I made the choice because I could. I would wait for him and we would walk back down the slippery tracks together. You can plan and prepare for a trek, but you can’t control fate. I had caught a cold just before leaving Melbourne for Nepal and for eight days I had coughed my way through the Khumbu. Now more than three quarters of the way up to Gokyo Ri I was exhausted.
I was content because I had climbed high enough to still have a spectacular view. I sat looking out across the huge Ngozumpa Glacier that we would cross tomorrow. Tomorrow I would have no choice but to go on.
For the EBC Trekking Cognoscenti it wasn’t the Khumbu Cough.
If you ask The Trainer (aka my husband) he’d say he’s doing it to keep me fit! In fact, the need to keep up a general level of fitness and then to train four times a week for two or three months before we leave for Nepal, is a big side benefit. But I really liked the feeling of achievement after taking on the challenge of trekking to Everest Base Camp. And feeling so incredibly fit from the simple days, sustained walking, fresh air and fresh food walking through magnificent landscapes. It felt amazing. And I was glowing when I returned home.
Good Planning is Important for a Successful Trek
Although we have to the Everest Base Camp region twice before or maybe, because we have been before, I am conscious to not become blasé about what we are about to do.
We have kept up the training.
We (that would be the Trainer) have researched the route and itinerary options
We are reviewing what we are taking. I have bought a new Osprey day back pack.
We are reviewing the packing list
We reviewed the drug list – the Trainer bought out the chemist
We checked in with our contact in Kathmandu that everything is on track with flights to Lukla, organising our Porter and getting our TIMS Card
We have booked our hotel in Kathmandu
So, we fly to Nepal in two weeks. I am very excited to be staying at the Kathmandu Guest House when we arrive and when we leave. If it is good enough for Ricky Martin, it’s good enough for us too.
We are trekking independently again but will be taking a porter/ guide, like on our second trek.
Trekking to Gokyo Ri and the Gokyo Lakes
We are going back to the Khumbu, the Everest Base Camp region but we are trekking to Gokyo. The trek is marketed as Gokyo and the Glacial lakes. If you read the trekking tour blurbs this is what they list as the highlights.
Stand at the shores of a chain of six turquoise, glacial-fed lakes
Hike along Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest glacier in the Himalaya
Avoid the Everest crowds, but enjoy the selection of great views
Climb Gokyo Ri (5,357 m) for spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu
Trek through the Sherpa town of Khumjung, home of a ‘real’ yeti skull
From ‘Scoundrel’s viewpoint’ near the fifth lake, peer over the vast Ngozumpa Glacier a wasteland of rock and ice
Walking into Khumjung
In fact the view from Gokyo Ri is meant to be better than the view from Kala Pattar on the Base Camp trek. Also, weather permitting, we will be crossing over Cho La Pass. We haven’t done that before. Climbed a pass. This will be a hard a long day. Easily the hardest. But we will only go if the weather is good otherwise it can be treacherous. We have a day and a buffer day at Gokyo to help with this. We have been told that the walk to Fifth Lake is well worth while.
And in true Nervous Nelly style I am anxious about it. Again. This time I am anxious about the pass. However, the Trainer is talking me up. Cho La Lou he is calling me. Cho La Lou, Queen of the High Passes. Sort of has a nice ring to it doesn’t it ?
Any advice on the Cho La Pass an Gokyo, comments are very welcome.
How Difficult is the EBC Trek ? Here it is in photos.
Part of the answer to how difficult the EBC trek is, is about what you are walking on. This shows why you need to do step training. And hill training of course.
Cobblestones in Lukla, there are flat parts through villages in the lower part of the trail.
When down hill is uphill too. And lots of steps.
Watch your step.
One of the Bridges at Namche Bazaar.
Rocks and rocky paths.
Smooth path into Khumjung after a big climb.
Windy paths along the side of mountains,
The hills look innocent enough here but the altitude is increasing.
Paths widen over turf
and over rivers
Flat but at altitude don’t rush.
Across turf at 4,000 metres
From Dingboche to Dughla above Periche
To Gorak Shep an amazing part of the trail. Lots of rocks to pick your way over.
The path from above…
The hardest walk to Kala Patthar. Over 5,500 metres.
Walking the last few kilometres to Base Camp.
There are hills to go up as you go back down to Lukla. These are marathon runners.
Coming back down can be slippery with those little loose rocks.
There are still hills coming down and the magnificent views in reverse.
The thing to understand about these photos is on the really big climb days to Namche Bazaar and to Tengboche – you are too exhausted to take photos. And the photos don’t really show the steepness of the climb.
Here is a elevation profile I found. The triangular peak represents the acclimatisation day walk above Dingboche.
There are no roads into Lukla the start of the Everest Base Camp Trek. Generally people fly into Lukla and start trekking from there. The nearest road is at Jiri and you can walk from there. The airport was built in 1964. People still walk in from Jiri. Jennifer from Jennifer’s Journeys did it.
Some villages along the track have wifi but it doesn’t always work. Great places for wifi are Namche Bazaar, Dingboche and maybe Pangboche and Lobuche. It is a combination of the location but also the lodge.
The early part of the trail is not that remote and you will see children going to school along the trail.
You need to research the season and the months you are traveling well. There advantages for the different seasons.
December – cold but beautiful dry sunny days
Late September two years later. Warmer days when the cloud lifts.
Going there you are helping the local economy.
Stick to vegetables on the trail. Refrigeration is not brilliant.
