The EBC Trek in 20 Photos From Slate Paths to Slippery Scree Shows the Degrees of Difficulty

How Difficult is the EBC Trek ?The trail in 20 photos

It’s about what you are walking on…

EBC Trek almost to Base Camp

The last few kilometres to Base Camp on slippery scree. But let’s start at the beginning

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Beautiful One Day Breathtaking the Next

A Photo is Worth a Thousand Superlatives

Above Pheriche, EBC Trek, Nepal

From the moment you walk out of Lukla to trek to Everest Base Camp the views are beautiful. The higher you go the more amazing the views, higher again the views become breathtaking panoramas. Continue reading

Simple Not Basic on the EBC Trail

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.

Gorak Shep and Kala Patthar

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.

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Todd Samson and How Not to Trek in the Himalayas

Todd Samson’s Salute to Sherpas and Climbing Lobuche

todd-samson

What Todd Samson has been getting up to lately is far from tame. Todd Samson is an Australian Canadian television celebrity is currently in a show called Body Hack.

Each episode looks at a different group of people who are involved in extreme activity and how the body copes with it. Taking it one step further Todd Samson walks in their shoes for some time. The Nepalese episode looked at the life of the Sherpa people who work as porters along the Everest Base Camp Trail.

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Fashion on the Track

Striding Through Pheriche in the Khumbu

Periche

Here I am walking through Pheriche looking like the Michelin Man. There are lots of terrible shots of me on the trek with hat hair, up way too close etc. Showers are a rare thing on the track, so is clean hair and there are no mirrors. Complete with the hat and given today is the first Tuesday in November, the day of the nation stopping Melbourne Cup (horse race) I decided on a twist the Fashion on the Track theme. Tongue in cheek of course. However my ensemble does show off some accessories that you shouldn’t leave home for Everest Base Camp without. Continue reading

Heading Out for Everest Base Camp – Day One Lukla to Phakding

Walking out of Lukla

trek n.1. a long difficult journey, esp. on foot  2. a journey or stage, esp by ox wagon            3. make a trek  – trekker 

Saying Goodbye in Melbourne

In September 2015 my husband and I flew to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp. At the departure hall at Melbourne Airport saying goodbyes to our adult daughters,  the eldest hugged her father and said

                          “Dad, go easy on Mum remember it’s her holiday too.”  She turned                                      to me and said “Mum, ….man up.”

And with that sage advice… Continue reading

Recharging in Nepal

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 Prompt Recharge has given me a perfect launching point.

Porters loads at a resting point on the EBC Trek

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.

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Two Earthquakes and Two Films

Trouble for the 2016 -17 Seasons? Visit Nepal and Help Rebuild

Monjo Guest House EBC Trek
Will there be another slow season of empty lodges ?

On April 25 a 7.8-magnitude quake devastated parts of Kathmandu and rural Nepal. Two weeks later on May 12 a second 7.3-magnitude quake hit. It is the anniversary of the first quake this week.

In the last six months two films were released about climbing Everest. One Everest about the fateful climbing season in 1996 when rival trekking company leaders lost their lives climbing. More recently the documentary Sherpa-Trouble on Everest was released. The film covers the 2014 avalanche when 16 Sherpas were killed. In an interview with director Jenny Peedom, she said that the Khumbu Sherpa community were very pleased with the film. A key message is the risk Sherpas take in working on the mountain to enable tourists and climbers to summit the peak. Put simply without the Sherpas the tourism around the climbing season would not be possible. Another message is the exploitation of the Sherpas in terms of pay and conditions.

This film may have affected the Everest Base Camp Trekking  season. A work colleague of the Trainer, a keen Australian bush walker announced that he was planning a trip to walk the Inca trail. The Trainer suggested to him he should trek to Base Camp and his reaction to this was negative and he said no way. He had recently seen the Sherpa documentary and he didn’t want to be part of such an exploitative adventure. I think there may others who are turned off because of the film.

Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp to climb Everest is one thing. Trekking to Base Camp to trek to that point is quite another. The trail does not have the same commercial  pressure. People pay a lot of money to climb Everest. There is a huge pressure on the climbing companies to deliver. This pressure does not exist trekking on the trail to Base Camp.

