Everest base camp : WHAT TO EXPECT with namaste Nomad.
REVIEW written by Kate.
In September 2016 I travelled to Nepal as part if a group, some of us knew some people and some were meeting for the first time. We spent a couple of days in Kathmandu resting and acclimatizing. It is a real old and beautiful city. Yes of course there is poverty by western standards but I did not see the same begging culture I saw in other ‘third world’ countries. As a woman I did not feel intimidated and felt comfortable wandering side streets. We visited Durbar square where the devastation of the 2015 is clearly visible.
If you need anything for your trek strongly advise you buy in Kathmandu, shops after here are much more expensive. I got a sleeping bag for around 20 euro, trekking poles for about a fiver & altitude sickness tablets super cheap. Shops have everything you would need and well known brands, to me some stuff looked like seconds but totally fine for price you are paying.
Next we flew on a small propeller plane to Lukla. This flight for me was one of my trip highlights, the majority of the flight is over the Himalayas.. It is stunning as you view the incredible expanse of this immense mountain range and can see tiny remote villages dotted along the range. I won’t talk much about the plane, the landing or lukla airport as this is well documented already however just to say that for me it was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life and shall never forget…just relax and enjoy it! There are no roads from Lukla onwards so every single thing must be carried on a porters back, it is very humbling and gives a real appreciation for all those western consumables we think we need. On arrival at Lukla we had a short break for tea, met our Sherpa team and the trek started!
Just a side note at this point regarding fitness! I am very moderate fitness level and my preparation for this trip was mainly in the gym so I knew I would find this tough. I am not a hillwalker so have limited experience. Honestly my plan was to take it one day at a time, don’t think on tomorrow and as I learned much later in the trip take one step at a time and just keep moving forward. Remainder of the group were a mix, some very experienced hill walkers and some less so. Due to the number of Sherpa everyone was able to go at their own pace without feeling they were holding others back which is really really important, no matter fitness levels everyone had a tough day at some stage. We were a group of 16 with 5 Sherpa and our main guide who organized the whole trip. Always one Sherpa at the front and one at the back so no worries 🙂 If all else fails sheer will and determination works too!
After a tough trek over many many many steps we reached Phakding for our first night in a beautiful lodge by the magnificent Dudh Kosi river which became the background music for my trek. Memories flood back of dhal bhat and garlic at this point.. you must eat eat eat…keep it plain and honestly just stick with dhal bhat everyday! We also met our yak at this point who carried all our luggage point to point everyday. Next day we had many crossings over huge suspension bridges which are covered with prayer flags. The scenery is stunning, really breathtaking and so lush. After a beautiful trek we arrived in Namche Bazaar. This is a pretty town with large range of shops. I bought a hydration pack for my daypack here and some snacks. This really is last point if you need to buy anything but be warned it is expensive. We had a rest day here to acclimatize which is strongly recommended.
We trekked onwards and stayed in Thyangboche which was another highlight. There is a beautiful monastery which we visited and mentally this spiritual region and its sheer beauty gave me strength, I already felt I had reached my Everest base camp. We travelled on to Dingbouche and said goodbye to my normally good appetite. During an acclimatization trek the following day I literally hit a wall around 4500 mtrs. From this point onwards I struggled through every meal, sometimes taking more than an hour to finish a meal but I knew I needed to keep eating or I could not continue.
I must reiterate the sights and sounds during the trip are just amazing… The peaks, valleys, foliage, landscape, suspension bridges, rocks, sounds of the river, porters running in flip flops with immense loads, tinkling bells from yak…I have no more superlatives…unforgettable.
Another highlight was our final trek to everest base camp. We left around 4am, we all trekked close together over streams and rock only lit by our headlamps… A truly magical experience. We stopped for a rest and breakfast around 9 am. Our plan was to reach base camp around noon before clouds came in. Those final few hours were among those difficult i have ever experienced. My mode of walking at this point could only be compared to those images we have seen of Neil Armstrong walking in the moon. My pace was slower than a snail and I was utterly exhausted due to fitness and effects of altitude. I wore everything in my pack and just carried water. Finally and slowly I made it. Undoubtedly a huge sense of achievement. Cup of tea, snickers bar, few photos and the trek home started!
I travelled with Namaste Nomad (Mohan) and I could not recommend him enough. He looked after us, making sure we were eating correctly, watching us always for any signs of sickness, guiding, encouraging and advising all the team. We had a fixed price package which included flights, accommodation, food etc I would definitely do another trip with him.
If you are thinking about doing this inspirational trek my advice is don’t wait until next year or the next milestone in your life, do it now!
Hope this review helps alleviate any concerns you might have 🙂
Just don’t Dream, Just do it.visit us for next trip to Everest base camp – www.namastenomad.ie