And here’s Samir’s account:
“The story of my journey began when I unexpectedly received an offer from my office, Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure to visit an Everest region. It was like a dream come true as going on a Trek to Everest was something I had dreamed of. This was a kind of educational tour for me and besides understanding the nature, culture & people of Khumbu, my interest was also to collect information about the lodges en-route and see what facilities are available.
April 22, 2011 – Prachanda and myself boarded a plane for Lukla o. Flight to Lukla was exciting and also adventurous as the airport is situated 2,900 meters above sea level. The runway is short : just around 1,500 feet long and 65 feet wide. The high altitude & unstable weather often makes the landing difficult. Thus the airport is regarded as one of the most extreme in the world. Thanks to skilled pilots for making it as safe as always. Upon landing in Lukla airport we were greeted by local residents. It was an unexpected thing because we were just a normal traveler not VIP or any special people. Soon we understood that the people were celebrating some local festival. We were just at the right place at the right time. After having breakfast , we began our journey to Namche. We crossed the suspension bridge over Dudh Koshi River before reaching Namche Bazaar. The village has many shops and lodges where one can find almost everything required for trekking, although prices are higher than in Kathmandu. It has many internet cafes making it one of the few places in the region where trekkers can access the internet.
Feeling reverential at the first of sight of Mt. Everest
April 23, 2011 – We continued our trek to Tengboche passing by several villages and tea shops. The first half of the trek was easy as we descended to a bridge at Phunki Tenga. From there the trails turned vertical until we reached Tengboche. At Tengboche we visited Tengboche Monastery or Thyangboche Monastery which is also known as Dawa Choling Gompa. Built by Lama Gulu in 1916, the Monastery is largest in Khumbu region and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We could see Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, AmaDablam and Thamserku towering above us . We further continued our trek to Pangboche. On the way we encountered mountain goats grazing in the rocky hills.
April 25, 2011
It was a challenging day for us. We were at Pangboche which is close to Ama Dablam Base Camp but going there was not the part of our program. We were on a tight schedule and the Base Camp was high and steep. But we finally decided to go. Upon reaching Base Camp the weather turned foggy and we were hit by wind and snow. We explored the Base Camp and chatted with climbers. It was an amazing experience and the landscape was superb. Afterwards we descended to Pangboche for lunch and continued to Pheriche.
April 26, 2011
Our initial plan was to spend one extra night at Pheriche for acclimatization but we were also concerned about the gain in altitude next day. The difference is altitude from Pheriche (4,252 m) to Lobuche is 678 m. This put us on a confused stage whether to go for Lobuche or spend a night in Thugla (4,620 m) as we were concerned about altitude sickness. In the end spending a night in Thugla seemed like a better idea. But since there was only one guest house (Yak Lodge), we were unsure about the availability of room. Luckily the owner of the lodge at Pheriche asked someone (going ahead of us) to book a room for us. Upon reaching Thugla it all turned cloudy and there was heavy snowfall.
Everest Base Camp
April 27, 2011
It was a sunny day and the weather was good. We were ready to head off but soon the last night’s heavy snows started to melt. It made the trail wet and slippery. Crossing Thugla Pass seemed impossible, but we carried on. At the top of this pass were many stone cairns, built as memorials to dead climbers. We passed through Lobuche Base Camp which was close to the trail to Lobuche.
April 28, 2011
This day was definitely the most challenging for us. Upon reaching Gorakshep (5,170 m) we climbed Kalapattar (5,545 m) which is a big hill below the magnificent south face of Pumori. It is also one of the finest view points in the Everest region. We had close-up views of Himalayan giants like Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Changtse, Tabuche, Khumbutse, Lingtren etc.
Everest Base Camp
April 29, 2011
Next day I trekked to Everest Base Camp (5,364 m) and met the expedition team. They were all very happy to see me. Everest Base Camp was a beautiful place but surprisingly I could not see the Everest from there. It was hidden behind the massive Nuptse and other mountains. The landscape of the Base Camp was quite different. It was a glacier of ice, sand and rocks and one had to be cautious while walking around. There are many sections where ice is hidden beneath sand & rocks which makes the trail slippery. I headed down to Thugla where Prachanda was waiting. He did summit Kalapattar but unfortunately couldn’t make it to Base Camp due to altitude sickness.
April 30, 2011
Now we could relax a bit as we were descending. But going downhill proved to be equally painful as it strained our legs. We spent a night at Tengboche.
May 01 – 03, 2011
The brand new day was sunny and pleasant. We packed our bags and started the journey. Just half way to Namche we were hit by rain and snow. We somehow arrived in Namche and reached Lukla the next day and from there we caught the flight to Kathmandu.
The trek was truly wonderful and once-in-a life time experience. Thanks to Explore Himalaya specially Suman Sir, Nabin Sir & helpful friends!”