Everest Base Camp Trek
May 13 Kathmandu
I have my permits and supplies for the trek; I am ready to go! The plan is to bus to Jiri, then do a six day trek to Lukla, and then continue up to Everest Base Camp. Then I will walk all the way back to Jiri before catching a bus back to Kathmandu. This is supposed to be a twenty-eight day trek, but I was hoping to do it within three weeks.
May 14 Kathmandu to Jiri Nine hour bus ride.
I guess uncomfortable, painful, and exhausting would be three of the many words to describe the horrible, terrible, awful bus ride to Jiri. Actually it was not too bad as long as you do not mind sacrificing your personal space. I sat at the back of the bus. I had a decent amount of leg room, but I had three people to my left and three people to my right. Ughhh! I am so glad to be off that bus.
May 15 Jiri (2100m) to Bhandar (2200m) Six hours
The trail to Bhandar is rather confusing, as there are many side trails and short cuts that bypass the road to Bhandar. Thankfully there are plently of locals along the route that can point you in the right direction. I got to Shivalaya (1767m) in about two hours and then I started the long climb to Deurali (2705m). Following the climb it was about an hour descent to Bhandar. I met up with friend that I had met in Jiri and we decided to try this local drink called raxi, which is made from corn. It did the trick, but it was not tasty!
May 16 Bhandar (2200m) to Goyom (3060m) Six and a quarter hours
It was nice to get away from the roads and be well into the trek. There are two paths that lead from Bhandar; I took the new one that stays high on the ridge before descending to Kinja (1630m). Following this, I began the massive climb to Goyom. Goyom does not have the greatest lodges in the world, but it is a fun place to stay. Upon arriving at the lodge, I saw that the cook was making this local meal for a few porters called soomba (I do not know the correct spelling). So instead of having noodle soup I ordered soomba! What I got was this brown mushy stuff that tasted similar to bread, and this bowl of cheese like soup. I watched the porters take the goop and dip it in the soup—I did as they did. It was a good meal.
May 17 Goyom (3060m) to Nunthala (2220m) via Lamjura La (3580m) and Trakshindu La (3071m) Eight and a quarter hours
Today was brutal! The first pass came quickly, but sadly it was covered in cloud, however the Lamjura La still had a mystical feel about it. Then it was a long descent to Junbesi (2680m) through a forest, over many muddy rocks and across several small streams. Following Junbesi I had more climbing, then some descending, before yet another climb though Ringmo (2720m) and then over the Trakshindu La. Again the pass was covered with cloud. I was grateful for the descent to Nunthala and the bounty of food that awaited me.
May 18 Nunthala (2220m) to Surkhe (2290m) Eight hours
The elevation from start to finish did not change much, but the walk was hardly flat! I did not want to get out of bed today, but so often the greatest difficulty is starting. Once I was going I felt great. I had couple early climbs to Bupsa (2360m), where I had lunch and then continued on. It was more climbing, before a long gradual descent across the very muddy, rocky trail to Surkhe.
May 19Surkhe (2290m) to Namche (3420m) Six and half hours
Beyond Surkhe there is a sign that points to Lukla and Namche. You can walk through Lukla on the way to Namche, but it is not necessary. It was a fairly easy start to the day, but there was most definitely a long climb looming ahead. The trail rolled up and down through many trees and along a river before a stiff climb up to ahigh suspension bridge. Following this bridge—and its fantastic views—is a hard climb to Namche. I made good time on this challenging section since I was well adapted to climbing by this point. I passed many porters carrying anything from beer and water, to rice and cookies. Namche is not quite a village, but more of a large town. There are tons of hotels to choose from so make your pick!
May 20 Namche (3420m) to Pangboche (3860m) Four and quarter hours
Most people fly into to Lukla, and therefore require an extra day or two in Namche to adjust to the altitude. Since I walked in from Jiri my body had had time to acclimatize. From Namche there is a short climb to a ridge, which was covered in cloud. After a brief descent I climbed a series of switchbacks to Tengboche (3870m). Most trekkers stay in Tengboche, however I walked a further forty-five minutes to Pangboche (3860m).
May 21 Pangboche (3860m) to Dingboche (4360m) Two and quarter hours
It was a short day to adjust to the altitude. It was a good walk up the valley and along the river. The landscape has become more barren as there are fewer trees and a lot more rocks.
May 22 Dingboche (4360m) to Imja Lake (4900m apprx) Six hour return
The plan is to stay in Dingboche for a few nights and adjust to the higher altitude. I am also planning on doing some day trips which will also aid in acclimatization. From Dingboche I followed the trail up the valley to Chhukung (4730m). It was a fairly shallow climb and not that difficult. From there I climbed along a moraine to Island Peak Base Camp (4970m). I did not go all the way to the base camp, but to the edge of the lake. It was amazing! I just sat on a rock and stared at the lake, the glacier, and of course the absolutely massive peaks that surround everything. It is truly magical when one is in the presence of the worlds tallest mountains.
May 23 Dingboche (4360m) to Nangkartshang Hill (5090m) Three and quarter hours return
This was a great walk. The climb went quicker than expected which was good. The views from Nangkartshang were incredible. I could see up the valley towards Chhukung, down the valley towards Pangboche, as well as the trail I will be walking in the days to come. Not to mention the unreal views of Ama Dablam (6856m).
May 24 Dingboche (4360m) to Loboche (4970m) Two and three quarters hours
There are two trails that one can take to Duglha (4620m) before joining the main trail to Loboche. I took the higher trail from Dingboche. The alternative stays lower along the valley. Either trail will promise great views. The walk to Duglha was pretty easy, but the climb out of Dulgla was challenging. It felt a lot longer than it looked and took a lot longer as well. I had to climb up many large boulders and follow a path that seemed to constantly change its mind. All things considered, it was still a very short day to Loboche.
