It’s been a while…I think a month now (oops) but better extremely late than never? heh. That’s what happens when you have terribly slow internet. For anyone interested in doing the hike, this is the breakdown of the one that I took. Unfortunately, I suck at memorizing the names of the mountains (sigh) so please excuse the non-specific, ambiguously placed photos.
Day 1: We started in Kathmandu Nepal for our evening meeting. The group average was fairly young (guestimating most falling within the range of mid twenties to mid thirties) and seemed pretty friendly. I actually didn’t stay for the first dinner because I was visiting my Nepali family one last time. It was unpredictably emotional for me actually. The girls had written me cards, and there was a whole prepared meal. I left with a heart full of love, and a face full of tears.
A preview from the plane.
Day 2: We took a mountain flight into Lukla, which was our starting point for the journey. People prior to the trek warned me that this was one of the most, if not THE MOST, dangerous flights in the world. That is because the landing strip is tiny and underestimating the land is a thing…resulting in bruises…no actually death. Anyways I survived so let’s brush over that little detail. We ended the day after a 4 hour hike in Phakding (2652m).
The landing strip in Lukla. Super picturesque.
Day 3: We woke up at 6am and hiked 800 meters uphill (erk). It was not exactly easy, but not hard either; pretty do-able. We made it to Namche Bazaar at 3441 meters, ready to begin acclimatizing. At this point, I began to take my prescription of diamox, one tablet (half in the morning and half in the afternoon) to reduce altitude sickness. I took this until day 10.
Approaching Namche Bazaar
The view on day 6.
Day 4: We got to sleep in right until 7am. Wonderful. The day trip to a teahouse in Shangboche that we took was a way to acclimatize close to 4000 meters, and then come back down for the evening. We got our first view of the wee bitty peak of Everest.
Day 5: We trekked from Namche Bazar to Tengboche at 3867 meters which was a 6 hour hike. In the freezing cold, we watched Buddhists chant at the monastery. I think we were pretty tired because the most exciting part was watching Pravin fall asleep during the chant.
Day 6: We woke up early, before the sun rise, so we could get a good shot of the peaks. Afterwards we had a pretty difficult trek. The beginning was easy and we took way too many pictures of the same river, that was gorgeous.Afterwards it was a slow and torturous uphill climb. What made it difficult for me was a feeling of never ending breathlessness. The altitude was beginning to affect me at 4358 meters, at our end point, Dhingboche.
The sunrise view on Day 6.
Day 7: Perfect time for an acclimatization day! As I reread my written journal I have here “part of me just wants it to be over.” I already knew I hated the cold, but it was just confirmed on this trip how much. I slept every night in thermals and my down jacket in my special sleeping bag that I was almost too cheap to rent. Thank you sleeping bag.
We hiked up to 4700 meters to hang out and then came back down. We discovered that the Nepalese love the Venga Boys, and proceeded to dance to them at every stop. At our resting point, Mishalli and Nishma taught a few of us about Gujurati dancing (dandiya with sticks, and garba) while Nick gave us the Punjabi demo of bangara. All these moves would soon help me later on to make friends in India and impress them with my dancing haha. Thanks!
Nishma and I in front of the Everest and Ama Dablam peaks.
At night I noticed that this was the point where the group began to tire a little bit of the card game backpacker, and began talking more about terribly inappropriate things. Those are my favourite conversations.
A monument for the late Scot Fischer.
Day 8: This was our trek to the next point, Laboche at 4940 meters high–ALMOST THERE!! Altitude is still affecting me and I began to get migraines on this day. We successfully completed the steep climb up to Khumbu Glacier and onwards to the stone monuments commemorating those that have died on their treks.
Day 9: We reached Gorekshep at 5180 meters to our really quaint lodging. There were flags covering every space of the ceiling of all the trekkers who made it to base camp, a feat we were soon to accomplish. After a quick break for my hundreth masala tea haha, we GOT TO BASE CAMP (5364 meters). So for everyone who keeps asking, whom I give flimsy answers to, it takes 8 days (6 hiking and two acclimatizing) to get to basecamp.
We took our token photos sans et avec our Everest beers, and trekked back to Gorekshep on a high unlike any other.
Day 10: The day of death. Base camp was a walk in the park compared to Kala Pathar at 5545 meters. We woke up at 4:30 am for a hike that I was told would take us 1.5 hours. It actually took me over 2 hours…and believe me when I write, I did not make it gracefully. I was still feeling sick and I had just gotten my monthly visitor that morning, AND we did not eat breakfast beforehand. After just over one hour, with maybe 40 minutes left to climb, I started to lose energy and feel terribly weak. Had it not been for Nishma swearing that we would fking make it, and Andrew who waited with me, feeding me chocolates, I probably would have given up. By the time I had made it I couldn’t even breathe out of 1) panic and 2) too many eyes watching me, making me stressed out haha. I probably stayed a maximum of 20 minutes, and I was in a livid rage that I had even done it. I immediately felt regret for being so stupid to make myself do it and be freezing cold.
In hindsight it was totally worth it haha. It was the first time in my life that I actually pushed myself physically and mentally. If there was a tape recording of my internal dialogue, I think it would make for excellent schizophrenic television.
The morning view of Kala Pathar.
Day 12: Day 10, 11, and 12 were just coming down from base camp. The only eventful note is that we drank a heck load of beers on the way down on day 12. Also, it was my roommate Sophie’s bday so we surprised her with a cake in Cafe Danphe Bar (they have a cafe upstairs and bar downstairs with good food and great rock music; get the hot chocolate). We made the sad mistake of trying to convince our guide to stay behind in Namche Bazaar so we could continue drinking and have a party. The answer was an obvious no. Our consolation prize was getting to dance at our lodge at the end of the day, although it probably was only my consolation because I thoroughly enjoyed the dancing…as always.
Day 13: We all had one too many celebratory drinks at the bar in Lukla, and I successfully convinced the bartender to keep playing music (and Sean Paul) until late. Excellent.
Day 14: We catch a flight into Kathmandu and go to a rock club. Nepali men are very very hardcore when it comes to their Greenday. That’s all I’ll say about that haha. We left to go to a club where my roommate and I were totally under-dressed. Our paring was perfect haha.
Goodbyes were exchanged with the promise of a visit in each other’s home countries.
My final thoughts
– Order potatoes with veg, cheese and RUNNY eggs. It is always a hit.
– Stay as long as possible in Namche Bazaar, it’s a blast and is the only pace that you can do anything in. Also, visit Cafe Danphe Bar
– If you want a tour recommendation, this is the GAdventures trip that I used: Everest Adventure
BUT wait until you can get a promotion, like 15% off, you’ll save a lot. Also, Dawa and Amar are an amazing team, and if they let you request them, I highly recommend that you do
– Drink 3-4 liters of water every single day.
– Try not to make yourself get too out of breath unless your name is Pravin and you have a death wish
– Purchase the card game Backpacker. It’s fantastic. Warning, do not play every day because it will get old.
– Rent all of your gear in Kahmandu.
– If you feel any symptoms, don’t freak out you won’t die.
– If you think you’re too out of shape to do it, believe me you are not. People of every fitness/weight level and age (including older retired adults) are on the trek. It’s a mental challenge more than a physical, however be prepared there are a few physical components.
– FINALLY, don’t let others tell you it’s too hard. So many people warned me of the dangers and the difficulty that I went in freaking out. In hindsight it really was not bad. Just take one day at a time.
To any friends that I met on the trek, thanks for a life changing experience. You will not be forgotten.
To any friends that want to do the trek, godspeed to you.
Until next post,