Everest Base Camp - Day 8 (Lobuche - Gorak Shep - Everest Base Camp - Gorak Shep)

Gorak Shep Travel Blog

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Switchbacking up to Lobuche Pass -5110m (16765 ft)

The night at Lobuche was restless and uncomfortable.  I awoke shortly after midnight and could not fall back asleep.  The rooms were quite cold and I couldn't get comfortable to fall back into a good sleep before the 6:00 AM wake-up time.  It was an early wake up but necessary for what was to be a long, long day.

The first stage of the trek from Lobuche to Gorek Shep was mostly easy walking (other than the fact that we were approaching 5000m (16405 ft) of elevation).  We started below the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and gradually ascended.  Then came the crossing of the Changri Glacier(s).  Changri Shar and Changri Nup Glaciers descend from the two sides of Changri mountain down to Khumbu Glacier.

Going in the right direction to EBC
  At first there was a steep section of switchbacks up onto the glacier and then a series of rocky and occasionally icy ups and downs, which at 5000+ meters was a real pain (and would prove to be even more of a pain tomorrow when we were descending).  But we finally passed across and then a short descent brought us to Gorek Shep (5140m - 16863 ft).

It was still quite early on arrival at Gorek Shep (9:30 AM) but our day wasn't nearly done yet.  We checked our bags into our rooms; ordered some hot tea to attempt to warm up briefly; some sandwiches to take with us up to Everest BC; additional candy bars as needed for fuel; and then headed off for Everest Base Camp.

The trail wound in and out, up and down along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier before eventually stepping out onto the glacier itself.

Zoomed in on the tents at EBC
  We were rewarded with a few views of the summit of Everest early on but as we approached the glacier, the summit was lost from view behind Nuptse.  Finally we could see a few colorful glints far down the glacier indicative of the tents of base camp itself still quite a long distance away.

Before we reached the tents of base camp we came across a stone marker on the glacier.  The marker was a generic location marker for Base Camp at 5365m (17602 ft).  Especially in the non-climbing season (when no one would be at Base Camp), this location would serve as a general location for trekking groups coming up to BC.  Being climbing season we could see the activity further up the glacier.  After pictures and some time eating our lunches/sandwiches we carried on towards the actual BC, about another 30 minutes trekking away (even though a few trekkers weren't feeling too well - Mark and Nick, esp).

Looking into Tibet.

We reached Base Camp with amazing views of the Khumbu Ice Fall and up towards the Western Cwm far above.  Al went with Pashan to see if he could locate a friend that was part of a summit team.  Mike and I went off just to wander a few minutes later to explore for the allotted time Prem was giving us before heading back to Gorek Shep.  The rest of the group hung out around the Everest Bakery and tried some of the Apple Pie that was being served at about $4 a slice.  Out in BC, I saw some incredible views and amazed that expeditions spend weeks up here literally camped out on the glacier in preparation for their summit assaults.  Rocks and ice were always shifting slightly as the glacier inexorably moved beneath us.  And to live here for a few weeks - not sure I could do that.

A closer view of Everest - 8848m (29029 ft) .

Base Camp trekkers weren't exactly looked at kindly by the expeditions.  It was like we were intruders on some sacred quest and that we didn't belong here in this area.  It was more the fact that we were basically ignored, shunned as it were by the expedition groups.  Not even a hello or anything.  But then things ended up getting really strange.  When I returned from my BC explorations at the designated meeting spot everyone was gone.  Mike returned a few minutes later looking as surprised as myself.  Neither of us was sure what was going on although we did know that Mark and Nick had not been feeling great.  We also didn't know if Al and Pashan had returned from trying to find Al's buddy or had left with the rest of the group.

Group photo at Everest Base Camp marker
  Mike and I decided that we would wait unti 3:00 PM (it was 2:20) to see if anyone returned before we headed back by ourselves.  3:00 PM was pretty much beginning to cut it close if we wanted to ensure we were back in Gorek Shep by nightfall - it had taken us 3 hours to walk up from Gorek Shep.  But about 10 minutes after we made that decision, Al and Pashan came back.  Al didn't find his friend who was up at Camp 1 acclimitizing.  Pashan asked around in the bakery to the Nepalis and learned that the rest of the group had headed back down the trail as indeed Mark had gotten a really bad headache in the intervening period.

