Around 3 in the afternoon, the team reaches our first (and main) goal, Everest Base Camp! Base Camp, as in the spot where expeditions pitch their tents for the beginning of the Everest summit! Even though the camp is essentially just a pile of rocks and prayer flags, we are so happy to have made it this far and to be surrounded by the beautiful giant glaciers, mountains and a solo Australian flag!
After returning back from Base Camp to our unforgettable stay in Gorekshep, we try and get an early nights rest so that one; we’re not stuck in the main dining hall with all the sick people and two; we’re up ready to face our final challenge of the trip: a hike up to Kala Pattar! Known as the best viewpoint of Everest, Kala Pattar sits at 5,643m above sea level, a full 155 metres higher than Base Camp. It’s a 4am start, so no light, no breakfast, (what feels like) no oxygen, it’s -20° outside and it’s a two hour trek, uphill. Needless to say this was the hardest hike of our lives. Thankfully, the views at the top are indeed stellar and after 10 days of hiking, we finally have some good photos of Everest itself!
Immediately after we summit Kala Pattar begins the long trek back to Lukla. It took us just four days to make the reverse trip, almost a third of the time it took us to get to B.C. With each step downhill, our oxygen intake increases and our bodies are happier. In one of our stops, at Tengboche, we visit the world’s highest monastery and after a week of vegetarian food, I get to eat a chicken burger with chips. Amazing. A couple of days later we fly back out of the Himalayan wonderland and back to the nation’s capital of Kathmandu. Unbelievable sights from above of the morning fog filling the valley, instill in us the surreal beauty of our last two weeks. We did it!