In March of this year I went on a lovely Trek to Everest Base Camp, via Gokyo Ri.
I hadn't posted a trip report yet but would like to share my experience for you all, especially when you're considering a trip like this
I went with an organized group trip of 11 people. Our itinerary was:
Day 1-2: fly in to Kathmandu from Amsterdam. Arrival around diner time and spent 1 full day
Day 3: fly to Lukla and walk on to Phakding (2652m)
Day 4: Walk to Namche Bazar (3450m)
Day 5: Acclimatize in Namche (3450m)
Day 6: Walk to Dole (4050m)
Day 7: Walk to Maccherma (4470m)
Day 8: Walk to Gokyo (4790m)
Day 9: Acclimatize in Gokyo, climb Gokyo Ri (5357m)
Day 10: Walk to Thagna (4700m)
Day 11: Walk to Dzongla (4860m) via Cho La pas (5330m)
Day 12: Walk to Lobuche (4930m)
Day 13: Walk to Gorakhep (5180m) and on to Everest Base Camp (5350m)
Day 14: Climb Kala Pattar (5640m) and descend to Pheriche (4240m)
Day 15: Walk to Tengboche (3860m)
Day 16: Walk to Namche Bazar (3450m)
Day 17: Walk to Monjo (2880m)
Day 18: Walk to Lukla
Day 19: Extra day to fit in the program there where needed
Day 20: Fly to Kathmandu
Day 21: drive to Bhaktapur
Day 22: Fly back to Amsterdam
Fortunately nothing was booked up front during the hike, so we were flexible where to stay and to adjust the program.
Our lugage (up to 10kilos) would be ported for us, but I did have quite some photo equipment with me so I was still walking with around 7 or 8 kilos in my backpack.
We were very (very!) lucky to be able to fly to Lukla on the day we had planned, cause the last 2 days no flights had been able to go due to the fact that the sight wasn't clear enough to ensure a save landing in Lukla (which is a short landing strip on a mountain )
Unfortunately I would soon suffer from Altitude Sickness, and spend almost all the days on the hike with headaches. They started already the first day, but very mildly so I thought it was the lack of coffee at first. But in Namche Bazar I really felt sick, I did manage to go up to the acclimatization climb the next day, but didn't really feel to well. There were 2 others in my group with problems as well. The next day at around lunch time we decided to not go on to Dole, but stay lower in Portse Thanga (3595m). I wasn't to happy with this, since the group also decided not to throw in our spare day already, and go on the next day to Machermo as planned. This would mean an ascend of 800meters! This prove to be to much for me. I did manage to get there without to many headaches, but felt really lightheaded. Almost as if I was a bit drunk. That night I would have my worst night, really really bad headaches and in the morning I also had to throw up. At this point I decided that I couldn't go higher anymore, this was becoming serious and dangerous as I was showing multiple symptoms of cerebral oedema. This was a very emotional decision, as one other group member and his wife decided to join me back down. One other group member had gone down already the day before, so we were really splitting up the group. It was really nice to experience what kind of emotional connection we already had built up with eachother. Everyone was emotional about splitting the group.
Our Dutch guide was going down with us 3, to try and get us to Everest Base Camp via another route.
That day I descended really like a zombie, during our 2 tea stops I almost fell asleap and i had to throw up another time along the way. Back down at 3595m in Portse Thanga I went to bed for a good sleep and felt slightly better already.
The next day we decided to try to go up to Everest Base Camp via the other route, on a slowly 300m higher per day pace. We went to Pangboche (3965m) where I had a really good night of sleep, almost fully headache free!! I really enjoyed the walks in the beautiful landscapes, incredible. The next day we would be in for a surprise. We walked on to Pheriche (4290m) and did another acclimatization walk later that day. When we returned into our lodge we saw 2 of our group members sitting there!! The one that had gone down the day before us had recovered in Namche Bazar (even went on oxygen) and the other one descended the day after us. It was really nice to be together and feel better. Our spirits and moods were really high and positive.
On a side note; it was getting quite cold from here on; it was freezing (literally) inside the rooms from now on.
