What a killer trip. In September of 2014, I spent 15 days hiking through the Himalayas of Nepal to get to Everest Base Camp (packing guide at the bottom of this page if you’re interested).
I booked the trip through G Adventures (link to the trip) and got paired with a totally awesome, unique group of people from all around the world. 4 from Australia, 2 from Germany, and one from the the UK. Of course I can’t forget our sherpa and porter friends from Nepal :)
Top row: Brooke, Chanelle, Lloyd, Porter #1, Rosa, Me, Jock, Chris, Brooke
Bottom row: Porter #2, Porter #3
The First Few Hikes
The start to the trek actually felt a lot like hiking through Colorado-type terrain. We didn’t see any snow-capped mountains until around day 3. You have to keep in mind that it’s cloudy all day while you’re hiking. So you reach your destination and go about your evening, but then when you wake up in the morning, the clouds are gone. When you walk outside, you see that you were in the presence of GIANTS the whole time and didn’t even know it. I still remember the first day this happened. It was absolutely surreal to discover that I was surrounded by these beautiful mountains in every direction I looked – and had no idea! They all seemed so close too.
The Tea Houses
One thing I was a little unsure about was the idea of sleeping in the tea houses. They were surprisingly some of the cleanest little places ever. Now… granted.. there is not much to them! Here is a good picture of what the rooms looked like
(but ours didn’t even have a table).
Every tea house also had a communal room where you could gather as a group to order tea, socialize, and eat your meals (pictured above). We were incredibly fortunate and went right at the start of the season – meaning that we were the only ones in the tea houses for the most part! It definitely gave the entire trip a “summer camp feeling”.
Altitude Setting In
While I was fortunate to not get headaches or sickness from the altitude, I could definitely feel it in the air as I trekked. I would say that the first time that I felt the full-on effects was around Dingboche. It didn’t make the trek exceptionally more difficult, I just had to adjust my pace to suit the environment. I lost my breath at a quicker rate, so I either had to walk slower or take more rest stops.
The group dynamic worked really well for this. We had a Sherpa in the front of the pack and a Sherpa at the back of the pack. Everyone would climb at their own pace, but periodically we would all stop and regather. So if you were quick and exerted yourself faster, you would get more time to rest. And if you were more steady, you would have slightly less time to rest (but were hopefully not as exerted).
Making It To Basecamp
While there was a definite sense of accomplishment on making it to base camp, I want to assure you.. This was NOT the highlight of the trip. And I don’t say that in a negative way at all. The truth is that the greatest memories I have of this trip are the things I saw and did along the way. Base Camp just acts as a great point to say.. “you know what, maybe we should turn around now”, haha!
Everest Base Camp is approximately 5,364 meters above sea level (17,598 feet). That’s pretty dang high. I still can’t believe how fortunate I was to not experience altitude sickness of any kind.
Some Of The Best Memories I Had
- Early morning, Taylor Swift dance session to “Shake It Off” with my great roommate, Jock.
- Waking up, grabbing a seat facing the window, and enjoying breakfast while staring at the beautiful snow-capped mountains.
- Getting the full Nepal shaving experience! (I got my face flossed)
- Being woken up by a half-naked, drunk german thinking his bed was mine.. hint: it wasn’t
- Finding appreciation for food from home! I missed it so much!
- Reading the funny typos on the food menus. (Do you want Cake in a buttle?)
- Learning how to make Momos and eating them!
Some Of The Things I Learned
- Powering through something difficult is easier if you’re doing that thing for a purpose
- Strive for a calm mind in tough or stressful times
- If I’m burning out, then I’m not done yet
- Don’t talk about wanting to do things until you have the plan in action to do it and have started!
- Family and feeling loved is so important
- Learn when to pick battles, and when they actually mean something
What I Packed / Packing Guide
I thought I would include this section in case anybody reading this is also planning their trip and is curious what they should bring along. This is what I brought, and it worked out perfectly.
- Waterproof Pants
- Waterproof Jacket
- Waterproof Gloves
- Winter Hat
- Hiking Boots
- Tennis Shoes
- 4 Pairs of Long Socks
- 4 T-shirts
- 1 Long-sleeve Thermal Shirt
- 1 Sweatshirt
- 2 Pairs Of Athletic Shorts
- High Altitude Pills
- Anti-Diarrhea Pills
- Allergy Medication (Aleve)
- Water Purification Pills
- Waterproof Backpack Liner
- Headphones + Music On My iPhone
- Small Flashlight
- My GoPro
- Quick Dry Towel
- Portable Backup Charger
- Small Shampoo Bottle
- Toothbrush + Small Toothpaste
- Don’t worry about toilet paper. You can buy that in Kathmandu.
The Song Of The Trip
I sometimes find myself listening to a specific song over and over again to the point where it ends up transporting me back into those locations when I hear it again. This was that song for my trip: