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 Everest Base Camp

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Derrick241
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Posts : 30
Join date : 2013-04-06
Age : 67
Location : West London

PostSubject: Everest Base Camp   Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:33 am

There was 2 of us on this hike, myself and Rebecca, 26, a Canadian girl, very fit, also a medic, and a fitness instructor

I was 62, a retired plumber and with more money than sense to even think doing this sort of thing, so much for bravado and anything YOU can do, so can I (one day I will learn to keep my mouth shut)

Well this is the story and how it went told by myself and Rebecca




Preparation's for our Tek to Everest Base Camp


(Derrick)


We went around Pokhara (Nepal) when we got there to see what kind of package deals we could get in advance.

We went to 4 or 5 places and got quotes for the 2 of us ranging from $580 USD to $3,600 USD.

The guys we talked to all tried to get us to take guides and porters with us from Kathmandu which would have meant paying for their air fares and any paying them for any extra days we would be stuck anywhere such as the airport.

The last guy from L.N Treks was different; he gave us the story straight

He told us that it was off season so it would be easy to pick up porters when we got to Lukla and that having a guide was not necessary as they didn't really add much value to the equation.

The best thing to do was buy air tickets for ourselves and get a porter when we got there and just follow the porter on the trail as a sort of guide. He was a breath of fresh air so we booked our bus tickets to Kathmandu and air tickets to Lukla with him.



DAY 1 - 1st July 2012 (Lukla 2840m to Namche Bazaar 3440m)

(Derrick)


After going to the airport at Kathmandu 4 times we finally managed to land at Lukla. On the second attempt we actually flew to Lukla but were turned back as the cloud cover was too dense for us to land.

The landing itself was an uncomfortable one as on the approach in we flew in and out of valleys on the way to the 450 metre runway that has a 12 degree slope and ends at a mountain face

However we were elated to be finally there.

We came to Lukla without booking anything in advance as we didn’t want to be paying over the odds and were determined to pay no more than half the price we were quoted at $1076, this all added to the sense of adventure.

It was the 1st of July when we landed which was very off season.

We were immediately inundated with offers for porters but we just calmly collected our bags and wandered off in direction of Lukla town with a coterie of potential porters in tow.

We stopped at a hotel for breakfast and discussed our plans for the ascent including an eight hour hike to Namche Bazaar on the first day which we were told was impossible.

We told him it was possible and that it would be happening and that he needed to get his act together if he wanted to work for us, we were setting the pace not him.

He said he would get his father to do the portering for us and his father’s English seemed ok so we told him to get the bags on his back and we would get started

They had wanted us to leave our airline tickets with them so that they could book our return flights when we were coming back down but I didn’t like the idea of surrendering them to people we barely knew and as it turned out that was a good idea.

I only gave them the ticket numbers and the phone number for AGNI airlines.

The father’s English deteriorated rapidly about two minutes into the journey and he didn’t seem keen after starting to go all the way to Namche, it was more profitably for him to break up the journey into different days as he was paid by the day at 1000 rupees.

However Rebecca and I were highly determined to get this done and cover a lot of ground each day.

The walk was pleasant and we were immediately immersed into the alpine ecosystem that characterizes the area.

There was plenty of greenery and waterfalls to behold

The bridges were of newish construction and built of metal but the maintenance was poor and several of the bolts had come loose in places.

The river that ran beneath was called the Dudh Kosi or the milky river as one guide called it because of its milky colour.

The path we were following was mirroring the valley of the Dudh Kosi.


(Rebecca)


The first few hours were lovely, nice and downhill, giving us a false sense of security. It was nice to get into the fresh air after the pollution and traffic in Kathmandu.

The first town we reached, Phakding, was met with cheers and celebrated with photographs – we thought this was going to be a walk in the park.

This is where most of the trekkers stop for their first night but Derrick and I had things to see and places to go so this was not going to do

We made it to the next main town of Monjo with no more difficulties and started on the uphill battle into Namche Bazaar.

It was a 2 hour climb up 600 meters into Namche Bazaar and we felt every single one of those meters.

It was exhausting and by the time we stopped, we were both on the verge of collapse, with our legs literally shaking as we walked into town.

As our luck would have it, there were more stairs to get to our hotel and I honestly barely made it.

At the second hotel we saw, I just stopped caring how much it cost or what it looked like and I made Derrick agree to stay.

He was pretty bitter about the showers though – they cost an extra 300 rupees.

The walls were covered in posters and t-shirts from groups that had done the trek in the past.

