Well i finished my 16 day journey from Jiri to Everest base camp, then I crossed Chola Pass (5400m) to Gokyo, and then renjo pass (5300M) back to Namche. It took 11 days to get to base camp doing approx 300km with ups and downs of 10 000m, (or so a website just told me) but the hardest part by far was the 4000m+ climbs because of the altitude and lack of oxygen. I brought a bag of about 8-9 kilos, and started my trek with a 58 year old USA woman and a 19 year old UK friend. Cary (USA), was quite theater act herself and didn’t think twice about going to the washroom on the trail in front of us, or taking the frying pan from the Nepali teahouse cooks if she thought they were making her eggs incorrectly. She made the locals stare and laugh and helped Solomon (UK) and I get free lodging and cheap food most nights because she would bargain every Nepali in sight, in order to save some rupees =) The three of us met in a Khathmandu hostel and after our plane ride to Lukla was delayed for 4 hours because of weather, we decided to get a refund and split a taxi to Jiri (the 6 day trek leading up to Lukla).
I started the trip with a bag of maybe four kilos but on the first day my rain jacket failed its test and soaked me thoroughly. That was the moment when I realized that I hadn’t really prepared myself but now it was too late! So I bought a new “North Face” bag, waterproof rainjacket, headlamp, and some warmer clothes. On the trail my bag was the smallest and I was constantly asked if my porter or yak was carrying a bigger bag. Most people go with a guide ($30) and a porter ($15) but for a budget traveler that simply wasn’t an options so instead I bought a map ($4.25) and joined up with other solo travellers for the more difficult/dangerous parts of the trek.
The days with my UK and US friends, were spent slowly trudging up huge mountains, walking through jungle and winter snow, and falling into a familiar routine of early mornings and packed lunches. At night time we played cards, hungout with locals, ate Dal Bat, and drank the local beer. When we reached Namche Baazar, we decided to seperate because they wanted to go to Gokyo (best view of everest) and I wanted to go to the Everest base camp first and then Gokyo after. After spending a fun acclimatisation day of relaxing and eating, I set out alone the next cloudy morning and unfortunately walked farther then I should have. I ended up near 4000M and defiantly felt AMS (acute mountain sickness) and had a headache, dizziness, feeling like vomiting, exhausted ect. So the next day I only walked two hours in the early morning to the next town and spent the day reading, eating, and adjusting to the altitude.
Most people spend even another day to adjust but I was bored so the next morning I left and walked uphill to Laboche. My head was pounding and I was breathless alot of the way but it was such a beautiful walk that i didn’t mind =) I had to start wearing my sunglasses from here on out because the reflection off the snow was way to bright and people warned me of “snow blindness”.
I saw many helicopters going overhead, some ferrying altitude sick passengers back to the hospitals, others bringing wealthy climbers up the mountain with a charge from 3-7000 dollars!! Its hard to describe a day to day walking adventure but basically you keep walking until you reach the top of a huge hill and then a new and amazing view/terrain greets you and gives you another energy boost to keep walking till the next amazing mountain ridge. The pictures I have here were quickly uploaded so I might be missing some, but the videos I took will probably be able to help explain how small you feel in a valley of 6-8000m mountains that surround you~!
I then arrived in Laboche and got a free room because I let a Dutch guy share it with me (we are still travelling together). I drank lots of ginger tea, ate a big meal and talked to other hikers about plans and travel until I finally went to bed with the knowledge that tommorow I’d be at everest base camp!!
The next day was a grueling walk that proved I still wasn’t used to the altitude. I had to rest constantly and for the first time was passed by other trekkers (all older than me). It was an ammmazzing walk and my first good view at an ice glacier but by the time I arrived in Gorak Shep I was dead tired and quickly booked a room to sleep in (it was only 8:30 am).
