Everest Base Camp Trek including Gokyo, Kala Patar

Trip Start Jun 15, 2008
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Trip End Jun 04, 2009


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Flag of Nepal  , West Bengal,
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 1.
We left Hotel Nana early and took a taxi to the airport to join the rest of the trekkers heading to Lukla. The airport was a nightmare, total caos with what looked like everyone skipping the queue so we did the same. The checkin desk wouldn't let us checkin and kept telling us to wait but it soon became obvious that the Lukla flights were not departing and word spread that the weather was bad in Lukla and only the first flight got through. We ended up waiting in the Airport from 6am till about noon and then the airlines announced that flights for the day would be cancelled.
We returned to Kathmandu dejected and exhausted as the adrenaline had worn off, we bumped into Matthew , Mary Claire, James, Jessica and Art and the expressions on our faces said it all.
We had an early night and prayed for good weather in Lukla for the following day.

Day 1 Again!
Got to the airport early and after a bit of wiating the checkin counter opened Yipee!
Again after check-in there was another half hour delay but then we were whisked off to the plane by bus and the planes for Lukla took off like something out of Band of Brothers - a whole convoy of planes leaving the runway at the same time.
The flight was by far the dodgiest flight we've ever been on, the plane was a twin prop 20 seater but the winds made it hop around alot after take off. Around 40mins in the engines seemed to stall but as it turned out this was how they choose to land at Lukla. Lukla airstrip is a sloped strip of macadam on the side of a mountain with a stone Gabian wall at the end of the short runway! the landing was priceles. Lukla is at 2800m and once we arrived we went to the Buddah Lodge to get our porter "Bagtha". We started our trek at noon and headed to Phakding, passing some Sherpa villages and farms, following the Dudhkoshi River and further down to Phakding. We reached Phakding 2and a half hours later and that was our trekking for the day.
That night Sarah tried to convince me to go Vegetarian but I refused she had the Veg Curry and I had the Yak meat curry - yet she was the one who got sick! Sarah spent the whole night getting sick and not a bit of sleep.

Day 2.
Today we trekked from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (6 1/2 Hours). Sarah couldn't eat anything so she trekked all day on an empty stomach and even though she must have felt like crap she never complained and the pace she set astonished even me, we passed alot of people this morning.The trek consisted of mostly flat ground and crossing bridges until we reached Monjo where the lunch stop was just before the entrance to the Sagarmtha National Park. The walk from Monjo to the bridge over the Imjatse river was mostly downhill and easy but then the tough trekking started all uphill the rest of the way to Namche (3440m). Though the walk was tough we had magnificient views Kwangde peak, also Lhotse and supposibly Everest but we couldn't see it. We arrived in Namche exhausted but glad to get there. The town is so scenic see attached photos later. We checked into the Camp de Base Hotel and flaked out for the rest of the day.

Day3. 1st Acclimitisation Day.
Today we stayed in Namche to Acclimitise but we still went trekking up to the airstrip on the hill which is about 400m higher than Namche and we also went to the Sherpa museum and the military barracks.

Day4. Namche to Dole (7Hours -Long Day!)
This morning we woke to a blanket of snow covering the whole area, after breakfast we set out for Dole  and after a half hour or so we got our first clear views of Everest albeit very far away . It really brought home the satisfaction of being here though! We're the first Bruton and McGarrigle to see Everest in person - so we're kinda as good as Hillary! Today's trekking was long and tough, especially after Monjo where we had lunch , and very frustrating because you ascended 500m to go down 600m then back up 400  then down again and so on but at last we reached Dole. This place was the first of many places after this that we had to sleep in our Down jackets. We met an Australian guy named Garth from Victoria who we ended up hanging out with for the next couple of days, playing cards and Dice. We also met these 4 Indians guys from Bangalore who at first to us seemed really paranoid about altitude sickness and were getting their guides to check their blood pressures and one guy started takin oxygen. We were only at 3800m! - But Gartth told us the following day that these guys two days previous found a trekker dead in the toilets of one of the lodges - the trekker was in his 30s and died of HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema - Fluid build up in the lungs. He had come from Gokyo and was not feeling well, his porter had tried to convince him to go to the doctor but he refused and only wanted to go to bed and died that night. It was really terrible)

