Never Say ‘Never’…strolling to Everest Base Camp

GULP!

What have I done?!

What was I thinking to sign up for a walk to Everest Base Camp?

A cartoon cow tries to conquer a mountain.
With thanks to Red Tractor Designs for the inspiration.

If you have followed my blog for a while, you may recall that I don’t mind a bit of a stroll. This has translated into around 2 500km across Spain and Portugal, and just over 1 000km through Italy last year.

Often when I return from one of these adventures, people will comment “Well, you’ll be taking on the Kokoda Trail next” or “When is your assault on Everest?” I have always pooh-poohed these ideas as, even though I don’t mind walking +30km each day, I do like a ‘real’ bed under a solid roof at night and a shower of some sort. Don’t ask me to camp in a flimsy tent and scavenge bits of a luke-warm meal out of a teetering camp stove.

In my mind, Kokoda/Everest-type walks have always been off limits as they wouldn’t provide even the smallest degree of comfort at the end of each walking day. It turns out I was wrong.

One day when I was standing at my desk, minding my own business, an e-news from TripaDeal leapt into my Inbox, complete with stunning photos of snow-capped mountains and other breathtaking vistas.

A long queue of people trying to climb Everest
Peak hour on Everest?? Source: news.com.au

Dancing across the screen was the special-not-to-be-missed-once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-be-repeated offer of $2899.00 per person, pretty much all-inclusive.

How could I not click on the link?

The more I read, the more it tweaked my interest and my imagination ran wild. I just had to print up the trip notes and wave them under The Husband’s nose. Perhaps, if I got him in a weak moment, he would like to join me on this epic adventure?

To my delight and amazement, he said “Yes”. Now this is starting to sound like a wedding proposal!

So, we are off!!

We have booked a tour starting in late March 2020. I am guessing it will still be pretty cold then, but hopefully we will have good walking temperatures during the daytime. Apparently April is peak hiking season, so perhaps we will miss some of the crowds too? Is my Eternal-Optimist kicking in already and am I kidding myself??

A meme from Facebook and Jack Boot
Note to self…

The plan is to:

Day 1: fly to Kathmandu, Nepal (1 345m)

Day 2: sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Day 3: Fly Kathmandu to Lukla, hike to Phakding (2 610m)

Day 4. Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3 440m)

Day 5. REST DAY

Day 6. Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3 867m)

Day 7. Tengboche to Dingboche (4 260m)

Day 8. REST DAY

Day 9. Dingboche to Lobuche (4 930m)

Day 10. Lobuche to Everest Base Camp and return to Gorak Shep (5 160m)

Day 11. Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5 545m) to Pheriche (4 243m)

Day 12. Pheriche to Namche Bazaar (3 441m)

Day 13. Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2 886m)

Day 14. Fly Lukla to Kathmandu

Day 15. REST DAY

Day 16. Depart Kathmandu

Day 17. Arrive Sydney, Australia.

…and collapse!

I was pleased to see the itinerary included a couple of days to acclimatise as we ascend. I am guessing I am going to need every rest stop I can get! Of course since booking, further research and chatting to people far more experienced than myself, has shown that 15 days is the recommended time frame for walking to Everest Base Camp, not 11 days! Oh well, we will have to double our focus on training and be sure to take it slow and steady when we get there. If am an expert at anything, I am an expert at ‘slow and steady’!

Snow-capped mountain range
No, we won’t climb this high…not unless we take a wrong turn!

The thing that appealed to me with this trip is that during the hike we stay in mountain lodges and we only need to walk with a day pack as our larger packs are carried by porters. I have no illusions that the mountain lodges will be 5-star, but as long as I am out of the elements and relatively safe and dry, I will be fine. Apparently there is the chance that we will have to pay for hot water and electricity to charge our cameras etc, but that is fine and a small price to pay for a tad more comfort and completely acceptable considering the remoteness.

The never-to-be-repeated price (which I now find is readily available to all and sundry, 24×7) includes flights, airport transfers, four nights hotel accommodation + breakfast, 11 nights in mountain lodges, all meals during the trek, plus porters who will carry our backpacks. In my book that’s a pretty good deal.

And now I am left to wonder. “What the hell have I committed to??”  I cannot imagine how I am ever going to be fit enough to hike through the Himalayas, but I guess it is just a matter of training, training, and more training. The fitter I am when I leave Australia, the more enjoyable it will be. Good theory??

Inspirational meme - you are not too old and it's not too late
Who am I trying to kid?

So, over to you now. Hit me with all your tips, tricks and training ideas.

What should I pack?

How should I prepare?

What the hell have I done??

 

The Basics

What: A 17-day tour to Nepal including an 11-day trek to Everest Base Camp. After all the media coverage of late showing the eye-opening traffic jams on Everest, I am expecting the walking paths to be busy too.

Where: After flying into Kathmandu, we transfer to Lukla and start our trek from there.

When: March 2020 and early Spring in Nepal. Looking at the historical weather records it states that the temperature averages range from 5°C to 22°C. Although apparently this year they experienced record lows and record snow falls! How will I pack every item of warm clothing I possess within the prescribed 10kg weight limit?

Why: Because it will be breathtaking and memorable and the closest to Everest I will ever get.

How: By foot, car, plane, bus, foot, bus, plane, foot, foot, foot, foot, foot, etc, plane, bus, plane, car, foot.

