A few years ago I was given the opportunity to sign up with a charity and travel company to take part in the Everest base camp trek! I realise ‘base camp’ sounds like the bottom but it is actually 5,365m. The climb took around 12 days to complete and I can say without doubt it was one of the HARDEST thing I have ever done! I would consider myself an active person but nothing I did could fully prepare me for this challenge.
I was in Nepal from 28th August – 18th September and there was 9 of us (including myself). I learnt a lot about myself along the way, it was easy to become overwhelmed by the challenge and it was incredibly intimated, i had never pushed my mental and physical state so much – there were times when I cried and had to take a few moments but I think I cared about finishing it more than the fact I had to stop along the way.
Our trek started in Lukla, which you can only get to via a small tin can of a plane, this journey would make the most confidence flyer feel slightly nervous. The planes were also very unpredictable as any sign of bad weather could leave you stranded on either side, however, we were lucky and got our first flight out! The planes work on quite a primal flight plan..so, to stop the plane you fly up hill until you reach the flat runway and to start you fly off a cliff! Scary right???
The first day was so bizarre.. here I was, never been out of Europe before and now in the middle of Nepal with a rucksack and walking boots on.. I could tell from that moment it was going to be an interesting trip!!
I also became the prime example of what altitude sickness could do to someone! Sickness, headaches, dizziness and so on.. it’s a weird experience having your body go through a number of different things and having no control over it! I was lucky enough for it not to effect me completely and I was able to carry on with the trek 🙂
During our trek we were joined by two Sherpas, they were basically our guides for the trek and looked after us every step of the way. I grew pretty close to one of them and to him I became know as Seven ( I assume it was just his mispronunciation of my name), however on the last night I found out seven is a lucky number and that is why he was calling me it! I’m not sure if my blonde hair had anything to do with this or if he could sense I needed something extra.
Once we reached the base camp I silently became quite emotional, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be able to complete something like the trek, I wasn’t the fastest and I struggled throughout but I have made it to the top and I couldn’t be prouder! Before we headed back down we had one more 5,643m challenge! Kala Patthar though technically isn’t a mountain was not an easy feat, by this point I was tired and my motivation was running low as was my oxygen! Three/ four steps suddenly seemed a great challenge and there were several times were I contemplated giving up! As tempting as it was, it was not in my nature and I could not let the others carry on without me! The final hurdle was standing at the bottom of this rock formation looking up at the ‘top’.. honestly this climb was less than the average flight of stair in a house and I knew I could do it! So I put my foot on the first rock and bounced from rock to rock – to me it seemed as if I was running but I assume I just looked like an unstable toddler stumbling over some rocks! Once I reached the top all of my group gave me a round of applause, it was a lovely gesture and muchly appreciated – then I threw up.
Then began the descent which obviously was much easier but we had been awake since 4am.. so morale wasn’t at its highest! Getting back to Lukla only took 3 days! Then it was back to Kathmandu for a looooong shower with hot water!!