A Trek that Takes the Breath Away

Gazing at the Everest from base camp is the reward for an oxygen challenged climb

Published: 07th July 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2019 11:31 PM   |  A+A-

View at Everest Base Camp

Express News Service

Garbage aside, Mount Everest is the holy grail of mountaineers. The trek to Base Camp (EBC, 5,350 mts) is a close second. Definitely tough and challenging, the spectacular view of the Everest from various points and heights, after the victorious joy of scaling EBC is the ultimate Himalayan reward. The trek begins from Lukla where the first phase is boarding a flight from Kathmandu. Lukla Airport (Tenzing- Hillary Airport) at 2,845 mts is Nepal's smallest airport and also one of the world's most dangerous.  

Since weather conditions at Lukla keep changing due to high wind or rain, flights are often delayed or cancelled. With such eccentric weather in mind, a couple of buffer days on the itinerary is advisable. At least a one day stay at Lukla to get acclimatised is recommended. The tickets to treks in Sagarmatha National Park where the Everest is situated are available at Lukla. The first day of the trek seems easier though it takes an up and down walk for 5-6 hours to reach Phakding (2,600 mts). The tea houses here charge nominal rates to stay over. 

The trek from Phakding to Monjo and then further on to Namache Bazar (3,450 mts) is a lungful of effort dueto the amount of effort required to climb up. Walking slowly with short rests in between is the only way to move forward. The effort is worth it. The mesmerising beauty of the Himalayas or Kumbhu (local name) accompanies the traveller along the way. 

The milky white gigantic river Dudhkosi lies on the trail to the bazar. Namche is the capital of Kumbhu region. All trekking gear, boots, medicines in this area are available here. One hour hikes at Sherpa Cultural Museum and Khunde Hospital founded by Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man who scaled Mount Everest is a high for climbing buffs. The eight km long hike to  Tengboche (3, 850mts) lasts between six to eight hours and is extremely painful due to its steepness. Tengboche has the oldest Buddhist monastery in the area and the sight of monks in their rimson robes are customary. Six kilometres ahead at Dingboche (4,350 mts) signs of terrace farming appear.

The next station is the  even steeper Lobuche (4,950 mts). The next acclimatisation stop is either Dingboche or Lobuche;  not exactly trek highlights since the journey to Gorakshep (5,150 mts) is tough and monotonous. After the earthquake of 2015, the trail has faded—tread carefully. Shepherds tending yaks in the area know the best routes. To get a room or a bed in Gorakshep is difficult since there are very few tea houses. It is not advised to stay at this height.

The Everest Base Camp is hardly 3 kms walk from Gorakshep. One can climb up to Kala Pathar (5,550 mts) via Gorak Shap. Somewhere on the way is the gasping moment when the tallest mountain of the world makes it majestic apperance. Colours change from yellow to orange to red at sunrise and sunset. People take helicopters to enjoy this view.

The entire adventure takes a total of 10-12 days. Climbing Tips: To prepare for the trek regular exercise to build stamina, fitness and strength at least for three months is a must. Buy trekking gears, water purifying tablets and tablets for acute mountain sickness (AMS). Most importantly, many trekkers despite being fit and having stamina suffer from AMS.  Acclimatisation is the only solution.

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