Most of the people living along the trail would rely largely on the trekking tourism either directly or indirectly. The Khumbu region has had three quiet seasons. If you are planning to trek to Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna or any of the other areas please don’t change your mind because of a film. Nepal needs tourists. Be part of the rebuild.

everest base camp trailBuilding along the Everest Base Camp trail

 

Article about the Sherpa – Trouble on Everest 

25 April Earthquake Wikipedia 

Not convinced ? – 25 Reasons to Trek to Everest Base Camp 

 

The Trainer and Me

Why I Started A Blog About Our Journey TO EBC

The Blogger and the Trainer

The Trainer always the watchful eye in the background

Hello I’m Louise

In 2013 the Trainer and I trekked the Main Mount Everest Base Camp Trail. It was the Trainer’s idea not mine. I really didn’t want to go to Everest Base Camp.  I was worried about an endless list of things – getting robbed, murdered, lost, breaking an ankle, the trek being too difficult, getting sick, getting altitude sickness, freezing, oh and being tipped off a mountain by a yak. But I didn’t want to be left behind to worry about the Trainer either. Given I met him on a felucca on the Nile and he later dragged me across the Sahara when all I wanted was to relax on a Thai beach, well, after 30 years I should expect these things.

The optimistic Trainer had been to the Annapurna area in Nepal years ago and saw no problems with trekking to EBC. But I wanted to be reassured by someone else. Talking to a few people helped. YouTubes helped get a sense of the trail experience. But I really wanted to hear from a woman like myself – in her fifties and not a veteran trekker, who had been there. I searched for a blog but at the time I couldn’t find any.

The time came to decide to go or not. I didn’t want the Trainer to go by himself. We flew out in late November 2013 and we nearly made it to Everest Base Camp. Could have and should have. But didn’t. We were disappointed and  it felt like unfinished business and amazingly I was hooked. Addicted to thriving on the challenge and the place. Yes that’s me standing there, almost at Namche Bazaar with just a couple of steep hills to go.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Almost there! The infamous climb to Namche Bazaar almost finished.

 

We returned to Australia and I wanted to tell everyone how special the trail to EBC is and how alive and incredibly fit I felt from the experience. I was the fittest I had been. Ever. I wanted to tell everyone that a not particularly fit middle aged woman, with training, could trek to Everest Base Camp and love the experience. We planned to try again and this time get there. I decided to share my training journey and the experience of Main Everest Base Camp trail in a blog.

We trained and trained,  me and the tireless Trainer.  We bought our flights to Kathmandu early 2015. Two weeks later Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. That changed everything. The following months the Trainer researched, trained and was optimistic. Me, I trained and well of course, worried. Finally we agreed to believe the reports the EBC Trail was ready, it was business as usual and we flew to Kathmandu in late September. And on 2nd October 2015 the Trainer and I, with our porter made it to Everest Base Camp.

But this wasn’t the only reason I wanted my message out there….

I discovered that the important thing was, it wasn’t just about getting to Base Camp it was about the whole journey. The training journey was big lifestyle change for me. It was a fitness first. 2013 was also the year I touched my toes for the first time. Ever.

Final ascent into Namche Bazaar Everest Base Camp Trek

I’m the fourth one down. the one without the 100 kilo load. The porters are something else. 

25 Reasons to Trek to Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek

25 Reasons to Trek to Everest Base Camp

From the perspective of an over 50 years old woman was never particularly fit, never wanted to go to Everest Base Camp and would now happily go there annually.

1.Trekking to Everest Base Camp is amazing. Amazing. And yes amazing. I make no apologies for the overuse of the word.

What better Big Challenge than Base Camp?

2.Climbing Kala Pattar, looking at Mount Everest at sunset or sunrise or standing at Everest Base Camp is possibly be one of the best things you will ever do in terms of travel experiences. Certainly it will be an achievement you will be proud of. Guaranteed.

