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Published: April 2nd 2020
Flying to Lukla
Our flight was diverted to another airstrip as Lukla was fog bound
I always said "Why go to Everest Base Camp if you were not going to climb the mountain ?" I had previoulsy visited Nepal in the late 1970's when I had completed the Overland or Hippie Trail from the UK to Nepal on public transport, going through such places as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and finishing in Nepal. I had seen the incredible scenery of the Himalayas, having driven from Pokhara to Kathmandu and gone up into the mountains around Kathmandu.
So, in April 2018, I decided to change my mind and head to Everest Base Camp, or EBC, having booked a trek again with World Expeditions. The trek was for 17 days and after checking the sizes of their tents, decided not to pay the single tent supplement.
So I arrive in Kathmandu and after a little while, find my contact who transfers me and another trekker to our hotel. Driving from the airport to the hotel, was a real eye opener. This was not the Kathmandu I had known 40 years ago! Where were all the hippie cafes which I had loved gone? The places where I eaten pancakes filled with bananas and covered with maple syrup
Looking out at alternate airstrip we used, awaiting clearnace to land at Lukla. Quite an amazing side trip
to put weight back on after having lost most of my body weight, through stomach upsets and limited diet on the journey ?
Kathmandu had seen growth of population, but as with many developing countries, the infrastructure had not kept up with the growth. Electric power lines looked like a tangle of spaghetti and the roads, filled with motor cycles and exhaust, were filled with potholes and craziness at junctions, as police tried to control the traffic. Were had the serenity gone ?
After meeting the group and my room mate, next day we head off to the airport and to our flight to Lukla, considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world, I was excited to see it. We took off and after a short time in flight, the pilot advised us that Lukla was fog bound and that we would be landing at an alternate air field to wait for Lukla to clear. Well the airport we landed at was amazing as well, just a narrow stretch of land, a sort of land peninsula, fantastic. After a while, we were advised that Lukla was now clear and we reboarded and set off. Well the
View of Lukla Runway
Having landed at Lukla, the trek starts as we walk past the end of the runway. Wow, that is an incedible runway !
flight did not disappoint, Wow, coming in to land, I could see the strip through the gap between the two pilots, amazing !!! We landed safely and disembarked quickly. Planes there dont sit idle very long, landing and reloading in a very short space of time.
And so the trek began, the round trip distance to EBC is only about 130 kms, but when you include the issue of trekking at altitude, it will take us about 13 days including acclimitisation days. So days on the trek are not very long in distance but can be hard, depending on your ability to handle altitude. It is difficult to go through each day and describe them, so I won't try. However, I will say, that waking up and getting out of the tent each morning and looking at the incredible scenery, was just amazing. Arriving and seeing Namache Bazaar was also an amazing sight and when we took an acclimitisation hike the next day, one of my favourite moments of the trek, was when we rested and took in the beauty of Ama Dablam, truly an amazing experience.
As we moved on towards EBC, a chest infection spread through
Early morning view to wake up to
Waking up and looking out of the tent at the scenery every day was a joy
the group. I ended up with it on about day 9 and whilst a rather large tablet adminstered by our guide seemed to ease the effects, it was nearly 3 months after I arrived back in Australia that it cleared. So on the morning we were heading to EBC, a look out the window, saw that it had snowed over night. There was a good layer of snow and it was very bleak. However, after leaving early, the sun broke through and we headed off to reach EBC. We took our photos at the stone outside the actual camp, where in the short climbing season, lots of activity was going on. So we had achieved our goal and headed back down to our overnight lodgings.
The descent back to Lukla was much easier, as we lost altitude and not having to climb. The weather held beautifully and it was a pleasure to take in the incredible scenery. Arriving back in Lukla, I looked forward to experiencing the exhilarating flight back to Kathmandu. All in all, I am so happy that I had changed my mind and gone to EBC and enjoyed the amazing scenery and experience. The only downside,
was the number of trekkers on the trails, which sometimes became a pain.
I have attached photos, which I hope gives you a feeling of the incredible scenery on the trek to EBC. It truly is one of the worlds greatest treks.
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; mem: 1.4mb