Posted By: vikasgowda
I’m so glad I got selected for the Kingfisher Blue Mile Mission Everest, through which I got an opportunity to trek to the Everest Base camp. Can’t thank them enough!
And so began my trek with a group of 18 people, which included us – the 9 finalists from the Kingfisher Blue Mile Campouts, the NDTV crew headed by Neha Dixit, the camera crew (Sahil Bhardwaj and Abbas), and the kings of the mountains – the Sherpas without who we could do nothing. And accompanying us all along the way was Gul Panag herself! It was the best group of people I could ever go with.
Typically, most treks to the Everest Base Camp take around 12 days to complete – eight days to get to the Base Camp and four days to get back down. Leaving from Kathmandu, you take an early morning flight to Lukla – a small airport where the engine roars for the full 40 minutes while the wind lightly wobbles you in the air, until you touch down on the famous short, steep and precarious mountain-side runway.
Cheering at the successful landing and that we were still alive after this nail-biting experience we went to have breakfast full of enthusiasm about the trek ahead – a three hour, mainly uphill climb which wasn’t too taxing. Little did we know how much harder it would be and how much colder it would get.
On day two, we made our way to the well-known Namche Bazaar – one of the biggest rest areas that’s full of markets, restaurants and Wi-Fi cafes. But reaching this haven at 3,440 metres involved six hours of climbing steep steps through stunning forests, crossing rivers via vertiginous, swaying suspension bridges and relentless physical exertion in dusty, dry heat which sent my adrenaline levels pumping so high that all I could do when I reached the lodge was sit and catch my breath.
It’s only after spending about 4-5 days at the place that one starts to feel the changes in the air. Just when you thought you had got your breath back you are off again to reach a higher altitude, a dry-run, ready to make the ascent properly the next day. You climb high and sleep lower, so while you are not trekking for three to six hours, you will spend approximately two hours hauling yourself up a steep hill in order for your body to get used to the next stage of high altitude – a painful but necessary evil which makes the proceeding trekking days a little easier.
Reaching the Everest Base Camp and standing at an altitude of 5,364 meters is euphoric, even with depleted energy levels. It’s like standing in a snow globe, where the magnificent snow-peaked mountains, the Khumbu icefall and the imposing presence of Everest loom before you. It’s something I will never forget, from the first glimpse of the magnificent view to the congratulatory atmosphere all around.
We were at the Base Camp during the off season, the peak season being April-May every year. At the Everest Base Camp, there are no people, instead you are greeted by a huge rock covered in prayer flags to pose with. Just look up, because that’s the most special thing.
Best Moments of the Trek
The best moments of the trek for me were when we reached the Everest Base Camp, when we left for Namche from Phakding and on the way to Pheriche.
I cannot describe the joy I felt on reaching the Everest Base Camp without any injuries or health issues. It was a proud moment for me to be the first one to reach from our group of 9 trekkers.
Phakding to Namche was the most difficult part of the trek for me as the path was quite steep. For a first timer like me, it was not an easy task; but I loved the challenge. It was fun to make it to the top of every ascent before everyone (Sherpas excluded!) with less or no breaks.
Pheriche, I will always remember for its beauty – the stream, the mountains, the colours in the sky – I was awe struck! I would stop and look around with every step I took – that was the slowest I have ever walked in my life! I wanted to fly like an eagle on top of these mountains. What a place it was!