The walk from Lobuche to Gorakshep was quite nice. The early morning session was mostly flat and fairy easy going. The weather was chilly, but as usual, we had clear skies. The sun does a great job of keeping you warm at these high altitudes.
As we neared Gorakshep, we had to carefully cross a rocky glacier. From this point on, it was mainly a gravel path all the way through to our destination. We arrived to our teahouse in Gorakshep by late morning, where we dropped our gear and ate some lunch.
As the skies were clear for the entire morning and there wasn’t a cloud in sight, we decided to change our plans and we proposed that we would climb Kala Patthar this afternoon for sunset and we would go to Base Camp the following day. Ram acknowledged that this could be a good idea, as long as the afternoon clouds didn’t roll in.
We went to our room for a rest and agreed to meet Ram at 3:00pm for our sunset adventure. While we were in our room, right on cue, the thick clouds began to roll over and we started to wonder if our plans would still be OK.
Before we could wonder anymore, we had a knock at our door – it was Ram. He was coming to tell us we needed to change our grand plan. We needed to go to Base Camp today, and we had to go now (1:45pm). The trek up Kala Patthar was possible, but the views across to Everest would have been obscured by the thick cloud, so it wasn’t worth the effort.
We changed into our trekking clothes as quickly as we could, and were then on our way. We were told earlier in the day (by a Pom we had met in a teahouse) that the Gorakshep to EBC walk was ‘nice’ – he was a liar! It was very tough! We don’t know if it was the altitude, the cold, the terrain, the fact we’d already trekked for 4 hours today or a combination of all of the above, but it was hard!
We made it though! And just as we arrived, so did the snow. The wind was ripping through the valley and was absolutely freezing! Ram thinks the temperate may have been around the -15c mark. Because we had left so late in the day, we had the place to ourselves, which was very nice. The cloud covered the adjacent mountains, but seeing Everest close up and actual Base Camp itself, was something very special.
After snapping a million photos and stopping for a moment to take it all in, we started our tough walk back to Gorakshep. In total, we were at Base Camp for approximately 23 minutes. To think we had trekked for 10 gruelling days, just to spend 23 minutes at our goal, was rather hard to believe when you look back it.
The walk back to Gorakshep was by no means easy. The snow/hail was hitting us in the face, the winds were blowing a gale, Teone’s ‘Khumbu Cough’ had set in, and now one of Tim’s knees was starting to give him grief – an issue he’d never had before. We made the executive decision that we had achieved what we had come here to do, and that we did not want to climb Kala Patthar in the morning. As much as we would regret it, we could not physically do that final climb to see the sunrise over Everest.
We eventually made it back to our accommodation at Gorakshep, just as it turned dark. It was also time for dinner. We shared our decision about Kala Patthar with Ram, who seemed a bit disappointed with us and wanted us to sleep on the idea. He told us to meet him at 5:00am in the common room to tell him our thoughts.
Before bed, we treated ourselves to a deep-fried Mars Bar pastry for dessert to celebrate Eb’s birthday (which was so tasty!). We went to our room that night absolutely stoked knowing that we had just ticked off one of the biggest bucket list items the two of us will ever have! You simply couldn’t wipe the smile off of our faces.
- Trekking Time: 8 Hours (Lobuche >> Gorakshep = 4 hours / Gorakshep to EBC return = 4 hours)
- Teahouse: Buddha Lodge and Restaurant
- Altitude: Gorakshep – 5164m / Everest Base Camp – 5364m