Trek to Everest Base Camp- Solo - Jan 2018

chander

Member
Hi,
Thanks for your response for my previous post Winter Cycling - Leh Pangong Khardungla Leh -Dec 2018 . This encouraged me to share another travelogue of my Everest Base camp & Kalla Pathar Trek which I did in Dec-2017/Jan 2018.

Around Nov-Dec 2017, I started my EBC trek plan and the first step was to consult the most experienced, free of cost consultant, google off course, and as you can imagine there are tons of blogs and youtube videos on EBC. Browsing through few, I got the required information. Trust me, after reading and watching, it was transported there alreadyJ. Thanks to all the bloggers and you-tubers for providing this information and efforts they put in to help people like me.



As per me, this is all that one needs for the trek


  • Typical Trek Duration is 2-weeks which includes 8 days Lukla to EBC and 3 days EBC to Lukla , 1-2 days to fly in/out from Lukla to Kathmandu assuming that weather and health are on your side.
  • Guide and potter are recommended
  • Trail is well marked, but as you go closer to EBC, quality of the path deteriorates
  • Best Season to travel March- May and Sept – mid-Nov. Very few trekkers during Dec - Feb. Although trail is open year round.
  • Difficult to find accommodation during peak season if you are going solo, unless you are trekking with a group/guide/potter.
  • Kathmandu-Lukla flight has 10kg check-in weight allowance. It’s a small plane so no scope of extra payment.
  • No conclusive answer on fitness level required for this trek. Basic good fitness would be okay, you do not need to be a marathon runner. Acclimatization is important.

And with the above information I planned my trip

  • Trek date 27th Dec. 2017 (open return) to avoid traffic on the trail.
  • To enhance the adventure of this trek, I decided to go solo, without potter or guide.

Let’s see how it goes ….


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EBC : Planned TREK MAP



Day 0 (27th Dec): I boarded a morning flight, from Delhi to Kathmandu which landed in Kathmandu at 1pm.
I booked a hotel in Thamel area via Airbnb. The hotel was reasonable for NRs1000 /night. Thamel is a good place for food, trekking stuff and last minute purchases.
I bought some missing stuff from there.
  • a SIM card for INR 320 for 30days validity,1GB data, INR3/min India calls.
  • Water purifying tablets, 50 tablets for 50 liters of water . INR350.
In the evening, I walked around the street of Thamel to get the feel of the place. It was not very different from the Indian cities.
My flight to Lukla was at 7am so I retired a little early.

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In Kathmandu

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Day 1 : (28th Dec’17): Kathmandu- Lukla – ??: The flight to Lukla is an adventure in itself. Depending on the weather conditions in Lukla, flight could be delayed or cancelled any time, so was keeping my fingers crossed
To my good luck, it was a sunny morning in Kathmandu, so I was hopeful to reach Lukla the same day.
I chose Yeti Airlines. Each plane carries ~10 persons and each person is allowed 10kg.
It is a unique experience to fly on these planes. The very skilled pilot (as you would hope :) ) is flying literarily sitting next to you, as the landing at Lukla Airport (2800mt) is one of the most dangerous landings in the world. In other words, EBC adventure starts as soon as you board the flight to lukla.
My Flight was on time and after 35 minutes, landed at Lukla around 9:30 am. It was a beautiful sunny day and I Collected my luggage.
At Lukla, I got my permit and I immediately started my trek after a cup of tea.

I were carrying a backpack ~10kg + ~1kg Camera + ~ 1kg water bottle, total 12-13kg.
Today’s trekking plan was to go as far as possible and stay before it gets dark (~5PM).
Trek was easy at the beginning … Lukla to Phakding , which was 6-7km downhill from 2850mt to 2550 (cumulative ascent 250mt , decent 400mt). And I need not mention……It was beautiful trek with numerous carved scripts, beautiful small villages, teahouses, river and mountains.
At Phakding, after ~2hours of trekking, I refilled my water bottles. It was around 12 pm and I was excited to go ahead. I planned to stop at the next available tea-house for a break. Now onwards it was all uphill and though I was tired, the beautiful views of villages, peaks and prayer carving on stones along river made me forget all about my fatigue and kept me charged.
Around 2pm , I reached Monjo (2850mt) and got my ticket for Sagarmatha National park. Till this point, I was in reasonably good shape and targeted to reach Namche Bazar (~3500mt) which was a 6km and 4hour long trek.