View from Kala Patthar with Mount Eversest
Mid afternoon photographed from Kala Patthar as clouds started rolling in

3.Trekking to Everest Base Camp is something you have to work at. And we always value things more if we have to work for them. And you have to work for trekking to Everest Base Camp before you leave for Kathmandu. It’s what you call Training for EBC – that’s Everest Base Camp. And to do it you need to train for six months or more depending on your base fitness level. We did. My trainer  often reminded me; “Remember it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

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The Altitude Rule and Our Diamox Experience

The Altitude Rule – the Key Factor

The golden rule is not to sleep more than 300 metres higher each day. Sticking to the rule the Trainer planned a sixteen days trek which meant staying in Dughlia. Not the most beautiful place and with only two lodges. Most treks stop for lunch here and then continue on to Lobuche.

We  experienced no headaches. Our itinerary was a slow trek. The night we factored in Khumjung gave us an extra day to acclimatise at a slightly higher altitude after our two nights in Namche Bazaar.

Bistari, bistari – slowly, slowly our porter used to say. And we did go slowly and rested regularly. It is not a race. We took time to savour the amazing views. We kept hydrated and didn’t drink alcohol on the trek, not counting my Mohito in Namche on the way back.

Acclimatisation days are important for day walks to a higher altitude. Then you sleep at the same altitude a second night.

Don’t Leave Home For Everest Base Camp Without Diamox

Everyone has different advice about Diamox. This post is how we managed the altitude and the Diamox.

Advice – Diamox is your Friend

People following our trek to Everest Base Camp know the Trainer was also the researcher extraordinaire. I found printed information he had and have linked the sites at the end. Trekking companies often have information too.

Advice from your Doctor

Visit your doctor for advice. A doctor at the clinic we visit had been to Base Camp three times. His advised us to not take the Diamox too early and only if we needed it. He reasoned taking it too early didn’t allow any reserve to fall back on. He suggested if we had problems to take the Diamox, descend, sleep lower and come back up. Time permitting this is a good plan.

Advice before Leaving Kathmandu

The company who organised our porter, Lukla flights and TIMS cards brought our tickets to our hotel. We had met Doma who manages the business in Kathmandu in 2013. This time her husband accompanied her. Lhakpa is usually out  with a group trekking somewhere. His advice was to definitely start taking half a Diamox twice daily at Dingboche (4,000 metres) if we weren’t already taking it.

So what did we do?

The Trainer smokes but he is very fit. He started taking half a Diamox twice a day in Namche Bazaar. I had decided to take our doctor’s advice but changed my mind to take Lhakpa’s advice with his experience of many treks. So what did I do? Altitude can affect your sleep. You momentarily stop breathing and then your body wakes you. A bit scary and annoying. The trainer with his husband hat on suggested taking the Diamox purely to sleep better. I started taking half a tablet twice daily in Phortse (I think) two nights before Dingboche and slept much better. The trade off is Diamox makes you wee more . So read all the info, get medical advice, guide’s advice then do what feels right at the time, all things considered.

Useful Links

Indiana University Health Center – Diamox 

The Travel Doctor – Altitude or Mountain Sickness

Interested in reading my packing list?

Read about our acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar or
our acclimatisation day in Dingboche which was a big walk.

Leaving Lukla

Day Seventeen Lukla to Kathmandu, Everest Base Camp Trek

The final day of seventeen wonderful days trekking from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and back in October 2015. Having fare-welled our Porter Guide, my husband “the Trainer” and I flew to Kathmandu grateful for completing the trek safely and already thinking of a return trek.

Lukla Airport

Above: The tarmac at Lukla airport and the parking spaces for the four planes that fly back and forward to Lukla every day.

We were up early for one of the first flights out. The Paradise Lodge where we stayed the night is a one-minute walk to the airport. The owner of the lodge said goodbye to us and presented us with the traditional cream scarf to wish us well.

Lukla with the mountain behind
The larger yellow building in the middle is the control tower at Lukla Airport

The departure hall at the airport is a bit crazy and we were glad to have someone with us to direct us where to go and in which order. We passed through the tickets and security checks very quickly and into the hall to wait boarding where passengers are always keen to watch the planes landing. The unloading of passengers and baggage is amazingly quick and the same goes for loading and boarding. In 2018 I saw a trekker almost miss getting on the plane by seconds. Obviously he had to take a trip the toilet or somewhere. So be vigilant.

