Part 3

Gorekshep (5160m) – Everest Base Camp (5364m) – Kalapathar (5545m) – Pheriche (4320m) – Namche (3440m) – Lukla

Trekking to EBC (5364m) and Kalapathar (5545m); Hiking day 11 (17th November, 2016)

One climbs further and further yet never reaches the destination. Perhaps that is what gives it its own particular charm. One is constantly searching for something never to be found – Hermann Buhl


*The magnificent Everest covered by sunset. Photo taken on our way down from Kalapathar

Today is the day to accomplish our final goal; to visit the base camp of the highest peak on earth! Hikers would definitely know how much it meant for us, going to the place where these Everest Expedition Teams started their expedition. The place where most of famous mountaineers camped: Sir Edmund Hillary, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer and many more. Ok, enough for being over dramatic.


*The Morning window view in Gorekshep


*On our way to Everest Base Camp.

The journey to EBC started at 7am. Hiking from Gorekshep to Everest Base Camp is mostly uncomplicated (when you compared with the trekking in Chola Pass); the trail wound in and out, rocky dunes and moraine like other glacier, some ups and downs along the lateral moraine of the khumbu glacier and eventually we stepped out on the the glacier itself.
Dil smirked at us and said: “Welcome to Everest Base Camp!” I then look at my watch, the altimeter reads 5364m. (Yes, I copy this part from book Into the Thin Air if you have yet to aware of it)


*The Everest Base Camp!

Some of the teammates were a bit upset about EBC because November is not an expedition season and there was no camping tent in the base camp. Besides, we discussed that we are not able to see Everest peak from Everest Base Camp which is a bit funny for some of us (who say Everest base camp must be able to view Everest? Research properly before your next trip here)


*We made it to Everest Base Camp after 10 days of joy and sorrow!


*One more group photo with the entire great team!

Regardless, I was still pretty amazed. We managed to have a clear view of the threatening Khumbu Icefall (one of the most dangerous stages of the South Col route to Everest summit), surrounded by many other big mountains. Expedition will need to conquer this Khumbu Icefall in order to proceed to Everest Camp 1.

We spend around 40 minutes to chill and take pictures in the base camp before we head back to Gorekshep.


*Wanted to visit Everest Camp 1? You need to get a permission from the threatening Khumbu Icefall.

The initial plan was that we would have to hike to Kalapathar peak on the second day and heading to Pheriche afterwards. We decided to do Kalapathar on the same day so that there was no need for us to rush for tomorrow schedule. We had our lunch in Gorekshep and started our trip to Kalapathar peak at two o’ clock in the afternoon.


*Kalapathar peak in the middle. (Referring to the brown color hill peak and not the icy mountain peak)

Kalapathar terrain is similar with Gokyo Ri but less steep with longer distance. The elevation gain is around 450m only but took us about two and half hours to reach the  Kalapathar peak (5550m), the highest point and the last peak of the entire trip.


*View on Kalapathar


*Celebrated with Everest Beer on Kalapathar Peak with two random photogenic guys photoboomed us.

Two of the team mates stayed on the peak to wait for the sunset. I did not feel there is a need for that hence I left the peak with Dil after I took some pictures on the peak. The trip of going down only took me 40 minutes. I was lucky enough to witness Everest Mountain covered in sunset when I was on my way down.

Trekking to Pheriche (4320m), Namche (3440m), and Lukla (2880m); Hiking day 12 to 15 (18th November, 2016 to 21st November, 2016)

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning – Winston Churchill 


*Nepal longest Glacier “Ngozumpa Glacier”

I was really emotional knowing that our trip came to an end soon. It was like a flashback where we just started your journey in Lukla and here you are in Gorekshep getting ready to go back.

We departed at eight o’ clock in the morning, had our lunch in Lobuche, passed by an Everest expedition Memorial Park and reached Pheriche. The schedule was easier and straightforward as it was mostly going downhill.


*Memorial of Scott Fisher


*Getting near to Periche.


*Memorial of warrior who died from the expedition of Everest in Pheriche. There is a list of names in between the two half corn shape metal.

I spent 500rp (about RM20) for unlimited hot shower to clean my filthy body and greasy hair. The initial plan was that we would have the hot and free shower tomorrow in Namche but I cannot withstand anymore as my last shower was nine days ago in Namche, plus I think it would be a good little celebration for myself being successfully conquered Everest Base Camp.

The night in Pheriche was rather relax and relieved. We did not need to worry about our hiking goal anymore. We spent a lot of time on playing an interesting card game known as “Dhumba” tought by Dil. (Apparently it is one of the very common game and pretty much everyone in Nepal know how to play it)

After a night in Pheriche, we continued to hike toward Lukla by using the EBC classic route. We passed by a few of the villages nearby before we came across a river, the place whereby there was a saddening tragedy happened about a week ago.

There was a French guy fell into this river when he was hiking and he is still remain unfound till date. We can see there is a notice of searching for the French guy along the hiking routes.


*The place where the French guy fell into the river.

We had our lunch in famous village known as “Tengboche” where the first sherpa “Tenzing Norgay” that reached the summit of Mt Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary born. Besides, the “Tengboche Monastery” also featured in the movie “Everest” where Rob Hall’s expedition team being blessed in the monastery before they expedite Everest.


*Tengboche

After another one hour of hiking, we reached the junction of the trinity ways to Gokyo Valley, Khumjung Village, and Namche Bazzar. Another one hour of walking and finally we reached our paradise, Namche Bazar where charging electronic device is free and room with personal toilet as well as meal with meat.


*The junction that we passed one week ago.


*Reaching Namche

Today was the last day of hiking, the feeling of leaving this wonderful and amazing place was strongly unwilling. We departed early today as we would need to squeeze the two day trips when going up to one day trip. We had our lunch in the lodge that we stayed at the first day (Phak Ding) and reached Lukla around three o’ clock in the afternoon.


*Mountain goat wondering around the cliff

A small celebration on our success of EBC trip with the whole team in the lodge was conducted. We wanted to do it in some local Pub but these Pubs in Lukla do not seems that good compare with Namche Bazaar.


*A little celebration with the whole team.

After a night in Lukla, we flew back to Kathmandu from the Lukla airport. We farewell with these assistant guide, and porter, again with an unwilling feeling.

The flight took off in an uproar, as a companion with the end of our trip.

Conclusion

Mt Everest is the highest mountain in the world (8848m). It is not within everyone‘s ability to conquer it.

However, hiking to the Everest base camp is relatively easy with the opportunity of a glimpse of Everest peak from far during the trip. The whole trip is definitely not a walk in the park, but if you have a sense of adventure with a reasonably fit and healthy body, I believe you too can achieve it! The stunning mountain landscape, unique Sherpa culture, unforgotten Himalayan experience is definitely more than worthy for a visitation.

I already started to think about coming back to accent some of the mountains with more than six thousands meter such as: Island Peak, Mera Peak and others when I was on my way back to my home country. I definitely have the strong believe that I would come back to do it in near future!

If you have the chance to hike in EBC, be it having invitation from friends or organizing the trip; GO FOR IT! Try not to let any constraint to stop you from doing it. (I am having this serious knee problem before the trip but fortunately I made it without any serious injury)

Like someone once said “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this long article!