Heh, it has taken me a while to process my journey in Nepal. But here I am, with a bag of mixed emotions.
Right before reaching Lobuche, which is the second last village before the base camp, I wondered if I made the right decision or not. I remember feeling tired and anxious when I was just about to reach the village. There was a sense of fear that crept in. Why was I feeling this way after finally reaching this far? “Damn, I should be elated right now. What’s wrong?” I thought to myself. Maybe it was the fear of not being able to make it to the top for xyz reason or maybe it was just the altitude. I just had to lift my spirits that time. I couldn’t afford to collapse just one day away from EBC. I had to do something. So, I wrote and I kept writing till it made me feel better. You see, it’s always mind over matter. 😊
Jan 21, Friday, Lobuche
“Lobuche is at 4900m i.e., 16,170 ft. You just cannot take the mountains for granted. It was bright and sunny in the morning – a perfect day for a hike, but just a few hours into the trek, the weather changed and it started snowing. It’s way too difficult to trek during snowfall. I feel so exhausted. Head is heavy. I’m gasping for breath. I cannot give up at this point cos I’m just a day away. It’s a long way back to Lukla. I just hope I make it to the base camp. It would mean the world to me.
You need to be mentally strong to do this. I realise it now. You’ve no idea how I’ve made it this far. It was a difficult journey, but totally worth it.”
Jan 22, Saturday, Gorakhshep: Part 1
“We woke up at 5 am in the morning and it was freezing cold. So cold that fingers and toes were hurting like crazy even with multiple gloves and socks on. We managed to leave by 7 am for our trek to Gorakshep. It was still dark. No sunlight. What a torture it was. I had tears in my eyes cos I couldn’t take the pain in my hands due to extreme cold. I felt like giving up within the first 15 minutes.
I looked up and saw Rajan, our sherpa, staring at me. Always smiling, always happy, super thoughtful and always full of love. I love that about him. He walked towards me and handed me a bottle of hot water. “Hold this for a while. Your hands will stop hurting.” he said. It was that moment, that small moment of kindness which was the highlight of my trip. I did not utter a word, but he still understood. I smiled to myself and felt grateful for his presence. You know, it’s these little things that make your heart happy.
The first one hour was the most challenging part as I was constantly gasping for breath and my stomach was hurting due to snow melt water. Took us about 3 hours, but finally reached the last village before the mighty mountain. I’m at 17,000 ft currently. Climbing up to Kala Patthar right now to get the view of the mountain. That’ll be the end of our trek. I guess I’m finally going to make it to the top.”
“And here I am standing right in front of the mighty mountain – Mt. Everest. I couldn’t believe what I saw. For a moment, everything felt like a dream. One of my biggest dreams was fulfilled. My dream to see the tallest mountain on the Earth, the Holy Sagarmatha.
People always say, “Seize the moment”. I think it is the other way around. I think, “Moment seizes us.” This was one such moment.
I finally made it to the top of Kala Patthar which was the toughest part of the trek as it’s completely uphill. 5580m i.e., 18,400 feet. Something I never imagined I’d do. Oh, the headache is real bad due to cold weather. It’s -13 right now. Will dip as low as -25 in the night. Can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like.
My SPO2 seems fine at this altitude for now, but every little pain in your body is aggravated due to the altitude.
I was so close to giving up in the morning. I just couldn’t trek, but I kept pushing myself, no matter what.
Not kidding, this is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s biting cold which gets right into your bones. No heater, no water cos pipes are frozen. My bodywash, toothpaste, shampoo, lens solution, cold cream, wet wipes, everything is frozen. 😂
More than physical fitness, I’ve realised you need massive mental strength to make it to the top. Something that none of us can fathom. I couldn’t, until now, when I faced it myself.
I kept talking to myself while trekking, kept pushing myself, kept controlling my thoughts only to avoid breaking down. I didn’t let my paranoia get the worst of me.
The conditions are inhospitable. I’ve trekked 12-15 kms uphill every single day since Sunday, Jan 16. The trail is completely empty cos it’s off-season and that’s the best part. You get the entire place to yourself.
Everest Base Camp generally takes 12-14 days. You stop at places, acclimatize, take rest, so that you don’t fall sick. I am so glad we completed the trek in 10 days. :))”
Jan 24, Monday, Namche Bazar
The last two days were so tiring. We trekked 20-22 kms yesterday and today as well. Legs are gooooneee! This is madness. Hehe.
I just kept walking yesterday. Didn’t stop. Took pain killers, but kept trekking. Lol, sub-zero feels normal now after surviving -20.
It was snowing today, but we kept trekking. Have reached Namche Bazar. One more day to go. Have to cover 21 kms tomorrow to reach Lukla.
Hehe, I’ve only survived on antibiotics, pain killers and Diamox these past few days. But what an experience. What a view. What I saw was so beautiful. I’m 10,000% sure no view will come close to this one. Everest region is ferociously beautiful. The region looks super intimidating, but super raw and beautiful.
The last two villages we stayed at – Lobuche and Gorakshep, there was no vegetation at all. Only massive looking snow-covered mountains, glaciers and rocks.
Every breath counts there. I could feel every bit of it. After surviving this, I feel lucky to breathe so freely.
You feel scared because the altitude is too high and your body hurts. Everything hurts. I don’t think my fingers and toes have hurt this much in my entire life.
What I saw is so damn special for me. I couldn’t believe it. The mountains I’ve been reading about all these years, I got to see them closely. They were right in front me, standing tall. I felt so small and they looked scary, but beautiful.
I got to witness Thamserku, Shishapangma, Island Peak, Debuche Peak, Lobuche Peak, Pumori Peak, Ama Dablam, Cholatse, Lhotse, Nuptse and and and Everest!
Everest was right behind the lodge I stayed in Gorakshep. I am short of words currently to describe the feeling.
This trip had everything in it. I felt every emotion – I was happy and scared at the same time. I was super sick yet I managed to make it to the top. I felt like giving up way too many times, but I kept pushing myself. My dream of witnessing these mountains was fulfilled, but it did come with a cost – my health. But but but, it was all worth it in the end. 😊
It’s actually kind of that funny that by the end of it all, you feel tired and happy at the same time. It’s that good tired you feel after doing something worthwhile. Elated, you’ve accomplished something. It will leave you feeling invigorated. Or, possibly, crushed. It’s a personal test. You can go out to enjoy nature, or you might be pushing yourself to see what you are capable of. It may show you that you are far stronger than you believed. Your legs, and your mind! Truly, it’s a different kind of activity. It gives you time to think about everything, or nothing at all. It’s an incredible experience, that is capable of showing you who you are, for better or worse.
What kept me going were my thoughts. I kept talking to myself, kept thinking about the things I am grateful for, the happiest moments of my life so far, the thought of making it to the top and feeling accomplished. Giving up was not an option. It’ll never be, no matter what.
Looking back at my experience, I feel proud of myself. Not because I made it to the top despite all the odds, but because I remember talking to a friend about EBC back in 2019 and thinking to myself that I don’t think I’d be able to experience such a thing in my life. Here I am, exactly 2 years later, smiling ear to ear thinking about my recent trek to EBC. 😊 So today, I’ve decided to be proud. Of my strength, my efforts, my progress, and the fact that I keep going. I am doing the best I can. So are you. And that’s something worth celebrating.
So always remember,
“One day you are visualizing your dream life, another day you are living it. That you from the bright, amazing future? She’s you, and she is counting on you. Don’t give up on her.”
Lastly, don’t forget to dream cos it will always always always come true 😊
Check out our upcoming trek to Annapurna Base Camp here!