Chris Ellis, one of our Adventure Travel Consultants recently completed our Everest Base Camp trip – a 19 day trekking adventure in Nepal with a 12 day camping trek to Everest Base Camp including an ascent of Kala Pattar and great views of Everest.
Here, he describes the highlights of the trek day by day, and we ask him for his tips on completing the trek – as well as getting to the bottom of what the accommodation, facilities, food – and of course the trekking are really like!
Day by day account of the Trek Day 3: Kathmandu: Head out for a 3 hour city tour with local guide, visiting Assan Bazaar, Durbur Square and d Kumari. Lots of nice temples, both Hindu and Buddhist, and lots of noise, chaos, fruit & veg and warm meat out on the street. Oh and we can’t forget the odd cow strolling about!
Durbar Square: Kathmandu
Went to traditional Nepalese restaurant for dinner, sit on the floor and eat traditional cuisine, a bit like Tapas with lots of different dishes, lots of curries and tit bits, very nice. Also restaurant has traditional dancers and music going on throughout. Nice touch.
Day 4: Fly to Lukla: We board a tiny 15 seater propeller driven plane for the most amazing flight of my life! Lukla airport is something special. It is a tiny runway clinging to the side of a mountain at 2800 metres, very hairy!
Coming in to land at Lukla
Start 3 hour walk to Phakding, going from 2800m to 2500. Nice acclimatization walk, stunning scenery!
Arrive at Phakding which is a small village, arrive to our tents already up, next to a teahouse. Immediately handed tea and biscuits – I can definitely get use to this!
Day 5: Brought morning tea by Sherpa boy, wake up and have a wash.
Move in to teahouse to have breakfast – muesli eggs and pancakes with tea and coffee.
Set off for walk, the plan is to walk to Namche Bazaar, ascending over 800 metres!
First part fairly flat, stop for lunch at the side of the river. The kitchen boys had ran ahead of us and knocked up a 3 course lunch by the time we got there! Curry, japati’s and vegetables. Prepare ourselves for the ascent up Namche Hill.
Hit Namche Hill and climb a steep uphill for about 3 and half hours. Hard graft, time to crack out the poles and the energy bars!
Namche Bazaar: The town clings to the side of the mountain
Arrive at Namche, which is the heart of the Sherpa community, with a population of about 700 people, with a pub and internet café! Time for a stroll around and buy some more strange novelty gifts.
Day 6: Walk to a view point where we can see Everest for the first time!
Everest in the distace (left-most peak)
Day 7: Climb to 3,800 m, visit Thangbouche monastery Get unpacked and find out we have stunning views of Everest at sunset – I get a little snap happy!
Day 8: After waking up feeling unwell, I started to walk and found the up-hills a real struggle. The tour leader recommended that myself and one other member of the group stay in Pangbouche (looked after by one of the Sherpas) for extra acclimatisation and to get our strength back. We check into a basic but very comfortable teahouse for the night.
Day 9: After a great nights sleep, the Sherpas (who are all in radio contact with one-another) arrange for our bags to be taken on to where the rest of the group is – Dingbouche. With help from our Sherpa (who gallantly carries our bags) and taking it VERY slowly, we arrive at Dingbouche and catch up with the rest of the group, really good to see everyone again, and everyone really happy we made it.
Day 10: Walk from Dingbouche to Lebouche Arrive at field of dreams after a steep 300 metre climb. Field of dreams is a large memorial site to both Sherpa’s and expeditions that have died trying to conquer Everest and other mountains. Very moving. It is starting to get really cold so break out the thermals when I get into my tent!
Field of Dreams
Day 11: Ascent of Kala Pattar - After an incredibly difficult climb, I arrive huffing and puffing to the summit of Kala Patter. I’m absolutely shattered, but it is the most euphoric moment, and words can’t describe how fantastic the views are. Everybody makes it to the top! The group’s resolve and determination is fantastic. We have some tea at the top and take plenty of pictures and take in the views. We are so lucky as there is not a cloud in the sky!
Me at the top of Kala Pattar with Everest over my right shoulder
Days 12-16: is spent descending to Lukla and returning to Kathmandu where we have some time to relax, take a bath, chill out by the pool and do a spot of shopping.
Day 17: We visit the Hindu temples and medieval Bhaktapur. Then its time to go out for our last meal together, the ‘last supper’ if you will. We go to a great bar, where every group gets a cardboard foot, where you can write about your adventures and put it on the wall, along with others. Edmund Hillary has a foot there, along with a lot of other famous summiteers.
What one piece of advice would I give to everyone doing this trip? Take it slowly. It isn’t a race and the trek guides and Sherpa have everything under control. Going slowly helps your body to acclimatise and increases your chances of success. Also, make sure you are physically fit enough to be able to walk uphill for several hours at a time. (oh – and make sure your walking boots are well worn in!).
What was the accommodation like? We spent two nights at Hotel Malla in Kathmandu at the beginning of the tour, and a further two nights at the end (bliss!). It was a very nice 4* with a great central location. During the trek, our tents were set up for us by the great crew. Thermarests were provided for sleeping on, and we ate in either an adjacent teahouse or a dining tent. We had fixed long drop toilet or toilet tent facilities at each camp, and at some locations we were able to use the teahouse washing and toilet facilities. Otherwise, we were brought hot water in the morning for washing.
Campsite at Thangbouche
What was the food like? Incredible! The food in the traditional Nepalese restaurant in Kathmandu was lovely, but the food on trek was amazing – I don’t know how they manage it!.
Breakfast usually consisted of Muesli/ cereal and toast, and sometimes eggs and pancakes! At lunchtimes, the crew went on ahead and prepared a 3 course meal which consisted of things like curries, pasta, japatis, salads and vegetables – in the wilderness! Dinners were things like pasta dishes (great for replenishing energy levels!). The most memorable was spag bol with water buffalo meat. Very tasty!
What was the trekking like? I had done a couple of walking holidays in Europe (Mont Blanc & Canary Islands), so knew that I would be in safe hands with Explore in Nepal. However, I was blown away by the team work of the crew in Nepal, the friendliness of the Sherpas – one of whom invited us into his home, and how they coped so easily when things didn’t go according to plan. (That kind of confidence can only come from experience I think!). They did everything they could to make sure that the whole group arrived at the top of Kala Pattar, in one piece and with huge smiles on our faces. The trekking itself was obviously demanding, and we all suffered with the altitude to varying degrees, but the experience of the crew helped make sure we all achieved what we came here to do.
The whole group made it to the top of Kala Pattar - an amazing feeling!
Chris did our Everest Base Camp trip