29 February 2016

Everest Base Camp Part 4 - We Made It

Day 8: 2hrs 40 minutes to get to Gorak Shep. 
At 5,164 mtrs it is described as a frozen lake bed covered with sand. I didn't expect to find sand this high up in the Himalayas! Gorak Shep means "dead ravens," because of the complete lack of any kind of vegetation growing there. 
The itinerary had us going to base camp the next day, day 9, then all the way up to Kala Patar, all the way down then to Periche on day 10. I don’t think I could’ve done it, I would have had to hire a horse! the others weren’t keen on the long day 10 either so we all voted to go to base camp this afternoon.  

After lunch we set out for base camp 

Dear Far insisted on carrying my rucksack, it only had water and my waterproof  in it, but we were functioning on only about 11% effective oxygen now so I needed all the help I could get.
Tsurin carried Bonnie's. 
Far had my camera with him, I can't remember if he took this photo as a selfie with Bonnie and myself in the background or if someone else took it.

He definitely took this cute bird one

Almost there

I made it!!...... on Monday the 15th Oct 2012 I reached Everest Base Camp at 5,350 mtrs. 
Phurba, Kat, me, Tsurin and John in the background. Bonnie arrived a few minutes later.
It was very emotional. 

Lots of trekkers left their signed banners and flags, or personal mementos.  

I could hardly believe I was there. It had been tough getting there, but so worth it for the amazing experience and achievement. I felt so proud of myself. I texted my daughters, who replied "Well done ma, we're so proud of you" :-) 

Josh looking good on the Khumba glacier - what a poser! :-)

Back at Gorak Shep. A round trek of 5 hours. I took this the next day because it was dusk by the time we arrived back. We celebrated with a hearty meal, the chocolate I had taken and a few games of Uno.
A nice lodge but another grim toilet!  

It was clean, all those marks were scuffed concrete! But again it was unspeakably smelly, perhaps altitude affects drains - the two highest were the worst. Another one where I had to cover my nose whenever I used it, which unfortunately involved a night time visit. I had had to go every night since I started taking Diamox. 
Diamox forces the kidneys to excrete bicarbonate which re-acidifies the blood, balancing the effects of the hyperventilation that occurs at altitude in an attempt to get oxygen. This re-acidification acts as a respiratory stimulant, particularly at night. 
I had a system in place for dealing with these nightly visits in sub zero temperatures. I slept in thermal pyjamas, my down jacket was at the bottom of my bed. I sat up in my sleeping bag, put the jacket on, my Ugg boots were at the side of my bed, they contained my scarf, head torch and a few sheets of toilet paper (never take the whole roll in case you drop it!!!...) So, nicely wrapped up I sprinted down the corridor, put my scarf over my nose, held my breath, did what I had to do, then sprinted back to the warmth of my sleeping bag!  
Didn’t bother with a shower again, wet wipes and deodorant, everyone was more or less doing the same thing, none of us smelt bad, body smells aren’t bad at altitude, or perhaps we just didn't notice because we all smelt the same! I always cleaned my teeth though!
This was the only place I had to share a room for two nights. The lodge was bursting at the seams so I shared with Bonnie, while her husband John shared with Ken. It was very nice having company.

Everest isn't visible from base camp, to get a good view of it you have to climb up to Kala Patar. Everything I had read said how spectacular the sunrise was and it was worth the trek to see it, however that would've meant leaving at about 3.30 when it would be very, very cold and very dark, so we opted to leave later and still get a good view.

Day 9:  We set out at 8.35

I needed many short rest moments

Scrambling up all this shale was tough and I did actually say "I can't do this anymore I'm going back".
I nearly gave up.

but I didn't. Bonnie and I arrived at 12.30. 

Kala Pattar 5,550 mtrs

Mount Everest in the background to the right of the pole. Ken had arrived before us and had got very cold waiting so he and Tsurin decided to go back. Later over dinner we said we would Photoshop him in, there then followed a barrage of suggestions as to what character we could use -  a Yeti, one of the Village People, a surfer, just in his underpants, the list became a very long one!! We had a lot of fun. Needless to say we didn't actually get round to doing it!
For many trekkers, summiting Kala Patthar provides the best views of Everest and the highest altitude it’s possible to reach outside of an airplane (other than actually climbing the mountain itself!)

The mountain we had all come to see. The summit looks so easy to get to from this angle!

Far climbed to the top!It was only a few more metres but it was cold and very windy so the rest of us were content to stay where we were and enjoy the views.

John had told us earlier on that he had bought an Hawaiin shirt and was going to change into it for a photo. I don't think any of us believed him until..........

I can't imagine that this cute little dog had climbed all the way up there on its own, perhaps it was with someone and was waiting for them to go back down.
He looked content sitting in the sunshine with his warm coat on.

So having reached Everest Base Camp and Kala Patar
all that remained was to get back down to Lukla.............. 
to be continued


  1. I am in awe, what a great adventure.

  2. Absolutely incredible. Respect is all I can say.

  3. What an amazing adventure you have experienced!
    Your photos are fabulous and the texts very interesting!

    1. Thank you for your generous comments Sara x

  4. Wow Polly, just WOW - incredible photos and an amazing experience - so glad you are sharing it! xx

    1. Many thanks Sarah. I would love to do it again, I got quite emotional writing this post xx

  5. I found you through People Don't Eat Enough Fudge and I have been wanting to do this for a few months now and I have questions!!! Which tour guide company did you use? How much did it cost? How did you prepare for it??

    1. Hi, I went with KE Adventure and would highly recommend them, It cost £2,163.50. In Feb 2012 I broke a metatarsal bone in my right foot which took a long time to heal. By May I could walk without any problems. I had a good pair of walking boots so I started taking the dog for walks around the fields where I live, building up to 6 miles a day. A month before I was due to go I joined a gym to use the stepper machine. Do go, it's a great experience


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