It was amazing to see the different countries and ages of everyone who had climbed it and it was great to think that we would be joining them in a couple of days


Day 2 - 2nd July 2012(Acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar)

(Derrick)


This was an acclimatization day. The day was very clear and the view from the room was spectacular, it was a real wow moment to see the mountains glorious presence in the near distance.

There wasn’t a lot to do but I was determined that we won’t eat at the place where we were sleeping as the guy there didn’t cut us a deal on the showers, he wanted 300 rupees per shower.

When I challenged him on this he said there was a water shortage problem and I just laughed in his face. Outside the door a little further down was a raging river, there was plenty of water on offer here and there was no shortage.

As a result he lost out on roughly 4000 rupees worth of food revenue; it was gratifying to teach him a lesson in basic economics

Our porter from the previous day told us he couldn’t carry on any further as his leg was hurting.

I felt he saw how serious we were about getting this done and pawned the job to someone he called his brother so that he could spare his lungs for another day.

The old porter wanted two days pay for his efforts for the day before but I said no chance and we paid him just for the two days we had him including the rest day and that we would pay the new guy from tomorrow.

(Rebecca)

I didn’t know it at the time, but this rest day was going to be the best day of the whole trip.

I woke up to an amazing view of Namche Bazaar from the hotel window.

The sun was shining and you could actually see mountains peeking out from behind the clouds. It was beautiful

Unfortunately, because they didn’t close the door to the hotel, it was also absolutely freezing. After the heat of Pakistan and India, the cold came as a bit of a surprise.

As we were heading out for breakfast, our porter came by the hotel complaining of a foot injury.

He had mentioned it briefly the day before but hadn’t seemed to think it would affect him on our trek.

Apparently Derrick and I were too fast and crazy for him and he wouldn’t be able to continue on with us.

He handed us over to his "brother" to take us the rest of the way and already we were one porter down.

We spent the day acclimatising and resting after the massive hike of the previous day.

We headed for dinner at another restaurant that evening and Derrick ordered a baked potato

Instead, he got ten boiled potatoes on a plate – I have never seen a man look so happy. It was the happiest I would see him all week.


Day 3 – 3rd July 2012 (Namche Bazaar 3440m to Pangboche 3930m)

(Derrick)


We met the new porter in the morning and he packed our bags together and off we went.

In the first five minutes he took a couple of breaks and I started to have doubts about this guy’s fitness.

He told me he had been up to base camp over 80 times.

He spoke good English and was younger than the first guy so we kept going


(Rebecca)

Getting out of Namche Bazaar was awful. We had a 20 minute climb up the stairs to get to the trail. The porter was already taking breaks and Derrick and I were a little bit wary of this new guy.

Derrick power-walked his way for a couple of hours (with me puttering behind) to Phungi Tenga before another climb slowed us down again.

We had just come down about 250m and now we had to climb back up another 600m.

I don’t know why they don’t just build a bridge over the valley – it would be much easier for us trekkers.

We made it up the hill and into Tengboche and had tea in a restaurant overlooking the famous monastery.

We ended up waiting for our porter to catch up for ages and our doubts about him increased as it started to rain

From there, we continued on to a town called Pangboche.

We thought it was going to be an easy leg of the trek but, as always, we were mistaken and it was much steeper and longer than anticipated.

I got to talking to the porter for a bit and he explained that many hotels offer cheap rates but will charge more if the patrons eat elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I did not explain this to Derrick and he got a wee bit angry with the porter and the hotel.

This is where the relationship with the porter started to strain.

Luckily, Derrick went and found us a hotel run by a lovely little family.

We spent the evening studying the map and figuring out where we wanted to go the next day.

Our original plan was to take it slow and do a 3 hour hike into Dingboche, which was only 400m higher than Pangboche

Of course, Derrick wasn’t satisfied with this and thought that we could cut off another day and go to Lobuche, a town that was 1000m higher.

I was up for anything and wanted to see how fast we could do this trek so I agreed.

There is literally nothing to do up on the mountain so Derrick and I had another early night.

I put on my thermals, my toque, gloves and 2 duvets and managed to finally get warm enough to fall asleep.

(Derrick)

We passed through the famous monastery at Tengboche which looked impressive even though according to the lodge owner across the road there were only two monks there now.

The lodge owner was cleaning up a bin that a horse had knocked over and when I offered to help it said he could do it himself “slowly slowly”

I should have let that message sink in other ways as well as I would learn later.

The place was absolutely still and my mind could barely comprehend the silence, part of me wanted to experience it but another part of me thought it eerie and alien.

I met some people that had just come down from the Italian Research Centre and had wanted to ask them what kind of research they were doing up there but they had moved off before I had a chance to ask.

At Pangboche we were directed to a lodge by the porter who told us it was 100 rupees a night or 1000 rupees if we didn’t eat at this particular lodge.

