Today is the big day – EVEREST BASE CAMP!
Our goal, which we executed quite nicely, was to travel from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (the highest town and last stop before base camp), find a place to stay, eat lunch, and head off to Everest Base Camp.
The trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep was a bit more difficult than we all anticipated, pretty much exclusively due to the altitude.
Going uphill at all left you thoroughly winded. Benny and I were a bit faster and we raced ahead to find rooms. There aren’t many guest houses here at all and so many people on the trail (we would look behind us and see lines of people on the path which always motivated us to keep moving), and if we wanted a room we had to get there early. Upon arriving we even heard that the day before people who had arrived later in the day had to turn around and travel back to Lobuche because there were no rooms left.
Luckily Benny and I were able to secure rooms for the 5 of us. The rooms were expensive which we expected (800 NPR or about $8 for a triple). It isn’t expensive in the grand scheme of things but we’d barely paid for a room the whole trek. However we had a room and that’s all that mattered.
Once everyone arrived we had some lunch and then got ready to head out to base camp. Haim decided to stay behind as he wasn’t feeling great. The rest of us had decent sized headaches (a normal symptom of altitude sickness that pretty much everyone gets), but we were really determined to go. Also Everest base camp is higher in elevation than Gorak Shep (5,380 m (17,700 ft) at base camp vs. 5,164 m (16,942 ft) at Gorak Shep) so it would be a bit of an acclimatization hike as well.
It took us about two hours to reach base camp and it was not an easy trek, once again thanks to the altitude.
“Way to Everest BC” – Yes!
But the views sure were incredible!
We couldn’t actually see Everest for most of the walk as it was hidden behind Lhotse and clouds, but just as we arrived at the point on the trail where you are supposed to be able to get a great view of the mountain, the clouds that had been hiding it from view just disappeared, giving us an incredible view of the highest mountain in the world.
Well hello there Mount Everest
The route was, for the most part, fairly obvious but it was precarious and occasionally unclear at times so we latched ourselves onto small groups with guides and followed them to base camp.
Walking along the top of the ridge towards base camp
Walking on the Khumbu glacier towards base camp
The path on the glacier towards base camp – thankful we had people to follow!
It was amazing to, at long last, finally be at Mount Everest Base Camp. After all this time, planning, dreaming, pain, exhaustion, and tremendous effort we were finally here.
I made it!
WE made it!
After taking a bunch of pictures at the location of base camp we decided to do a bit of exploring on the glacier.
Beautiful glacial colors
I look tiny down there compared to the ice
Oh you know, no big deal. Just chillin’ on Everest’s glacier
Filling our bottles with glacier water
After probably about half an hour of marveling at the wonder that is the Khumbu glacier, the glacier started cracking and groaning in the afternoon heat so we decided to head back to Gorak Shep (it was also getting late and we wanted to be back before the sun set).
Everest was still visible at this point so we stopped to take even more pictures.
We all still had pretty bad headaches – the kind where you take a step and it feels like someone just stabbed you in the eyeball – so we all but ran back to a lower elevation (if you can call 5,230 m/17,159 ft a lower elevation). Headaches are the name of the game around here. So long as you’re not vomiting you’re good.
That night the guest house was loud and jam packed full of people coughing and sneezing; an absolute cesspool. Glad we only have one night here!
Spoilers for next time: the struggle to see the sunrise behind Everest. Totally worth it.
For all my Everest Base Camp trek posts visit here!