Mount Everest Basecamp
Whenever you set out on a big journey you set yourself certain goals, things you want to achieve, places to see or even a state of mind you want to get into(or rid off). When I planned my year(or as it turned out 9 months) abroad I wanted to start off with something big. Mount Everest Basecamp was something that had been on my mind for years. Theres something deeply fascinating about the Himalays, Nepal & Tibet. I always perceived them as very spiritual and tranquil places. Places that something inside my head urged me to experience.
When I set out in April of 2017 I didnt yet know what profound impact that year abroad would have on me and what drastic changes it would bring. It was just an adventure, fun.
Landing in Kathmandu the city immediately greeted me as a huge bowl of dust, people, animals, cars and crazy. You know you’re not in Kansas anymore when you get overtaken by a herd of cows in the middle of the city. I booked the Trek through Intrepid Travel and it was supposed to take 12 days in total. I cannot praise Intrepid enough for their meticulous organization, everything was taken care off and there were barely any hiccups during those 2 days.
No matter where you walk in Nepal you can always feel a certain spiritual vibe with every step you take. Prayer wheels that line the way, mantras on huge boulders, all kinds of superstition(like always having to walk on the left side of aforementioned boulders), you name it. But it never gives you the feeling christianity tries to impose. It’s not something that is given to you but something you aquire by experiencnig it. Im not a spiritual person but sitting at a temple on the way back did make me question certain beliefs and the absolute approach atheism takes. But thats an entirely different story.
The first 2 days were heaven and hell. Immediately after departing Lukla we only went down for the entire day which made for easy walking, Days 2 however was the exact opposite as it had the biggest climb of the entire trek waiting for us. 700m altitude difference to the town of Namche Bazaar.
What I realized during that first harsh climb was that this was going to be hard. Really hard, but also rewarding. Just walking through the Valley on the approach gives you a feeling of having entered a different world. I dont think any part of the world can be compared to the Himalayas.
Namche itself is the first and last big town after leaving Lukla. Here you can get everything you are still lacking as far as equipment goes and its also the last time you will find free WIFI.
From here on it’s always up, up, up. Or what the Guides lovingly call Nepalese flat which means up, down, up, down, up. To climb 200m of altitude you will easily drop 200m and climb another 400m in total. The scenery is absolutely magnificent unlike anything else I have seen before or since.
That being said it’s also the single most exhausting and challenging thing i’ve ever done. The paths are rough and with every step the air becomes less. Altitude sickness is ever present in your head even if you are taking pills. For me even tough I was taking Diamox from the beginning I could feel it’s symptoms and the side-effects of the drug only made matters worse.
Of course there are those moments where you simply forget about all that and just stare in awe at the giants surrounding you. 7000m is “just another peak” here. As you get higher everything becomes scarce, water purification is a constant effort just as not growing tired of the same food every day. If you’re not a noodle & rice lover this place isnt for you. The Trek, all along the way, is very busy and there will barely be an hour when you dont bump into another big group thats either going up or down.
Eventually, after torturing yourself to go on no matter what because you’ve already come this far and dont want to give up now, you’ll reach Basecamp. Im being honest here when saying Basecamp isnt much. A pile of rocks, a view of the Icefall and lots and lots of people. You wont be able to actually see Everest from here(or the 3 days before). But this isnt one of the place where you go to see something, you come here to get here. To beat the odds and push yourself. People were in tears all over after taking those final teps towards the “Flagpile”. They say you go to Everest Basecamp for the Achievment and do Annapurna for the views. If you manage to come here you achieved something big.