Who: Myself and The Husband.

Related Posts: For a little Nepal taster, check out my post about my 2017 visit to Kathmandu.

Related Blogs: For some great insight into what it takes to trek to Everest Base Camp have a look at this fabulous blog – The Year I Touched My Toes. Lots of handy information for would-be trekkers there.

Read About it: Prefer an armchair adventure to Everest Base Camp? Then strap on your crampons, take a deep breath and open Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. An astounding first-hand account of what it takes to climb Everest. Available from Book Depository.

#travelinspo #everestbasecamp #bucketlist #adventurebeforedementia

view of the Annapurna Range from Pokhara
My view of the Annapurna Range from Pokhara in 2017

20 thoughts on “Never Say ‘Never’…strolling to Everest Base Camp

  1. Find those that have been Mel. They are your most reliable sources. My sister and her husband did it last year, hired necessary warm gear over there, still bitterly cold at night (well into minuses), but providing weather is good, walking in a couple of lightish pure wool jackets. Its very hard, and you have no choice but to go slow and your guides will hold you back if you go too fast. Train, prepare, expect the worst, slow and steady, enjoy the primitatve hospitable huts and people – and delicious moemoes marvel at the beauty, job done. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good advice. Just trying to catch up with a local couple here in Mudgee who walked in late April in RECORD snow!! We have been buying wool layers as they come on special and I am sure there will be another blitz at the end of season sales! It will be a memorable experience, if nothing else!! 🙂 Melx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, having carried my own pack for many, many kilometres, I definitely know what it feels like. I am already starting to think about how I can minimise packaging etc as whatever I carry in, I want to carry out again. The challenge will be with clothing I think and how to pack multiple light, but warm, layers. I think I will be living in my down jacket and thermals!

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  2. Im going to be following your adventure.
    I plan to do the same in Late November early December 2020 just before i get to 61
    Wife is up for the challenge to.
    Will be interesting to see what you find out.
    Talking to a Nepalese friend the journey is easy the altitude is where people struggle.
    I live at sea level so no amount of training can prepare me for the altitude or maybe a peg on the nose and tape across the mouth will help. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Clive. Yes, it is going to be a real adventure and I am wavering between excitement and nerves! I was interested to see on the itinerary that each day is measured in hours and altitude rather than distance. Normally when training for a long walk, I just strap on my pack and head off for 20km. Now I will be heading for every hill in the region and just keep going UP! Somehow I think it is going to be a poor imitation of the real thing, but better than nothing at all! I will keep you posted! Have a good day, Mel

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  3. OMG Mel!! I guess this was inevitable when I think about it. So glad Alan going too. I’ve heard doing steep stairs over & over is good for training for this climb…like I mean 50+ or so times. Will keep you focused!! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Mel,
    Thanks for mentioning my blog on this post. Yes getting woollen base layers at the adventure gear sales is good but Target also sells affordable long sleeve woollen tee shirts and leggings each winter so check them out.
    Just looking at some of the other comments – the comment about the stair training is spot on. We think that is the most valuable of the training activities. We found a building at a university ten minutes from home which had outside stairs (about 100 steps) which we would train on with all our gear (not the day packs) on the weekends. We trained on these for about three months starting off with 15 minutes once a week and at the end we would do an hour just up and down with a five minutes break. We were doing it twice a week the last few weeks before we left. It is all on my training pages. I think you should easily be able to keep the weight to 10 kilos. Our porter guide carried about 12 – 13 kilos and that was our combined gear for two of us. You don’t need to carry lots of snacks.
    And the comment about the Nepalese friend saying it was easy. Yep. You know when the local person tells you its just down the road and its miles away :). It is not hard if you train really well. By that I mean lots of stairs and your hills. You don’t need to train for distance because you are not doing much in the way of distance each day its the up and down and up again of the hills and all the steps there are heaps. And it is not just the UP you need to practice but the down as well. But I would not call it easy though,. The Nepalese run up! The lodges are mush better than huts but still basic.
    I heard the March April season was very cold this year, I was sent some video footage there was quite a bit of snow. This particular young guy (21 maybe) who obviously didn’t train and was very gung ho and didn’t listen to advice was medevacked out to the hospital in Kathmandu.
    Anyway even though all the training can be a drag you will feel fantastic and it will be one of your best walks yet. Thanks again for mentioning my blog.
    Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all the feedback! All very useful except that I doubt that there are 100 stairs in my entire town let alone one building!! So it is the hills for us and lots of them! No doubt we will be chatting before we depart and in the meantime I will trawl through your blog for more tips and tricks. Have a great weekend, Mel

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations! This is so exciting. Trekking to EBC is on the husband’s bucket list, too. If he ever gets his way, I’ll be dragged along, too. Not that I don’t like hiking, but that’s a big commitment. Also, the optimal times to go are really difficult for the US teaching schedule, and I’d rather do it sooner (younger) than later (retired). You know… knees and all. Anyway, I both follow The Year I Touched My Toes, and have been a long-time fan of Into Thin Air (and all Krakauer, really) and am very excited to follow your adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! How amazing. My sister walked this last year … can I say walk? Probably not. Hiked. She walked the camino with me after and really noticed the difference altitude makes. I have this on my one day list. I remember training for it when I was younger and the tip was swim loads … increases lung capacity. So thrilled for you. Fran 🙂

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