May 25 Loboche (4970m) to Gorak Shep (5160m) One and half hours. Gorak Shep (5160m) to Everest Base Camp (5360m) Three and half hours return
The climb to Gorak Shep was fairly quick and painless. I found a hotel, had second breakfast, and made my way to Everest Base Camp (EBC) . The trail up to EBC was not too bad, it basically rolled up and down before arriving to the tent city that is EBC. You can not actually see Mt Everest from EBC, however the atmosphere is rather interesting. There are tents everywhere, and people from all over the world waiting for their turn to climb the big one! There are no plants at EBC, there is simply, rocks, snow, ice, and tall, very, very tall mountains.
May 26 Gorak Shep (5160m) to Kala Pattar (5545m) Two and half hours return. Gorak Shep (5160m) to Pangboche (3860m) Four and quarter hours return
Today was the big day; the day I would get to view Mt Everest (8848m). The best view point of Everest is from Kala Pattar. The best time to get to the summit is before sunrise. I wanted to be up at 4am, however I had no alarm clock. So before I went to bed I chugged a lot of water, and set my mental alarm for 4am. So after a couple night time bathroom trips and a midnight water chug, I woke at thirty seconds after 4am, not bad eh? I started out in the dark with my headlamp for guidance. I was skeptical at the beginning because Gorak Shep was covered in cloud, but after a bit of climbing I emerged from the mist. It took me fifty-seven minutes to arrive to the summit of Kala Pattar, and let me say I could see everything. Everest is truly grand. I spent thirty minutes at Kala Pattar—which was not too fun as it was -8C and I was wearing shorts—to catch the sunrise of Mt Everest. I cannot even write what it looks like. You just have to see it for yourself. Following Kala Pattar I returned to Gorak Shep to have a proper breakfast as I had had only a few biscuits before making the climb, and then I made my way down to Pangboche.
May 27 Pangboche (3860m) to Benkar (2710m) Five and half hours
I could have flown back to Kathmandu from Lukla, but I love treking so I decided to walk back to Jiri and catch a bus. The downside: I would be walking the same route back. The upside: more trekking! It was nice to have a change, and for once go downhill. I still had to climb to Namche (3420m), but for the most part it was downhill.
May 28 Benkar (2710m) to Bupsa (2360m) Six and half hours
Today was pretty tough, I pushed hard on the climb up to Puiyan (2720m), but my reward was a fast time to Bupsa.
May 29 Bupsa (2360m) to Ringmo (2720m) Six and half hours
If I thought yesterday was tough, than today was brutal. I had a two hour descent to the Dudh Kosi River (1510m) and then a massive 1500 meter climb to the Trakshinda La (3071m) before descending to Ringmo. I ate very little on the walk today and the effects became evident towards the top of the climb. I was moving slow and to make matters more interesting it began raining. The rain didn’t bother me as it added to the epic-ness of the climb. I arrived to Ringmo exhausted.
May 30 Ringmo (2720m) to Junbesi (2680m) Three hours
After two hard days on little food I was ready for some rest. I only walked three hours and spent the rest of the day eating, resting and reading. I stayed at Hotel Namaste; it was up the hill away from the rest of Junbesi. It is the first or last—depending on walking direction—lodge you will see. It was quiet, had nice rooms, and had great and friendly service. Before leaving Ringmo I ate breakfast at 6:30am which consisted of oat porridge and a chapatti with an omlette. At 10am, upon arriving at Junbesi I had a plate of egg fried noodles. At noon I had dal bhat which consisted of two servings of everything. At 3pm I had pasta with cheese and at 6pm I had dal bhat again—and again I had two servings of everything. At this point I was stuffed, but glad. I think I would have done a hobbit proud!
May 31 Junbesi (2680m) to Kinja (1630m) Five and quarter hours
It was a 2hr climb to Lamjura La (3580m) and then a massive 1900 meter descent to Kinja. The descent was fun and went by quickly. I had planned to walk a few more hours to Bhandar, but as I was awaiting my lunch in Kinja it began raining. I figured one more chill day without cars, motor bikes, and buses would be all right. Plus Kinja was a pretty cool place to stay.
June 1Kinja (1630m) to Jiri (2100m) Eight hours
This was the eighteenth day of trekking and I was sad to be finishing, but also looking forward to some rest. It was a difficult last day as I had two fairly long climbs. Nonetheless, I made very good time to Jiri. I felt a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I finally walked into Jiri. I found a lodge, had a victory beer, watched a couple movies, and went to sleep. I loved this trek, and would gladly do it again. Trekking in Nepal is simply…well there is nothing like it. No where is the world can you trek for weeks and know at the end of the day that there is a bed and a hot dinner waiting for you. I just love the lifestyle and I love Nepal, it has so much to offer. A trek through the Nepalese Himalaya should be on everyones bucket list.
June 2 Jiri to Kathmandu via Bus
This bus ride was not as bad as the one to Jiri. I got an express bus so it stopped much less. We stopped for a lunch of dal bhat. I received my meal, but no spoon. So I did as the locals do and ate with my hands. It was fun! Once I arrived to Kathmandu I went for a victory dinner. I ordered three pizzas and the lady look at me and said "You can eat three?" I answered a very confident "Yes." I actually think I could have gone for a fourth. Now the trekking is done, I will get ready for the next phase. And that phase is called India.