Into thin air – Trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp
With every step I take I can feel the air gradually getting thinner. I do walk slowly but I’m breathing as if I am running up that steep snaky slope in front of me. The lack of oxygen is really becoming an issue above 3000 meters. Approximately 14 days takes the shortest route to Mt. Everest Base Camp from the airport at Lukla at 2800 meters. A rescue helicopter needs about 30 minutes for the same distance if weather permits. 14 days of strenuous 5 to 7 hours walks, rice with lentils and ginger tea, frozen toilettes but as well some of the most stunning views on this planet. This is the roof of the world and I am surrounded by rocky, icy giants standing over 7000 meters tall.
Balancing over narrow tracks caravans of Yaks and porters carrying deliveries into the remote mountain villages are my daily travel companions. Everything has to be transported by animals or humans. Many of the bags and boxes I spot on the backs of the porters have written “Everest Expedition 2012” on them. The climbing season to the worlds highest summit starts in April and lasts until the end of May. These days Everest Base Camp 1 is getting prepared for the teams attempting the assent. Tons and tons of material and equipment are needed and all of this gear is carried up by the local Sherpas. Some of them carrying more weight on their backs as they weigh themselves and it’s not uncommon to see them doing this wearing some old worn out trainers or even sandals. The names of the mountaineers reaching the summit of Mt. Everest will get a place in the books of history, but none of them would be able to get even close to there without the hard and dangerous labour of those men.
After 8 days I did arrive at Mt. Everest Base Camp at 5364 meters. The closest you can get to Mt. Everest without mountaineering equipment. A tough, but unforgettable adventure in which I experienced first hand the beauty and the beast of those mountains. One person of our group had to be flown out by the helicopter before reaching Base Camp as he was getting sick and was unable to recover in order to continue the assent. Another person from a different group died on AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) the night before I went to Mt. Everest Base Camp. While a rescue helicopter had been called it was impossible for it to land due to the bad weather conditions.
As I am writing this I am back in Kathmandu where I will retake my social work with the donations I got from family, friends and readers of this blog. Please read my post “This year your gift could touch a child’s life in Nepal” in order to learn more about this project. I am also posting regular updates on my Facebook page, so please consider liking it. Or subscribe to the newsletter for this blog so you won’t miss out any new post or pictures.