Our Porter Guide

He met us at the baggage collection at Lukla airport. After a cup of tea and sorting our packs at the Paradise Lodge we were ready. He tied our bags together with his ropes, positioned the load on his head and led us out of Lukla, stopping every now and then to check we were following.

Consulting the map

Consulting the map

At first from his lack of response to our questions and attempts at conversation I thought he had limited English. But as he tuned in to our accents and we started to get to know each other, he spoke more.

On the second day he seemed a bit more relaxed and he started to teach us some Nepalese words. Jum jum, let’s go and appropriately on the hard climb to Namche Bazaar bistari bistari, slowly slowly. Jokingly he taught us quickly quickly. When we climbed to Khumjung the thick cloud forced my focus to my feet and the spider webs covered in dewdrops, he told me the words for spider and spider webs too.

Alpine flower Solukhumbu

Dew on spider webs

Familiar with the trail, he pointed out things I would never have seen without him. He pointed out birds and bee hives hanging in the crevices of rocks on the other side of the river. Sometimes he sang his Nepali songs. We watched fascinated by his animated conversations with others along the track and picked up his sense of humour and friendly nature.

At the end of the day when I wrote in my small diary, he reminded me of the things we had seen on the trail. He spelt out the Nepalese words I had learnt during the day and I helped him with some new English words in our guide books.

In Dingboche, surrounded by magnificent mountains he taught me their names. He helped while I practiced naming them in order, like a child reciting their abc, learning the Himalayan range spread before me.

Many times we waited together for donkeys and yaks to pass. Once I was caught in a tight spot and I turned away when I shouldn’t have. Fortunately Basanta was watching. I turned around in time to see him pushing a donkey away from me. If he hadn’t of done this the donkey’s side load would have pushed me over the small wall.

He pulled me up the huge black boulders to reach the top of Kala Pattar. Took photos of us together and celebrated with us at Everest Base Camp.

At Everest Base Camp

He called me Louise, sometimes jokingly Mom and sometimes Didi – Big Sister.

Sometimes he led. Sometimes he followed. And sometimes we walked side by side.

Khumjung Village Everest Base Camp Trek

Porters climbing up to the bridge to Namche Bazaar

Dingboche to Dughla Everest Base Camp Trek

On the last day, walking back to Lukla a woman coming the other way silently pointed at the porter right behind me as if she thought I needed to move aside and let him pass. Yes I know, I thought, he is my porter and he has been close by for sixteen days. He has carried our load making our trek to Base Camp easier. He guided, pointed things out and watched out for us. He was our companion, Nepalese friend and shared his country with us. Thank you Basanta.

The porter guide and me

Saying goodbye at the Paradise Lodge in Lukla

29 thoughts on “Our Porter Guide

  1. He sounds like an absolutely wonderful companion and porter to have had by your side, how very special. Love your photos too Louise.

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  4. Louise, I have often thought that if only we humans had more time to get to know one another, there would be less hatred in our world. Understanding each other a little better & respecting that although our cultures may differ, we are all just people attempting to enjoy the life we have been given.

    This is a beautiful post. I can see the emotion in your eyes as you said your goodbye to Basanta. Thank you for directing me to read💛

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Louise (Didi) Sam the Trainer, and Basanta,
    Sometimes he led,
    Sometimes he followed
    And sometimes we walked side by side.

    What a beautiful, poetic way to describe your journey with Basanta.
    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the pathway to the top of the world.
    Michael S.

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  9. Hi Mark, You can email Doma ( she) on hiking.guide@gmail.com. She is a Sherpa woman based in Kathmandu and organised our flights to Lukla and TIMs cards for both our 2013 and 2015 treks. She organised our porter guide for the 2015 trek. we met him at the airport at Lukla. She could probably organise accommodation in Kathmandu too if you wanted. Her email will come in as Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa. I think that is her husband who takes trekking groups with an American woman. But they also have their business. Doma was recommended to us and we were happy with what she could do for us. She also has contacts through the region, We met her husband Lhakpa before we left and he gave some advice on altitude and the itinerary which we changed slightly after taking to him. You might not hear from Doma immediately but she will contact you. Mention Louise and Sam Terranova she met as twice so she may remember us. If it hadn’t been for Doma we would would have missed our flight to Lukla. Good luck

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  10. Thank you very much indeed. I will let you know how its goes. Your blog has also been very helpful. I need to start in late September to fit the school holidays. After EBC I then plan to spend about a month on the Annapurna trail. Once again – your help is very much appreciated. Mark

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  11. I have emailed her. I’ve asked her also for advice on the Annapurna circuit. Only part of that walk that worries me is the 5400 metre pass. Once again. Thank you for your inspirational blog. Mark.

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  14. Basanta sounded like a very warm, friendly, competent and humorous guide. Your description of sometimes him leading, sometimes following and sometimes walking by your side seems an apt description of your relationship. Glad he saved you from the donkey.
    I agree the journey either in practical or metaphorical terms is the most important.

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