It is not normal walking and Diamox is key. Make sure you have it an I would tend to follow the trekking guides’ recommendation, as in experienced guides who lead treks on a regular basis. A slow trek is key to getting there without be sick. Altitude headaches can be really horrible. I’ve heard and read. We didn’t have any.
There is a thing called a Go Girl. Apparently female rock climbers use them to urinate. Practice is advised.
Kathmandu has lots of places to see including Durbar Square where you can see lots of pigeons.
Having a massage after a trek is a very good idea. I didn’t do this and I felt really sore and stiff a few weeks later, back home in Australia. I felt like my body was seizing up. Next time I will have a massage.
The lower part of Nepal is quite tropical almost and you can even go on a jungle safari. We went to Chitwan. Buses are very scary and the journeys are incredibly slow.
You can fly into Lukla for a day and take flights up over Everest.
You don’t have to go to EBC you can take a shorter trek and just go as far as Tengboche. There are other side treks you could go and not go to EBC.
A Post about Food on the EBC Trek Becomes More. Or Is it Less?
There is a difference between basic and simple. Especially when you are traveling.
Recently I posted about accommodation on the EBC trek being basic. A comment from a fellow blogger (thanks Miriam) made me rethink how I had labelled the accommodation. It is the very fact the Everest Base Camp Trek is basic, makes it so good. Basic can be seen as a negative. So simple, not basic, is a better word to use. Because it is the simplicity of the EBC trek that makes it so special.
Two photos of a Stupa in Khumjung taken from different directions and two years apart. Photos taken in December 2013 taken end of September 2015, two earthquakes later.
There is a beautiful mani wall along the walk in from Namche Bazaar.
I assume the cracks are from the second earthquake on May 12 2015. The small boy in the photo has his back pack on and had just come out from the Edmund Hillary School, the biggest school in the Khumjung.
For some time I have planned to write a post about this amazing woman who I met on both our Everest Base Camp treks. Both our treks started out from her Paradise Lodge in Lukla after breakfast, after our early flight to Lukla. We stayed our last night in Lukla before our morning flights back to Kathmandu at the end of our treks.
This photo was taken after our evening meal in her lodge in October 2015. Due to the two earthquakes that year, it was a quiet night guest wise in the lodge and so she had some time to sit down and talk to me about her work in the Khumbu. The reason I knew to ask about her work in the community was because on our 2013 trek we found a hotel directory with some information about Dawa and her husband Ang Pasang.
I have taken the information from the directory.
Dawa Phuti Sherpa
Born in Khunde
First Sherpa woman from the Khumbu region to attend school
Served as a nurse in the Khunde Hospital
Served as a teacher in the Khumjung School (The Edmund Hilary School)
Has been working in the hospitality industry for thirty years
Chairperson of the women’s group
Board member of the Himalayan Trust Nepal
Board member of Pasang Lhamu Nique Hospital Lukla
Recipient of the Friends of Khumbu
Recipient of the Peace Ambassador
Recipient of the Nava Durga award
Needles to say she is very busy with running the lodge and all the community work she continues to do. What better day than International Women’s Day, to acknowledge Dawa Phuti Sherpa’s wonderful work in the Khumbu both past and present.
Inside dining room at Paradise Lodge talking with Dawa
Nava Durga Award in Nepal
Celebrates Womanhood started in 2002 as an annual event to celebrate the vision, inner beauty and power of women. The objective is to honour women in various fields of arts, education, sports, community service, health and industry and to applaud their dedication to their respective fields. Shrijana Singh Yonjan, the mind behind the event says that each award has been named after a goddess and the attribute she signifies. The awards recognise nine different fields of achievement (Nava Durga).
Nava Durga Maa
Leaving Lukla Memorial to Pasang Lhamu the first Nepalese woman to summit Everest.
It’s true there is weather station on the Everest Base Camp Trek Trail
Italian Weather Pyramid out of Lobuche in the direction of Gorak Shep
The Weather Pyramid at Everest Base Camp or thereabouts. The Trainer walked there by himself. I decided to stay in the lodge and rest up for the next to big days. Built by the Italians he joked he was in search of a short black coffee …
Sadly since we visited in 2015 the Weather Pyramid was defunded by the Italian Government and I have read the structure has been turned into a lodge of sorts,
I had travelled through the Sahara and had explored Timbuktu, had marvelled at Iguazu Falls and the Perito Moreno Glacier. I had lived and experienced life in Milan and Buenos Aires. I was about to set out on a trek that would be the travel adventure of my life, but I didn’t know it.
I sat crying on our couch. My husband and trekking partner wanted to go out on a final training session. I was exhausted from training five times a week and I wanted to cry even at the thought of it. So I cried. He’d pushed it too far. He designed the training plan so we would make it to Everest Base Camp without feeling pain all the way. I had named him The Trainer he had trained us so well.
He had also researched, planned and organised the trek. Now he was weighing my pack and contents and being tough like the The Trainer could be. I could take 5.5 kilos in my back pack and my little pot of lip moisturiser had not made the cut I cut. I would be carrying it up the hills. So I sat on the couch crying with exhaustion and at not being able to take my only luxury item on a trek I didn’t want to go on in the first place.
Resting Spots Along the Trail to Everest Base Camp
A post about the porters on my Everest Base Camp Trek blog is long overdue. The Daily Post Daily PromptRecharge has given me a perfect launching point.
Trekking through the Khumbu you see resting points for porters to unload, rest and recharge. These resting spots are at a height so the porters can easily unload and reload onto their backs without having to lift their load from the ground.