Out of the entire trip this was my worst moment for altitude but the bonus was after this, I never had a problem with it. I took some Diamox for the first time and after sleeping I was still worried for my health so I debated descending. Luckily I met some friends I made days before and we talked for a couple of hours over hot chocolate, which must’ve allowed the Diamox to kick in a little. At about 12ish my desire to go to base camp was too strong so I said farewell, packed lightly and headed off!! It was an easier climb then expected and the terrible sickness I felt in the early morning had almost dissappeared so two hours later I finally made it =D I went through the enormous camp (big mistake) and when I finally arrived back in Gorak Shep I stumbled into my room, fell asleep, woke up to eat quickly, and dropped into bed again.
The next morning I felt 100 percent better and climbed Kala Pattar (5643m) and while this was an extremely hard climb, the view on top was amazing. It was a little too cold and soon my fingers couldn’t press the button on my camera so rushed down because I felt the obvious oncoming feeling of frostbite and finally got feeling in my fingers by rubbing them together for 45 minutes.
After breakfast I headed all the way down to a town near Chola Pass, where I met a funny Korean girl who was about 5″6 and had a bag that weighed 15 kilos!! We got a free dorm room, had supper and then early the next morning set out to cross the infamous chola pass. She spoke Nepali and was a big hit with the porters because she was resting with them from big rock to big rock due to the weight of her massive backpack. We eventually made it up the icy mountain and through the snow covered pass until we reached the highest point where my fellow exhausted hikers stopped to have food/water and enjoy their personal victory! Asha (the girl) got us free yak cheese and cookies from the Nepalis and then we made the crazy climb down to gokyo. The steep verticle drop was covered with snow and often I’d be falling/sliding for 5-10 seconds with no way to stop myself except the ragged rocks that I hit. We passed a crying older lady being helped up by two Sherpas because the climb was extremely difficult with the amount of snow. Eventually we made it to the bottom, and walked through a huge empty valley where there was not a house/wildlife in sight as far as the eye could see.
My dutch friend and a swiss friend caught up to us and we all continued another 4 hours together to Gokyo. We passed through a huge stone glacier that reminded me of the Hobbits when they saw Mordor. Somehow we navigated through it and arrived at 5:45 PM to a yak burger and a free (but cold) room.
Jimmy and I (dutch) went to the 3 holy lakes but found out after that the third one was too far for a day trek and 8 hours later we stumbled into the lodge dehydrated and starving because we only brought 1 L of water and no food for the day. I can see how people get lost out here because if one of us were any weaker then I’m not sure we would’ve made it back! Next morning I woke up with Armad (swiss) and we brought boiling water/cups/biscuits/teabags with us on the two and ahalf hour hike up to Gokyo Ri. Amazing views of Everest and surrounding mountains and we sat up there comfortably for hours with our tibetean tea and cookies. There was a Llama from Thailand that had apparently slept on the mountain, and his 13 followers listened to him preach into a tape recorder. I have seen this Llama everwhere (everest base camp to gokyo) and even the previous night we spotted him in the middle of the frozen lake with his 13 faithful Thai followers crowded around him!
Spent the day play cards with new friends from France, and US, and introduced them to the local beer Chang. After settling my $65 dollar bill of amazing food, we left our warm lodge for Renjo Valley (easiest pass) at 7 am and were treated with some amazing last views of the Everest Himalayan Range. The rest of the day (till 5:45?) was spent walking downhill down to Namache through some amazing valleys. We didn’t eat all day and our swiss friend stayed at an ealier town, while Jimmy and I pressed on too Namache in hopes of cheap momo, coca cola, and a warm place to sleep. It feels like an end of a 15 day journey for me and now I could finally take a shower (gross I know) and treat my feet that look a little worse for wear. I’m gunna relax for a day or two more and then take a flight back to Khatmandu. Maybe a week more and im going to leave to Thailand because im in need of a rest and don’t think im for another trek. Hoping to get my scuba diving cetificate in thailand and April/May is whale shark season so theres a chance I’ll be able to see one! Hope to be back to enjoy the summer in Canada thou =)
^^^ Everest ^^^