I was outraged at this as I thought he was trying to scam us and told him he was insulting us, he wasn’t happy with my reaction.

I went down the road and booked us into another lodge for 100 rupees

I asked the porter to bring down the bags but he just sat down and started drinking tea so I came back up and brought them down myself.

I found out later that it was common practice to charge more for a bed if you didn’t eat in the same place as you slept so I calmed down quickly.

He had explained this to Rebecca before we arrived but he hadn’t to me and therefore failed to manage the situation and me better.

The new place was nice and the people were friendly so we settled in for the night.

There was a picture of a guy on the wall called Reinhold Messner who it turned out was the first person to climb Everest without oxygen.

I watched a bit of BBC World News which was about the only familiar thing in a whole different world up there.

Everything started to get more expensive up here, 250 rupees for a coke, and 200 rupees for a bottle of water


Day 4 - 4th July 2012 (Pangboche 3930m to Lobuche 4910m)

(Derrick)


The porter showed up in the morning and we told him that we wanted to go to Lobuche.

He starts protesting that that was covering 3 camps and that he would only go one camp at a time.

I returned to my room for a minute, thought about it, went back out and handed him a day’s wages and shook his hand.

I could tell by his body language that he was shocked.

I went to the owners of the lodge and requested a new porter and one was duly produced 20 minutes later.

He had no English but seemed like a good prospect and he was willing to go to Lobouche and so off we went

He made the other porter look like a lazy sod; this guy was half the size of the last and was twice as fast.

He had to slow down for us even though he had 25 kilos on his back. I felt like we were onto a winner here.

The weather is very changeable up here, one minute the sun is shining then its misting over and raining and vice versa.

There was less greenery now and things looked a lot harsher with lots of boulders, sand and gravel prevalent around the place.

It was a forbidding scene and there was a tug of war going on inside as to whether it was beautifully crafted magnificence or a barren, desolate and dangerous place.

There was very few plants to speak of and just odd bird hard enough to make a living up here.

When made it as far as Thokla at 4620m I started to feel the effects of rising too fast

I started to get a headache, tingling, nausea and other symptoms of altitude sickness.

However we had a plan and we were going to get to Lobouche no matter what so we pressed on.

When we arrived in Lobouche it was with mixed feelings, whatever feelings of desolation I had further down were magnified here.

It was completed isolated; it was raining and very cold.

The porter brought us into a lodge that stank of kerosene and at this stage I was short of breath and the headache was getting worse so I asked Rebecca to go down to another lodge and see if they had rooms which they did so we moved down.

There were two guys there playing cards and they almost seemed indifferent to us and were far more interested in the game than us.

This was not the kind of reception you want when you are undertaking a journey like this

We got two rooms and put our stuff in them.

At this stage I was wondering if I should go back down as I was feeling really ill, but it was such an effort to get here that I stayed put afraid that if I went back I might never get a chance to come back up.

We went to the dining area and sat down with menus waiting for service but the guys just continued playing cards.

I asked them if they were serving food and got ambiguous answers so I went over to their table and ordered some food from them.

Unbelievably they continued to play cards for another 10 minutes at which point I went over and told them to get their act together and start cooking.

It would probably been better if we went somewhere else as after the meal I had I was running to the toilet for a few days

It was something else to handle with the altitude sickness which was getting worse.

There was nothing to do in the lodges except put on as much clothes as you could and cover yourself with as many blankets as possible and go to bed waiting the 12 or more hours until morning.

The staff in most of the places we went had no real customer skills and kept a very respectable distance from the guests.

Nearly all the lodges we stayed at we were the only guests.

The lights in the rooms were really poor so reading was out of the question and on more than one occasion when I asked for a towel to dry off I was handed a filthy soaking rag from the kitchen which I politely declined.

That night was the worst, I was twisting and turning, the headache was pounding in my head and at one point early on I thought that someone was banging something outside but it was all inside my head

Tears started streaming down my face and I started to question everything I was doing.

I started to think it was crazy to come up so far so fast and that I would have to go down in the morning and send Rebecca on up with the porter.

Rebecca had given me a Diamox tab and somehow later on I fell asleep.

I didn’t want to tell Rebecca how bad I was feeling that night as she would call an air ambulance or something, I would wait until morning and decide.

(Rebecca)

The next morning, we woke up excited to start on our big day up to Lobuche.

Our porter came to the hotel at 8am to get our bags and we told him what our plans were

He just said no.

He said it counted as more than one camp so we would have to pay him more and that we would get altitude sickness if we went up that fast.

I didn’t see any other option so I resigned myself to the fact that we would only be going to Dingboche that day.