After trekking for about an hour I had first glimpse of mount EVEREST and that was, simply beautiful. As I was getting Closer to Namche the climb kept getting steep ~10+% and 15% at few places. This climb is called Namache steps. It was difficult with a 12kg bagpack, felt like 20+ Kg by that time with the reduced oxygen level at that height and cold.
Around 4:45pm I reached Namche Bazar. Only few places were open. I stayed at Kamal hotel , I was one of the two guests staying there that night.
Bukhari (non-electric, wood/dung fueled heater) in the hotel’s restaurant was keeping that place warm and cozy. I went to bed around 9pm after dinner which was Rice-Dal-vegetables.

I had a wonderful day with beautiful views, a glimpse of Mt. Everest & rarely seen Himalayan deer, steep climb to Namche, 18KM trek ,2850 mt to 3450mt (cumulative ascent 1400mt , decent 807mt)

Plan for the next day ?
Stay in Namche for acclimatization or move forward??
I would decide in the morning …


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Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla . It was an experience of it's own, exciting and a bit scary . Sitting next to two pilots .

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Lukla Airport


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Baggage collection at Lukla

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Lukla Bazzar ...



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Entry to Sagarmatha National Park

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First View of Mt Everest before Namche Bazzar.


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Steep climb to Namche Bazar

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Himalayan Deer ,
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Reached Namche Bazzar.... Almost empty ,,,

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Namche Bazzar

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Kamal Hotel , Resturant ...

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Bukhari--

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DAY1 : MAP


DAY2 (29th Dec’17): From Namche Bazzar to ??:
I slept well and woke up around 6:30 am. I was feeling good, no sign of AMS ( Acute Mountain Sickness). Around 7:30, it was blue skies with bright sun and I was feeling fresh. Within a few seconds, I decided to continue my trek to my next destination.
I had Tibetan bread with Jam, butter and tea for breakfast. It was cold outside ~ -4C but sun was giving enough warmth.
Started trek around 9 am.
I was waiting for another glimpse of Everest and there it was after 30-45 min of trekking. It was a wonderful view of the EVEREST and Tengboche Monastery.
Visually , you can make out that Tengboche Monastery is at a similar height from where I was standing , then I realized that the trail is going down (400 mt ) to a river crossing and then up (~600mt) to the Monastery and that looked tough :).
On my way, there were nice cafés (Tea-Houses) with nice coffee and Italian food. It was steep going down hill towards river ( Dudh Koshi) crossing and then all the way up. The trek condition was not good. It had deep steps, bad stoned patches and loose dust. I could imagine the problem in rain/ heat and crossing yak/horse during season.

Around Mid day, I reached Tongboche . It is a scenic place with view of Everest, Nupste , Ama Dablam. After resting &lunch , back on trail. It was beautiful amidst trees and alongside river ( Imja Khola). I planned to stay at any available tea house after 4pm before it was dark.

At was 4pm at Shomare and started to look for place to stay. Nearly all teahouses were closed. I noticed an activity at a tea house but they had packed all stuff to close for winter. It was not a good situation, it was getting dark and cold and I was not sure if I will be able to find anything beyond Shomare before it got dark.

Finally I got a bed and food at Tashi LodgeI and had a cup of tea in front of Bukhari before it was dark.
Enjoyed my dinner and went to bed around 8pm. Another good day ended at Shomare (4100mt), it was 16KM trek today with (1300mt ascent and 830mt decent) .

Next destination to be decided in the morning …


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Namche Bazzar... Bright & wonderful day



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Towards Tengboche

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Beautiful Teahouses on the way...

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Very steep

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Hardworking Locals .... Life is tough there...

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Crossing River towards Tengboche climb

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Tengboche Monastery..

