Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar
We finally made it to Everest Base Camp. What a long arduous journey it was! Actually it is not over yet. We still have to make it back safely. Fortunately, the weather was excellent and the hike down was much easier than the hike up. So, lets get started! This way to Everest B.C.
Day 10: Trek to Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp Sign in Gorakshep
After a very uncomfortable night’s rest we set out to base camp. the trail is fairly level with a slight incline. From the hotel we walked for 15 minutes before climbing down onto a moraine formed by Khumbu Glacier. We navigated through a boulder strewn section of trail before ascending to the top of the moraine. We walked for about an hour following the curves and crest of the trail. At one point we came across a flock of Tibetan Snow Cocks.
This group of birds was not as curious as the one we found on Kala Patthar. The birds chirped and ran away. But they ran in the direction we were walking. It was like watching a very slow game of chase was being played. The birds were nonetheless happy when we came to the part of the trail that leads onto the glacier. We climbed down onto the glacier carful of our hand and foot placements. It is extremely easy to twist an ankle or slip on a loose boulder.
The path zig zagged around small ice cliffs and camping sites once used by people attempting to summit Everest. I was a little surprised to find that the area was for the most part clean and litter free. There were a few discarded flags, one from Turkey and one from Korea, one crushed beer can, and prayer flags; however, I am hesitant to call the prayer flags litter. It took about 10 minutes to make it from the top of the moraine to old Everest Base Camp.
The view from the base camp is not all that spectacular, unless you really like glaciers. If you love glaciers then Oh Man, you are in for a treat. From base camp you can see, smell, feel, hear, and even taste Khumbu Glacier, if you so desire. You can see the ripples in the ice and the rocks trapped in their icy prison. You can see the cracks and breaks where the glacier is separating. You can see the sun cups and smooth faces carved by the sun’s rays.
Khumbu Glacier from Old Everest Base Camp
For a few minutes I just sat at base camp. Though I hadn’t completed the trek I felt as if I had, or at least accomplished a major feat. As I was sitting I noticed the glaciers were talking. I don’t know what they were talking about because I don’t speak glacier. If I had to guess, “hey everyone act normal, there’s a totally rad dude sitting on us.” Of course, I only heard cracks and pops.
Listening to the glacier reminded me of wind chimes. The sun blows over the ice painting it in warmth causing it to melt and expand much as the wind moves a clapper to sound the chimes. You can also hear landslides which feel like Luke Wray’s Rumble and sound like a rain stick. Seeing an avalanche is rare and quite spectacular. A small avalanche happened on Nuptse while we were on base camp.
From base camp you can see Pumo Ri, Lingtren, Khumbustse, Changtse, Lho La, Nuptse, and as previously mentioned Khumbu Glacier. Though the view is nice from base camp, I didn’t come to Everest Base Camp for the view. The views are much better from Kala Patthar. I came to base camp for the ceremony or a rite of passage. I came to pay homage to the many before me who scaled the walls of these mountains.
I let the mountains tower over me for a few more minutes then I left. As I was walking back with my guide when I met Priyanka. She had hired a horse to take her to base camp. We first met in Dingboche and again in Gorakshep. You never know who you will meet on the trail. My guide said he once met Chadwik Boseman on the trail. I think he was joking because he described him as being from China. But who knows there could be a Chinese Chadwik Boseman.
Trek to Thukla
After hiking back to the hotel, we had lunch. Soon afterward we left the hotel and followed the same route back to Thukla. I was a little surprised on my way back because the mountains looked completely different. It was like I was walking on a different trail in a different part of the Himalayas. We passed Lobuche with ease and still had time left in the day. I asked my guide if we could make it to Pheriche. He thought it would be a stretch so we settled on Thukla.
Return view, from left to right: Ama Dablam, Malangphulang, Hinku Himal, and Kangtega. Part of Tabuche in the foreground
In Thukla I stayed in the Yak Lodge. It was a little confusing because the room key says two different hotel names on it, and the menu says a third, and when I asked the hotel manager the name, he told me Yak Lodge. The rooms were nice. At this point in the trek I grew to expect the same standard in all the tea houses. I was not disappointed. The room had two single beds that were semi clean. The bathrooms were down the hall with squat toilets.
I did not enjoy the food too much. I probably wouldn’t have eaten at all if I didn’t think my body needed the energy. The entire time in the lodge wasn’t a complete bust. There were two Korean gentlemen that proceeded to get rip roaring drunk and make overly flirtatious advances at the two women that were working in the hotel. It was fun watching them and seeing the women’s reactions when their guide translated.
One of the funnier moments came when one of the Korean gentlemen asked if the women loved Chachi. He was referencing the 1982 spin off of happy days, Joanie Loves Chachi. The women probably didn’t know what the man was talking about, and said “no.” Nobody knew what the guy was talking about, but it was funny. The comment drew my attention and I looked into it. Apparently, the man bought the Joanie Loves Chachi DVD series because he thought Chachi meant sex.