I’m not sure when it was I decided I was going to Mt. Everest, Nepal has never been a must visit for me, and Edmon Hillary was never an idol. More realistically I think in planning for the trip my thought process was something like this (as studies Atlas):
“So I’ll fly into Delhi, then make my way down to Paki.. Shit, Nepal’s right next to India.. Shit Everest is in Nepal.. should do that then”
I brought hiking boots the next day and that was that.
I fly into Lukla (2840m), one of the highest airports in the world. The runway is a strip carved into the side of a mountain. Its also short, real short, as soon as the wheels touch the ground the pilots on the handbrake so he doesn’t concertina the thing into the rock face at the end.
Walking to Base Camp takes anywhere from 8-14 days, depending which way you go and how the altitude effects you.
Popular options also include hiring a Guide (so you don’t get lost), and hiring a Porter (cause your too lazy to carry your own bag).
I buy a map, and carry my own bag.
Except once you get up above 3500m when the smell is slighlty foreign and you learn later that they burn dried up cow/yak shit because there’s no wood available.
With nothing better to do for the afternoon I sit in the middle of town with my book, and watch as a small boy runs along trying to kick cows up the ass as they wonder the street, failing that he attempts to whip them with his stick.
They run into someones house through the front door.
The whole scene is quite amusing.
Acute Mountain Sickness (Altitude Sickness)
Usually occurs above 2400 meters
Symptoms – Dizziness, lack of appetite, headaches, pins and needles, fatigue.
Reality – Pens leak profusely, Camera screen trips out, Ipods die (but come back to life at sea level!).
On my longest day, I walked 30+ kms from Kalar Patthar back to Debouce, a large section of which passes through the Pheriche Valley. On a slight declining gradient, frigid wind in your face, apocalyptic sky on the horizon, rock hopping small creeks and rivers along the way, the valley seems endless and it truly feels like your ‘walking the earth’.
Base Camp 5364m.
Kalar Patthar 5550m.
For moments I almost couldn’t breath, baby step after baby step stopping every 5 mins sucking in what felt like only 40% oxygen, your head spins and a walking stick the only thing holding you up. Surely this is what it feels like to suffocate to death under an avalanche.
The top seems impossible and I nearly quit twice.
Sun Rises and the evening snow starts to melt, ascent just got that much slipperier. Finally reach the summit and my eyes fill with tears, for no reason at all beyond that I’m still breathing.
360 degree Panorama views of the Himalayas, it was totally worth it.