Our Everest Base Camp Challenge Part Three
Reaching Everest Base Camp on our trek was a massive undertaking and we were so excited we had managed it but we had another objective we wanted to achieve and that was to get to Gokyo lakes in the next valley.
The quick route was a trek across the Cho La pass but we didn’t want to take the risk of getting caught out on the ice that might be there so we decided to take the long way round.
This involved retracing our steps along the trail which is much quicker when descending.
Further down past Pheriche we would split off from the main trail to take a lesser used track.
The weather had changed and we faced snow and cloudy conditions as we reached our lunch stop for a well deserved hot meal.
As we pressed on the weather closed in and the view was obliterated by cloud all around us. The trail wound around the mountain side and into the distance.
Snow started to fall and we felt nervous about carrying on into worsening conditions.
As the trail climbed steeply up the mountain side it narrowed and became a thin ledge with a huge drop to our left which fortunately was obscured by the cloud cover in the valley below.
We were all fearful of the drop but Sue was getting very anxious about how exposed we were.
The snow eventually stopped and the cloud lifted which also meant the huge drop to our left became visible and it was scary how precarious this path was with a drop from the path straight down.
Sue started to panic but annabel was in her element and helped her Mum by holding on to her and encouraging her along the ledge.
We crept on and on as the trail went on and for a full three hours we clung to the mountainside.
Thankfully our destination came into sight and we began to relax as we entered the small village that would be our overnight stop.
Ever since arriving at higher altitude, Sue had been suffering from a bad chest and cough which is very common and even has been named the Khumbu cough after the Everest region.
Her condition wasn’t about to get better, so we decided to stay in this village for a few days and recuperate as much as possible.
Sue took to her bed but really didn’t improve much so we made the choice to abort our trek to Gokyo and get safely back as soon as possible.
The next day we departed and began our trek back to Namche Bazaar and a lower altitude.
As with most of the trek it was hard work but we made it back to Namche that day and decided to spend a few days there.
Namche is a great place to spend some time as it has all the amenities you could want and a Herman Helmans bakery which we spent most of our time in.
The lodge we stayed in had no spare rooms but they let us stay in their very special prayer room that all households have but reserve for travelling monks etc. It had a lovely atmosphere and decorated beautifully.
A few days later we were off again and trekked the way we had come in back toward Salleri.
It was a long slog back up and over those four 3,000 meter passes and along all those muddy donkey trails but step by step, day by day we got closer and after what would be 27 days of trekking we arrived outside of our lodge we had left the month before.
Sue at this point was suffering quite badly with not only her cough which we all now had but a trapped nerve in her leg that made walking extremely painful.
The jeep drive back to Kathmandu was a lot more sedate than when we came and after 12 hours driving we were back in our hotel.
You can’t even imagine the feeling of being able to shower, put clean clothes on and have clean comfortable beds to sleep in after so long on the trail. We relished every moment of having hot water to wash ourselves in and not having to put a huge backpack on.
We rewarded ourselves with a trip to beautiful Pokhara for a couple of weeks to recuperate and relax.
Even writing this, with the memories of the trek returning clearly, it seems otherworldly to think of what we accomplished as a family.
We worked together, supporting one another to get safely to our goal and back.
Annabel was amazing and both Sue and I are so proud of her achievement even though it’s hard for her at the moment to realise how huge that achievement was for her.
I guess later in life she’ll realise how well she did and what an accomplishment it was.