Published: July 7th 2010June 23rd 2010
Today our aim is the Everest Base Camp but first we have to deal with bureaucracy and red tape, breakfast is at this small Tibetan restaurant on Walk St. the main drag it seems in this sprawling city, i thought it would be a small town but I was mistaken, Shigatse is big. After breakfast Sofie our guide went along with our passports to the PSB office to get the permit for Mt. Everest base camp, on a Sunday we are glad to find out it's open. Russ and I went for a walk to find an internet cafe, while Boris went with Sofie to hopefully extend his Chinese visa. Failed at that he joined us to find a lace to but snacks, we found a local market selling fruits and nuts, chicken, doves,pigeons among other things, then we found a big supermarket, we bought cashews and sultanas(raisins) for snacks while hiking to base camp.
So finally off we go, outside of Shigatse the main road is lined with newly planted poplar and pine trees it seems, an aim to make the bareen desolate region green. As we get out of the city hub the scenery got more interesting, tall
barren borwn hills with pronounced striations verifying it's chaotic geologic past, it's approximately 7 hours to the bas camp from here and we passed some towns and lots of check points most of them requiring us to show our passports, I think all in all about 7! Once we entered the Qomolangma nature preserve,we strated climbing up massive barren brown mountains, the road is zig zag switchback mess, unpaved roads that goes all the way up to 5,000meters only to descend back down to the other side for another ascent, the scenery though is breathtaking, once over the pass and up the barren hills we saw a glimpse of Mount Everest(Qomolongma) for the 1st time, we were lucky to have clear skies. But we are still far off, after the last checkpoint past a few hamlets we had lunch in a small village, really crappy food but not much choice.
We finally arrived at the base camp, 1st of all we all thought the base camp is still 200meters away which you can access by bus or by walking. Sofie our guide did not make it clear to us which was frustrating, she is such a sweet girl but
does not know much really, we have to pry off informations from here everytime. we arrived at a camp at 5,000meters, we all got ready to hike at 6:30pm, we asked if she(Sofie) will come and sleep in the base camp with us, this is the base camp this is our tent for the night pointing to her right, so wed are actually at the base camp and the bus ride or 2 hour hike is just to the panoramic viewpoint, sucks! Anyway most of the tourist in the camp at the moment were Chinese, they all took the bus, us boys started the walk, we followed the road, we took it easy climbing gradually to 5,200 meters, we found a few short cut trails that joins the dirt road but on our last attempt we somehow ended up on the ridge! We got excellent view of the Himalayas, Mt.Everest looking straight at us, we stopped to take some snacks, that's when we got a cell phone call from Sofie, panicking asking where we are, she is at the viewpoint checkpoint waiting for us, we told her where we are and she panicked and wanted us to climb down as
soon as possible or the Chinese army will get us. The two dudes were adamant and wanted to continue following the ridge but I decided to hike down and they followed, eventually we made it down, the mountain is obscured by clouds at this time but cleared up soon afetr we reported at the checkpoint.
Everest is just as beautiful as I imagined it but could not see the immensity of it as we are already at 5,000 plus meters but it such a sight to see, glaciers drip down it's shoulders, incredible. apparently this is the best viewpoint, not the Indian or Nepalese side but i digress. It was cold and windy and we waited for the sun to set, the Chinese tourists were annoying us with their tripods in place at every position and in front of us over the limit line set by the Chinese army, but the army is too busy watching some English movies in their laptops in the comfort of their warm tent, they couldn't care less. When the chines and and the last bus left we have no option but to walk back, another 2 hours! Sofie decided she would walk with
us rather than be with a bunch of Chinese tourists in the bus which she despise. The walk was pleasant, we took our time but the wind is blowing really strong, every once and a while we take a look back and behind us is the tallest mountain in the world enveloped with soft yellow shade as the sun slowly hides away for the night.
We got back to camp and what a relief the camp is nice and war,. they drowned us with cheap jasmine tea, we sat back and relax, ordered out dinner and then set up for the night, they have lots of very thick blankets, I was fine thank god, the altitude though is killing Boris, he took large doses of ibuprofen and we all got ready for bed, I took one pill of 400 mg of ibuprofen just in case I have a headache in the night, the stars are out but is cold outside so we turned in at 11pm. I suffered thru the night, i could not sleep, my mind was racing, at first i have no headache but as the night went on i have a massive headache around the back
of my head, needless to say it was a shitty night for me, Boris and Russ slept well as they were drugged up. I did not have breakfast, feeling sick and uncomfortable with the headache which soon disappeared as we start the day, back on the switchback roads, a couple of checkpoints again, then we eneded up in a pass where there is a good viewpoint of the Himalayana mountains, we slowly walked up the hill, gorgeous view, you see Everest, Lhotse, among other peaks. Then we drove on towrds Shigatse, at Lhotse we stopped for lunch, Russ and Boris were upset about the prices at this Tibetan restaurant, they called is a tousirt trap so we ended up not eating and drove on to Shigatse 2 hours away, Russ was annoyed they take us only to Tibetan eateries, I know they have something about the Chinese but we'd rather go to a Chinese restaurant if it means saving some money.
Eventually we made it to Shigatse and to Tenzin hotel near a local marketwe got our old room and we did our things, shower, laundry, before heading out to shop for food, internet and dinner, the usual dinner
for us at Tashi restuarant on Walk St, really good food, tad bit pricey but well worth it we thought. Watched Portugal decimate North Korea in the World Cup games then Boris and I headed back awhile Russ checks hie emails.A quick passing thunderstorm endangered my laundry which I just washed, good thing it was windy and the sun returned soon and my clothes have time to dry.
There are more photos below