All posts tagged: EBC

Lukla to Kathmandu for 3 days

Last night was hilarious, a celebration of the end of our trek, with us shouting our crew a few beers after a successful trip. For days now we have been hearing about Suba’s (one of our porters) prowess on the dance floor, and we finally got to see him in all his glory jiving away, with a few beers under his belt, to the intoxicating Nepalese beats! What a groover! The rest of the boys didn’t hold back either, especially after lubrication, hitting the dance floor at the lodge till the bar was shutdown, thankfully at 10 as our bar tab was getting substantially inflated! Great to see everyone in relax mode, especially the porters who have a tough job lugging our gear for 17 days, and deserve all the beer they could down, which was A LOT!! Credit to them though, they all crawled out of bed at 5.30am to farewell us at the airport, especially Mingma who looked decidedly wobbly! Only Dawa was flying back to Kathmandu with us, the rest live in …

DAY 16 Phakding to Lukla

Our last day of walking, and a nice easy three hours at that with only one hill near the end to remind us of what we will be missing! As we walk we see reflections of ourselves going the other way, all fresh and eager, chatty and excited, still smelling like roses unlike our own slightly grubby, well worn and worn out fragrance! The closer we get to the finish the slower we seem to go as the magnitude and scope of what has gone before dawns on us. The culmination of 15 days battling both the elements, the environment, and our own mental demons (especially the Chola Pass, thanks very much!) is just at the top of the hill, through the arch we gathered at to date stamp the start of our trek….and soon, the end. Our final destination. But, it’s not the destination, but the journey we celebrate. At times it was hard, bloody hard, but for every tough climb, a moments rest was had to bask in the satisfaction of being here. …

DAY 15 Namche to Phakding

We are truly on the home stretch when wake up is 7.30, and we don’t need to leave till 10…so, some random thoughts/insights on our fellow trek warriors. 1. They come in all ages, male & female equally, and in varying states of preparation & condition. 2. Dinner conversation in luxury apartment (anywhere in China)… “What do we want to do for our next holiday? How about a nice stroll in Nepal?” Next week!! “Better prepare by getting the best gear, must be organised”. 3. Re point 2, a lot of mainly Chinese, but not exclusively, seem very ill prepared physically. The pain on some faces at the start of a climb, and the agonising, crawling pace makes you wonder if they will ever complete any days trek, let alone the whole thing! 4. Lots of chirpy banter on day one, less so day two, almost none by day five! 5. We saw some spectacular outfits, from the stunning crocheted poncho, ultra wide brimmed hatted, monster sunglasses ensemble; thru to the parasol shaded gent staggering …

DAY 14 Dingboche to Namche

Today looks to be a long one, so up early for breakfast and hoofing it by about 7.30. Breakfast was a little slow, and then the attractive aroma of someone’s scent (read BO!!) had us rushing outside, screaming for mercy. Oh, the humanity!! Finally, de-scented, we headed off for lunch at Tengboche, which houses the most famous Monastery in the region. The walk was mainly uneventful, rolling hills with a few ups and downs, including a solid climb to the monastery which sits proud on the mountain ridge. The monastery was quite beautiful, which Liz would attest to if only she hadn’t been wearing shorts! Read the fine print, Liz!! A nice lunch with spectacular views back to Everest, then the long descent to the valley floor. We spent over an hour going down, while hundred of miserable suckers (umm, I mean, trekkers) slogged their way up, up, up! One nasty hill climb to Tengboche Monastery. Actually, murder on the feet going down, not that we would have got much/any sympathy from the climbers. We …

DAY 13 Kala Pattar to Dingboche

This morning will be the last ascent of our trip, and to celebrate we thought 4.30am would be a great time to commence said journey. Liz, who has been troubled by an ear ache plus a dry cough, valiantly attempted the climb, but wisely saw the folly of her ways, a bridge too far, and went back to the lodge, and bed. Rachael was fresh, and I had run out of excuses, so off we went with our faithful guides, Dawa & Mingma, climbing to our highest point of 5550 metres, reaching the summit after about an hour and a half of up hill grind. The cloudless sunrise produced breathtaking views, with Mt. Everest the shining centrepiece surrounded by nature in all its incredible beauty. It was freezing, about -5C, so we didn’t hang around for too long, but long enough for plenty of snaps, and a few moments to contemplate the awesome power of the Himalayas. Getting down only took about 20 minutes, breaking into a jog as we needed to thaw out, and …

