The reason why trekkers and climbers all around the world dream to visit Khmubu- Nepal’s pride Everest
Waiting for the open sky at Kathmandu airport so that we could board a plane to Lukla, the closest gateway to Everest base camp sometimes might extend to one full day. Eight aircrafts operating three shifts to Lukla everyday were grounded for the day. We waited for ten long hours and finally, at four in the noon we chartered a helicopter to Lukla because the cloud-covered sky would not allow the plane to take off. Forty-five minutes of scenic flight above Nepal’s one of the toughest topography we landed at notoriously thrilling airport of Lukla. World’s one of the few high altitude airports, Lukla Airport 2800m, dramatically hangs on a cliff surrounded by high mountains. I and the 2 Danish brothers, with whom I accompanied Everest Base Camp Trek, were delighted to be at Lukla. Everything around us changed in a flash of time- extreme remoteness to the site where our eyes could reach.
World’s one of the most thrilling high altitude airports- Lukla 2,800m is the gateway to treks and expedition in the Everest Region
Mr. Tamang our guide to Everest Base Camp was overjoyed to see us. Afterall, his long wait was over. He welcomed us and transferred us to our hotel in Lukla. Quickly, keeping our luggage in the hotel room we slipped inside a common dining of the hotel, which had a warm fireplace. The dining occupied scores of trekkers who were sharing their interesting experiences of Everest Base Camp Trek. With a sip of hot coffee listening to trekkers perspectives on Everest Base Camp trial, landscapes and culture was intriguing. The vicinity was peaceful and pure unlike Kathmandu’s noisy streets. A short flight had brought us to absolutely contrast region of Lukla. Everyone who fly to Lukla from Kathmandu instantly realize, Nepal is truly a diverse country where things around us changes every hour. Sudden shift of attitude and weather compelled us to wear heavy clothes to keep our selves warm from the chilly winds of Lukla. Lukla is the second windiest place after Pheriche in the Everest Region. Listening to other trekkers who had recently completed Everest Base Camp Trek confirmed that a lot more was yet to come. It was soon time for dinner. For the next few days, we had to start early morning and go to bed early. However, after the completion of Everest Base Camp Trek, everybody has plans for the party. Next, morning-early we had our breakfast began our trek towards Monjo- first step to the ultimate destinations Everest Base Camp and KalaPattar.
Every moment a beautiful white mass dominates the view in the vicinity during Everest Base Camp Trek
We would stop at teahouses and restaurants to grab some lunch, tea or snacks. Among, the two brothers trekking with me the elder one had been coming to Nepal since 1960’s. He was very keen about Nepalese economy, culture and politics. He would ask teachers, politicians or hotel owners what was the most essential infrastructure they thought was an urgent requirement- education, roads or tourism. I was mostly translating words in between them. Whereas , tea and snacks would always be ordered by the younger brother .Our local guide Mr. Tamang would arrange such meetings with educated people in an around the area .
This is probably the highest altitude football ground in the world
Namche Bazaar, a bustling highland village was amazing. The spectacular views of the valley below and towering Himalayan giants above from our hotel atop the hill at Namche were fantastic. Trekking further, we climbed steeply uphill to cross pass another highland airstrip of Syangboche and dropped down to the Khumjung Valley and eventually, arrived to Khumjung- the famous Sherpa hamlet of the Khumbu. Khumjung had a hospital and a school built by Sir Edmund Hillary. It was more as if a quarry where one of the monasteries had yeti scalp pressured in a wooden box at Khumjung.
Black and white nature, colorful culture- the fascinating blend of nature and culture
As we gained altitude, we begin to feel the thinner air. Series of steep uphill and downhill climbs through lush vegetation of Sagarmatha National Park and crossing raging Himalayan Rivers over narrow suspension bridges we arrived to Pangboche. Pangboche, a highland hamlet over a cliff offered stunning views of mighty Everest and her towering white siblings. The trek from Pangboche onwards provides the sensation of getting closer to the Everest. Eventually, a couple days trek along the classic trails to Everest Base Camp brought us to Lobuche via Dingboche. One of the few last settlements of Everest Base Camp Trial, these villages are very cold places. However, the views of sunrays glancing on the mystical peaks from these destinations are out of this world.
Finally, the final few steps to the Base Camp of world’s tallest peak, Everest
The last place during Everest Base Camp Trek where, lodging is possible is Gorak Shep. Gorakshep itself lies above 5000m and this place is practically a last camp for trekkers from where they explore Kalapattar and Everest Base Camp. The trial on the left goes to Kalapattar and the trial on the right stretches to famous Everest Base Camp. Kalapattar is three hour to and fro walk from Gorakshep. Kalapattar 5545m is the vantage point for excellent view of Everest , Lhotse, Nuptse and Cho Oyu among others. Whereas, Everest Base Camp 5357m is 7 hours to and fro glacial trek. Both destinations have their own attracting features, the magnificent view of snowcapped peaks from Everest Base camp, and Kala Patthar actually is a Lifetime achievement.
Mr. Bishant with the guest enjoying the trek of his lifetime
Photo and text credits: Bishant Bista
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