Being our fourth flight, we were relaxed. I was more relaxed about take-off than landing at Lukla.

As we flew back along the line of the Himalayas I wondered if it would be our last trip as I was hooked on this magnificent part of the world.

Other Posts

The Infamous Lukla Airport 

Missed the beginning of the 2015 trek? Here are the first five days to get you started.

Day 1 2015 Trek – Lukla to Phakding

Day 2 2015 Trek – Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Day 3 2015 Trek – Acclimatisation In Namche Bazaar

Day 4 2015 Trek – Namche Bazaar to Khumjung

Day 5 2015 Trek – Khumjung to Phortse

and here is the 2015 Trek Itinerary with links

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Day Twelve Gorak Shep (5170m) – Everest Base Camp (5300m) – Lobuche

Slip Sliding Away at Everest Base Camp

The Walk You Have To Do

The walk into Everest Base Camp took me by surprise as I hadn’t read the section in the guide book. The track isn’t much of a track, making the walk a little crazy. At the end you just clamber over boulders and slip everywhere. But that’s getting a little ahead.

Almost at Everest Base Camp
Insane trail to Everest Base Camp

The photo shows the middle section of the trail which had lots of boulders and scree. A defined path becomes non-existent, so we headed in a general direction picking our way as best we could. And following our trusty Porter Guide, of course. Because of clambering over boulders, I developed blisters on my toes. Applying band aids before setting out is probably a good idea.

EBC has the reputation of looking very dull. Most trekkers visit it in the afternoon when the mountains can shade the area. We took the advice to visit in the morning and with the light it was quite lovely.

Exploring Everest Base Camp
Large boulder perched on ice above a small stream
Exploring the Everest Base Camp Area
Exploring the Everest Base Camp area
Everest Base Camp Area
Our Porter Guide Basanta exploring
Tents of the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp
Tents for the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp

I plan to write a post about the runners and the marathon as they were a feature of our trek. We bumped into them several times along the trail much to the Trainer’s delight.

The Main Everest Base Camp Trail’s highlight is the view of Mt. Everest and the Himalaya Range from the top of the hill Kala Patthar. Not everyone has heard of Kala Patthar. However, Everest Base Camp is famous, so it’s a must do. Or is it? I felt uneasy at Base Camp, being directly underneath where the 2015 avalanche came off Mt. Pumori into Base Camp (or so I was told). If I go back I would climb Kala Patthar twice, climbing it once in the afternoon and again the next morning at sunrise.

The triumphant team of three, lined up to take the obligatory photo by the sign and flags.

We Three at EBC
The Trainer, Me and the Porter with the Yellow Wig at Everest Base Camp
At Everest Base Camp
Climb Every Mountain – The Open Door Singer’s sign at EBC

The sign for my choir had its big moment here. 130 people sang Climb Every Mountain to me before I left Melbourne. It was very special.

The round trip to EBC from Gorak Shep is 8km and takes 6.5 hours. Back at Gorak Shep (the end of the trail and starting point for Kala Patthar and EBC) we had lunch at the lodge where we had slept the night before and left. We headed back down to Lobuche (a 2.5-hour walk) through the long valley that feels like a moonscape. Back in our lodge in Lobuche we ate and went straight to bed. Exhausted but very happy and very pleased with ourselves.

All the training had prepared us well. The trek to Everest Base Camp is more than the walk to that point. It is about the training before hand, getting all the right gear and training with it, the research and preparation and then the trek itself. It is a long journey in many ways, for which you are rewarded in just as many ways.

Now we just had to get back down to Lukla in one piece.

Day Nine Dingboche to Dughla

Day Nine – Dingboche to Dughlia     30 September 2015

Above Periche Between Dingboche and Dughla
Between Dingboche and Dughla

We retraced our steps into the town for the initial part of the walk and then took a trail along the side of the hills past yak pastures and herders’ huts. A few big trekking groups were walking out probably groups doing the trail in fewer days along the main trail.

