Epic Everest Update #3

Trek to Basecamp, 17/18 April

Apr 19 2014 Written by:Brad Horn

You may have heard news of the recent tragic events on Everest with the avalanche. Rest assured that Brad, Kevin and Ake are fine. They are still 5 days from Base camp. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of the Sherpas that lost their lives.

17 April: Had an early start for the flight into Lukla. The 35 minute flight was spectacular as we skirted the high snowcapped peaks on our left. The landing at Lukla was interesting to say the least. The airstrip is steeply uphill so no need to wear the brake pads out! We were met by our lead climber, Panuru Sherpa. Lovely guy! He has summited Everest 10 times, his first in 1993. We are in good hands.

Under Panuru’s generalship, we then commenced the walk through to Monju. The day was more downhill than up. We started at an altitude of 2840 metres and ended the day at 2650 metres. Lots of people on the trail both coming and going; a mixture of trekkers, porters and animal trains taking supplies in and out of the villages in the mountains. The way is populated by tea houses, so there are plenty of places to stay. We spent the night at a delightful little teahouse- nothing fancy but very comfortable. The local people are incredibly friendly and go out of their way to be hospitable.

18 April: Had our first view of Everest (or “Sangamarte” as it is known to the Nepalese) today way off to the north (see picture below). What a “beast”. Looking out of the plane at an altitude of 3000 metres, Everest is just 6 kilometres vertically higher. Humbling to say the least.

We had a great day and were blessed with infinitely blue skies for the trek through to Namchebazar (just love saying that name). It was not a long day by any means and we only trekked a total of just over three hours. We started the day paralleling the river and the track undulated considerably as we followed the watercourse. We criss-crossed the river via suspension bridges on numerous occasions. Some of the scenery was gobsmacking. After about three kilometres we left the river and ascended via a steep spur-line into Namchebazar. This was a testing little section and we gained roughly 600 metres in a short span. The route proved pretty busy with trekkers, porters and both donkey and cattle trains “trucking” produce. All of the towns from Lukla into the mountains are only accessible by foot and air. All of the produce coming in is carried in. It is unbelievable to see the loads some of the porters are bearing. Some are carrying upward of 80 kilograms. They are paid roughly 45 cents per kilogram from point to point so it pays to “bear a load”.

Tomorrow is a rest day to enable acclimatisation to the altitude. That said we will be trekking up to 3500 metres to the “Everest View Hotel”.