Day5. Dole to Machermo (Easy day 3 hours long Altitude 4200m)
The walk from Dole to Machermo was nice but we both struggled with the altitude, I had a headache coming on and was struggiling for breath, Sarah just found her feet felt like lead and slight pressure on her haed. When we arrived in Machermo I started the course of Diamox, Sarah had started in Namche.
At 3pm every day in Machermo there is a free talk on altitude sickness given by a NGO volunteer doctor, we attended and learned alot about being aware of the dangers and being able to spot the early signs. We also increased our dosage of Diamox as you need one tablet twice a day to prevent AMS.
The accomodation in Machermo was much nicer than that the previous night in Dole. After plenty of card games and games of dice we settled in for the night.  
Day6. Machermo to Gokyo (3 Hours Alt. 4700m)
The walk from Machermo to Gokyo was short but tough especially going through the moraine of the Glacier. When we arrived at the first of the Gokyo Lakes, Sarah started running around the place taking photos only to find that at altitude you can't do anything quickly, within seconds she was out of breath and gasping for air. From then on we did everything slowly, even going to the toilet left you winded afterwards.
We arrived in Gokyo and Bagtha as usual found us our accomodation, the best in the town from what we heard. Garth's porter had checked him into a different place but when he saw our place he changed to join us - our place had better blankets!
We had bought books in Kathmandu thinking that these would do us for the entire trek but the day we spent in the airport saw us get through most of the books, so in Gokyo there was a book shop and we stocked up there, I got War and Peace and that bad boy will keep me going for a while, Sarah got the Kite Runner. The rest of the day was relaxation so we got to starting on our books.

Day7. 2nd Acclimitisation Day (Climbed Gokyo Ri, Altitude5360m)
This morning we climbed Gokyo Ri starting at 6am, it was a very tough walk at a very slow pace. It took 2hours 40mins up and an hour down in total. The views from Gokyo Ri of the Himalayias, of Everest, the Gokyo Lakes, the Ngozumba Glacier were excellent. There were aload of people at the summit when we got up there, some were there for sunrise but the view was better at around 9am as the sun was high enough in the sky for clear photos of Everest. By the time we were coming down the clouds were forming around the peaks and the low areas and the view was diminishing. Just like every day up here in the morning there are perfect clear skies but by 12-2pm the cloud comes in and it's all overcast.
We met another Westmeath man up to on Gokyo Ri, Alan Carroll , a year younger than me from Gaynstown - he used to teach in St. Mary's CBS before he went travelling. Also we met an Israli girl who had just come over the Cho La Pass, we met the girls mother 3 days earlier in Dole and they had planned to meet in Gokyo.
When we got back down we had breakfast and rested for the rest of the day.
There was a large Aussie group staying in the lodge and they were part of a package tour, we were very envious of their tour as they had food that was not on the regular menus! but they were very nice and shared their afternoon biscuits with us mere independent trekkers.
That night was the first time we realised that I have an invincible stomach! GArth had ordered a plate of chips which tough looking cooked on the outside were infact semi raw inside, He had 2 chips, I had one and we both agreed they were bad so he told the woman of the house that they were bad and when she offered to replaced them he said no as it was now quite late. The plate of chips were left on the table so Garth offered them to the porters who didn't seem to find them bad at all. A half hour later they came out with a second plate of chips! That night Garth was really sick, again I was fine.
The next morning when we were due to check out they brought the bill to Garth and charged him for 2 plates of chips which he hadn't eaten, when he refused to pay the woman of the house went into a fit and was reigning down curses and bad luck on him.

