Today is the big day!
I wake up with a mild headache but nothing as bad as summit day on Kilimanjaro. I find I can’t stomach more than a slice of toast at breakfast but once again, that’s more than I could manage at this altitude on Kili. My sleep has been fitful and assessing my crew, everything is feeling a similar way.
One of our group, Emily, has been unwell for the past 24 hours and has not improved during the night so one of our assistant guides, Sanchaman takes her down to a lower altitude. She has been an absolute trooper for having pushed through this far given how rotten she was feeling. We are all sad to see her go but we know that AMS is quite serious and nothing to be trifled with.
We set off from Lobuche and while the weather starts clear, it changes rapidly and I’m constantly putting on, and taking off my jacket. When it is clear though, it’s amazing.
It is a tough trek that has plenty of steep ascents that wreak havoc on the legs, even with all my training in the leadup. After almost 3 hours, Gorek Shep is in sight (elevation 5140m amsl). This is where we will be staying later tonight so this pit-stop allows us to grab a hot drink, order a pack lunch to have our Basecamp and to lighten our day packs for the final push to Basecamp.
My trip room-mate Sarah has not been feeling well so she takes a quick powernap during this time and appears to be revived by it.
One group huddle later, we’re off to Basecamp!
It’s tough going right off the bat and the weather gives us everything from clear skies to cloud cover to heavily falling snow. When we finally turn a corner on a ridge and I see the iconic yellow tents of Everest Basecamp in the distance, it gives me the impetus to keep going.
I’m not going to lie, it was really hard going. Even with frequent rest stops, my headache has become a noticeable thud and I start to feel the onset of mild nausea. All I can do to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
After some time, I look up and see the tents of EBC are much closer than I realised. I mentally tell myself that I have trained hard for this and I can do it. I get a little emotional as I push myself across the rocks and eventually reach my final destination.
The obligatory photos are taken and I find that I easily smash my packed lunch of fried vegie momos which I gobble down. 9 out of the 11 of my group have made it and it’s high fives and hugs all around.
Me at Everest Basecamp!
As we huddle for our group photo, the snow comes down heavier, the ever vigilant Prem hustles us all together and sets us on our path back to Gorek Shep.
My mountain family
The walk back to Gorek Shep in the snow is trying, but we are all still on our high from reaching Basecamp.
When we finally return to Gorek Shep, I collapse and have a sleep. Now that the adrenalin is wearing off, I find that my AMS symptoms persist (headache and nausea), but I am buoyed by the fact that we will be descending tomorrow.
My room-mate Sarah has made it to Basecamp, but upon our arrival at Gorek Shep, she takes a drastic turn. The weather is too poor for a helicopter to land so Sanchaman and some porters literally carry her down the mountain for treatment during the night.
These guides and porters are absolutely amazing and their seemingly superhuman strength of body and mind are incredible.
Start: Lobuche (4900m amsl)
Everest Basecamp: (5364m amsl)
Finish: Gorek Shep (5140m)
Everest Basecamp – day by day