Continuing our Journey of Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal.
Day 7: Dingboche – Rest Day with hike to Nagaarjun mountain
It is important to get acclimatized at the higher altitude and that’s why we have a rest day in between the trek. Even though they say that it is a rest day, it doesn’t mean you will stay indoors for the whole day. They will take you for a short trek at higher altitude to get used to that height for the next day. Thankfully, we started our day little later as the trek has been just 3-4 hours long depending on person’s speed. Our guide informed us that we need to finish the trek before lunch time as it was sunny in the morning, but as the day goes by, clouds make their way inside the valley and make it cold and windy. We headed to Nagaarjun mountain which was just close to our hotel. The pathway was not very steep and we gradually made our way to the halfway of the mountain. To reach the top of the mountain, it takes a minimum of 4-5 hours of climbing upwards and another 2-3 hours to come back. Everyone decides to go till half way or little further up at the altitude of 4800 m. The hike was beautiful with the views around us. Dingboche have a 360 degree view of the snowy mountain range. You will see all peaks which are in the Himalayan region. Our trek time was exceeding more than expected as we couldn’t control our urges to click pictures of the mountain range. The tiring way up was substituted by the breathtaking views. We spent around 30-45 minutes on top, would have taken more if our guide didn’t push us to come down. His reason for coming down was also right as we started to decent, we saw clouds making their way to cover up all the mountains. By the time we are down, you can only see clouds and slowly even the valley started to get submerged in the clouds.
We came back to our hotel in the lunch time and rest of the day was free for us to either explore the town, play games, mingle with other trekkers or simply do your staff like I spent time writing this blog or read a book. Our hotel is one of the best in the town, hence, it was a full house in the dinning area. You hear people chatting, playing games or just meeting other trekker and sharing their story. The entire experience makes you feel so much alive and surrounded with different nationalities, their ideas, their motivation to come to Everest Base Camp, it is just amazing to feel the energy and enthusiasm of people around the world. We spent our evening playing chess, cards and also rest day means time for Hot Shower, the most refreshing, relaxing and bit expensive thing you can do in the mountains.
Day 8: Dingboche – Lobuche
Our trek was coming closer to EBC day and this day brought lots of excitement as it was the last day before we reach Everest Base Camp. The only place left to reach before we come to the D Day. The time we left Debuche, greenery and plants were a sight for sore eyes. We started our trek as usual early in the morning with crossing gradual land (aka going up and down and up and down). Till lunch time, the trek was very light with gradual slop and flat lands. Obviously there was no tree or bushes means less oxygen level. Even on flat lands, your heart rate goes high and were tired soon! Our guide already informed us about the Thukla pass, which we will be crossing today and that it will be a steep climb. When we reached the bottom of Thukla pass, we saw the walk; it was quite steep. Khumbu Glacier, on which Mount Everest lies, starts from Thukla pass.
Before we gather our courage to climb the steep and windy Thukla pass, we stopped at the lodge for some food. Another group from the same company skipped on lunch and headed straight to Lobuche. However, we were sure that we needed food and energy to climb the pass. Post lunch, gradually we started our trek on Thukla pass. The road was nothing but stones and you have to create a path amongst the stone. We passed many Sherpa and climbers who have summited the Everest on their way back to Lukla. As much as we want to have long conversations with them, they are more of an aloof kind who survived the worst to reach world’s top (not everyone). At the end of Thukla pass, we came across a memorial place, dedicated to all those who have lost their lives in the mountains, especially Everest. There were memory stones with picture and detail of the person. We spent sometime reading the names of the person, clicking pictures and resting to recover from the steep climb. Moving forward, the path was Nepal gradual (up and down and up and down). We reached our lodge in Lobuche by late afternoon. Our guide informed us about a nearby mountain from where we can see the beginning of EBC. The thought of the first sight of EBC encouraged us to do another small climb. This was an hour long climb to the nearest mountain. The mountain was filled with stone memories created by many climbers. We also saw the base camp far, far away and only was to recognise was a yellow tent. Some pictures and enjoying the view, later we headed back to our lodge for a hot dinner. As we were eating the dinner, our guide called us out to show a sunset, where the orange light of the sun glittered the mountain making it look orange-ish. A sight worth seeing. That was not enough, being a photographic enthusiast, I waited till dark to click the same mountain surrounded by the stars. I managed to click 1-2 good picture before god decided to bring the cloud to block every view.
Day 9: Lobuche – Gorekshep – Everest Base Camp Visit
The D day has arrived. Our excitement couldn’t get higher than the altitude we were in. This was the second longest day and the prime day of our Trek. Today was when we will finish the Everest Base Camp Trek. We started our journey from Lobuche early as our target was to reach Gorekshep before lunch time. The sooner we reach Gorekshep the better as we will make it to EBC by lunch time. Since we were only going higher and higher, the altitude was trying to cut down on our strengths. The excitement and passion to reach EBC kept us going. We made it to Gorekshep in time. We quickly finished our early lunch and headed to EBC without wasting anymore minute. The weather was cold and windy. The entire trek from Gorekshep to EBC was nothing but walking next to Kumbhu Glacier. There was nothing but rocks as path carved in the mountains and surrounding filled with white mountains. Area beyond Gorekshep is where you see more and more ice mountains. The sound of ice melting was very evident. As we Walked, people from our group saw snow sliding from the mountain (mini avalanche). Our guide told us that it is very common in this area and that’s why we have to keep moving till we reach EBC. Was we walked ahead, the sight of Base Camp started getting bigger and bigger.
Reaching Everest Base Camp was the best feeling ever.. Even though our body was tired and had very little oxygen, we couldn’t stop feeling a sense of fulfillment and so excited to click millions of pictures! There is a stone covered with only prayer flags and a board mentioning the end of the trek. In reality, the actual base camp is a little ahead of the point and it is not allowed for tourist to go there as they are busy with expedition. Only if you know someone from the part of the team, you can head to actual base camp. We came across many Sherpa and mountaineers who summited or tried summiting but none of them talk or interacted with others. They are very much busy in their own journey. We clicked pictures and tied a prayer flag as it is believed that when you tie a prayer flag on the mountain, you are not just spreading message of love and peace, but also, leaving a memory of you in those mountains. Our guide showed us the way from camp to Mt. Everest. Apparently you can’t see the Mt. Everest from Base Camp as it gets covered by the mountains in the front.
If you wish to summit Everest someday, there are 4 more camps to cross before you reach the top. The entire summit takes approximately 2 months as mountaineers prepare themselves in the duration. Everyone has to climb one camp at a time and get acclimatise to the height. They climb till camp 1 and come back. Then again climb till camp 1, stay overnight and come back. They do this till their body gets used to camp 4. From camp 4 to Top of Everest, everyone get only one chance. It is very fascinating to hear the stories of various people who either made it or not made it to the top.
After spending almost 2 hours at base camp, we headed back to Gorekshep. We made it back by evening and the guide suggested us to either to Trek to Kala Pathar today for sunset or tomorrow for sunrise. Everybody in our group was tired for sunset trek and also weather became cloudy means we won’t get to see the sunset. We opted for a morning where only 4 people agreed out of 6. Another group headed for a sunset trek to Kala Pathar but returned very soon as weather became too cloudy.
The Journey will continue in Part 4 of Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal.