Everest Base Camp October 2015

March 28th, 2016

Trip to Nepal. – Kathmandu and EBC

 

Days of Travel : 14th October 2015 to 3rd November.

 

Day 1 : Mumbai – Kathmandu

 

Finally that day arrived!!!!. After months of speculations , Finally I got my chance to visit the Everest base camp. I had come late from office the previous day , this giving me very little time to pack my bags. Sachin and Meghan arrived at my home early morning abd we proceeded to domestic airport. On the way I realised that i had left the bulk of chocolates purchased for this trek at home. But it was no use going back. We checked in our luggage,cleared our security check and were all set to board the flight to New Delhi. It was from here that we would proceed to Katmandu. So the flight took off on the scheduled departure time and landed New Delhi at its stipulated time. It was from Delhi that our adventure began. The flight to Kathmandu was late by 1 hour. We learnt that due to tension in border areas, the fuel supply was curbed by Indian government. Hence the planes were flying heavier and once we landed we had a bigger surprise waiting for us. We found out that our luggage was still in New Delhi. As the planes were heavy on fuel, they had to compromise on the luggage capacity. So disappointes, we proceeded to Thamel Area in Katmandu. Meghan had already booked a room online. The hotel provided us with pickup facility from Tribhuvan International Airport. We reached hotel by around 6:30. And it was pitch dark by the time we came out. Mountain Timing as explained by Meghan. That evening after checking in to our hotel, we went out to explore the shopping avenues across the area ( we were carrying 40000 INR each). Thamel, a place were we stayed was hikers heaven. One can get everything related to trekking and mountaineering here. We were fascinated by all the itema available for sale at various places. While wandering around we met a Maharashtrian family from nashik who had been with us on the same flight and had suffered same fate regarding luggage as us. It was they who informed us that Airline had compensated them with 50 Usd for petty expenses in absence of luggage. So we contacted the airline office and they assured us that the luggage woyld be arriving the following morning and we would receive our compensation at the airline office. We had our dinner at a terrace restaurant. While going around we sensed a strong anti India feeling amongst the Nepali locals who were a bit rude to us. This was due to the ongoing tension between two countries and india had stopped the supplies of all the essential commodities like cooking gas and petrol since past 2 months. So Indian image had changed from being a big brother to a big bully. We came back to our room tired and in a hope that we would be receiving our luggage early next morning thus giving us enough time to shop and rest.

 

DAY 2: Kathmandu

 

Day started very early at 6 am. We went out for a walk around the vicinity looking for some early morning tea. After roaming around for about an hour or so we came back to our hotel. We had a heavy breakfast comprising of bread butter omlette. We called the airline office hoping that our luggage would have arrived by the morning flight. The personell informed us that tge flight had already taken off from New Delhi and it was carrying our luggage (what a relief :-) ). The driver was to arrive in another 40 minutes. Hemce we decided to go around the other part of market which we had not explored the previous evening. And as usual, there were many items on display thay fascinated us but we abstained from purchasing anything(luggage worries). When we came bak to hotel, the driver was already waiting for us and we drove back to the international airport hoping to get our luggage back. When we reached we were informed that the flight was diverted to lucknow due to bad weather and was due to arrive in Kathmandu by 11:30. Fair enough. It was 10:30 and we had some time in hand. Meanwhile we collected the compensation 5000 Nepali rupees each and waited patiently for the flight to arrive. To our horror we found that the flight had arrived kathmandu abd was diverted back to New Delhi without landing due to some bird activity in the airport area. So dejected, we decided to head back to hotel. This was quiet a costly affair as we had to shell out NC 1500 everytime for a trip (fuel crisis – high prices) . we decided to go shopping now as we had enough of the luggage troubles. We had our lunch ( Nepali Thali) at a local restaurant . then we proceeded to a shop where we had befriended a shopkeeper during our outing the previous night. Also he had promised us reasonable rates taking into consideration the economies of scale. We shopped for around 3 hrs and procured the necessary goods required for our trek. The 5000 NRS received from Airline helped a lot in reducing the prices. I personally purchased a summit series jacket, a 75 ltr sack, a pouch and snow shoes which cost me just 5300 INR. Then we roamed around the nearby locality to procure petty things like poncho and gloves which we did. Now we called the aireline personnel again and were informed that 2 flights had landed from New Delhi with all the luggage on board. As it was preety late and expecting airlune to deliver our goods to our hotel was improbable, we decided to peraonally go to airport and collect the luggage. Meghan decided to stay back as we still had to arrange for thebpermit and porters for our trek. We reached airport by around 7:30 pm. The luggage was lying in heaps at the airport. Nearly 8 tonnes had arrived ( backlog of a week) fortunately enough we found our bags lying next to the conveyor belt and rushed back to hotel tired but relieved. After reaching the hotel, Meghan had already arranged for the porter and completed other required formalities. Now the only other things remaining was our packing and dinner which we had at the same place that we had been the previous evening. We came back to the hotel packed our bags, and went off to sleep excited for the flight to lukla next morning.

 

Day 3 : Kathmandu (Again)

 

We woke up at 5 am, and left for airport at around 6:30. We reached airport at 7. We found out that we had been shifted to a later flight due to unavailability of seats. We checked in for our flight at around 8:45 am and waited patiently for our chance to board the flight. The weather at lukla was very bad. Hence the flights were getting delayed. We boarded the bus at 10:30 and as we were about to get down the bus and board the flight, we got a message that bad weather had delayed our flight. We came back to the terminal waiting for next possible opportunity. We waited for another 2 hours after which we were informed that all the flights to Lukla had been cancelled due to bad weather. We were issued a new ticket for the following morning. We decided to stay near the airport so that it would be easier to commute to the airport next morning. We got a fair deal at a nearby hotel. A room for 4 for 1200 NPR. We went out for lunch as we had not eaten anything since morning. We had a delicious lunch comprising of egg noodles and came back to our room for some rest. We rested for aboit an hour after which we decided to utilize the spare time to visit Pashupatinath Temple. We visited the temple at around 5. It was a pleasant place with huge campus and the temple in itself was beautiful. Ancient architecture which had stood the test of the recent earthquake in Nepal. We came back to our room by around 6:30 and waited for dinner. We again had plain veg Nepali Thali for dinner and slept at around 10 hoping for a better weather the following day.

 

Day 4: Kathmandu Lukla – Phakding

 

Again the day started at 5 am. We woke up, got ready and checked out of our hotel by 6:30. We reached airport at 6:45 as it was just 15 mins walk from our hotel. We tried negotiating for a previous flight but to our dismay, all the flights were full. Fortunately fkr us the skies were clear that day. We got a call for boarding. Thankfully this time around we boarded the flight and it took off at 10:05 am. It was a short flight 40 minutes to be precise. The plane was a small one with seating capacity of around 20. We could see the view of all the massive mountain ranges on our way. Finally we landed at lukla at 11:45. The airstrip at lukla is worth a mention. It is a very small strip and the pilot has to land with immense precision. It is directly facing the valley. We gou out of the airport by around 11am. Our porters were already waiting for us. They took us to the restaurant of their agency owner where we had our lunch. The rates were comparatively expensive as compared to kathmandu. We purchased caps and ropes for our porters at lukla and commenced our trek at around 12:30 pm. We had to make an entry at a local checkpost before commencing with the trek. It was a relatively easy trek as mostly we had to go downhill. River Dudhkosi was constantly keeping company. After trekking for about 4 hours, we reached our destination Phakding. Phakding is a beautiful village located on the bank of river Dudhkosi. Its first stop on the way to Everest Base Camp. Its situated on a relatively low altitude which gives you a chance to relax. Thebroute vomperises of several lodges where the cost of stay is relatively low but that is compensated by high cost of food. We had a bowl of soup and a relatively early dinner. We befriended a group of 10 from Bangalore who had returned from EBC. They shared their experiences with us. We had a good time chatting with them. We retired to bed at 9 pm. We got a room for 4 but it was not comfortable. It was cold but we managed to sleep well. The trek next day was to Namchw Bazaar which was one of the toughest treks of the route as it was 15kms and had to reach an altitude of 3480 mtrs.

 

 

Day 5: Phakding Namche Bazaar

 