So at least 40 minutes behind the group the four of us headed down as well.  We didn't rush but we didn't lounge around on the way down either.

Me at Everest Base Camp
  There was a slight sense of urgency to find out what had happened to our compatriots so we took only the occasional short break to catch our breaths and then continued pushin our way down the glacier.  Just shy of Gorek Shep we caught the group.  Mark was feeling a bit better after the 200m descent but still a bit shaky after the nasty headache at BC.

Once back at the teahouse we ordered dinner and relaxed.  No one felt much like doing anything at all at this point after what had been a 10 hour day of trekking.  Other than the trouble sleeping I was feeling rather strong.  Hoping that today's long day would help me sleep here.  But as I went to bed at 8:00 PM my night at Gorek Shep proved just as restless as last night in Lobuche.  Not good preparation for the 5:15 AM wake-up to climb Kala Pattar in the morning and then descend from Gorek Shep.

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Switchbacking up to Lobuche Pass -…
Switchbacking up to Lobuche Pass …
Going in the right direction to EBC
Going in the right direction to EBC
Zoomed in on the tents at EBC
Zoomed in on the tents at EBC
Looking into Tibet.
Looking into Tibet.
A closer view of Everest  - 8848m …
A closer view of Everest - 8848m…
Group photo at Everest Base Camp m…
Group photo at Everest Base Camp …
Me at Everest Base Camp
Me at Everest Base Camp
Kantega (Early AM sunlight)
Kantega (Early AM sunlight)
Rest Break - lots of these on the …
Rest Break - lots of these on the…
Rocky valley along the glacial mor…
Rocky valley along the glacial mo…
Porters heading to Gorek Shep at 5…
Porters heading to Gorek Shep at …
Porters heading to Gorek Shep at 5…
Porters heading to Gorek Shep at …
Khumbu Glacier
Khumbu Glacier
Khumbu Glacier
Khumbu Glacier
Mt Everest just barely visible beh…
Mt Everest just barely visible be…
Mt Everest appears (zoomed in to m…
Mt Everest appears (zoomed in to …
Looking at the start of the Khumbu…
Looking at the start of the Khumb…
Crossing Changri Glacier
Crossing Changri Glacier
Me on the trek to Base Camp
Me on the trek to Base Camp
Gorek Shep - 5140m (16863 ft)
Gorek Shep - 5140m (16863 ft)
Looking at Pumori - 7165m (23507 f…
Looking at Pumori - 7165m (23507 …
Khumbu Glacier (yes there is much …
Khumbu Glacier (yes there is much…
Another rest break
Another rest break
First glimpse of base camp in the …
First glimpse of base camp in the…
Mt Everest - 8848m (29029 ft) peer…
Mt Everest - 8848m (29029 ft) pee…
South Col (small sub-summit on rig…
South Col (small sub-summit on ri…
Nuptse (w/ Everest visible on the …
Nuptse (w/ Everest visible on the…
Mt Everest and surrounding mountai…
Mt Everest and surrounding mounta…
Khumbu Glacier at the generic Base…
Khumbu Glacier at the generic Bas…
Base camp from the generic Everest…
Base camp from the generic Everes…
Everest Base Camp marker - 5363m (…
Everest Base Camp marker - 5363m …
Me at Everest Base Camp marker wit…
Me at Everest Base Camp marker wi…
Me at Everest Base Camp marker wit…
Me at Everest Base Camp marker wi…
Me and Prem (our lead guide) at Ev…
Me and Prem (our lead guide) at E…
Khumbu Glacier/Icefall
Khumbu Glacier/Icefall
Climbers out on the Khumbu Icefall
Climbers out on the Khumbu Icefall
Climbers out on the Khumbu Icefall
Climbers out on the Khumbu Icefall
Ice Seracs out on the Glacier
Ice Seracs out on the Glacier
Ice Seracs out on the Glacier
Ice Seracs out on the Glacier
Approaching Everest Base Camp
Approaching Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp Bakery - some go…
Everest Base Camp Bakery - some g…
Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp
This rock is in a rather precariou…
This rock is in a rather precario…
Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp
One more view of Everest returning…
One more view of Everest returnin…
Rachel getting some treatment for …
Rachel getting some treatment for…
Gorak Shep
photo by: Biedjee