The next day we walked on to Dhukla+Thukla at 4615m. Everyone was feeling really well, and we did another acclimatization walk up to 4915m. We were really euphoric and feeling great. The next day would be the day that we would meet the rest of our group again! Really excited we went to sleep for another cold night. The cold isn't to bad when your nicely tucked into your sleeping bag, but because of the altitude and the medicines I had to go to the toilet at least twice every night. That was cooooold! Also I started to get mild headaches again.
The next day we only had to walk for 2 hours to reach Lobuche (4923m). We decided to walk back a bit to meet the rest of our group. I'll never forget their faces when they recognized us. They were so surprised to see us there, it was great to meet up with everyone. Another acclimatization climb brought me above 5000meters for the first time.
The next day was really really tough; Bad headache again at night and we started going at 5:30. It was so cold without the sun to warm you and I was really not sure if I would manage to reach Everest Base Camp. First I had to reach Gorakshep (5180m) which was hard enough. On my way up I saw a man descending that was clearly in really bad shap. Eyes wide open and not able to move straight. He seriously needed to get down fast. I really doubted my own condition at this point. Was I being stubborn by going on? Was it wise to go on or was it to risky?
After the sun came up and warmed us a little and I had some tea and cookies I suddenly felt better. Eating some noodle soup at Gorakshep further strengthened me and I decided to go on to Everest Base Camp. It was really amazing to be there. The mountains were so enormous, the nature so beautiful it was truly (and literally) breathtaking.
Reaching Base Camp was really something. It isn't that nice from itself (its just all rocks rocks and some more rocks ) but walking along the Kumbu glacier and standing in front of Everest was really incredible. Exhausted from the long day we tucked into our sleeping bags early. I had headaches again but did ok. The next morning we left at 5 o'clock again to climb Kala Pattar! The first bit went really well, but here I could really feel I was not acclimatized properly; the rest of our group had been walking above 4900meters constantly for 5 days, while I was descending to 3595m and trying to get back up. Climbing Kala Pattar was probebly the hardest thing I've ever done. The last 20 minutes (in sight of the top) I really started to doubt whether I would make the top; every step further was making me dizzy. But slowly I managed to get to the top. It was such an amazing feeling to have achieved this!
After we descended we went on all the way to Dingboche at 4410m. It was a long and really exhausting day, but the feeling you have when walking at 4500m again was so remarkable; it felt as if had a really strong tailwind that pushed me forward, it was truly amazing to experience the difference between 5640m and 4600m on one day. Back in the lodge I was so tired and cold I had the feeling I wouldn't never be warm again My muscles were aching from the trembling and that night I was just sitting there, to tired to even get up and go to bed. Never been that tired.
The next day was another big difference again; after only a few hours walk we arrived at Tengboche at 3860m and were able to have lunch outside in the sun! Nice and warm
We then further descended back to Namche Bazar and it was especially nice to walk through the trees again. Descending further down via Phakding we arrived in Lukla, where we heard the exciting good news they had a real and warm shower! And not only that, every room had it's own! OMG, I've never enjoyed a shower that much (it was the first real shower since kathmandu)
Again we were lucky to be able to fly back and arrived in Kathmandu 1 day ahead of schedule since we didn't spent our spare day (!).
I really didn't feel like doing anything so I enjoyed a lovely day in the garden of the lodge and walking around in Thamel.
The last day we went to Bhaktapur, which is truly beautiful, but I really could feel I had enough impressions to process and didn't really enjoy it that much. We were merely enjoying the comforts of our room and the good food everywere, nice relaxing time
All in all it was a truly amazing trip which I wouldn't want to have missed, but it also was really hard and I've felt really bad during the trip. Honestly wishing I could go home and asking myself how I would bare another 2 weeks. But being able to reach Base Camp and Kalla Patar after all was just amazing. And the nature.... so beautiful. I can recommend everyone to go there!!
Youtube movie of this trip:
Photo selection (38 photos):
More photo's (327):
Photo's of me by others (39)
And I even created an infographic of the trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikao/4650243689/in/set-72157624994685246/lightbox/
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In March of this year I went on a lovely Trek to Everest Base Camp, via Gokyo Ri.