Derrick, however, had other plans.

He insisted that the porter take us and when the porter continued to refuse,

Derrick handed him 1000 rupees and said he could go home.

I was shocked. I hoped Derrick knew that I had no intention of carrying my huge rucksack up to Base Camp and I hoped he had a better plan.

Luckily, the family that owned the hotel had asked us the night before if we needed a porter and Derrick had said no.

Now he went and asked them if they knew a porter we could hire

Twenty minutes later, this little man with a baby face and squinty eyes walked into the hotel. He didn’t speak a word of English and looked like he weighed less than me – I was somewhat skeptical.

This skepticism did not last long.

Our new porter was amazing.

He had put a blue tarp over our bags and he was just a blue dot in the distance that we followed.

In the first hour I started to feel the effects of the altitude for the first time.

I could feel my breaths getting shorter and my legs tiring faster;

I ended up just finding a rhythm and putting one foot in front of the other.

As we reached the outskirts of Pheriche, we ran into a couple of girls that had just been to Base Camp and Kala Patthar

They were the first ones we had met that had done it and it was great to hear about their experience.

They had taken their time getting up there as both had dealt with a bit of altitude sickness.

They said they felt alright getting to Base Camp but Kala Patthar was incredibly difficult and you could feel the thinness of the air.

It showed us what to expect and I started to think that if they can do it, so can I.

We felt good going up out of Pheriche but it was another difficult climb into the next town of Thokla.

I found it difficult but that was nothing compared to Derrick.

He was hurting when we got to Thokla and needed to lie down before he could go any further.

If I had known how badly he was feeling, I would have insisted we stay there for the night and not go any further

However, he only told me he was feeling a bit lightheaded and was good to go after a brief break.

It was yet another climb to get into Lobuche.

We scrambled up 200m off rocks while the fog rolled in and we could barely see 10 feet in front of our faces.

The fog mixed with the silence and remoteness of the mountain created an eerie and almost creepy atmosphere.

I couldn’t wait to get to the shelter of our hotel in Lobuche. Clearly, Derrick couldn’t wait either.

I could see him starting to struggle and slow down as we kept moving further up the mountain.

Our porter took us to one hotel in Lobuche but the smell of kerosene was so overwhelming that is was clear we couldn’t stay there.

I let Derrick rest while I went to find another hotel we could stay at.

The service wasn’t exactly great – I had to wait for 2 kids to finish up their game of cards before they would even show me a room.

But it was better than the last place and I could see that Derrick desperately needed a place to lie down so we stayed there.

I managed to convince him to eat some dinner (potatoes….surprise, surprise) and gave him a Diamox to help with the altitude sickness.

After that we each went to our separate rooms to go to bed.

I had no idea how awful Derrick was actually feeling at that point and had I known, I would have had to get him down to a lower altitude.


Day 5 - 5th July 2012 (Lobuche 4910m to Everest Base Camp 5364m)

(Derrick)


In the morning I woke up and felt ok and I let out a massive sigh of relief, I wouldn’t have to go back down but I was still wary of going further but that didn’t stop me

At this stage our appetites were starting to disappear and the food from the night before felt like it was sitting there, I just had a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Rebecca was sun burnt from the day before even though it was misting and raining for most of the day,

I looked at myself and saw that I was burnt as well.

We got to Gorak Shep at 5140m a few hours after starting off where we dropped our bags.

Amazingly the guy there gave us a welcome cup of tea which was a big departure from the stern and rigid fellows we had met up to now.

We didn’t stop long; we had about two hours trekking to get to our objective which of course was base camp.

I could hear the chipping of stones as I had heard many times before on the journey.

They build their own bricks up here and anywhere there is a new build going on you will hear an almost musical chipping accompanying it

Our expectations of what to expect were managed by an American couple we had met on the way down when they told us there was nothing there except a big boulder.

I’m glad they did that as I was expecting a hive of activity and lots of stories of adventures.

It was great when we got there as we could see huge glaciers coming down the valley from the direction of Everest, they were magical looking and everywhere on the way up we could hear little landslides or what seemed like titanic forces grinding against each other.

On our side of the valley it looked as if any of the precariously perched rocks high up could tumble down at a moment’s notice so I kept an eye on them as we ventured swiftly along.

This place seemed like crafted carnage; like what hell might be but it was also like nothing I had ever seen before.

This was nature in its rawest form

Rebecca broke out a can of beer and celebrated the occasion.

The porter pointed in the direction of Everest when we asked where it was but we couldn’t see it due to the clouds, mist, fog or whatever it was in the way.

We didn’t stay long as the weather was inhospitable and made our way back the way we had come.