Day8. Gokyo to Taknag (2 1/2 Hours Alt. 4800m)
Today was very short trekking, we back tracked for the first half hour to the second Gokyo lake then we crossed the Ngozumba Glacier meeting some female Thai trekkers and a big bunch of Kiwi's. The lodge in Taknag was an absolute ripoff with totally inflated prices because of supply and demand. we rested here for the rest of the day before our very early start on the Cho La Pass the next day. Day9 Taknag to Dzongla (Via the Cho La Pass Altitude 5368m, 7 1/2Hours)
Today we started trekking at 6.30am, The firest 4 hours seemed to go really quickly and din't feel so tough but then the last little bit to the pass was quite tough. There were a fw other people doing the journey in the same direction as us, there was an American called Christian and a French woman who was about 50 but put us to shame with the pace she set.
The really tough part was actually after the pass on the way down crossing the glacier, unlike the galcier the previous day this one had a layer of deep snow over compacted ice and since we didn't have crampons we were slipping and sliding on our asses alot, i vowed to get even with the guy in Shona's Alpine Rentals in Kathmandu who told us we didn't need carmpons - oh how wrong he was! 
The last hour really dragged as we had no energy left and even though we had a packed lunch with us we felt bad for our porter who had no food so we struggled on until we reached Dzongla.
The accomodation here buts the word basic in perspective! See photos of the only toilet We were exhausted and slept most of the afternoon and went back to bed after dinner.

Day10. Dzongla to Labouche (4Hour, Altitude 4700m)
Still tired from the previous day we started trekking at around 8am, but to our surprise we found today quite easy even at 4900m! it was mostly flat which for Nepal is impressive. Before we reached Labouche we rejoined the main trail to Everest Base camp and the sudden increase of trekkers was very evident. Labouche town itself was quite nice and having a toilet in the same building in which we slept was nice again - oh what luxury!We met a sound Malaysian trekker Imran from KL and we told him about our great Malaysian experience, it seems we've been around Malaysia more than him. Day 11. Labouche to Gorak Shep (3Hours, Altitude 4950m)
The walk to Gorak shep was a nice one most of the was but crossing over the glacier maoraines was tough and exhausting. We got our first views of Everest Base camp in the distance. You can't actually see Mt. Everest at all on the way to Gorak Shep as it is blocked by Nuptse. Our porter had expressed concern about a shortage of accomodation so we had left early to get to Gorak Shep but when we arrived they had no rooms available, we were going to have to sleep on the floor of the restaurant with all the porters! After talking to the manager we found out that if we waited till after 12 midday then and reservations that had not been filled would be available it but us a bit more at ease. It was about 10am when we arrived in Gorak Shep and the skies were clear so we decided that after a cup of tea we would climb Kala Patar (Alt. 5545m) that morning to get our views of Everest.
Off we set, this was by far the toughest climb we did i thought, the whole time we were climbing we were praying for the clouds to stay away long enough for us to get good photos. We met loads of people coming down from Kala Patar as we were going up, and they all said the same annoying thing "Keep going you'll get there the views are amazing" - now we thought they were all so smug cause they got the good photos. An hour and a half later we made it and the views were fantastic, this was what it was all about.  
The guy Christian from the Cho La pass was up there and we spent alot of time up there until the weather suddenly changed and got really cold. We actually decended the whole way wearing our down jackets. Again we met loads of people on their way up so we became the smug gits and siad "Keep going you'll get there the views are amazing" !
When we returned to Gorak Shep the manager of the lodge was all happy as he was able to get Sarah a bed in a room sharing with an English girl, we asked could it be possible to have the two of us share the single bed and the girl (Azedeh) agreed so we had a bed for the night. We met with the other people Azedeh was travelling with, a group of four Malaysian men and she even though English was of Iranian decent we found out. Turns out these guys are the slowest trekkers in the world but a sound bunch.

