Tag Archives: Everest Base Camp

Day 13+ Where am I now?

Las Vegas
2001 ft/609m

I’m two years overdue writing this final post. Though I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on this trip it’s taken me this long to get myself to sit down and share it. Here’s why: the experience led to great revelation but not necessarily to great change, and I find that embarrassing. Bear with me for a minute and I’ll explain.

Before this trip I didn’t know anything about Nepal and never desired to visit. But a friend of ours who’d done the trek before extended an invitation and my husband was enthralled by the idea. I was scared, as I usually am by international travel. I always imagine that a coup will break out or traffickers will slip drugs into my bag at the airport and I’ll end up in jail. (I never should have watched Brokedown Palace.) But I agreed to the trip and figured I’d turn it into an opportunity for motivation and growth. I’d been needing to get to the doctor for a checkup, which this trip required, and I wanted to address a longtime issue that’s worsened year by year: anxiety.

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Day 10: Pheriche to Namche Bazaar

11/16/2015
Pheriche 4371m/14340 ft.
Namche Bazaar 3446m/11270 ft.
19km, 11.8 miles, 7-8 hours hike time

Unfortunately I was awake and coughing for a lot of the night in Pheriche and I was horrified to hear that I kept our neighbors awake too. They offered me cough suppressant the next morning. I felt terrible doing this but I declined since Ryan had told me it was best to just let all these mountain maladies work through your system. It’s faster, he said, when you don’t take a lot of meds that suppress but prolong the symptoms.

We’d decided to head to Namche Bazaar in one day so we could have an extra day there to relax. The trail is mostly downhill, but there’s a lot of distance to cover. We’d done this stretch in two days on the way up to help deal with acclimatizing.

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Day 9: Kala Patthar (we made it!)

11/15/2015
Gorak Shep 5164m/16942 ft.
Summit of Kala Patthar 5643m/18514 ft.

Kala Patthar is brown, snow covered Pumori behind, Gorak Shep bottom right corner Image: Nepal-dia

From Everest BaseCamp you can’t actually see Mt. Everest, it’s blocked by smaller, closer peaks. The only place for a rookie like me to get a good look at the peak – besides a distant view from Namche Bazaar – is by climbing a ridge above Gorak Shep called Kala Patthar. This is really the goal of this trek but since nobody has heard of Kala Patthar it’s just easier to say you’re going to EBC.

Kala Patthar is just a small peak, too small to qualify as a mountain, and it’s part of a ridge up to the mountain Pumori. The “summit” is 18,500 feet but we started from 16,900 feet at Gorak Shep, so it’s a steep 1,500-foot climb that takes 90-120 minutes. Many people leave pre-dawn to catch the sunrise over Everest but, after a long day yesterday we decided to sleep in. We left at 6am.

Last night was quietly joyful as we reveled in our success and also worried a bit about our friend who was on oxygen. You definitely notice the altitude here through the cold, dry air and a slight headache. It was no surprise that the bedroom here was the coldest yet. I so wished I could just curl up by the wood stove in the dining room. Even though I was in the habit getting into my sleeping bag before changing into the long johns I slept in I was still shivering. I used my clothes and jackets as a makeshift blanket on top of my bag.

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Day 8: Lobuche to Gorak Shep to Base Camp

11/14/2015
Lobuche: 4930m/16175 ft.
Gorak Shep 5164m/16942 ft.
Base Camp 5360m/17650 ft.
6-8km, 4-6 miles, 7 hours hike time

Terrain: A steady sloping up on a rocky trail that alternates between valleys and hillsides.

A fun surprise for us at Lobuche as we reconnected with two team members who’d split off at Namche wanting to move faster and skip Base Camp on their way to climb Lobuche peak. It was fun to catch up and hear that they’d made their goal and were safe and sound.

The teahouse was the most crowded yet, not unlike a Colorado ski lodge during spring break. I noted the ratio of women to men, probably in the range of 4 to 1, and most people looked like serious climbers. I suspect this must be a launch point for expeditions to many of the nearby peaks. Continue reading

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Day 5: Deboche to Dingboche

11/11/2015
Deboche: 3867m/12687 ft.
Dingboche: 4410m/14468 ft.
9km, 5.5 miles, 6.5 hours hike time

Terrain: Much of the trail follows along the side of the mountains offering gorgeous views of mountains and valleys. Flat, with a gradual upward slope. The crowds thinned out a bit.

It was a quick night at Deboche and I was restless and ill. Up and down between bed and meals, cold in the room but hot in the dining area, back and forth to the bathroom, which was not a pleasant place to be sick.

The next morning four members of our team turned around to head back down the hill. The full trip was long – 21 days – and some people couldn’t take that much time away. We’d started the trip with 21 people and now we were down to 11. Both Jagat and Tricia (TFK’s Ops Director) were leaving, along with two fun-loving guys we’d enjoyed. This made the group a bit more intimidating since there were now only two others who weren’t fairly serious climbers. Continue reading

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