Bazzar, Nepal
It was an acclimatisation day today so we made a hike 400m above Namche Bazzar before coming back down.
Bit of a headache today so I've picked up some Diamox. Given I felt a bit dodge last night seems like a good idea, will see tomorrow if it helps. I felt quite good during the hike, it's doing nothing when I seem to struggle.
+21/10/2015Namche Bazaar to Phortse Gaon
Phortse Gaon, Nepal
We ascended 500m for lunch at 3975m before heading down to the river before climbing again to our stop for the night at Phortse Gaon.
It was another sunny day and we encountered Autumn with our climb down to and up from the river with the trees shedding golden and orange leaves.
+22/10/2015Phortse Gaon to Dingboche
Long walk today and an altitude gain of 800m. Lovely sunny day again though the wind came up at the end.
Feeling pretty good today though certainly struggled when we hit sections of steps along the trail.
We're here for two nights with an acclimatisation hike tomorrow. Seems colder than where we've stayed so far. It much more open here and there's no tree cover either.
We made a small hike up the valley to Chukkhung which gained us another 300m in altitude before heading back. It was a slow gentle climb almost the entire way but almost constantly uphill which hit old really quick. Still the walk back was a breeze.
It's definitely more chilly here, I was happy in a t on the way up but for the descent where we faced into the wind had to layer up.
+24/10/2015Dingboche to Lobuche
A gain of 500m this was a fairly gentle 7km hike. The day started out glorious and stayed that way.
We lunched at Lobuche, where we'll stay the night, before an afternoon walk that took us another 100m to crack the 5000m mark. This was steeper and though just a short walk I was in chill mode after lunch and found it much harder.
+25/10/2015Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp, Nepal
We made it! A long hard slog uphill and even though for the most part it was a gentle enough slope it was hard work at this altitude.
We started at 6am from Lobuche for a three hour hike to Gorakshep where we had a second breakfast. From there it was another two hours to base camp where we hanged out for half an hour before returning to Gorakshep.
I was stuffed by the time we got back and not feeling generally great. We have an optional hike in the morning to Kala Patthar that I think I'll be skipping. The view is meant to be quite impressive as it's a gain of 400m from Gorakshep while Basecamp was only 200m.
Kala Pattar, Nepal
Somehow I decided last minute to join this expedition. A 5am start then a two hour ascent of 400m took us to a height of 5545m and some pretty impressive views. Totally miserable climb though, not a huge distance covered but the altitude and the steep slope made it really hard. It was freezing as well, -10 at the start and it got colder as we ascended before the sun rose.
After we got back we left Gorakshep at 9am for a 1000m decent to Orsho where we'd lunched a few days ago. We arrived around 3pm after a 6 hour hike that included a stop for lunch.
Feeling utterly smashed after a long day hiking and hoping for a good nights sleep.
We had a bit of a sleep in with breakfast at 8am and based on what we were told the night before were planning on having an easy 3 hour trek to Tengboche. It turned out plans had changed overnight and we were now going to march on from Tengboche to Namche Bazaar.
At Tengboche we visited a bakery that had a great Apple Crumble Pie and visited the monastery which was preparing for some ceremony that evening.
From Tengboche we headed downhill then across the river again before a long climb up hill and eventually making it to Namche Bazaar just after 3pm.
A pretty easy day given the big ones we just put in took us back to Phakding where we'd spent our second night. Almost all downhill we had only spent about three hours walking and had a nice long break for lunch. Gloriously sunny day again and we sat out in the sun above the river for an hour or more after we'd eaten.
In Phakding had a few beers, played a bit of pool and generally made the best of the low altitude and the fact the trip is almost over.
+29/10/2015Phakding to Lukla
Rain! Our last day and the good weather we'd been spoiled by gave up. We only had a short hike to Lukla though, only two hours, and the rain gave us a chance to test out our wet weather gear and remind us of how lucky we've been.