The porter had been swinging from a water bottle with what looked like tea but I got a sniff of something that seemed a bit stronger but it barely registered with me at the time.

I managed a garlic soup back at Gorak Shep before going to bed after taking another Amoxin.

It was another long night to get through till morning when we would tackle Kala Patthar.

It was hard to drink water or eat any food; nothing would stay in very long before it would be ejected

(Rebecca)

We woke up to the rain pouring down and our porter waiting to take our bags.

We were going to Base Camp today!

We went down for breakfast only to find out that I had no appetite left and the thought of food made me sick.

I had half an omelette and it was the only solid food I would eat for the next 2 days.

We pulled on all of our rain proof gear and set out for the next town, Gorak Shep.

The rain gear did not last and before long, the sun came out and we were layering down again.

I got down to my shorts and found that, despite the fog and rain,

I had still managed to get sun burnt the day before.

I would have to battle that awkward tan line on my calves for weeks to come

The hike that morning wasn’t too bad and we even ran into a couple of people coming back from Base Camp.

There was an American couple that had gone the previous day (they told us not to expect much at Base Camp) and they were thrilled to see other people on the mountain.

No flights had made it into Lukla for 5 days until we went so it was virtually deserted.

We made it our hostel in Gorak Shep and dropped our bags before heading off to Base Camp.

The first part of the trek was great. We could see the glacier to the right of us and could constantly hear pieces of ice falling into the lakes below.

After a while we stopped for a break and I started to feel the altitude.

I felt awful

I was lightheaded, dizzy and nauseas.

For the first time, I was not actually sure I would make it to Base Camp at all. Derrick was hurting as well but we kept going

We sure as hell weren’t going to turn back now that we were so close.

Finally we rounded a corner and climbed a last little slope to get to the big boulder that represented Base Camp.

What a relief! It felt amazing to finally get there and we celebrated with lots of pictures.

I was even offered a sip out of the porter’s water bottle, but I refused. I had my own drink to get down.

I had carried an Everest beer with me all the way up the mountain so I could shotgun it at Base Camp.

My brother and his friend, Blake, had said they would never speak to me again if I made it all that way and did not shotgun a beer

It was the most painful shotgun of my life and it certainly didn’t help me feel any better but I did it and Derrick got the photographic evidence for me.

And then….it was all over.

I took one last picture and we walked away.

It was a much longer hike on the way back, not helped at all by the pelting rain that was soon coming down.

The ponchos that Derrick and I bought were proving themselves very useful.

And the rumour we heard that it does not rain above 3000m was proving to be very false.

We made it back to Gorak Shep and I warmed up with some soup and hot chocolate before heading up to bed.

I also started back up on Diamox to curb some of the altitude sickness symptoms I was feeling

We were going to get up at 5 to head up to Kala Patthar to hopefully get a glimpse of the elusive Everest Mountain.

Unfortunately, along with my appetite, it never happened

I had also lost my ability to sleep at that altitude.

I lay awake in my freezing cold room until 4:30 finally came.


Day 6 - 6th July 2012 (Gorek Shep 5140m to Kala Patthar 5550m to Pheriche 4240m)

(Derrick)


Mercifully the altitude sickness was nothing as bad as it had been and I knew I was alright to try Kala Patthar.

I had asked the porter and the guy at the lodge the night before what time was best to ascend, the porter said 3am and the lodge guy said 5am and I listened to the lodge guy as he spoke English and I presumed he knew what he was talking about as he must deal with this thing all the time.

So at 5 am, we began our ascent and the morning was crystal clear and the views were amazing

This ascent would take 2 hours but it was 400 metres up over a short length so it was little steps very slowly with lots of beaks along the way.

This was to be the crowning moment of the physical challenge as after this it was back down which would be easier on us or so we thought.

Our view was quickly obliterated by the mist and as we got higher little flakes of snow starting falling.

When we got to the top visibility was much reduced and again we were denied a view of Everest but still the feeling of achievement was palpable as was the sense of relief that we could now descend.

I was particularly happy as I was sure I would not make it any further than Lobouche when I was there and thought of not meeting my objectives was anathema to me.

However I learnt in my life that health is wealth and it should never be traded for any objective and the fact that I had come through by the skin of my teeth made the sense of accomplishment all the better

When we got back to Gorek Shep I had a coffee, as I couldn’t contemplate anything else.

My appetite still wasn’t there.

We began the trek to Pheriche.

We met different people on the way that we had met at the airport for the few days, they we were stuck there.

They all seemed to be congregating at Lobouche around the same time and were taking things a little easier than us.

I thought it would have been nice to have had some company on the way up to trade stories and knowledge with different people and make the nights shorter and maybe we shouldn’t have done it so fast but that was our natural instinct at the time we took our decisions.

The trek to Pheriche was long and arduous we were drenched by the time we got there 8 hours later

This lodge wasn’t as dingy and inhospitable as some of the others further up and we managed to find some reading materials that kept us occupied for a couple of hours.

However the cold soon got the better of me and I went to bed after managing some fried vegetable noodles.


(Rebecca)

After a sleepless night we bundled up and headed up to the top of Kala Patthar.

It was exhausting.

It was 2 hours of hiking straight uphill over rocks and through a snow covered trail.

At the start we had a beautiful view of the mountains behind us but after a short while, the clouds and fogs rolled in and it started to snow; we could barely see where we were going, let alone see Mt Everest.

We passed through a memorial of rock statues and plaques to the men and women who had died while climbing Everest.

Finally, after two agonizing hours, we made it to the top….and saw nothing. It was completely white and foggy and Everest was nowhere to be seen.

After a couple of minutes and the requisite celebratory photos, Derrick and I started to make our way down

Just our luck, the sky started to clear up as we neared Gorak Shep again but we certainly were not prepared to climb back up to get a view.

We made it back to the hostel for a hot chocolate before we were on our way and finally heading down.

We got a beautiful, sunny sky as we started our hike.

On our way down, we ran into a South African school we had seen at the airport (they had hired a helicopter to get to the mountain) and the Irish/Welsh couple we had bonded with over the 4 days we spent trying to reach Lukla.

It was great to run into people we recognized and we were sad we weren’t spending the night in the same place so we could catch up (later we were glad we were so fast getting up and down because they all ended up getting stuck in Lukla for days).

As we made it past Lobuche, the wind started picking up and the fog started to roll in again; it got so cold.

We clambered over rocks to get back down to Thokla then braved a sketchy looking bridge to cross the raging river to get back down to Pheriche.

The walk into Pheriche was almost unbearable; we were already so exhausted from all the hiking we’d done that day and then it started to rain and hail down on us
.
After barely eating for 2 days, it took everything we had to keep going and make it to our hostel.

But we finally did make it, just as the rain let up.

I went and put my thermals on to warm up then met Derrick in the dining room for our first real meal in days.

It was great to finally see him feeling a bit better.

We had some dinner and spent the evening reading the magazines we found and basking in the glory of reaching Base Camp.

We ran into a mother and daughter at the hostel as well – they were hiking up to Base Camp for the 3rd time and were trying to figure out why they were doing it again.

The girl was still quite young and said she had climbed to Base Camp for the first time at the age of 10.

Ridiculous!

I was so impressed….but not impressed enough to stay up late

So I soon excused myself and headed to bed to warm myself up and get some sleep after a long day.


Day 7 - 7th July 2012 (Pheriche 4240m to Namche Bazaar 3440m)

(Derrick)


In the morning I ordered apple and muesli and was soon picking the apple out as it tasted very suspect.

I should have known better than to expect any fresh fruit up here in the off season.

The day was beautiful when we set off and I enjoyed the views as I went along.

There were locals coming up before us carrying huge loads of goods on their backs.

The ones that particularly stood out were the young guys carrying 10 long planks of wood on their backs which one porter estimated could weigh up to 120 kilos.

This was literally back breaking work, the guys doing it were completely miserable as they were hunched over carrying huge loads up massive inclines.

I started to feel angry about the way these people were living such a brutal existence.

My mind flashed back to the 20/30 idle helicopters back at Kathmandu airport and why they weren’t being utilised to help the communities here.

In my whole time in the Himalayas I met lovely people but there were just as many stony faced ones that had reconciled themselves to this severe form of survival.

They seemed to think us invisible and would only look at or speak to the porter, however I felt the same when I saw a bunch of people coming and would gravitate to the westerners at the expense of the locals.

This part of the trip was when I started going to the toilet every 10 minutes on the way down which was a real nuisance and I figured that I must have picked up a UTI along the way.

Later at Namche we got talking to a med student who said that Diamox was originally used as a peeping drug which made sense but it hadn’t affected Rebecca in the same way.

When we arrived in Pangboche I went back to the hotel where we had slept and hired the present porter to return the key I had accidentally taken.

They had no idea it was gone, that’s how slow business was.

Our porter disappeared and the lodge owner told us it was to get fresh clothes.

The lodge owner asked us how the porter was getting on and we said we were happy.

I had told Rebecca that I was going to give him a healthy tip as he was doing a sterling job.

He seemed to be taking a long time to change his clothes so the lodge owner suggested we walk on and that he would catch up.

