In July 2017, my family & friends were shocked when I initially told them that I’d be trekking to Everest Base Camp – all with similar questions; “Why!?“, “Are you crazy?“, “Don’t people die on that mountain?“, and “You know we have nearby mountains and trails that you can hike?“. After dismissing their concerns, the only cliche response I could give them for me wanting to go on this adventure was; “…because it is there…“, a quote made famous by George Mallory who attempted the first ascent of Everest in 1922.
Now, I have never had intentions of climbing Mount Everest, mostly for fear of my wife killing me; however, I did want to journey among towering snow-covered mountains to lay my eyes on Sagarmatha (“Peak of Heaven“).
In September 2017, I finally departed from New York and flew 8,785 miles to Kathmandu (Nepal) after connecting through Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) to begin the epic fifteen day adventure arranged with G Adventures. The tour company advertises the adventure by correctly stating, “…every bend in the trail provides another photo opportunity…“, especially with walking the dusty streets of Kathmandu, passing through beautiful villages covered in prayer flags, crossing long suspension bridges, dodging yaks & cattle, sleeping in tea houses, and exchanges of “namaste” with local Sherpas and fellow hikers. The photographs below serve as a story of the mentally and physically challenging adventure;
Swayambhunath (“The Monkey Temple”)
A smaller stupa at Swayambhunath (commonly referred to as “The Monkey Temple“) which is an ancient religious temple in the western part of Kathmandu.
The Holy Sadhu
A holy man (“sadhu“) at Pashupatinath Temple, the oldest temple in Kathmandu, who give away all worldly possessions to lead a religious life.
Flying Into Lukla (“The Worlds Most Dangerous Airport“)
A plane that is about to take off from Lukla which is billed as “the worlds most dangerous airport” due to the number of air plane crashes. The airport is only 1,729 ft. long with a 12% grade – so when landing, the propellers are slammed into reverse as soon as possible to slow the plane down. For comparison, most airports have runways between 6,000 – 8,000 ft. to help ensure a safe landing – especially for larger airliners.
The Decorated Yak
A decorated yak adorned with a small bells, a large neck bell, and red tassels eating vegetation before trekking to the next village.
Namche Bazaar is the main trading village nestled on the side of a mountain (11,286 ft.) that is commonly used for acclimatization by hikers heading towards Everest Base Camp.
Dog of Thaktul Monastery
There are many dogs along the Everest Base Camp trek which follow hikers in hopes of receiving a snack. We had a few friendly dogs that followed us for miles even though we did not give any food to them. The above dog saw us approaching a Buddhist Monastery (Thaktul) and presumably decided to stay dry from the rain and lessen the eerie cawing of nearby black birds perched outside.
Storm Rolling By Pheriche
A storm rolling in behind us as we hike towards Dughla while shrouding Ama Dablam (“Mother’s necklace”). The river in the valley below is run-off from the Khumbu Glacier and other nearby mountains. In the distance is the blue roof tops of homes in Pheriche which is a stop over on the way back towards Lukla.
The morning sunrise over the small town of Lobuche as it illuminates Tobuche (Left: 21,309 ft.) and Cholatse (Right: 21,130 ft.). This is our final push to hike towards Gorak Shep, then continue on to reach Everest Base Camp!
The White Horse
A white horse is associated with important significance of cultures around the world being associated with wisdom, strength, and power; such as ‘Pegasus’ of Greek mythology and ‘Shadowfax’ of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings“. This horse slowly trotted over to me at the old lake bed near Gorak Shep which felt so spiritually intense being among the sacred mountain peaks.
Everest Base Camp
On September 23, 2017, we finally made it to Everest Base Camp and spent time basking in the glory of a significant lifetime accomplishment. The most nerve-wracking part was forgetting that the entire base camp is located on Khumbu Glacier, meaning that it is slowly shifting, cracking, and melting – all beneath you!
The Sunrise Over Everest
The day after reaching Everest Base Camp, a few of us decided to wake up in the early morning hours to begin hiking to Kala Patthar (“Black Rock”). This is a popular morning hike for many – even sometimes more popular than reaching Everest Base Camp! The mountain peaks from left to right; Khumbutse (21,772 ft), Changtse (24,747 ft), Everest West Ridge, Everest (29,035 ft), and Nupste (25,790 ft). In the valley below is Everest Base Camp, Lo Lha Pass, and Khumbu Icefall.