A trek to Mt. Everest was one of my goals in life, and I finally realized it with my friend Pavel. We only stayed a few days in Kathmandu, since I had already visited it years earlier and we were anxious to get up in the high mountains. We had booked a flight to Lukla at 2,800 meters where we started our trek. However, the airstrip was being asphalted for the first time, so we had to fly to another one at a much lower altitude with a harrowing approach, since it was located in a narrow valley, and then take a helicopter the rest of the way (which we found quite nice, since it was my first time in a helicopter).
We were met by the two Sherpas, Pasang and Karma, whom we had contacted in advance. The higher elevations would be quite cold, so we needed a lot of warm clothing and had no desire to carry heavy weights. The two Sherpas were very grateful for the work, because they only had to carry approx. ¼ the weight of those working for trekking agencies and earned twice as much money. We were eager to get going and set off.
We passed Karma’s house on the way and stopped to see his newly born child.
Then it was down and up to Phakding, again at 2,800 meters, to spend the night and gather energy for the strenuous climb to Namche Bazaar the next day.
Entrance of Sagarmatha National Park where rangers check whether you have a permit and have paid the entrance fee.
This is followed by a long, very steep climb up to Namche Bazaar with stupendous views and amazement at what some porters were carrying.
Namche Bazaar at 3,440 meters of altitude
We settled down for a three-day stay, since we needed to get accustomed to the altitude. Many of those who get altitude sickness are young people in very good condition, who think that they feel fit enough to ascend more than several hundred meters per day, although altitude sickness has nothing to do with physical condition. Another group that often suffers this is the Japanese, who often have very few vacation days and want to do it all in a short time.
The weather was not good the first evening, but we were greeted by bright sunshine the next morning.
We took a day hike to Thami at 3,750 meters and back to help us with acclimation.
Great views on the way back
Saturday market in Namche
Well rested, we headed off but first in the direction of Gokyo. We stopped in Mong the first night, so as not to ascend too much on one day. Although we had not gone far, I was exhausted and spent most of the afternoon reading, while Pavel climbed the nearby peaks. I compared him to a mountain goat, he had so much energy.
Phortse Tange at 3,500 m and then Dole at 4,200 m.
A steady climb every day and fantastic views: Machermo 4410 m
Ngozumpa glacier, the longest glacier in Nepal and was 36 kilometers longer at that time (probably melting due to global warming now. The sixth highest mountain in the world Cho Oyu towers above it.
Gokyo at 4,750 m
We then headed back down the valley in the direction we had come. Our next destination was the pass at Cho La at 5,420 meters. However, Karma realized that it would be too much for me that day, so Pavel went on without me. I climbed up to the pass over a glacier 189 195 and some pasture. It was very strenuous, so I was grateful to Karma for insisting that I wait a day before ascending.
At the start of the glacier climb
Pavel was waiting at the next guest house, but there were also several porters and Sherpas. A porter had died the day before, and police came and pulled his body out of a tent while I was having breakfast. Needless to say, I could not finish eating.
We then descended to Duglha where we hit the trail up to Everest base camp.
Guest house below Everest at Gorak Shep 5,154. This was the original base camp for climbing Everest
We climbed Kala Pattar across from Mt. Everest at approx. 5,600 meters and had spectacular views of the latter. I had to go up very slowly, one step at a time, while others with less problems with the thin air raced pass me.
I was enraptured but also exhausted, and we decided that it would be best for me to descend to lower altitudes. Pavel stayed for another day and hiked to the current base camp, but it was a bit of disappoint: a difficult hike over loose rocks to arrive at a place full of garbage left by climbing expeditions. The view from Kala Pattar was so much better!
Dingboche where I had a much-needed day of rest. An English group on its way to ascend Everest was there.
Temgpoche, a beautiful Tibetan Monastery
Karma with his father
Last picture before the flight back to Kathmandu. Asphalting of the airstrip had been completed by that time.
Goodbye and thanks so much!
Few days in Kathmandu
Sex education, Nepali style
Our flight home was via Thailand, so we took the opportunity to spend some time at a beach before going back to the daily grind.
One of my favorites: barbecued chicken with green papaya salad and sticky rice