8 days of pure slog, battling with cold weather, samey food, and an extremely overweight backpack, I managed to make it to Everest base camp.
The camp itself. It’s completely underwhelming – there’s fuck all here apart from wind torn flags, and happy tourists. Naturally I celebrated the only way the English know how
Cigs and whiskey!
The final few days we’re honestly like nothing I ever thought I’d see on planet Earth – at points it really did feel like trekking on the moon. There’s almost no life above 5000m.
Apart from the odd rogue Yak that’s living off the grid.
“You didn’t see nuffin fam”.
The air is that thin, that you can feel your heart racing to get as much oxygen pumping about the blood as possible.
And signs like this don’t exactally do my ‘worried-about-the-lack-of-oxygen’ sense any good.
When this is the forecast every day, it’s understandable that the only things that breathe here are tourists and sherpas.
I did realise once at base camp that I was stood on a glacier! This wasn’t something I’d even though about till I saw these massive sheets of ice poking out from the rocks. Definitely very cool (pun partially intended).
Up until this point, I’d been fairly jammy with lodging in my own room the whole way up. Unfortunately, Gorak Shep is quite a popular stop for several different hikes around the Himalayas. As such, the only space they had for me was in the Sherpa’s dorm. By the end of the night, there was about 20 of us crammed into this room, with myself being the only non Nepalese in there. The owner was dead apologetic, and gave me the bed for free – I have no idea why, as the Sherpa’s we’re absolutely loveley (despite there questionable singing, and dal bhat farts). I crossed paths with a few of them on the way down, and they even asked ‘how was your sleep last night?’.
I’m on the way down now, back to Lukla, and only one final trek away from catching a plane back to Kathmandu. At this point, I find myself asking ‘what has the EBC taught me?’
Firstly, that I look like a confused homeless man after ten days without a wash at 5000 metres up.
And even after a good clean, it’s not much better…
But for sure, tenacity. I have trouble sticking something out and seeing it through to the end – as I’m sure many people do. Waking up with a purpose, a goal and knowing by the end of the day, that goal has to be complete was a fantastic driver for me, and is something I’ll take away from this hike. The difference here is that on a mountain, your next goal is obvious – go more up and don’t die. In life, your next goal won’t present itself that obviously, you have to search for it – and that’s going to be my next task, find something to be driving towards.
Everyone I’ve meet on this trail is driven – you have to be if you want to make it to the peak, and that really rubbed off on me.
There were plenty of people suffering from altitude sickness (luckily, I managed to swerve it). I didn’t see a single one of them turn back, because they all wanted to make it to the top.
The company here is fantastic – everyone has their own little streak of crazy, which makes the people here amazing. During the day, I was locked into my music, one foot ahead of the other, but at night, there’s a great camaraderie in the tea houses.
They all absolutely reek of socks though.
Those going up are so eager to ask those coming down questions. “Does the trail get harder? How cold does it get? Should I spend a day in X place? Are there any bears?”. I say the same thing to almost all these questions – if you’re determined to get to the top, you will, everything else will fall into place.
I ran out of money just before the summit, and ended up having to beg a chap at a bakery for cashback on a visa purchase. Buying a load of fake gear in Kathmandu meant equipment failures too, but honestly, part of the fun of going up this thing was working out ways of sorting these problems. That’s something I don’t think I wouldn’t have been able to experience with a Sherpa, as these guys are shit hot at their jobs, and take your safety more seriously than their own.
I’m currently sat in a little German bakery in Namche Bazaar drawing, drinking tea, and eating the best cheese croissants I’ve ever had in my life…
…and I geniuinally think I’ve found my favourite spot in the world right here.
Nepal is absolutely inspiring, the people here are so welcoming, and the tourists are all a little bit crazy. This is by far and away my favourite country on this planet, and I will 100% be returning.
Everest, you’ve been a beautiful bastard
But it’s time to love you and leave you.
Peace all x