Diary – Everest Base Camp Trek

Nathan & Simon trekked to Everest Base Camp in – October 2018. They took a decision early on to fund the trip themselves, which is no mean feat in itself, so that everything raised would go to their chosen charities.  What an amazing adventure! Captured here by Nathan with some stunning photos, we hope you enjoy reading about their trek as much as we have:

Update day #1.
4.15 am start for the first flight out of Kathmandu to Lukla at 6.15. Flight delayed by heavy cloud in Lukla. Was looking like we wouldn’t get there after waiting over 5 hours so we decided to go by helicopter – what a fantastic experience.

Arrived In Lukla safe and sound then an afternoon trek to Phakding at 2,562 where we will stay tonight. Tougher day tomorrow as we head up to Namche Bazaar at 3,440 metres. Saw some amazing sights today and met some wonderful people.

  

Update day #2
8.00am start and a tough 800 metre ascent from Phakding to Namche Bazaar via Monjo. We are now at 3,400 metres which is higher than Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon combined.

Crossed many high bridges and took in some amazing scenery and tough terrain. Feels like we are in an Indiana Jones movie!  We stay here tomorrow to acclimatise to the altitude.

 

Update day #3
Acclimatisation day at Namche Bazaar. Quick hike up to the National Park Museum and the Sherpa museum. Got our first views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Spent the afternoon chilling out in Namche Bazaar.  Tomorrow we trek to Phortse Tanga.

Update day #4
Trek from Namche Bazaar to Phortse Thanga via Khyangjuma. Lunch at 4,000 metres with interesting toilets. Lots of cloud today so not many opportunities for scenic photographs. Managed to catch a glimpse of Cholatse (altitude 6,335 metres). Tomorrow we move on to Dhole with a steep 400 metre ascent.

Update day #5.
Trek from Phortse Thanga to Dhole – A steep 400 metre ascent with views of Kantega (a sacred mountain that cannot be climbed) and Thamserku plus another view of Cholatse. Added another 200 metres to see the chorten and prayer flags and back down for extra acclimatisation and we seem to be coping well with the altitude. Had first hot shower for 5 days. Feeling relaxed and clean and smelling fabulous😂

Update day #6.
Trek from Dhole to Machhermo. Another 400 metres of ascent along the Khumjung valley. We are now at 4,410 metres. We stay here tonight and tomorrow night to acclimatise before heading to Gokyo on Monday. Another cloudy day today but we did manage a few photo opportunities. Check out the delivery porters. These boys carry weights of up to 120 kg to take supplies to the villages.

 

Update day #7.
Acclimatisation day in Machhermo. 300 metres of ascent up the ridge above the village with a great view of Phari Lapche at 6,017 metres. Even managed a spot of sunbathing at 4,703 metres. We stay here tonight before heading to Gokyo tomorrow. Getting much colder as we get ever closer to Everest Base Camp.

Update day #8.
Machhermo to Gokyo. Shorter but steep hike through the glacial valley and past the magnificent Gokyo Lakes. Tomorrow we have a 5.00am start to take on a huge climb up Gokyo Ri, reaching an altitude of 5,360 metres and hopefully more amazing views of Everest.

Update day #9.
Succumbed to sickness bug so couldn’t join the team for the 5.00am start to take on the huge climb up Gokyo Ri, reaching an altitude of 5,360 metres. Spent the morning exploring the beautiful Gokyo village and had an amazing coffee at the world’s highest bakery. Thanks a million to Simon Martin for accompanying me on the short hike up to the Zgozumba glacier in the afternoon, despite his 700 metre morning climb. Feel much better and looking forward to tomorrow’s trek to Dragnag before Thursday’s 10 hour trek across the Cho La Pass😬😬😬

Update day #11
4.00 am start for a brutal 10 hour trek across the Cho La Pass😬😬😬 to an altitude of 5,420 metres. Hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Off to bed as I can’t keep my eyes open!

Update day #12
Labuche to Gorak Shep. Nice steady trek after yesterday’s mammoth day. Great views of Pumori (7,165 metres) and Nupste (7,861 metres).

Update day #13.
Mission accomplished. At 10.10am we arrived at Everest Base Camp via the Kumbu Glacier. We have achieved our challenge in spite of sickness, nausea, splitting headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia and nearly getting into a fight with a local lodge owner.  Today didn’t end at Everest Base Camp. After lunch we climbed Kala Patthar to get more amazing views of Everest and the Himalaya.

We have also broken our fundraising target so couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Update day #14.
Left Gorak Shep for a 7 hour trek down to Dinboche via the Thokla Pass. Visited the climber’s memorial at Thokla where tributes have been erected for some of the world’s greatest mountaineers that have lots their lives in the mountains – very humbling place.

 

Update day #15.
Eventful day from Dingboche to Namche Bazaar. Nice trek to Pangboche to sample Sherpa life. Visited the monastery to see a real yeti skull (not allowed to take photographs) and spin the prayer wheels). Back in Indiana Jones scenery with narrow mountain passes, raging rivers and high bridges. Visited Tyangboche this afternoon where one of our team succumbed to mountain sickness and had to be helicopter evacuated down to Lukla where we will meet them tomorrow. The delay meant the remaining 4 of us had to take on the final 4 hours to Namche. 3 hours steep uphill and the last hour in pitch darkness. #gladwebroughtourheadtorches. Now back at digs with a beer and waiting for hot food.

Update day #16.
Tough 8.5 hour trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla. Not a bad effort considering it took us 1.5 days on the way out. We have completed the trek 1 day earlier than the scheduled 17 days. We went back down the Khumbu valley, retracing our steps from 2.5 weeks ago. A quiet day with little photographs. Just time to reflect on an amazing adventure and a once in a lifetime experience.

 

So sad to be leaving this wonderful, friendly place. So happy to be heading home to our loved ones at the weekend after 3 weeks away. Tomorrow we head back to Kathmandu for 3 days rest and recuperation before flying home. We met a guy today who has summitted Everest 12 times – what a superstar!

Update day #17
2 minute walk from the hotel to the airport at Lukla for an 8.00am short flight to Kathmandu. After 3 hours, no prospect of flights due to poor visibility. Back to the hotel to discuss helicopter prices.

Agree helicopter price and suddenly the weather improves so back to the airport we go. 5 flights leave and we are next off the runway. Weather closes in and all flights are grounded. Back to the hotel to assess our options. Do we stay another night or try for the helicopter again?

Looking like we are here for another night when a helicopter slot appears from nowhere. 10 minutes later we are in the air on our way to Kathmandu. Check out the lovely view from the cockpit😬😬. Our adventure continues.

We took on this challenge to raise money for 2 amazing charities – Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Charity, and Epilepsy Research UK. To date we have raised a whopping £7,738.70, and we just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you for your generous donations and kind messages that kept us going during some tough times.

For Nathan, there was no choice, it had to be for epilepsy, but specifically an epilepsy research charity for as he says: “Any breakthrough that can unlock new avenues, new treatments, new ways of managing the condition, can help those who live with epilepsy.  Anything that can be done to help prevent, control or improve the lives of anyone affected, is a good thing to do.  We need to find new methods and advances through research.  The NHS does not have enough money to go around, so we need to raise extra funds.  There are many other equally deserving causes but ERUK touches a nerve”.