Made it to first base
· 3 hours walking
· Tea house-Royal Sherpa
After a delay of one day due to poor weather we were back at the domestic terminal waiting for our flight on Tara Air. Little did I know at the time but we were about to board the World's most dangerous flight path. Despite feeling a bit nervous, flash backs of our Bolivian aeroplane journey came flooding to the forefront of my mind, the small aircraft delivered beautiful scenery of rice terraces, snow-capped mountains and generally a turbulent free journey. However, the landing was a bit precarious with a very short runway and a sharp right hand turn to stop just in front of Lukla's airport building. On arrival we immediately found our guide, Rewati and our porter, Bal but in the hurry and excitement of surviving the flight we left our sleeping bag at the airport! All was well when Rewati's friend rescued it and we were reunited a few days later. Bal was over the moon with our bag, only 15kg for two people is very light and most other porters had 30kg. It was funny watching the porters compare weight and Bal kept staring at us and smiled like a Cheshire cat!
We landed about midday so had some food at Lukla before starting our ascent. Well, I had some food; James had a dodgy belly so most of his lunch ended up on the floor to the delight of one of the local dogs. The weather was pleasant so we had some great views along the way, mainly greenery on this part of the trek as we were still quite low down. We saw the Hillary school where the children were participating in a game of volleyball. How this game is one of the most popular in Nepal I will never know, they are one of the shortest races of people in the world! Our walk had various terrains but nothing too strenuous either up or down. Despite James not feeling 100% the first day of the journey was an all-round positive experience.
· Phakding-Namache Bazaar
· 7 hours walking
· Tea house- The Nest
We were up early and had a wonderful view of a mountain from our bedroom window to wake up too. It was breakfast first and then we were on the road by 7:30am. The first part of the walk was reasonably flat (Nepal flat is similar to Inca flat-not very!) but we made good time stopping for lunch at 10:30! Along the way we were entertained by a group of primary school children on their way to school. It must be the most scenic walk to school ever! We did a lot of crisscrossing across the valley crossing 5 suspension bridges along with a lot of donkeys carrying food and other goodies up the mountain. I was a little disappointed that we had only seen one Yak so far and that was in Lukla running away from his owner. Rewati informed us that there will be plenty of opportunities to see Yaks at a higher altitude where they do the heavy lifting and not the donkeys. James was feeling a little better today which was lucky because after lunch it was all up hill and was very steep. It took us 2 hours to go 800m! Overall it was another good day with the only disappointing moment occurring in the afternoon. Just before reaching Namache we were supposed to see our first glimpse of Everest but the clouds had rolled in and we didn't get the chance. We weren't too disheartened as we thought there would be many other opportunities for us to see the highest point of the world.
· Namache Bazaar, acclimatisation day
· 2 hours walking
· 4 km
· Tea house- The Nest
As today was an acclimatisation day we had thought it was a reading and relaxing opportunity. For the most part it was, however Rewati took us to the Everest museum, a Sherpa monastery and another viewpoint of the top mountains. The clouds were covering most of the view so we still didn't get the chance to see Everest but saw glimpses of the other big mountains, Lhotse and Pumori. Apparently when it is clear you can see twelve peaks at this one view point. We are hoping in the morning it will be clearer.
· Namache Bazaar-Tengboche
· 5 hours walking
· Tea house- Tengboche guest house
The clouds were on top form today and we hardly saw a thing, we were a bit disappointed as you felt as though you could be walking anywhere not in the Himalayas. Bal had a mini stand-off with the only homeless guy in the mountains, this made me and Rewati laugh a lot. The walk today was a little disappointing, but our stay in Tengboche was good. We went to a nice monastery ceremony at one of the most important temples in the Himalayas in Tengboche and there were a lot of nice people at the tea house. Nick (aka Tin Tin) was there, a young Belgian guy who we had met at the airport and was really friendly always willing to chat. Joseph (Oregon) a 74 year old guy who liked to chat but had some great travel stories. He had travelled for 5 years in his forties, during which time he met Mother Teresa and busked on the streets of Europe to fund his travelling! Dave (Indiana) and Kim (Dallas) were brilliant fun; we talked, shared matchstick tricks with them and their guide and then some great card tricks just to finish off the evening ready for our usual bed time of 8!
