This is one in a series of posts about my recent Trek to Everest Basecamp (EBC). If you wish to read the previous posts you can access them at #EBC2017
March 27. I woke up quite early around 02:00 with a major headache. The room was completely dark as they cut the electricity during night times to preserve power, but by now I was quite the experienced trekker and had my headlamp right next to me. I managed to find my headache pills (just regular Panamol pills), which I conveniently placed right on top of my backpack. Headaches at these altitudes are quite normal, so I wasn’t worried that much. What did worry me, however, was the fact that we had a long day ahead of us and I needed my sleep. I eventually got back to sleep for 3 or so hours and was ready to head out by 07:00 to reach our next destination, Gorakshep, followed by a short trek to Everest Base Camp (all on the same day).
The trek to Gorakshep was very tough for me mentally. We only climbed for about 200 meters (to 5,164 meters ASL), but it was a long and tough climb. I felt quite exhausted when I finally reached my room in Gorakshep and needed to have another headache pill in addition to two more Cliff Bars. The temperature was below freezing point, which made it very hard to focus. At this point, all I wanted to do was to take a nap, which I did. I laid on the bed with my clothes and boots on and closed my eyes for a good hour. When I woke up I felt hungry and eager to get going. Nine days of trekking have finally reached the pinnacle of this adventure—getting to Everest Base Camp.
The walk to Everest Base Camp from Gorakshep was not long—only 1.5 hours—but it was a bit technical on the last part of it. We needed to climb some big rocks that weren’t really rock-solid, pun intended. We also had to deal with long Yak traffic (yep, you read it right), which more than once forced us to be creative (i.e., take a different and more challenging route). Nonetheless, I was eager to get there and thus my pace was quite fast; I pretty much skipped all the rest point we scheduled.
The closer we got to Everest Base Camp, the more excited I have become. The place almost looked familiar after watching hours of YouTube Everest Base Camp videos prior to coming here. The first thing I saw was this big glacier covered with sand, rocks, and dirt that we pretty much walked on. As we got closer and closer to Base Camp, I started seeing the (famous) yellow tents on the horizon. It was a surreal moment for me that only motivated me to climb a bit faster. All along the trek there was long traffic of Yaks delivering food to base-camp, or coming back from base-camp—some of these traffic jams had 20 or more yaks at a time. I believe it was the only time I actually didn’t want to have Yaks on my way because it slowed me down : ).
When we finally arrived at base-camp I felt very emotional. I did what everyone else was doing and that is to take the iconic base-camp photo, but I also remembered to take a moment for myself. I was overwhelmed with emotions and I needed to just sit down by myself and enjoy the beauty around me—which I did. I sat for a good 15 minutes and just looked around. It was beautiful, quiet, and absolutely breathtaking. I felt so small at that moment. It made me look at my life in a different way and helped me with my focus. Now, whenever I meditate, I close my eyes and take myself to that moment when I sat in front of Mt. Everest by myself.
Part 10 of this series will also be the conclusion. In addition, I will add the video I took during this entire trek. Stay tuned.