Jan Hrebien treks to Everest Base Camp
I always wanted to trek to Everest Base Camp and, having climbed Kilimanjaro for the Nasio Trust in 2011, decided to trek for the Trust again. I flew out to Kathmandu via Delhi on the evening of 18th October and arrived on Saturday afternoon (and a 6 hour time difference). On Sunday afternoon I met my guide Lopsang and porter Dendi for a trek briefing.
On Monday morning we flew in a little 14-seater prop plane to Lukla to start my trek – we were at 9,300ft. The trail led us downhill and uphill through valleys and after 3 hours 15 minutes we arrived at Phakding, our first overnight lodge at 8,500ft.
Day 2 took us up and down more valleys on an 8 mile trek; during the afternoon I had my first sight of Everest through the trees, snow capped with blue sky behind. After 6 and a half hours we arrived at Namche, 11,300ft, and I hoped our lodge was the first one in the village as I was exhausted – cruelly, my guide Lopsang pointed to the lodge at the very top of the village, another 25 minutes climb!
Day 3 said ‘rest day’ on the itinerary – we went on a 3 and a half hour round trip up to world’s highest airport (little more than a short, stony dirt track with a wind sock at the end)and then on to the Everest View Hotel for stunning views to Everest.
Days 4 and 5 took me to Deboche (12,500ft, 6 hours) and Dingboche (14,400ft, 5hrs 30m) and Day 6 was another ‘rest day’ – we walked for a couple of hours up to 14,900ft, again with stunning views across the
valleys in clear blue skies. Back at the lodge, Lopsang introduced me to his uncle, Lhakpa Gelu, who holds the record for an ascent from base camp to the summit of Everest – 10hrs 56mins – amazing/crazy!!
Day 7 took me up some very steep climbs to Lobuche; it was getting windy and colder as we were well above the tree line now, with snow on the ground; by the end of the 6 hours 15 minute trek we had reached 16,000ft.
Day 8 – the big day had arrived! After a 3 hour 45 minute walk up to the last lodge at Gorak Shep at 16,800ft and an hour rest over lunch, I set off for Base Camp (17,600ft) across icy, rocky paths. After 2 hours 20 minutes I arrived, absolutely exhausted but pleased to have achieved my personal goal. After a photo to prove I had been there I set off back to Gorak Shep, arriving 1 hour 50 minutes later, just before it got dark, utterly spent of energy.
A good night’s sleep meant I was ready for the 5 day trek back to Lukla; apart from one different valley via a stop at Periche we returned on the same trail – I could appreciate again the walk along ridges, valleys and woods with the wonderful scenery.
One night in Lukla and one night in Kathmandu before flying home – I returned tired but elated at having made it to Base Camp and having raised £1500 for the Nasio Trust in the process. What a great adventure!