We started our day at 5:30 AM. It was freezing cold outside (or it seemed feelingly cold as we were yet to acclimatize). We had apple pancakes and French toast for breakfast along with Lemon tea (which would be our companion for the rest of our trip). The trek from Phakding to Namche bazaar is probably one of the most tedious of all the days. One has to go from 2640Mtrs to 3440 Mtrs in a single day. If that is not enough, the route comprises of various steep climbs as well as descends. From Phakding we cross the river and move to a village called Tok tok. From Tok tok after going up and down a few times, we reach a village called Benkar. It is from here that the real endurance starts. The road goes down from Benkar and after a walk of around 30-40 mins we reach TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) Checkpost. We had not applied for TIMS permit in Kathmandu due to all the chaos pertaining to our luggage. We had to shell out 2000 Rs each in order to obtain the permit. After completing the TIMS formalities we proceeded with our trek. Again the track consist of several hillocks and mountains which we have to cross in order to reach the destination. We reached a point which was supposed to be a Entry point for Sagar Matha National Park. But we saw a board that the same was shifted to Namche which was still 3 hrs away from where we were. And our ascent had not even started. We were still at 2800 Mtrs. Worst was we got down another 300 mtrs to cross the river . after crossing the river, our porters suggested halt for lunch as this was the last village before we reached Namche. It was already 12:30 PM and the sun was shining brightly over our heads. We had a Quiet lunch comprising of Noodles and resumed our journey. We crossed the river again and this time we were at the same level as river dudhkosi. Once could see two bridges at a height of around 200 mtrs (lower one is not in use anymore) and from here our real climb started. We covered the distance upto bridge in around 15 minutes, the road was too crowded as there were trekkers going up, going doen and also the porters carrying heavy goods slowed down the traffic considerably. Crossing the bridge was one thrilling experience. It was shaking vigorously as people were walking on it. We fortunately got some time to stand and take snaps on the bridge itself. I enjoyed the experience a lot. After crossing the bridge, we were at 2900 Mtrs and we still had 600 mtrs to go in order to reach Namche. The next hour was a very challenging one. We were just trekking uphill without any respite. The road was steep and there was no sign of a place where we could walk parallel to the ground and relax our muscles. This ordeal went on for two hours and finally we managed to reach the checkpost at Namche. Here also we had to shell out another 2000 bucks in order to get an entry in the Sagarmatha National Park. All of us were completely drained by that steep climb. It was not just the climb but the altitude gain was bothering us as well to a certain extend.once we crossed the checkpost, Namche was just 10 minutes away. Namche bazaar is a beautiful town situated on the hills and is a last point or shopping of all the essential goods. It is quiet developed considering the remoteness to cities.we checked in to alpine lodge (against the wishes of our porters who had recommended us some other place which was owned by some of their acquaintance). We got great rooms and due to elevation, the view was simply superb. Next day was a rest day where we were just going to trek to a nearby hill where we would have our first glimpse of the Mighty Mount Everest.We had our garlic soup and dinner and slept peacefully at around 8 pm.

 

 

Day 6: Rest Day Altitude Gain to Everest View and Khumjung

 

It was a Sunny day with clear skies and pleasant weather. This was supposed to be a rest day. Rest day during an expedition means acclimatization. We had planned a hike to a nearby hill. This is basically an exercise to gain altitude and acclimatize ones body and then come back down. This kind of activity helps the human body to adjust to the sudden rise in altitude. So now coming back, we woke up rather lazily at around 8 am (too late as per our standards). We had our breakfast and got ready to climb the hill behind Namche Bazaar. The weather was pretty clear when we left but as per the locals, the weather in these mountains changes every 15 minutes. So we packed our bags with water and our daily stock of dry fruits and chocolates and started our hike. It was a steep climb of about 300 meters which passed besides the Monastery at Namche. The Climb was quiet steep and we took around an hour or so to cover that distance. We reached a plateau which we found out was an airstrip (Seriously it was too lame to call that piece of land an Airstrip) where all the supplies from Kathmandu or Lukla were Unloaded from small planes or choppers. We walked for another 20 minutes (it was a gentle slope) to reach Hotel Everest View. This is the highest 5 star Hotel on the face of Earth. It is from here that we had our first glimpse of MOUNT EVEREST. It was the most beautiful sight. We were blessed to witness the Everest Range as the sky was still pretty clear. The Wind was picking up which indicated that the weather was changing . But we were happy to see the Mighty Everest with Lhotse and Nuptse peaks besides it standing like body guards. On the other side was the mighty Amadablam standing tall with its steep edges. It was a great sight. In some time the range was covered by clouds and we had just made it in the nick of time to the location. We took a lot of snaps of the surrounding areas and started our trek to a village called Khumjung. In order to reach Khumjung, we had to het down the hill. Khumjung is a very beautiful village situated near Namche Bazaar. It is here that we were told that Yeti skull was kept for display in a monastery. We reached the monastery but did not go inside as it required an entry fee and we did not feel it really worthy of that much money. Now tired and hungry, we started our walk back through the depleted lanes of the village (Destroyed by the Earthquake). We stopped at a local restaurant and had momos for lunch. After this we resumed our journey which included a steep climb to the hill we had got down from and after that it was a downhill task. On the way we purchased some locally made monkey caps and gloves made of Yak wool from an old lady and started our Journey back. The Journey till now was full of adventures. And to add to it, I broke the strap of my Bag and moreover also lost a buckle of my shoe. I had to get both the things mended. Thankfully there was a market in Namche Bazaar that allowed me to get these things repaired on time and save us a lot of time. We spent the rest of the afternoon resting in our rooms (We hadnt slept properly since we had landed in Lukla due to acclimatization issues). In the evening we set out to shop for necessities and had a good time  exploring the place. It is here we decided that we would spend a whole day here while coming back from our expedition to EBC.We had a hearty meal at around 7:30 in the evening and retired to bed. The Next day we had to start early in order to reach Tengboche, Our next halt situated at 3870 Mtrs (12700 Ft).

 

Day 7: Namche Bazaar – Tengboche

 

 




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