Everest Base Camp Diary: Part Two

In part one of the Everest Base Camp Diary, I covered days 1 – 7, all the way up to 4900m. This is where it gets real good; find out about the journey to Base Camp, more snow, plus a meditation sesh with the monks in Tengboche. Including vital information about what to expect from the trail with oxygen levels and heart rate as we descended.

Day 8

Start point: Lobuche (4900m)

Finish point: EVEREST BASE CAMP (5360m) then Gorak Shep (5190m)

Km walked: 16km

Hours: 8 hours

Elevation ascended: 460m – up to Everest base camp then down to Gorak Shep (5190m) where we stay for 1 night.

Showers: 0

Oxygen: 75

Heart rate: 95

Where to even start with today?! Today was Base Camp day. It was emotional, exciting, scary, nerve racking and a bit cold! We set off from Lobuche at 6:30am for the hike to Base Camp. It was a pretty cloudy day, the trail was up and down but mostly a gradual incline with only a few steep areas to get through. I was so short of breath. When we got up for breakfast I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it. Packing my bag even exhausted me and left me breathless. But I plodded on, slowly slowly. Surrounded by the spectacular Khumbu glacier all the way there. The scenery was mind blowing. The walking was hard, my feet were heavy but oh gosh I went on. I can, I will, going through my head.

It’s like another planet, or the moon. But it’s not, it’s our planet. It’s so quiet, so lifeless, so challenging, bleak and intimidatingly beautiful. Huge peaks surrounded me as I walked. Covered in cloud today. It even snowed!

And we only went and flippin DID IT!!!! We got to Everest Base Camp.

No horses this time (unlike the Annapurna hike).

We had a few pics at EBC after congratulating one another. What a crazy feeling. Then me and Mark hung prayer flags which I bought in Namche Bazaar. Just before we left I learned that my doggy nephew Henry, a really important dog in our family was suffering from cancer. Sadly, I know he doesn’t have long left. So at about midday on 10th May 2018 we hung prayer flags at an altitude of 5360m to carry Henry’s soul safely to a higher place, wherever that may be. I don’t know yet if he’s passed away but I wished that he be carried away safely and peacefully as I touched those flags before we left. We hung them for Henry but we also hung them for everyone who has passed away in our lives. It was a pretty special moment and made the sheer fact of getting to Everest Base Camp even more poignant for us.

Then one of the guys on the trip asked his girlfriend to be his wife! Another beautiful moment. So much emotion up at EBC today.

We returned to Gorak Shep where we will stay tonight. It’s real cold, real snowy. We head to Kala Patthar tomorrow morning to watch the sunrise over Everest. I want to go, but I know the climb will be hard up to 5565m so even if we make it some of the way so we can see Everest I will be so happy and proud of myself.

Day 9

Start point: Gorak Shep (5180m)

Finish point: Orsho (4040m)

Km walked: 13km

Hours: 6

Elevation descended: 1140m

Showers: 1

Oxygen: 86

Heart rate: 85

We didn’t go to Kalar Patthar. I was gutted.

We woke up at 3:30am this morning. Both of us had insane thumping headaches. It felt so sore and the wind was blowing an absolute gale. So we decided not to go. Some people did go and said it was the hardest thing they’ve done in their lives. If me and mark had been feeling fine, I would have definitely tried. We didn’t sleep well after (and before!) waking up at 3:30am and when we woke again at around 6am, we were both really suffering. We told Krishna (our Intrepid Travel leader) when he asked how we were as we were packing up and he said – pack, eat breakfast quickly and then just go down. Start now. We must have looked pretty bad. So he sent us with his senior assistant guide Raj, ahead of the group to descend as quickly as possible.

I think today was one of the hardest days for me, even harder than BC day. Waking up in the morning and being so helpless, climbing the small hill to get out of Gorak Shep with my heart beating so hard and fast thinking to myelf “how am I going to make it?” It was so physically demanding spending that time at higher altitude. The headache didn’t subside until we reached Thukla at 4600m (below the memorial site). It took around 3 hours to get there so I was suffering the whole time, trying to step downhill felt tough, usually I’m pretty good at that bit! But then as we hopped down into the valley towards Pheriche I started feeling actual oxygen, I started feeling the air getting thicker. Oh my GOSH it felt so good!!!! I feel so alive again!!!! I feel social again. I want to talk to people again. I don’t have a banging headache, I have my actual appetite back not just a faint niggling of needing energy and knowing food is the only way I’ll get it. But I’m ENJOYING eating again. I’m high on oxygen!!!!

I appreciate the air we breathe like never before.

Day 10

Start point: Orsho (4040m)

Finish point: Tengboche (3800m)

Km walked: 7km

Hours: 2.5

Elevation descended: down to 3600m and then up again to 3800m

Showers: 0 (wet wipes only)

Oxygen: 88

Heart rate: 82

Another INCREDIBLE DAY!

It started at 00:30am when my stargazing alarm went off. The stars here are unbelievable. There’s so many, they are so bright, like a glitter bomb just exploded in the sky above the snow capped mountain peaks. And I took my camera out to make some long exposures. Still trying to figure out how to focus at NIGHT when I can’t see anything (any tips guys, lemme know!).

The rest of today was beautiful, a late start and a warm sunny morning made for a gorgeous walk as we descended down to 3600m, with dust storms swirling in the distance as we walked, surrounded by snowy mountains and green forested slopes. As we walked through the rhododendron forest back up to 3800m in Tengboche, we took it so slow and just enjoyed every second – even saw a mountain goat. It was an easy hike, about 2.5 hours total and so much easier now we have so much more oxygen! The uphill at the end was tough but the rest was a gentle downhill.

And now here I am, sat in Tengboche with a flippin beautiful hot chocolate, appreciating life, oxygen and lush green forests. We just went and spent half an hour meditating with the monks in the famous monastery here. As they prayed, we sat there with them, their energy infectious – a reminder of the spiritual relationship the people of the Solo Khumbu and beyond have with Mother of the Earth herself, Sagarmartha.

Day 11

Start point: Tengboche (3800m)

Finish point: Monjo (2800m)

Km walked: 14km

Hours: 8

Elevation descended:

Showers: 1 (in river)

Oxygen: 97

Heart rate: 78

We watched the sun rise over Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. It was EPIC. The picture above proves it.

The trail went something like this: 600m down, 400m up, 200m down to Namche Bazaar then 600m down to Monjo. But the down wasn’t just down… it was still up and down and man it was a tough day! By far my FAVOURITE part of today was when we all went down to the glacial river and showered IN IT. My legs felt instantly better (and like ice pops at the same time!). I felt hot as we got out. It was freezing but oh so flippin invigorating! Today was so challenging all the way from Tengboche to Monjo (which is about a 1 hour hike from Phakding where we stayed on our first night), so the dip in the river made the team so happy and revived!

Day 12

Start point: Monjo (2800m)

Finish point: Lukla (2800m)

Km walked: 13km

Hours: 4

Elevation descended: 200m down, 200m up

Showers: 1 (hot!)

Oxygen: 93

Heart rate: 70

Today was ok, it’s tough towards the end when everyone just wants to be back at Lukla. It was rainy and the trail was still quite up and down. The uphill right at the end made for a tough ascent into Lukla but an equally triumphant one as we all hugged and cheered each other at the end. It was actually really special! Tomorrow we fly to Kathmandu (hopefully!). Up at 5:30am tomorrow. Tonight we had dinner with the porters and assistant guides which was also really special.

Day 13

We flew safely back to Kathmandu… off the side of this mountain.

The emotion of just having completed such a physically and mentally challenging hike. Along with the sheer overwhelming beauty of the place welled up inside. I spent some of the afternoon crying with Mark, some of it eating a falafal wrap, and some of it on the phone to my Mum trying to put into words what we’d just done…

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Everest Base Camp Diary! You can see part one in the link below:

Everest Base Camp Diary: Part One

Have you been to Everest Base Camp? Or are you going and looking for tips and tricks?

I’d love to know! Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

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