I thought it was odd but just presumed he was dealing with some family crisis and would be along soon.

Rebecca was very concerned that he hadn’t caught up with us by Namche and I was also concerned.

We started to brainstorm why he was late and what would happen if he didn’t show.

We watched out for 3 hours as we had to intercept him when he came down the path as he didn’t know where we were staying in Namche.

Rebecca finally saw him walking down the path and I rushed out to stop him.

He looked at me blankly when I called him which I thought was odd,

I was pretty annoyed with him as he had caused us a lot of anxiety in the meantime.

He came to the door of the Hotel Tibet and as he put the bags down there was a stench of drink off him so then it was clear what happened.

The bags were soaking wet as he hadn’t put the plastic cover over so I said to the lodge owner to tell him we wouldn’t be using him any further.

At this point Rebecca who only moments early was in a very worried state over her bag and what the evil porter had done with it had a change of heart and starting pleading his case.

In any case the lodge owner came back and said the porter didn’t want to go any further so I paid him 2 thousand rupees and he disappeared off into the night.

I was disappointed in him as I thought he was by far the best porter we had.

We asked the hew hotel to get us a porter and when they produced a new guy demanding 2 thousand to Lukla I thought it was too much as we had only been paying half that up to now per day but in retrospect we should have just used him.

Later we went out into the rain to try to get another one without much success and resolved to go to bed and try again in the morning.



(Rebecca)


We woke up to an amazing day; clear, blue skies and a beautiful view of the mountains to start us off. It was a great start to the day and we made it to Pangboche in very good time.

Here, Derrick and I stopped for a drink and our porter stopped to see his family, as this was his hometown.

He ended up taking a long time catching up with his family and told the hotel owner to tell us that he would catch up if we wanted to go on without him.

Derrick and I knew how fast he was so we had no qualms about this and continued on our way.

The hike back to Tengboche was a lot longer and harder than I remembered but eventually we made it back to the famous monastery.

We stopped here for a few minutes to see if the porter would catch up but soon continued on when there was no sign of him.

We trekked downhill for an hour and a half before we had to start going back uphill again.

I did not remember that much downhill on our trek up. It was a beautiful trek but in my exhausted state,

I didn’t really notice.

It just seemed like the trek would never end and we would never reach Namche Bazaar.

Corner after corner, and bend after bend, the trail just kept going.

It was nearly nine hours after we left Pheriche when we finally made our way down the steps into Namche Bazaar.

We waited outside for our porter for about an hour before it started to get cold and Derrick insisted that we find a hotel.

We found one right by the path into Namche so we could keep an eye out for our porter.

Another hour and a half passed while we ate and I really started to freak out.

Our porter had never taken this long and the thought of losing my bag made me sick.

I was absolutely livid and Derrick and I were brainstorming reasons he would be taking so long.

Finally, 3 hours after we had gotten there and after it had started to rain, our porter stumbled by on the path and I yelled for Derrick to go out and grab him.

Derrick pulled him back into the hotel and it only took on whiff of him to realize why he had taken so long.

He was wasted; absolutely wet wig drunk out of his mind.

He couldn’t even see straight.

Derrick was furious and was ready to fire him right away.

I was just so relieved to have my bag back that I was fully prepared to forgive his baby face and use him for one last day. Derrick disagreed.

In the end it didn’t matter because he refused to go any farther anyway.

We were, once again, porter-less.

We tried to find another porter that night but they all wanted 2000 rupees for one day and we weren’t willing to pay that much yet.

Derrick said he would try again in the morning but if he couldn’t find anyone, we would just have to carry our own bag.

This terrified me and I desperately wanted to find a porter.

Day 8 - 8th July 2012 (Namche Bazaar 3440m to Lukla 2840m)


(Derrick)


I tried again in the morning but just ended up in a house with a bunch of dodgy guys that I wouldn’t trust with my rubbish never mind our bags.

I just got up and walked out of there in the middle of the negotiations.

I told Rebecca we had to carry our own bags and we set off for Monjo which was about 2 hours away. It was a steep descent out of Namche but we managed it ok.

When we got to Monjo we hired another porter and set off again.

He was annoying to say the least but I was willing to put up with that if we didn’t have to carry our own bags and it turned out to be an 8 hour trek so I was happy that we had got him.

We passed some cows on the way down that were bring used to carry food stuffs up the mountain and I thought that this was a better way of transporting goods.

When we got to Lukla we were so happy, the hotel had wifi and good food and we took full advantage of both.

Slept soundly that night apart from the in rush of rats across the roof of my hotel room at about 9:45am but they soon settled in as well and all was quiet.


