We made it!
A ten point summary of the Everest Base Camp Walk
1. Cabbage, carrot and onions. I knew this marvelous concoction was coming and embraced it.
2. As a general rule in life, always give way to anything with horns.
3. We had an incredible porter-guide in Gumbu. A quiet, gentle, hardworking man of this world. Patience of a saint. The best full body laugh I have observed yet. Or at least at 4900m.
4. Sometimes weather is weird, wonderful and unpredictable. One morning we woke up to yaks half up in it in snow. This lead to a slightly treacherous, yet remarkably beautiful journey across the perilous edge of a mountain ridge.
5. 6000, 7000, 8000m peaks. I am unable to proliferate enough adjectives in order to describe the sights, sounds and feelings of being in the presence of one of the worlds most magnificent mountain ranges, having been dwarfed by some of the highest peaks in the world. It’s like trying to capture a sunset in a photo. Maybe you just need to see it for yourself.
6. Nepalese people. Some of the most kindest, resilient, wonderful people.
7. Dahl bhat. As they say dahl bhat power for 24 hours. Or something like that. It’s the national dish of choice and fuels the soul after a hefty walk.
8. Kala Patthar. My personal nemesis. Very lovely to have Michelle waiting above, to allow me to collapse on!
9. After all these years I will never get used to squat toilets.
10. Tea. Started of drinking single cuppa joes, ended with the fantastic ability to drop 4 litres in a sitting.
Altitude is king. It will let its presence be known in some way or other. It will send your heart throttling across your chest like a race car driver on a bend and simultaneously make you keel over in bouts of breathlessness. And that’s just walking to the toilet. It’s like some mad experiment where you begin your journey by breathing through a slurpy sized straw, gradually reducing, minimising, narrowing your vessel as you ascend, until you realise you are now attempting to breath through the words smallest reed. Altitude will turn your once healthy stride into half steps, granny steps, micro mini steps, a foot shuffle. Forward. Altitude can do funky things to your body systems. From blasting headaches to making you want to pee like a banshee, seemingly at times when conveniently placed boulders seem to be in short supply. Of course altitude can be so much much more dangerous then this. The only thing is to listen to it, respect it and do what it says! It is royalty after all.
We made it. If Sir Edmund Hilary was here he might have said something along the lines of “we knocked the (little) bastard off”** Or words to that effect.
One of our hardest and most rewarding days yet. We left Lobuche and made our way up to Gorek Shep, the highest camp we were to stay in on our trip. We were given the option of staying in the “new” building, which in effect was a construction site, with its two unique features being that it was colder in our room then outside and this strange humming noise that seemed to embody our room throughout the night.
After fueling up on either pasta, potatoes, noodles or rice (menus repeat themselves throughout the guesthouses, but suffice to say we were well fed on all combinations of these carbs), we ascended to Base Camp. Making it to base camp lead to a wonderful sense of euphoria and jubilation. We were met by a tangle of prayer flags flapping in the wind, interspersed with trinkets and messages left by others before us. Relief, joy, and some serious light-headed ness from completing our umpteenth obligatory star jump at the top (possibly not advisable at altitude), we started our descent.
** the first words Sir Edmund Hillary said to his friend George Lowe on returning from Everest summit were “. So we didn’t quite make it to the summit, but everyone has their everest and base camp was ours.