Everest Basecamp Trek – Part 3

Finally, last of the Everest Basecamp Trek series. I wish I could write more about this journey because I have learnt so much from it but I’ll probably bore you, so I’ll leave those stories for my future children. Through thick and thin we continued our trek, I could have not done it without the support of the strangers I met along the way. Strangers who are now friends.

[Bikas, Henry, Me, and Nadejda]

May 27th – Trek day 10

Descended more than 900m from Gorekshep to Pangboche. My most painful and agonizing 6 hours walk ever. On top of that, we were walking in a snow storm. It’s hard to believe my symptoms are mild. Nevertheless, trekking with altitude sickness sucks but upon loosing 400m or so, I regained my appetite. Hangriness lingers and my altitude sickness cured. But that’s nothing compared to what will happen the next day, though I stand with my thought that nothing is worst than altitude sickness. The guy next door at Gorekshep had it worst, he was puking all night and even after losing attitude, he’s still very sick. None of us ended up on top of Kalapathar because of the storm.

[Singing songs from Frozen, in my head]

[All those snows were bound to melt]

May 28th – Trek day 11

The sickness gone, the storm lingers. We had it all today, Snow, rain and sun. It’s as if the ice had followed us from Gorekshep. Thanks to a girl from two days before, I find myself singing songs from Frozen.

Wet from waist downwards, I was looking forward to ending the supposedly 5 hours walk. But Allah’s test didn’t end with altitude sickness. Less than one hour after our descend, we were greeted by clamors of falling rocks. Landslide on the other side of the valley, we were stranded. That or a long walk back to where we started and taking a very long alternative route.

We were left to either taking the risk of crossing the landslide like some others did, or to take an alternative route. Thankfully, or perhaps not so, there’s another alternative route. To cross the bridge, walk upstream, and trek over the landslide.

I thought to myself, “How is this safer than crossing the landslide ?”. I heard people signaling others while they evade the falling rocks further downstream. Me, I’m somewhere else, stuck between trees, roots and a steep downhill. Slipping but not falling. Refusing to look backwards. It’s like mountaineering almost, It’s not what I paid for. I won’t lie, this would be any mother’s worst nightmare. I was scared. Often praying and moving slowly, crawling on the steep mountainside.

I was glad when it’s over, pee stained my shorts. I was in a hurry, relieving myself in the middle of the climb. Snots in my face, I couldn’t care less.

We laughed it off, the rain stopped and we were greeted by amazing views. I gave my praises to Allah. The trek further down was easy, relatively, and sunny, compared to the one we had earlier in the morning, although much more longer.

People would not believe it when I say that this was the hardest trek of my life, today, military standard I reckon. A great story to remember, a legend to tell. I am a trooper. I was weak, but fear is a great source of strength. Luckily for everyone, there’s no technical trek now onwards. Two days of short treks left.

May 29th – Trek day 12

800m descent from Namche Bazaar to Phakding. 2 nights left in Everest area. Nothing interesting today aside from the view. Got our final glimpse of Everest today (not in photo).

May 30th – Trek day 13

Today is our last day of trekking. 14 Days, 2500m altitude difference, 130km distance walked total.

[Our favourite hangout place in Lukla, good times]

Here’s an interesting twist of events. Back in Tyangboche, I met a Californian woman, Sudha, we chatted over dinner. Sited next to us was a quiet Russian woman, Nadia. Nadia then became my pace buddy up to Gorekshep. Before we reached Gorekshep, at Labouche, I stayed in the same lodge as a bunch of Singaporeans. On our way to Gorekshep, we were tailing a Texan pair.

When I met Sudha again yesterday, she was sited next to the Singaporeans. She was telling me how the elder Texan had to be helicoptered back because of altitude sickness. The Singaporeans interjects. I then chatted with the Singaporeans. Laughing about how pissed I was at them back in Labouche. I then found out that one of them was studying in Melbourne. Further in the conversation, I figured that she was a friend of my ex-roomate’s girlfriend. Small world !

[Alas a familiar accent, it was the Singaporeans. I felt almost at home]

May 31st – Lukla to Kathmandu

Today is not a trekking day but I’ve been running up and down town looking for 5 people who would share a helicopter ride with me. Not usually an easy job for an introvert but I’ve found myself shouting around like it was my second nature. Unfortunately, all flights from Lukla were cancelled. Heavy heartedly spent USD$400 on a helicopter ride but glad I found 5 strangers to head to Kathmandu today (only to find out later I only needed 4 because there’s only the 5 seaters left, had to play hunger games to decide who stays, long story). There’s a marathon group of 150 people arriving at Lukla from Namche today so I wouldn’t want to wait for them to fly off before we do, the weather forecast doesn’t look too good too.

[Volleyball, the locals favourite pastime]

All those effort today. Even the helicopter flight is postponed. Will head out early tomorrow morning instead, InshaAllah. At least I’m famous now, the guy who ran around town. Kinda shattered. La Tahzan

Hey good news, I managed to fly on the helicopter today after all. Alhamdulillah. Was quite an experience. I also get to sit on the back of a truck, and on a full van with the staffs just to get a cash receipt. Oh man, Nepali cannot be rushed, they’re taking their sweet time writing my receipt, should’ve paid using credit card.

[Bidding farewell to our porters]

June 1st

Bag still at Kathmandu. Woah, how many bumps could one go through a single trip. Hilarious. I’m just going to eat a lot now and see if I could get my bag tomorrow morning. I’m so skinny. chicken ! meat ! Ice creeeaaaaammmm !

June 2nd

Back in my hood and I retrieved my bag. Lose 8kg after the trip but gained a lot of knowledge and experience. Yay ?

Final Words

I met a 70 something year old Japanese man who was trekking the mountains alone. I admit that it is not an easy trek but it does not mean that you have to be super fit and adventurous to do it. A lot of people are missing out over the fear of getting hurt or death. You could get hurt or die anywhere, and I do not believe that life is worth living without adventure. Regardless of how big or small the adventures are. If you have a destination that you always wanted to go to, Go! Acknowledge your fear but do not let it stand in your way. Because if you do just one thing differently, your world will open up. And to me it did.