· 5 hours walking
· Tea house- Family hotel
· Bucket Shower!
Weather report is not much different from yesterday, perhaps even cloudier. We were getting very disheartened during the walk and powered through the morning so quickly we had lunch at 10! I think if the weather ever gets better we will be a lot slower but there is just nothing to see so we walk as quickly as possible. We did chat to Nick during the walk and then a nice pair of young walkers (Dutch guy and English girl) who had walked from Jeri, an extra 8 days to us! Rewati and Joe's (Baltimore) guide had a good laugh at the crazy Polish woman and her bizarre choice of photographs and her posing techniques-she is so mental! At Dingboche we spent the night with Kim, Dave had finished his walk at Tengboche, we taught him Greedy and chatted until bedtime. James spoke to the German family who we had kept crossing paths with since Phakding. He even got bought a beer which is not in our 500 rupee budget!
· Dingboche-acclimatisation day
· 1 hour walked
· 1 km
· Tea house- Family hotel
We had some excitement in the morning as there was a window of around 20 minutes where the sky was clear. Everyone in the hotel was up frantically taking pictures of the beautiful peaks we could finally see, still no Everest! We took a short but steep walk to the top of look-out point in the morning and then relaxed for the rest of the day.
In the afternoon we chatted to Maurice and Teresa a lovely couple from Melbourne and the evening was spent with Kim and the Germans. We played some more matchstick tricks and Rewati gave me a maths puzzle to solve, which, to my surprise I managed to do in only 20 minutes!
· 4 hours walking
· Tea house- Big fifteen
There were no good views to see this morning and the walk to Labouche was quick and easy. James and I played the name game along the way mainly due to boredom. We passed the memorial site which was really sad and quite over whelming. There were so many memorial sites each representing someone who has lost their life on Everest.
The afternoon in Labouche the weather picked up and James and I went on a little stroll around the area to enjoy the views. The Germans came along with their guide and he pointed out some of the 'famous' mountains (still not Everest) and the Khumbu glacier, which you can't miss due to its sheer size, at 36km long it is pretty big! Not all of the mountains in the region are named, obviously there are so many. Som (German guide) told us if it not above 6000m they don't bother naming it! A lot of helicopters flew past us, mainly on rescue missions but one was a tourist flight, with the weather turning for the better people were paying for a flight around Everest. Frank (German Dad) made us laugh a lot when he exclaimed in his strong accent 'F**king Rich men!'
It was a beautiful sunset in the evening with more frantic photography and optimistic discussions about the improving weather. I was disappointed as Kim was in another tea house so no chat with him tonight but we spent the evening laughing a lot with Maurice and Teresa. The tea house was nice but they seemed to always serve James and I last but surprisingly we would still finish before everyone else.
· Goraksep-Everest Base Camp!!
· 4950m-5200m (5364m EBC)
· 6 hours walking
· Tea house- Yeti Lodge
The walk to Labouche was relatively easy only 2 hours and then another early lunch. It was not so easy in the afternoon when we made the arduous last leg to Everest Base Camp. Unfortunately the weather was still cloudy and we didn't see much along the way. On arrival to base camp we could make out the start of the Khumbu glacier but that was it in terms of scenery. There was a small pile of rocks to represent that we had made it and a camp of Italian climbers biding their time to hike the summit. We took some photos of us accomplishing the challenge with our home made flag but the pictures were not that great due to the snow fall. Rewati treated us to a snickers bar (I got James's as well because of his peanut 'allergy') and then we headed back to Goraksep.
It was our last night with Kim, Maurice, Teresa and the German family so we exchanged contact details and all hoped and prayed together that the weather would at least be better for tomorrows hike to the view point.