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Views from Tengboche
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DAY2 Map..
 

chander

Member
DAY3 (30th Dec’17): From SHOMARE to ??: After another good night sleep I woke up around 7am. Being at 4100mt, I were expecting some headache but it was good so far. That day was another Sunny day. Breakfast was egg-toast and tea.
Plan was to skip Dingboche and trek toward EBC via Periche and stop around 4pm. I was hoping that I should reach Lobuche.
At 4100mt and going up, my 12-13kg backpack seems heavier and it was getting difficult. Landscape had changed completely, no tree or grass. if there was water, it was frozen.
Reached Periche around 11am and continued till Dughla. Dughla (4600mt) is a place with 3 teahouses along a river crossing. This river is outlet of Kumbu Glacier. At 12:30pm, I reached Dughla and had good lunch. There are good food choices in teahouses on EBC trail. Food is not a problem.
Around 1:30 pm, back on trail. I filled my bottles with normal water and added purification tablets which takes 30minutes to sanitize the water. At Lukla, one water bottle was Nepalese RS100, it was 400 at this place and kept on increasing with altitude and distance along with food price.
After Dughla, it is steep climb (300Meter) to Everest Memorial. It is place with prayer flags to honor Everest climbers and Sherpas who died while attempting to climb Everest.
From Everest memorial, a bit of decent then steady climb to Lobuche . It was getting cold at this height with winds. My backpack seemed heavier than before without adding anything J.

I was carrying two water bottle, one was inside my backpack insulated with my clothes and second one within my jacket. By now, my water bottle inside my jacket was frozen solid as temperature was well below 0C at 3pm.

At 3pm , I was at Lobche with two options, to stay at Lobuche or continue till Gorak Shep??
After doing some strange calculations, I decided to move forward to Gorak Shep. Closer to Gorkh Shep, trek was tough. I got lost few times (not for more than 50meters though)….
Finally, before 5pm, reached Gorkh Shep (5200mt) and it was damn cold. I entered first visible teahouse called “ Snow Land Highest Inn”. Bukhari was on, sat next to Bukhari with hot cup of tea. After dinner (8pm), went a bed , which was small plywood room with two beds. It was cold in there but much better than outside at ~ -18-20C at night.
With sleeping bag and additional quilt (provided by tea house), I kept myself warm enough. In side cabin, temp. was below -4C as fresh water bottle froze solid in two hours.

What is plan for tomorrow ??
Generally trekkers go to Kalla Pathar during early hours ( 3-4am) to see sun rise through beautiful mountains and avoid high winds during the day and later to EBC and back to Lobuche .
I decided to stick to my schedule to start trek in the sun (~8-9 am) to Kalla Patthar and then Everest base camp and back in Gorak Shep ~4 pm.
Stay at Gorak shep another night.
Again a wonderful day with 17KM trek from 4100mt to 5200mt (and ~1300mt ascent and ~200mt decent )

While sleeping, I kept water bottle and batteries inside my sleeping bag to keep those warm enough.
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My Stay at Somare

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Life Saver Bukhari and Drums of Local beer....

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My Bed...

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Looking Back at Temboche ...

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Trekking along with my Shadow :) , few trekkers on trail ..
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You can enjoy Italian cafe on the way .... at Periche

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Towards Dughla...

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Menu is Nepali's Rupee Dughla


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Looking Back at Periche...

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Periche far at bottom

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One of easiest way to reach EBC....

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Everest memorial after Dughla..

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River Crossing near Dughla..
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Dughla

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Close to Lobche..

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No more picture after this due to time pressure and cold. Reached Goarkh Shep... ( My stay at Goarkh Shep, Picture from 1st Jan)

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DAY3: Trek MAP
 

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citymonk

Super User
Great Heights with Greater update.
It is nice that you escaped AMS all together. How heavy was Sleeping bag you were carrying along.
 

citymonk

Super User
Great Heights with Greater update.
It is nice that you escaped AMS all together. How heavy was Sleeping bag you were carrying along?
 