Day 12. Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp (EBC Altitude 5330m) to Gorak Shep 
The round trip to EBC takes about 6 hours, we set out at 7am and made our way there in just under the 3 hour mark. There is no view of Everest from Base camp but there is along the route to base camp. When we arrived at Base Camp the first thing we did was go straight to the Everest Base Camp Bakery for a slice of the infamous Highest Applepie in the world - it was divine! After the pie we went a wandering around Base Camp to try and find the Irish expedition and we found it! There are 3 Irish people going summiting in the end of May, the guy who owns the company Gavin from Belfast/Australia/South Africa, a guy named Mark or Gary (can't remember) from outside Drogheda and a girl Helen from Arklow originallly. We spent some time with them and they went through the training routine and stuff with us and after wishing them well we set off back to Gorak Shep. We got back at about 3pm and we were all delighted with ourselves for completing a major goal of ours that we had been talking about for years, and things should have stayed all happy but disaster struck! The camera case that had been in my pocket all day was gone and in the case was our previous memory card with almost 2000 photos from Darjeeling, Calcutta, Mumbai and Siem Reap as well as day 1, 2 and 3 of the trek.
Our first reaction was to freak out and then to retrace our steps to find it. We told the porter what had happened mainly to let him know that we were going back ourselves to look for it but instead he came with us. We asked everyone on the trail we met but noone seemed to see the case.We all got seperated, Sarah at the back scrutinising the ground around bunches of boulders the porter and I ahead but eventually the porter was going too fast for me so he went on ahead.  I met the Aussie group from Gokyo and pleaded with them when they came across Sarah  to make her turn back as the sun was setting and it wouldn't be safe. It wasn't till i somehow wandered off the beaten track and had to scramble over dangerous boulders did i realise that something might happen to Sarah so I turned back. We eventually found each other, she had ignored the Aussies and came looking for me. We now started worring about our porter as there was no sign of him and the it was getting dark. We returned to Gorak Shep and notified the manager who tried to put us at ease saying that Nepali porters can walk the route both day and night but that if he didn't return by 6.30om they would send a search party. 6.30 came and went and by now it was dark night the manager was starting to organise a search party  when suddenly Bagtha appeared at the door. We were so releaved, we had put a man's life at risk for some photographs! 

Day13 Gorak Shep to Dingbouche
We started out trek down from Gorak Shep to Dingbouche early and with a stop off for lunch we got to Dingbouche after about 5 hours. On the way down we passed an England cricket team who werer goiung playing a cricket test game at Gorak Shep against a NeweZealand team the following day - the highest test cricket game in the world.
But all day long we were very gloomy over the loss of the photos. Dingbouche is a nice town and the place in which we stayed we were the only guests so in was us the porter and granny and grandad Dingbouche sitting around the fire that night playing cards until it was time for bed.

Day 14 Dingbouche to Tengbouche
Set out at 8am, annoyance about the photos still there but lessoning a bit. It was a pleasant walk at start mostly downhill until that tough section just before we reached Tengbouche. After we settled into our accomodation we visited the Buddhist monastry and were present for the afternoon praying ceremony. Tengbouche although alot lower in elevation was in fact quite cold at night.

Day15 Tengbouche to Namche Bazaar
The walk today took forever! we had no motivation and with the constant ups and downs the day really dragged. About 1Km outside of Namche I retwisted me right ankle again for the third time in a year but thanks to the trekking boots it wasn't as bad as previous times. We gotr to Namche by lunch time and the lodge we stayed in previously was fully booked so we stayed in the Buddha lodge which was basic but nice.

Day 16 Namche Bazaar to Lukla
Today's walk took 7 and a half hours but the time went quickly as we were quite motivated for getting off the mountain and back to the civilised world! We managed to retake some of the photos lost from day 1 and 2 of the trek and had lunch in Phakding again.
On arriving back in Lukla we checked into the Buddha Lodge confirmed our tickets for the next days flight and went to the Irish Bar! Yes even here in Lukla they have one all beit with prayer wheels outside and U2 playing in the background. We kept bumping into the trekkers we had met along the trek and they all had the happy faces of being finished as did we.

Next morning after breakfast the guy from the lodge came with us to the airport (60m away from the lodge) and we got to bypass the queues and check-in straight away. Our flight came pretty much on time and we took off heading back to Kathmandu.

We met up with the gang back in Kathmandu and went for a proper steak dinner in the OIrish owned restaurant Ktwo. It was divine! We spent one more day in Kathmandu shopping and then took the bus to Pokara.
 
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Comments

ronanoreilly
ronanoreilly on

Base Camp Conquered
Well done Dermot, thats one giant step for the Bruton's!!

Simrik on

Highly informative post. Keep on posting such a informative post. I would really like to do Everest Base Camp Trekking In Nepal before I die.

grantspider on

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