It was great walk across flat plains, slowly going uphill with great views of Periche below. On the way we saw some teenagers carrying large baskets of dung and Basanta had an animated conversation with them.

After we arrived at Dughla we decided to stay at the Yak Lodge. One of only two lodges there which is probably why people don’t stop there. We had lunch in the sun with the beautiful blue skies and watched as trekkers came down from Gorak Shep. We met the group who had flown on the same flight into Lukla with us including a mother and daughter team from Queensland who flew on the same flight from Kuala Lumpur.

After a rest we walked up behind the lodges for a view of Dughla Lake which was almost completely hidden from view at the lodges. It was a two hour walk and wasn’t really a trail so we picked our way carefully to a good sitting spot. There were lots of juniper bushes growing on the hills. My wind jacket protected me from the cold wind which is why you should pack one even if it is a dry season.

Lake near Dughla Nepal

We stayed at Dughla to make sure we stuck to the rule of not ascending more than 300 metres. We didn’t want to risk altitude sickness and not make EBC.

Day Six Phortse to Shomare

Everest Base Camp Trek

Heads in the Clouds

Clouds blocking a great view

Sitting in cloud hoping it would lift

We walked up out of Phortse and then up forever. At the top it was very cloudy (dherai mukpa) which was disappointing as the views would have been spectacular but because we were trekking at the very end of the monsoon season there were still clouds around and we could not see a thing.

At Pangboche and went inside the monastery or gompa here while our lunch was being cooked. It is the oldest monastery in the Khumbu.

We came in and walked out of Pangboche a totally different way from our 2013 trek. Our impression walking in was of quite a different village. The walk out past the helicopter rescue pad and lots of chortens and mani stones was interesting and the cloud broke and we had some sneak mountain views at last.  Continue reading

Ama Dablam

Everest Base Camp Trek Titbit

On our first flight to Lukla a European man in his seventies was sitting across the aisle from my husband. As we flew along the magnificent Himalayas mountain range  he pointed out the names of the various mountains to Sam. I was impressed. This guy knew his mountains. Obviously it wasn’t his first trip. Warning: trekking in Nepal is addictive.

I wanted to be able to list off the mountains too, so before our 2015 trek I studied up on them, well the pictures at least. (Back home I’m still working on that). Apart from Mount Everest which is not that easy to spot because it hides a lot until the very end of the trek, Ama Dablam is one of the first mountains you will come to know and recognise wherever you are. The mountains change shape as you move along the trail because your view changes. Ama Dablam is different it has that funny skinny cone shape and later it has an armchair shape. Remember you’ve got to use your imagination a bit.

Ama Dablam is first visible after Namche Bazaar and there is good view of from Khumjung, which is above Namche Bazaar. In fact the guide books tells you Ama Dablam towers above Khumjung. And she does. Are mountains referred to as male of female? Well I’m calling Ama Dablam a she as it means Mother’s Chest  or Mother’s Treasure Chest or a jewel box if you like. And by all accounts she deserves some respect.

Here she is.

Ama Dablam from the Everest Base trek

Ama Dablam photo taken between Namche Bazaar and Tengboche

 

Up for another Everest Base Camp Trek Titbit?

Bridge Too Many or Bridge Love – bridges on the way to Base Camp and some photos

Bridges Along the EBC Trail

The two bridges to Namche Bazaar
The two bridges to Namche Bazaar

Too Many Bridges or Bridge Love

Love them or not, the Everest Base Camp Trek has many bridges to cross. For the personal trainer it was Bridge Love. Probably at first sight. He stood in the middle of the bridges looking over the edge enjoying the wind and the rush of water underneath. He put on his documentary maker’s hat and strolled across them filming, making his commentary against the roar of the water underneath. On time he threw the camera at me and asked me to video him crossing the bridge. Not my idea of fun especially when he started jogging on the bridge while I was on it filming.

Yes bridges weren’t my favourite part of the trek. I remember the first bridge at Chheplung, being nervous and very glad when I was on the other side. It does get easier as there are quite a few bridges and then you cross them again on the way back to Lukla.

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