Where: Nepal (Various)
What: Everest Base Camp Trek
When: May 2013
With: G-Adventures (Everest Adventure ANEA)
When I embarked on this journey, I had anticipated this trip to be something special, and was it ever!
I’m not all too sure what expectations I had- whether I would enjoy it, or if it would be quite as amazing as I hoped it would be- whatever they were though, everything I had imagined was exceeded and then some.
I am still trying to gather my feelings about this whole trip. After all, I did just go to Mt Everest Base Camp. That is not something to take lightly, especially since those who do this trek, have been put into a small percentile of people who will ever actually see the top of the world in plain sight.
For the few days I have been home, I have had a tough time deciding how to write about this experience, as I have been having really cliché feelings about all of it. I have decided to write this in two sections. This will be the first section, which is general, and more so a review, and the second, is to go through my day-by-day accounts that I diarized while trekking (which you can find here).
After completing this journey with G Adventures, I really cannot envision doing it any other way, with anybody else. Many people choose to do an Everest base camp trek on their own, but now completing it, I truly cannot understand why. Being put into a group of 10-15 people, and together accomplishing a huge achievement brings about a sort of bond and camaraderie that going it alone never will.
Every day came about a new struggle and a new triumph. It really is a very difficult trek; and perhaps not for everyone. Let me say this though, I did not heavily train for this. I am a regular person, with a desk job, who just happens to be in relatively good shape. With that, I was still able to complete this. Although I had some struggles throughout, primarily with a bad knee and shortness of breath- this really is not something that is beyond the means of most people.
I loved every aspect of this trip. Even though my face would not have shown that every day, the gratification of completing each day, brought about a certain satisfaction that no other trip has ever before offered. Each day was different in one way or another, and a new challenge seemed to come about each day. Some days were deceivingly easy, then there were other days that were so incredibly hard they got me swearing like a sailor! The day which led to Namche Bazaar was particularly difficult. It was only day two, and it was a bit of a shell shock as you make your way up almost 500 vertical meters. I realize that doesn’t seem that high, but until you are there, and see the way up, it will never quite be understood why it is so bad. This is the worst day though, not to say the others are easy, but nothing is quite as bad.
This whole trek is seamlessly arranged, and almost fool proof. Our CEO (chief experience officer) and local guide were great and incredibly knowledgeable (not to mention how fit they were). Also, they made fabulous cheerleaders; on the days you were lagging they were a great reminder that getting there is key and not how fast you get there. It is just nice to know that when you are struggling there is a support team ready to keep you going. That is why I really loved doing this with a group, you had the G team, you had your trekking team; which meant there was endless support. I remember finally getting to Base Camp, getting applause from those already there and everyone was hugging each other and congratulating each other, taking photos of the achievement that was just completed. I will never forget that moment. It was monumental. So those people, that all came together 8 days prior, are now share something in common for the rest of their lives.
Thanks to the G Adventures team, everything also ran like clockwork amongst this hectic journey. All tea houses were ready for us as we arrived, which is greatly appreciated when all you want to do at the end of a trek is get out of your heavy boots, put some clean clothes on and relax (and it always seemed like we had the best tea houses out there). You order your lunch at breakfast, dinner at lunch and breakfast at dinner and although the thought of food was off-putting for me most times (the food was actually very good for the most part, my appetite just never caught up with me), we never waited for it. If dinner was at 6, we would be served at 6. Structure in such an unstructured environment is a great balance to your day, and when you’re tired and hungry, it’s good to see everything is being taken care of.
Apart of the G Adventures team, were also our sherpas (porters). I cannot stress how unbelievable these guys are. They easily carry 20-30 kilos (45-60lbs) on their backs, up a mountain, in half the time we took. We got to our lodges and our things were always there waiting for us. It seems so effortless for them, and although I know they do this every day, these guys really deserve their own nod of appreciation for the hard work they do.
The way down was no easier than the way up really, it was just quicker. What I found most about descending is how awestruck you are of how far you have come. You would look back, and really just think “did I actually get up there?”. Some days were really shocking. It gives you a sense of pride though to see what it is you accomplished on the way down. It gives you a good retrospect and reminds you that when you have a goal in mind, nothing really appears impossible. The last few days were difficult in a different way from the first couple of days. It was a little harder on the knees, your body is starting to hit exhaustion, and you passed the climax of the trip so the motivation just wasn’t all there. It was so good to come to the final strike where you get to Lukla, and you wait for your flight.
In regards to the flight. Had it not been for our tour company, I may still be stuck in Lukla. The fog was so thick, and so many flights got cancelled (ours being one of them), I really thought we were not going anywhere. Long behold, I made a great decision by going with a tour group, because they chartered a plane to get us out of there! It was an incredible feeling to know that after such a long time trekking, you could actually go home. Those who traveled alone did not fare so well. It seems as though the weather was so poor in the upcoming days, most people would not be getting out of there for quite some time.
This truly was a perfect trip. I could not ask for better organization (which is very important to me). Beyond the organization of it, this trip really changes you. It is a physical and emotional challenge which I am so glad I took. After this, there is very little I think I couldn’t accomplish.
Also, I’d like to mention how amazing the group was that I was with. I will remember these people for a long time, and considering I will likely take our group photo and blow it up, they will be on my wall for a long time coming. This trip will be in my memories forever, and I could not be happier with how everything went!