23 Dec The Toughest Thing I’ve Done; Climbing To Mount Everest Base Camp
Well I can finally tick off My List trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp !!!
What a challenge it was. Physically and mentally, definitely the toughest thing I’ve done that’s for sure.
I thought I’d give you a small run down on how it all went, what to expect and what I would do differently next time.
It took my guide and I 10 days to go up to Base Camp and get back to Lukla which is where you can fly into and out of. I say you ‘can’ because you don’t have to fly in or out, you can hike in but it takes an extra 7 days, and I knew that after 11 days of full on trekking that I wouldn’t want to do any more after that.
We started off by flying in early (which would have been earlier except for delays), then started off on the first days climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp which was only about 2-3 hours to a town called Phakding.
Easy day. It only got harder from here.
The first few days weren’t so bad, but after 3-4 days my $32 boots started to hurt my ankle and make things harder. I went in mid December so the weather was really cold and only got worse as we got further up the trail.
Sleeping at night was fine as I had a -20 sleeping bag, it was just the time leading up to going to sleep and getting up during the night that made it hard to brave the cold. Temperatures got down to about -15 or so, so for an Aussie guy it was pretty hard to get used to, but you have too.
On the 8th day we made it to base Camp!
What a day. Was also a pretty hard climb but totally worth it. It’s weird how you imagine there to be some big sign or something announcing that you’ve made it to base camp, but it all it really is is a big pile of rocks and flags. Still cool though. We took plenty of photos, plus the compulsory set of pushups I’ve been doing throughout different countries.
It was at this point that I started to get a headache. The starting symptoms of altitude sickness.
This turn around point is called Gorokshep and people die here.
So we weren’t going to chance it. There were plenty of memorials everywhere leading up to this point.
So we turned around and made the decision to skip going to Kallapathar the next morning for the better views of Everest and head back down the mountain as far as we could so that our altitude sickness didn’t get worse.
We made it several hours down the track, arriving at around 6pm and rested for the night for another big day of trekking the next morning. My head felt like it was going to explode, the worse headache I’ve ever had, I was almost crying from the pain.
But I took some pain killers and got over it and we eventually made it along way down the trail the next day, which for me was incredibly tough. The altitude was just taking so much breath out of me that it made it 5 times harder to do anything.
Our last day of trekking was only about 5 hours but by this point it was dragging, I just wanted to get back to Lukla to catch our flight the next day. Not to mention that the last 2 days it was snowing and very foggy, at times you could only see 50 metres in front of you.
Well we eventually made it and what a glorious moment it was ! It was done. Over.
Or so I thought.
We were at day 11. That was supposed to be our fly out day.
What I’d change or do differently next time
I went in December as I was in a rush but I also wanted to skip the crowds. I would do the same thing again because it gets crazy busy during peak season but I’ change a few little things;
- I’d bring a few more change of clothes as you don’t get a chance to wash them because of the cold.
- I wouldn’t bring my laptop again. Don’t think I’m some internet obsessed weirdo, I do love the net and you can do so much with it but I took it for a few reasons. One was so that I could use it to charge my phone, camera and Gopro, all through the one power cord as I knew that all hotels charge you for power. Number two reason was so I could watch a movie here and there to pass some of the downtime and so I could do some writing here and there. Well no hotel would let me charge all those things through the laptop, they want to make as much out of you as possible so you could only charge one thing at a time. But it was handy for a movie.
- I’d probably spring the money for a shower a few more times.
- I’d try and train a bit more before I went. I actually was training hard 4-5 times a week in Thailand leading up to this trip but it wasn’t quite the right type of training.
- I’d take more pairs of socks and underwear.
Altitude sickness seem to be a random thing that happens to anyone so there may be no way to actually avoid this unless your used to higher altitudes.
- Flights for me, in and out of Lukla – $330
- Flights for my guide (half price for guides) – $165
- Guide fee – $20 a day
- Hire gear – jacket and sleeping bag for 12 days – $12 !
- Miscellaneous items – Boots – $32, – Beanie – $2, – socks – $8 etc.
- My own food and accommodation for 13 days – approx – $20-$30 a day (total average was about $26 a day)
- Tip (up to you but I gave my guide around $110)
Just depends on how much you eat or you need to survive.
Overall this was an epic experience and how many people can say that they have been to Mount Everest Base Camp before? I highly recommend it, just make sure you are prepared and reasonably fit. It was tough.
So what are you waiting for? Go for it!
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