On October 1st 2018, Ollie and I met with 35 excited travellers ready to embark on a trip to Nepal to take on the challenge of trekking Everest Base Camp.
We weren’t all travelling together – Ollie and I were going to split our groups and start a day apart once we reached Kathmandu.
Our flight quickly transferred through Mumbai airport and we arrived into Kathmandu airport on the morning of the 2nd October. The hustle and bustle of Kathmandu Airport just hits you as soon as you arrive. For me it’s pretty normal, but for some of our group it’s a bit of a shock! The queue for the visas was huge because two planes landed pretty much at the same time. That’s one tip I always suggest – get your visas in the UK if you can, it saves so much time!
After we had found our luggage and sorted out the bags that couldn’t fly from Mumbai (please remember that battery packs need to go in your hand luggage not your hold bags!), it was time to head to our hotel. The traffic was busy and it took about 30 minutes to get across to Themal where we were staying.
Quick check in and it was time for everyone to freshen up and go and explore!
Day 3 – Kathmandu to Phakding
For my group it was an early start, as we were heading to Lukla today. Ollie’s group were going to fly the following day. On arrival at Kathmandu airport everything was processed quickly and the planes were flying. YES! We boarded a bus and were driven onto the runway. Our bags were loaded and then we were turned around – weather was bad at Lukla. We sat and waited for 3 hours until it was decided that no planes were going to fly to Lukla that day.
We had two choices, try again tomorrow or see if I could find an alternative! After 10 minutes on the phone, we had a plan B – we were going to fly to Rumjatar airstrip and then get a helicopter shuttle to Surke. Luckily for me the group trusted my decision and off we flew!
Once we arrived at Surke it was late, and again the group had two choices – walk to Lukla, meaning we would then have to lose a rest day somewhere on the trek, or continue the walk to Phakding as per the itinerary. The group decided they wanted to keep their rest day, so off we trekked for a late night walk. We arrived at our tea house in Phakding around 10pm and after a quick evening meal it was time for bed!
>Day 4 – Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Today’s walk was a straightforward one to Namche Bazaar. Namche is the trading centre and hub for the Khumbu region. Most Sherpas involved with the mountains are from the Namche area, too. The group had walked across a few of the famous suspension bridges yesterday in the dark, but today they saw them for real!
We arrived into Namche in the early afternoon and the group settled into the teahouse before heading out to explore. Namche is a vibrant town, offering everything you could need for your adventure trek. Tomorrow is a rest day in Namche for the group so a few of us went to check out the world’s highest Irish bar!
Day 5 – Acclimatisation walk to Hotel Everest View
Today is a rest day – or as we like to call them – acclimatisation days! We also take a stroll up to the Hotel Everest View. This is a stunning hotel, and you can’t believe that this was built in the ‘60’s with all the building materials being carried up by hand.
Unfortunately today it was cloudy and there was no sign of Everest, but we could clearly see Ama Dablam and Lhotse. The afternoon was time to recover, with a trip to the bakery for some apple pie in Namche.
Day 6 – Namche to Tengboche
Today’s trek was going to take us to Tengboche (3867m). The walk for the morning was nice and gradual with even a few downhills before lunch. It is after lunch that the problems start! Before lunch we walk down to the river and cross another bridge.
The afternoon is then spent walking back uphill to get to Tengboche. The group arrived at Tengboche tired and in need of a pick me up! Luckily, they were welcomed with one of the best hot chocolates I think I have ever tasted – well it certainly tasted good from there.
Day 7 – Tengboche to Dingboche
We woke up to the most amazing views of Everest, Lhotse and Nupste today. As soon as the group walked into the dining room and wiped the condensation from the windows they ran straight outside with cameras for photos.
Before we set off today, we headed to the Tengboche monastery to look around and visit the monks. The monastery is the largest gompa in the Khumba region.
The remainder of the day was spent getting higher as we headed for Dingboche. Dingboche sits at an altitude of 4350 metres so we were certainly getting higher. The group were now starting to feel some effects of altitude and it was certainly getting colder!
Day 8 – Acclimatisation trek to Chhukung
Today we have an acclimistisation day. We never call them rest days because we still head out for a walk. Today was also the day we were saying goodbye to our Island Peak group. They had been with us up to this point, but today was the day we went our separate ways for a few days. The next time we would bump back into this group would be at Namche Bazaar on the way back down.
