Everest Basecamp Trek – Part 1
In retrospect, It was easy for me to love Nepal. It’s different, it’s exciting, and in many ways, I was humbled by her and the events that had occurred to me there. Somewhere along the way I realised how I knew so little about the world outside my comfort bubble. I’ve learnt that sometimes you just have to experience things yourself in order to understand. Yes, simply to understand.
The idea of going to Everest basecamp is simple but learning about it makes you feel like you know so little about everything
May 18th – Trek day 1
The trek commenced on my 26th birthday, it was sort of a big deal.
The flight to Lukla from Kathmandu takes around half an hour. We landed on one of the world’s most dangerous… I mean, fun, airstrip, built by Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to summit Everest along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The journey was beautiful. We had breakfast in Lukla before heading to Phakding. Food was surprisingly good.
You know you’re not prepared for the trek when you’re not even aware that you’re going to land on the world’s most dangerous landing strip. It really wasn’t that scary. It was probably scarier for a Muslim to face the fact that he will not be able to eat any meat from there on. I’m not a vegetarian but sometimes it is just easier to tell people you are, than to explain the concept of Halal food. But that’s just me being lazy.
We’re trekking with our guide, Tekay, along with our Sherpas, Bikas and Himal. With me on this trek are Henry, Hayden and Angela from New Zealand, Rod and Chris from Australia, Luc from Switzerland, and Loraine from Ireland. I was delighted to know that electricity runs 24 hours around this region thanks to their many hydro powered generator. There’s not too many people doing the trek now as peak season is close to and end, well, more for us.
Well not really, they were hosting a marathon and the further up we went, the more crowded the lodges get.
May 19th – Trek day 2
We had to cross a lot of these type of bridge and, skydiving in Melbourne did not cure me from my fear of heights. The photo didn’t do justice on how high the bridge actually is. I am now in Namche Bazaar at 3450m. I stopped every 20-30m, was the last one to arrive. Luckily for me, tomorrow is acclimatization day. We landed in Lukla yesterday at an altitude of 2800m and slept in Phakding at 2600m.
I admit, I did not train enough for this trek. I was exhausted after the 2nd day. I’m always left behind and constantly missing in group photos. I’m surprised I managed to go all the way (well almost, at least).
May 20th – Trek day 3
Today is our acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar, which means that we get to stay at this altitude for another day. During acclimatization, your body adapts to the altitude, increasing the number and capacity of red blood cells so they can carry more oxygen. Then, my heart does not have to pump as hard. We did a short 20 minutes hike this morning at 5:30AM and had our first glimpse of Everest from one of Namche’s viewpoint. We should’ve been able to see it on the way to Namche yesterday but weather did not permit.
Later today, we’re going to hike slightly higher to get our body used to the altitude before heading back to Namche for lunch. We can rest the whole day afterwards. We watched several documentaries yesterday so we’ll probably do that again today. We slept early and woke up early. I get to sleep for 9 hours finally, I like it. Very therapeutic. I hope the office is doing well without me, my phone is useless. Anyway, these are photos taken around Namche. Everest is dwarfed behind its sister mountains but we’ll be able to face the ‘roof of the world’ closer once we reach Kalapathar somewhere between Day10-12, I’m not sure.
We never actually peaked Kalapathar because of the snowstorm. Almost no one did. It was a downer. Just recently I was talking with a Couchsurfer who went there just a week before us and everything was beautiful.
Our sleeping quarters is in this photo. I would also like to add that I aced the Nepali water and food, my poops are still solid at Day 4, some others are not as lucky. Weather wise, it’s not too cold yet, probably 3-10c, I still sweat under my thin layer of jacket and thermal undershirt.
The lodges on this trek ranged from clean and comfortable, to concentration-camp like. I kid, you’ll get used to it after a few days but some amenities are just nasty (though I partake in making them worst). Almost always, you will have to share a room with another person especially during peak season but you will probably stick with the same roommate throughout. Thinking back now, I miss having that environment.
You’ll see this everywhere, it’s either a rock or a pole with prayer flags attached, you’ll be able to spot it for sure. Make sure to walk to the left, otherwise, otherwise … I’m not sure. Something bad will happen I guess. Sometimes, you just have to respect their beliefs. Because people, respect makes the world a better place.
“Don’t worry, chicken curry.” Phrase taught to me by Himal along with “Why not, coconut”. I’m not sure if we could get wifi from here on but if we don’t, don’t worry. May Allah protect us all.
Although it seems like I’m always complaining about altitude sickness, the journey was much more than just that. I had a great time. The view was beyond what I had imagined and I do not, even for a bit, regret my decision to go for this trek.
Here’s some quick tips if you plan to hike in Nepal:
- If you do not have any trekking gears, buy them in Nepal. They’re fake but they’re really cheap. I got my North Face fleece and rainproof jacket for USD$12. That’s a bargain ! regardless of the fact that it’ll be unusable after several treks.
- But you should get your shoes before going there, you need to break into them.
- Always walk on the safe side when walking pass yaks or mules. They might push you over the cliff if you don’t.
- Buffs, sunglasses and hats. It protects you from extreme elements.
- Wear your sunscreen. We heard a bunch of badly sunburnt trekkers whispering “good luck” (Girl~ um no you didn’t) to us because our skin was flawless at the end of the trek. Though we skipped them on our last day, bad move.
- A comfortable backpack goes a long way.
- Altitude sickness sucks, if you could, train by climbing mountains (above 3000m).
- Most of all, keep an open mind and enjoy your view. You’ll miss it.