DAY 12 Lobuche to Gorakshep plus Everest Base Camp

We are sitting in the dining room of our lodge in Gorakshep, knackered after a long, fruitful, and ultimately very successful day, culminating in finally getting to Everest Base Camp. We started early leaving Lobuche at 7, to be instantly stuck in peak hour EBC traffic! One of the beauties of taking the Gokyo/Cho La Pass route is the lack of traffic on the trek, as only about 10-15% of trekkers tackle this journey, mainly due to the perceived fear of the Cho La pass, and the extra five days required. The rest take the road more travelled, and today we get to see firsthand how travelled that road is…A LOT! The walk to Gorakshep was bumper to bumper, making what would have been a pleasant walk quite the culture shock. The scenery was as magnificent as always which certainly made up for crowds, though. We got into Gorakshep at about 10, dumped our packs and ordered a very early lunch of Sherpa stew, soup & macaroni. By 11 we were back at it for …

DAY 11 Dzongla to Lobuche

Before we get into todays walk, lets discuss hygiene, shall we? 1. Showers are scarce, and expensive, so rarely applied! Washy washy (a bowl of warm water) in the morning is surprisingly effective, and refreshing 2. Toilets, as previously discussed, tend to the squat variety as we get higher up, so to see a western dunny is greeted with giddy excitement. Regardless of style, odours can be a little fruity, and flushing is by means of a large bucket of water and a jug for dispensing! “Shit tickets” are placed in a bin beside toilet, thus adding to the sensory overload! 3. Hand basins are a novelty, thus hand sanitizer is liberally used. 4. Laundry is an option extra, we washed a few things by the river one day which proved adequate. Merino wool clothing is surprisingly odour free we believe, in fact I wore the same base layer T-shirt for 7 days before washing it (might have been stretching the friendship there!) Ok, walking time and we are back on the track at about …

DAY 10 Cho La Pass

Ok, no time to be flippant today, very serious business is at hand…starting with a 3.30 wake up call. Today is the longest and most difficult of our trek, and requires a very early start, i.e. 4.30am! When we were at Machhermo a group of Aussies had just arrived after being up to Gokyo and heading down before making their way to base camp. We asked why they where backtracking to EBC, and the answer was so as to avoid the ChoLa pass…the very same ChoLa pass we are ascending this morning. The reason for the early start? To get to the top of the pass before the sun hits it and melts the ice covered path, which is solid and stable(ish) as the ice sets the loose gravel and stone rubble like cement, and then unstable and prone to slippage when the sun does its magic. I must confess I didn’t realise this when I was convincing Rachael and Liz that this was the way to go to base camp. Oops! Oh, and did …

DAY 9 Gokyo to Dragnag

It would be remiss not to make amends for our lodge of the last two nights, as I may have been a little harsh earlier. Sure, it is a building under construction, us being its first boarders as indicated by the lightbulbs being installed on our first night, and the entrance being about ten steps up with no balustrade, but aside from the fresh smell of paint and plaster the beds were comfy, and the doonas exempt of the ridiculous velvet covers, mainly because they didn’t have any covers! The toilet may not yet flush, requiring manual application of water, but most lately have been this way….but a wash basin wouldn’t have gone astray. The biggest plus was the dining rooms menu and meals, easily the best so far, probably because this is a commercial operation catering to a large and varied clientele, whereas most are smaller family run shows with more limited offerings. Sleep in till 7 this morning, then a quiet breakfast, as everyone else was either struggling up Gokyo Ri, heading off …

DAY 8 Gokyo Ri

Up until now the weather has been only ok, with quite a lot of low cloud obscuring what, presumably, are pretty spectacular views. We get glimpses of what’s behind the misty veil, tantalising us almost as much as a good coffee, but until now the Himalayas have been quite the flirt! Promising fields of gold, giving flint copper. Not today though, sunrise produced a magnificent feast for the eyes, with breathtaking mountain peaks soaring up on the horizon. Clear sky’s producing an enormous promise for our walk up Gokyo Ri (5345mt) which is meant to have some of the most amazing views anywhere in this region. We made an early start at about 6.30 to hopefully maximise the conditions, setting off pretty much straight up the hill from the lake, which was producing mesmerizing reflections of the peak above it. Here’s a good excuse to stall the inevitable hike skyward…lets take a few snaps. Done, time to haul glutes and quads up, up, up. Three and a half torturous hours later we finally touched the …