This is the first time we are making an exception and writing about A’s mom’s fantabulous trek to the Everest Base Camp in October 2017.
The mountain was calling and it was difficult to resist the allure of the Himalayas for a group of 41 marathoners.So we packed our bags, strapped on our mountain boots and out we went to climb the Everest Base Camp, which is situated at an altitude of 5365 mts.
We boarded the flight to Kathmandu from Mumbai on 1st October 2017 to start our journey to the mighty Himalayas. If you are missing any essentials for your trek , like hiking poles, jackets, raincoats etc.you can purchase them from the Thamel Market located in Kathmandu.
From Kathmandu, one has to take a flight to Lukla. Lukla is the Gateway to the Khumbu Glacier. From here, one begins the journey to EBC. The Lukla Airport is possibly among the most dangerous airports in the world. A small airstrip surrounded by the Himalayas and a wall of fog too. It is the incredible skill of the pilots that takes you in and out of Lukla alive.
October 3rd – Kathmandu
Early in the morning, all 41 of us went to the Kathmandu airport to board the plane. But the weather gods had another plan. Lukla was enveloped by completely thick fog and the visibility was near zero, so all the flights to Lukla were cancelled. We could only pray until evening and returned to the hotel around 5pm.
October 4th/October 5th – Kathmandu – Phakding
The next day again was a repeat of the previous day. The unpredictable mountain weather is an important factor which makes such treks difficult. The fog rises as the sun rises and leads to near zero visibility. On the third day, we decided to take helicopters to Phakding which is beyond Lukla. Phakding is situated at a height of 2852 mts. Some time has to be given to acclimatize, since high altitude puts a lot of stress on our bodies. Breathing issues and mountain sickness are common ailments and it is important to get used to the height, before one takes up any activity in the high mountains. However, we had already lost two days , so we decided to trek to Namche Bazaar via Phakding and Monjo without rest. Luckily, none of us fell sick.
Phakding and Monjo are both situated on the banks of the Dudh Koshi(Milky White) river which drains the whole Kumbh region. We started our trek from Phakding(2652 mts) and continued up the banks of the Dudh Koshi , crossing twice by small suspension bridges before reaching the village of Monjo(2850 mts/9350 ft).This is the entry point of SagarMatha National Park, a world heritage site and also a check point and one has to take a permit here.
After lunching at Monjo, we crossed the confluence of Dudhkoshi and BhoteKoshi on a high suspension bridge.Then we climbed steeply up for about two hours up the Namche hill to reach Namche Bazaar (3440 mts/11286 feet)This is the capital of the Khumbu region.The temp at Namche Bazaar was around 12 degree celsius.Generally trekkers acclimatize there for day or two to adjust to the low level of oxygen .But as we were pressed for time, we started our climb the next day.
October 6th – Trek to Tengboche (3900 mts/12800 ft)
From Namche, the Everest trail contours around the side of the valley high above the Dudh Koshi. As we followed the path, we got our first good view of the great peaks of the Khumbu region : Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Amma Damblam. We descend down to our lunch stop passing small villages and numerous tea shops. The hike from our lunch point to Tengboche is 600 mts elevation gain which took around 2-3 hours. It was a long climb on a dusty zig zag trail. We crossed the Dudh koshi river again . Next morning , the view was amazing. The view of the sunrise on Mt Everest and Amma Dablam was unbelievable and mesmerizing.
October 7th – Trek to Dingboche(4410 mts/14465 feet)
Our trek to Dingboche started with an initial descent down the rhododendron trees. We crossed another phenomenal, newly built suspension bridge just beyond Deboche. We reached Pangboche after an hour’s walk (an excellent view-point for Amma Dablam). We stopped for lunch at Somare(4040 mts). We crossed the river and turned up the Inja valley to reach the picturesque farming village of Dingboche . As you gain altitude, it is extremely important to keep yourself hydrated and relax for the rest of the day.