Nepal Day 13: Mt. Everest Base Camp

Day13

SnowYak

JustlikeXmasMorning

If last night felt like Christmas Eve this morning definitely felt like Christmas day. It was exciting to wake up to fresh snow covering the ground but we were all worried about what the weather. We had a long day ahead of us – about 9 hours of trekking. We departed Lobuche at 7AM sharp.

Every morning we take our pulse and oxygen reading – a typical reading at sea level is about 65 resting heart rate and a 98% oxygen saturation level. Up here we were reading at about 110 resting heart rate and a 90% oxygen saturation level – being at this altitude really stresses your heart and organs. The higher your resting heart rate is the less you have to give when you really need to push up a hill. All of that said, we were all feeling alright and were excited to finally make it to base camp.

ClearingUp

KhumbuGlacier

GorakShep

EverestLadders

It only took us an hour to reach Gorak Shep – the only village left before reaching Everest Base Camp. As we approached the village I got excited about this pile of ladders. You see – when you try to climb Everest from the Nepal side you have to cross huge crevasses in the glaciers on ladders tied together – and I’m pretty sure these are those ladders. We had a light lunch (really a second breakfast at 8AM).

VagOmlate

I ordered the double vag omlate but not without giggling. We loaded up on tea and boiled water for our water bottles and hit the trail.

TrailtoEBC

WaytoEBC

WaytoEBC2

Walking

RockyGround

The weather was deteriorating and it was hard to breathe. But after hiking for about 2.5 hours we made it to what I thought was Base Camp. There were prayer flags and people there posing for photos with their shirts off.

OldBaseCamp

OldEBC2

But Buddhi told us we had farther to go.

KeepWalking

And so we kept walking.

KhumbuIceFallEverest

We walked along the side of the Khumbu Ice Falls. It’s hard to tell the scale in these photos but I imagine it would be a full day just to get across them. This is where those ladders above would come in place.

JKEBC

JeremyEBC
Jeremy was always trying to get me to split a snack with him – and I never had an appetite.

KathleenEBC

TeamYeti
Team Yeti. Top Row, Left to Right: Ben, Uttar, Dave, Sharon, Norman (the spy). Bottom Row, Left to Right: Jenny, The Porter With The Handsome Face, Buddhi, Kathleen, Jeremy, Peter.

We made it! There were only a few tents set up – apparently, there was one American team attempting to summit while we were there. However, most people that attempt to summit Everest do so in April and May. So, we tried to muster up some enthusiasm and relish in the moment. I tried to come up with some life epiphany to share with you guys but in all honesty… it was kind of anti-climatic. We were tired, it was cold and starting to snow. I should also clarify (and I knew this going in) that you cannot actually see Mt. Everest from base camp. It’s obscured by a couple mountains in front of it.

We started to head back towards Gorak Shep and I was feeling guilty for not being more excited about base camp. And when we got to our tea lodge and sat down for hot cocoa the rest of our team admitted to feeling the same way. Yes, we were excited that we made it. But this trek has become something far beyond hiking to Everest Base Camp. The trek has become about each step and breath it took to get there.

And tomorrow, Day 14, we will be pushing even higher and harder than we did today. And the views will more than make up for the bad weather we experienced at base camp.

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  1. Margie

    Gorgeous absolutely gorgeous and completely enthralling.

  2. Em

    Teehee Vag… there is a font we have called VAG… we giggle every time we have to mention it. oh immaturity.
    I feel exhausted just reading this. you guys are troopers, id be possibly having a hissy fit by this point. then u have to walk all the way back, no? YIKES. wait… if this is day 14ish.. u werent gone a month were you?

  3. nicole

    I, too, have been enjoying and admiring your beautiful words and photos… what an adventure! I honestly don’t think I could do it. You & J are so brave! xo.

  4. Emily – VAG Rounded! Yes! I laugh at that one too.

    We were gone for 3 weeks. So yes there are 7 more days. We’ve got to get back down and back to Kathmandu. More cliffhangers to come. πŸ˜‰

  5. Brooke

    Ohhh…are you sure Dave isn’t Jake Gyllenhaal in disguise?! I wouldn’t mind trekking with him! πŸ™‚

    Wonderful photos and story telling. I watched a series on the Discovery Channel just a few weeks back following people making the trek from Base Camp to the top of Everest. I had no idea the long journey involved just to get to base camp! I thought they drove there! Did you go up to Advanced Base Camp too?

  6. Brooke – Okay, I lied. It really IS Jake Gyllenhaal! πŸ˜‰

    I watched the same show on the Discovery Channel and every time I felt tired I imagined how it’s just the first leg of a very long journey for those people actually going to the summit.

    We didn’t go up to ABC – that takes permits and time that we couldn’t afford. We do however go up to summit Kala Patthar the next day!

  7. Oh goodness! Even if it was a little anti-climatic for you, I’m sitting here in my office cheering you on! I’m excited for you – yay! You reached the Mt Everest Base Camp! πŸ™‚

  8. I love the pictures of the…. whatever animal that is. πŸ˜‰
    All these pictures youve posted of your trip are so gorgeous I dont know where to start. Looks like you had a blast. I also love hte rock that is telling you to pray for your safe climbing.

  9. Yay, you made it!! Sorry it was a bit anti-climactic for you, but I’m sure the enormity of what you accomplished probably didn’t hit you until you were back on home turf. You done great Kathleen & Jeremy!

  10. kande

    Kathleen –
    Owen and I are following your Everest posts religiously. We’re in the middle of re-watching the last season of Everest and we both woke up at 1:30a this morning and felt the need to catch up and read Day 13… so here we are in the middle of the night reading your blog. Yeah, it’s that important! Love, love it. Miss you and we’ll see you tomorrow! – Owen and Kande

  11. Vanessa

    I don’t know about the life epiphany, but I find your mantra, “One step (breathe in) . . . one step (breathe out)” pretty enlightening and something to try and apply in everyday life when one gets overwhelmed.

  12. I am LOVING this blog of your trek! What a chronicle! I have been preparing for my own trek to Base Camp and will go in March 2012. I am going to MEMORIZE your posts to help! Feel free to follow my journey at http://www.whelantrek.wordpress.com and offer any help you can!

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