My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
The author at the legendary Everest Base Camp at 5,364 m with the towering views of Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori mountains
My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
The author at the legendary Everest Base Camp at 5,364 m with the towering views of Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori mountains

Setting out on an adventure to the legendary Mt. Everest Base Camp is extremely dangerous and demanding, but it is also the ultimate dream for many fanatic trekkers and adventure seekers, including myself.

This formidable and remarkable journey not only offers an opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the world’s tallest peak, in the heart of the Himalayas, but will also physically challenge your determination while giving you countless life realizations.

This is the tale of my thrilling adventure to the Mt. Everest Base Camp.

I flew from my base in Singapore to Kathmandu, Nepal, in May, which is the end of trekking season in the Everest Region. The best time to go is in March to May, and again in September to November. These are the peak or busiest trekking seasons—the climate is normally warmer compared to other months.

In preparation for this 11-day trek, I started running to boost my endurance and stamina. I would also swim a few laps every week. I would trek the highest point, Bukit Timah Hill, in Singapore every weekend for my uphill walk training.

My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
Spending the afternoon of the second acclimatization at Bakery Café in Pangboche. The café is packed with photos and memorabilia of Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealand
mountaineer who was the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest, along with his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, in 1953.

There are a lot of trekking companies offering packages to the Everest Base Camp or other mountains in Nepal. They range from $900 to $5,000, depending on the package inclusions. It is also possible to go solo. In fact, I met a girl from Alaska, Emma, who went all by herself, with no guide or porter.

Before my journey began, I stayed in a hostel in Kathmandu for two days. I got myself familiarized with the streets in Thamel and bought some essentials for the trek. I also met the personnel of the hiking company that I booked. They briefed me with the flight details and the trek.

Most dangerous airport

My journey started with a short and scenic flight from Kathmandu to the famous Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, also known as the most dangerous airport in the world because of its short and steep airstrip. The flight itself was an adventure, as we soared over lush valleys and snow-capped peaks. It is indeed one of the most beautiful air routes in the world, with its dramatic landing on a hillside with high mountain peaks in the surroundings.

My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
Second day of trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar at 3,000+ m altitude

Upon arrival, I and two other girls who booked with the same company were greeted by our experienced guide and porter and started our trek toward Phakding. This first trek was meant to be short to assist in acclimatization. The temperature in Phakding was 12 degrees Celsius.

All the hiking companies have their partner inns or hotels at every stop. The hikers are also advised to have their meals at the place where they’re staying so they can get a cheaper price for the accommodation.

On our second day, we trekked through the picturesque Sherpa villages, crossed suspension bridges and followed the winding Dudh Koshi River. The trail gradually climbed through forests and bridges, and after a long trek, we reached the vibrant town of Namche Bazaar, the gateway to Mt. Everest and the main trading center of the region. Here, we took a well-deserved rest day for acclimatization.

We explored the local markets, interacted with the locals and enjoyed stunning views of the surrounding peaks. But it wasn’t actually a total rest day, as we had a short trek to the highest hotel in the world at 13,000 feet, which is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
Lunch break at Kwality Resort (Sindhuli District) with other trekkers the author (third from left) made friends with during the trek

Rough and dramatic terrain

On our fourth to sixth days, we set out toward Tengboche after breakfast in Namche Bazaar. As we continued our trek, the landscape transformed into a rough and dramatic terrain. We hiked through rhododendron forests, passed by sacred monasteries and savored the panoramic scenery of Ama Dablam and Everest. We made a memorable stop at the Tengboche Monastery. Our trek then took us to Dingboche, a village in a beautiful valley.

My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
The author (center) says she was lucky to have these
Singaporean girls with her during the trek.

We headed to Lobuche on our seventh day. The trail became steeper and more challenging as we pushed to higher altitudes. I started having altitude sickness, and it got worse as we got higher. While trekking, it started to snow and the temperature dropped even more. We trekked through the remote and arid landscapes of Lobuche while shivering and gasping for air, but we were comforted by the magnificent peaks of Nuptse and Pumori.

Finally, on the eighth day, we reached Gorak Shep, our last stop before reaching Everest Base Camp. Here, we prepared ourselves mentally and physically for the ultimate goal. The last few treks were the most gruesome and challenging.

With a mix of excitement and anticipation, we embarked on the final leg of our journey towards Everest Base Camp. The trail was demanding, and the altitude added to the physical challenge. But as we caught our first glimpse of the iconic Khumbu Icefall and the colorful tents of the base camp, all the tears, sweat and bruises felt totally worth it.

My grueling, thrilling trek to the Mt. Everest base camp
First acclimatization with a short trek to the “highest placed hotel” in the world, Hotel Everest View, at 3,962 m.

On the ninth day, I began my descent without the two other girls I was with during the ascent. They rented a helicopter back to Kathmandu because of health issues. I was accompanied by other guys I made friends with during the trek.

Other trekkers would say that the descent is more difficult than the climb because the trails are very slippery and dangerous. I agree, because I fell countless times.

I arrived at Lukla on the 11th day and stayed there overnight.

The trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp is without a doubt a grueling one, but the rewards are incomparable. You have to face it with grit and courage, or you’ll never reach the goal. This travelogue only scratches the surface of the amazing experiences and sights that await courageous adventurers. From the warm hospitality of the Sherpa people and the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas, to the backbreaking trek that will test your spirit—every step taken on this trek is filled with wonder and life lessons. Mt. Everest Base Camp remains a test of human resolve and the willful spirit of exploration. —Conributed 

The author is a Filipino teacher based in Singapore, a sports enthusiast and an avid solo traveler.

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