(Rebecca)

We had no luck with the porter situation so we had to carry our own bags.

If I had known I would have ended up carrying my own bag, I probably would have packed a lot less. It was heavy!

Luckily, it was all downhill to start with and we made it to Monjo without too many difficulties.

Here, we managed to hire another porter and again we set off.

Thank god we hired a porter when we did because there was a lot of uphill on the way out of Monjo.

Our new porter took a lot of breaks and I doubt he would have lasted more than one day with us.

He pointed out all kinds of plants and vegetation on the way; normally I would have been interested but I was so exhausted that I really didn’t care and I just wanted to get to Lukla.

For the last two hours, we wore our ponchos and trekked through the pouring rain but I didn’t even care at that point.

I could not wait to get warm and get back to Kathmandu.

Finally, we reached our lovely hostel in Lukla. It was run by a little family and they were very welcoming and kept the place warm and cosy.

I managed to check my email for the first time in a week and caught up on a Cosmo magazine from 1998.

I had my first shower in 6 days and it felt amazing to clean off all the dirt and sweat that had accumulated in that time.

It was the best shower I’ve ever had.

Then Derrick and I each had 2 dinners to celebrate our appetites coming back and didn’t go to bed until 9:45 – our latest night thus far on the mountain.


Day Nine -9th July 2012 (Lukla 2840m to Kathmandu 1400m)

(Derrick)

We had managed to ring ahead from Namche to book our flights so that took the pressure off doing everything today.

We were hoping that the notorious weather wouldn’t strike again and we’d be left for days here.

However the planes soon started landing and we were looking forward to getting to Kathmandu.

I started talking to a guide at the airport and asked him for a quote to go all the way to the top and he said 35,000 USD of which 25,000 of this was for the permit.

According to him only 150 people make it up each year and about 7 to 8 people die on the way each year.

I thought that this was a pretty exclusive club and it must be an amazingly mental and physical challenge.

He said it would take 50 to 60 day to complete the whole thing.

I told Rebecca the news but she had read so many horror stories about Everest ascents that she would never do it but I had already started to think “What if”

We arrived back in Kathmandu and it felt like we had been away much longer and there was a sense of relief to be back.

We had definitely achieved something.


(Rebecca)

I slept through my alarm but luckily still managed to wake up in time to pack my bag and get ready to fly back to Kathmandu.

My hotel room looked right out onto the Lukla airport and gave us a beautiful view of the mountains in the clear morning sky.

We made our way to the airport and were thrilled when planes from Kathmandu started to land.

Before long, we boarded our plane and managed to get front row seats to see the take-off.

The planes take off just before a cliff drop so it was another stressful moment.

It was a smooth flight with a beautiful view of the mountains most of the way.

But what a relief it was to land in Kathmandu! Derrick and I were so happy to be back at sea –level and I actually started to appreciate the humidity of Kathmandu.

It took us 8 days, 4 trips to the airport, 4 porters, and all of our energy but we had actually made it to Base Camp.

What an amazing feeling


........................................................................................................................................................................................................


That is about it, I did have thoughts about doing the Everest 'thing' but common sense has prevailed, I just wouldnt make it, I know that is defeatist talk, but I think I am being realistic, maybe 20-30 years ago, I wouldnt have hesitated and gone for it

But the trek to base camp was hard enough, I dont think I could cope with the altitude now (until you have had altitude sickness you dont know what its like, I could only try and describe it), everything is hard to do, you have a raging headache, your eyes dont function, very hard to focus, then the feelings of dread, you have no idea of what is scaring you, your legs feel as if you are wearing diving boots, your pack has increased in weight by a factor of 5, you get severe depreesion, you feel sick, but you cant eat or drink, you sleep but it feels like you have been awake all night, you are tired, drained, putting on boots can take 15 minutes, you need help getting your pack on your back, you cant think straight

Altitude sickness is awful

It is an horrible feeling, but the pills do help, they give you a 'high'

Would I do it again ? No chance, I'll buy a post card and see Everest on that lol!
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Derrick241
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PostSubject: Re: Everest Base Camp   Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:19 am

Lukla Airport




Rebecca



Heavy loads, everything bought up here is either on someones back or by a yak






A Yow (a cross between a yak and a cow)



they didnt make it



Its up there somewhere !!!


A good way to celebrate the end of the climb



rebecca jumps for joy, the end of the trek



We thought this was Everest, it wasnt

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PostSubject: Re: Everest Base Camp   Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:56 am

Again, another incredible experience. I was knackered just reading about it, so wouldn't want to tackle it personally ... although the Everest beer nearly swayed me! However, can can understand why folk would want to attempt it, it's one hell of a personal challenge. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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