The afternoon was spent relaxing, reading books or catching up with box sets on the tablet. There was even an amazing warm shower here as well. Late in afternoon our other EBC group, led by Ollie, arrived at the tea house. Stories and pictures were shared and everyone was in good spirits.
Day 9 – Dingboche to Loboche
After breakfast and saying goodbye to EBC group 2, we headed off for Loboche. The trek today is around 5 miles and will take us about 4.5 hours. The group were still in really good spirits when we arrived in Loboche, with no one suffering too badly. People ate their dinner, and with an early start planned for the morning, early nights were had by all.
>Day 10 – Loboche to Everest Base Camp
Today was the day! We were heading for Everest Base Camp. We woke up in the morning and all met in the dining room for a hot drink. We had made the decision we were going to stop at Gorak Shep for breakfast. Everyone was wrapped up warm, but the early morning was actually quite mild with people warming up very quickly.
After an hour walking with head torches it was light and we were making our way to Gorak Shep. After a few hours of trekking we reached the breakfast stop, eggs, toast, pancakes were all ordered and people fuelled up ready for the last push. The trek to base camp took around 2 hours for the group to complete.
We couldn’t believe how lucky we were, when we arrived there were a couple of people having photos taken, but they soon left to leave our group alone at the Base Camp of Mount Everest. We spent 20-30 minutes taking photos before we started to make our way back to Loboche. The group were all very tired after today and went straight to bed when they arrived back into the tea lodge. Today was a long day, and one the group would remember for a long time!
Day 11 – Loboche to Tengboche
Time to make our way back down and today we are heading to the Tengboche monastery. One thing the group can’t understand is how there are still so many uphills on the way back down! Today was a lovely day walking back down, everyone walking at their own pace and retracing the steps they have already taken.
The final push up to the monastery was a hard one and we arrived just as it was getting dark. The group remembered the amazing hot chocolate served to them on the way here and certainly tucked into another one this evening.
Day 12 – Tengboche Monastery to Khumjung
The guys certainly remembered the long slog up to the monastery the first time, but they were more surprised how steep in was on the way back down to the river. All I could hear was “I can’t believe we climbed up here last week” from behind me. Today was slightly different though, today we were heading for Khumjung.
Once we reached the river at the bottom, we climbed up the other side (again, the group can’t remember coming down something so steep!) and we turned right to Khumjung.
Khumjung is a lovely village and a new one for the group to explore. The village is home to the Edmund Hillary School which was built by Sir Edmund himself, and is also home to a statue of the man. We arrived at the village in time for lunch and the afternoon was then spent exploring.
Day 13 – Khumjung to Monjo
Change of plan for the day. The original plan was for us to head to Phakding today, but with a tired group we decided to trek to Monjo instead. This would mean the group would have more time to explore Namche Bazaar for the afternoon. 45 minutes after leaving Khumjung we stopped for our last pictures of Everest. It was a stunning morning with perfect blue skies. We then proceeded to make our way down past the Namche air strip towards the village.
We went to put in our lunch order at the tea house, and caught up with the Island Peak guys who we hadn’t seen since day 8. The group spent the remainder of the morning shopping and exploring Namche. There is a problem with all this shopping, but we will come back to that later! After lunch we made our way back down the trail towards Monjo for our penultimate night in a tea house.
Day 14 – Monjo to Lukla
The problem we have here is the group never trekked from Lukla, therefore they never had the ability to walk down the big hill from Lukla. This was then a surprise that at the end of the trek they had a big hill to walk up to finish off the trek.
Arriving in Lukla was emotional for most of the group – their trek was over. The group hadn’t had the chance to explore Lukla as we by passed it on the way in, so the evening was spent exploring before we caught our flight home first thing in the morning.
Day 15 – Back to Kathmandu
We were up early for breakfast as we were on the first flight out in the morning. Weather was clear so everything was looking good for our departure.
Remember all the shopping? Well, it was about to come to a head. Our group were 140 kg overweight for the plane! After some quick talking from Kitap our guide, I had been bumped from the plane. That was 75kg saved (okay, 85kg!) and we had to leave 3 bags as well to follow with me. I only arrived 20 minutes after the group and everyone was reunited with their bags.
We were back in Kathmandu by 8am and back at our hotel by 9.30am. The group now had 3 full days to explore Kathmandu, recover and contemplate their next adventure.
If the Everest Base Camp trek is on your bucket list, simply contact us today on 0176 930 9007 to find out when our next big trip is running, and get it ticked off!