chander

Member
DAY4 (31 Dec’17): Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar - EBC back to Gorak Shep:
Last night was very cold. I had good sleep but slightly less comfortable than previous nights due to cold and altitude.
In morning ,I did not have headache, which was a good sign. I believe that my yearly pilgrimage to Ladakh helped me in avoiding AMS.
Around 8am, had hot cup of coffee and biscuits and started my trek towards Kala Pathar, which was 2.5 KM climb from 5200m to 5620m. From there you get beautiful view of Mount Everest, Nupste, Pumori and other peaks around.
I was carrying my DSLR camera and water bottles (2-3KG). It took approx. 1hr 50min. to reach at Kala Patthar summit.
View from Kalla Pathar was worth all the time ,energy and effort, it was breathtaking. Mount Everest was standing tall and beautiful with Nuptse on right, Pumori on left and Kumbu ice fall. View cannot be expressed with words. You need to be there to experience it.
I wanted to spend more time there but after 30min. at Kalla Pathar summit, cold and strong winds convinced me to come back to Gorak shep, trekking down was ~30-40 min. On the way down, stopped multiple time to see and absorb that beauty. Looking at majestic Everest, I was wondering about its Summiteer’s motivation, willpower, strength and passion….. and for sure its is not an easy task.
Around 12noon, I was at Gorkh shep, had lunch at teahouse and started trek towards Everest Base Camp. It was 3.5 KM 5200mt to 5300mt, relatively easy trek along Kumbu Glacier and 8000+ peaks around you. It is too difficult to express in words the beauty of mighty Everest and around. (Everest is not fully visible from EBC)
Reached EBC around 2pm, after spending 30 minutes, started back to Gorkh Shep and reached before 4pm.
Bukhari was heating up, had cup of coffee and sat next to Bukhari. It was 31Dec, New Year Eve, and I celebrated with few fellow trekkers at 9pm before going to bed.
It was THE DAY, seeing Everest so closely.
At night, it started to get cloudy and it seemed that tomorrow morning may not be a sunny day??

Finger crossed for morning and I went to bed

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Last Night was very cold, frozen Bottle

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Way to Kalla Pathar
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Easy option available at a cost


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View Of Goarkh Shep while going up to Kalla Pathar.

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Kalla Pathar Sumit , Pumari at Back...


Following are Views , I had been waiting for and it was worth all the effort....

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THE MIGHTY ...


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The Kumbu Glacier

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View from Kalla Pathar Sumit towards Lobche and view of Kumbu Glacier

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A close up


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Frozen Lake at near Everest Base camp , Everest Base Camp between those Ice Block ..


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After Kalla Pathar , walking towards EBC..

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Closer to Base camp , on Right at bottom
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Finally at EBC

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One more shot , before ending the day .


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DAY 4: Trek
 

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chander

Member
DAY5 (1 Jan, 2018): Gorak Shep to Namche Bazaar:
I slept well (second night) at Gorak Shep. After cup of hot coffee and water refill, at 7am , I started my trek back towards Namche Bazaar. Weather was not good, it was overcast and it appeared to be snowing at a distance towards EBC.
Cold morning, no sun and strong winds were making trekking difficult. I kept moving and ensured that I am warm enough.
No snowfall so far, Lucky. Reached Periche ~10:30am, had breakfast. It took more than 1+ hour to get breakfast, as the place was not expecting guests. I was ~45minutes delayed as planned. I wanted to be at Namche bazar before dark.
Reached Tengboche Monastery around 2:30pm , here I was an hour later than planned. I believe that last 4 days exertion was catching up. But weather was good now, sun was out, it was warm too.
From here, it was 3KM down hill (600mt) and then 6KM up hill towards Namche Bazar , total ~9KM. I could foresee difficulty going up with backpack…
I kept going, finally reached Namche at 5:40pm and it just got dark. Stayed at same hotel “Kamal”.
At Namche , 4G signal is good. Changed my flight from Luka to Kathmandu on 3rd Jan and bought ticket from Kathmandu to Delhi.
So finger crossed that I would get my Lukla-Kathmandu flight on time and will be home in a week after spending new year at EBC J
Tonight bed was super luxurious than previous 3 nights.

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Started towards Namche Bazzar , weather was not good , but took calculated risk...

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Everest behind those clouds


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Gorakh Shep

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Trek close to Gorakh Shep . I did not take picture while coming in due to time pressure and cold..
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Trek over Glacier/Ice...

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Looking at Lobche...


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Few Yak Pics...

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Reached Namche Bazzar...
 

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