Everest Base Camp at 5,340 meters
Khumjung Travel Blog› entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
Finally, it was the day to trek to Everest Base Camp!
We left at 8am for our long trek to the Base Camp. It snowed overnight which made the trek over the rock boulders quite difficult. But the morning was a sunny and was so warm that we did not even need our jacket.
On the way there, we saw nothing except the 360 degrees of high mountains, snow, rocks, boulders, glaciers, the other trekkers and yaks carrying stuff to the base camp for the teams attempting the Everest summit. The view of the majestic mountains, covered with ice, snow and glacier, although looking cold and devoid of life, was just magnificent.
Mostly walking on rocks and boulders where we had to constantly look out for the next steps, and plus the fact that we stopping to enjoy the scenery very often, our pace was quite slow.
Many yaks carrying stuff to the Base Camp passed us along the way. It soon became quite tiring for us as every step involved negotiating the rocks. It was certainly not an easy trek. My calves were soon sore. We made two more small stops in between, including one time when Mount Everest peeked out of the clouds and showed us its tiny peak for a short while. Due to the structure of Mt Everest, it is mostly blocked by the clouds and the other high mountains along the trail.
We finally reached Everest Base Camp at about 1pm on 8th Apr 2006 after a five hour trek from Gorak Shep. The base camp was the home for the climbers attempting the summit and their support staff during the expedition period. The tents were pitched on the rocks and boulders right before the famous Khumbu Icefall where the treacherous glaciers, crevasses and seracs are constantly moving and collapsing.
As the Base Camp was huge, it took our guide a bit of asking before we were able to locate where the LKT Team had set up their tents.
By the time I wrote this, both of them had successfully reached the summit - first time for Vincent and second time for Swee Chiow which was without supplementary oxygen. Wow, what an amazing feat!
We did not stay long at the base camp and left after the lunch at about 2pm. We still had to make the long trek back to Gorak Shep and it took us yet another 5 hours to make the return trip. As I was really exhausted, we could have taken a much longer time if not for the need to get back before nightfall. Seeing the Everest Peak again on the return trek was a small distraction but otherwise, I was just trudging on as fast as I could.
It was already dusk by the time we finally saw the lights of Gorak Shep in a distance. Seeing the goal in sight, I had a small rest and was so tired that I could not get up and continue walking the last perhaps 2km. My partner had really to coax me to get me moving. We finally made it back to Gorak Shep half an hour later.
Dinner was ordered for me but I was too exhausted to speak or eat and went straight to my sleeping bag and slept. My Polar watch showed 4800 calories expended for the day of trekking. No wonder I was too tired to do anything! Even though I was really exhausted, at over 5000m, the sleep was not really very restful.
Although we would have loved to trek to Kala Patthar which was the small hill below the impressive south face of Pumori (7,161m) where one would get an unobstructed and spectacular view of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse, it would mean walking staying another night at that altitude plus walking a long distance combined with an hour of continuous upwards climb up the hill.
We decided that the effort was just too much since we were already very happy to have reached the Base Camp as it was the goal for the trip. We were even happier to descent to lower altitudes as 5000+ meters was not a place to stay too long!