10. - 19.03.2014: Everest Base Camp Trek - Part 1 - Giri to Namche Bazar

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S Steintore

Everest Base Camp Trek 10.03.2014 to 02.04.2014
Day Location Date Weather KM/Day Ascent Descent Hours
1 Jiri (1770m) -
Mali (2334m)
Mon, 10.03.2014 18°C 4.5km 564m 200m 2.5h
2 Mali (2334m) -
Deorali (2712m)
Tue, 11.03.2014 18°C 9.5km 1000m 530m 7h
3 Deorali (2712m) -
Kinja (1630m)
Wed, 12.03.2014 18°C 8km 170m 1261m 6h
4 Kinja (1630m) -
Goyam (3220m)
Thu, 13.03.2014 18°C 10km 1590m 0m 6h
5 Goyam (3220m) -
Everest View (3030m)
Fri, 14.03.2014 15°C 12km 844m 900m 7.5h
6 Everest View (3030m) -
Nuntala (2217m)
Sat, 15.03.2014 16°C 9km 402m 1218m 5.25h
7 Nuntala (2217m) -
Bupsa (2357m)
Sun, 16.03.2014 14°C 8km 1073m 933m 5.5h
8 Bupsa (2357m) -
Muse (2600m)
Mon, 17.03.2014 14°C 10km 1014m 776m 7h
9 Muse (2600m) -
Monjo (2835m)
Tue, 18.03.2014 14°C 11km 535m 300m 4.5h
10 Monjo (2835m) -
Namche Bazar (3500m)
Wed, 19.03.2014 4°C 4.5km 800m 100m 3.25h
11 Namche Bazar (3500m) -
Khumjung (3780m)
Thu, 20.03.2014 4°C 2km 400m 100m 1.75h
12 Khumjung (3780m) -
Tengboche (3876m)
Fri, 21.03.2014 6°C 4km 610m 560m 3.15h
13 Tengboche (3876m) -
Dingboche (4410m)
Sat, 22.03.2014 4°C 7km 600m 140m 3.5h
14 Day trip to Chukhung (4730m) Sun, 23.03.2014 -2°C 7km 320m 320m 2.75h
15 Dingboche (4410m) -
Lobuche (4910m)
Mon, 24.03.2014 0°C 5km 630m 130m 4h
16 Lobuche (4910m) -
Gorak Shep (5180m)
+ Everest Base Camp (5360m)
Tue, 25.03.2014 0°C 11km 634m 424m 7.15h
17 Gorak Shep (5180m) -
Pangboche (4000m)
Wed, 26.03.2014 0°C 16km 150m 1330m 7h
18 Pangboche (4000m) -
Thore (4300m)
Thu, 27.03.2014 10°C 11km 1150m 450m 6h
19 Thore (4300m) -
Gokyo (4790m)
Fri, 28.03.2014 4°C 8km 550m 100m 5.5h
20 Day trip Gokyo Ri (5360m) Sat, 29.03.2014 4°C 2km 570m 570m 3.75h
21 Gokyo (4790m) -
Lumde (4350m)
+ Renjo La Pass (5360m)
Sun, 30.03.2014 14°C 11km 670m 1060m 8.15h
22 Lumde (4350m) -
Namche Bazar (3500m)
Mon, 31.03.2014 18°C 17km 200m 1050m 5.75h
23 Namche Bazar (3500m) -
Lukla (2860m)
Tue, 01.04.2014 18°C 17km 240m 880m 6.5h


Total kilometres: 204.5km
Total amount of ascent: 14,716m
Total amount of descent: 13,352m
Total hiking time: 120 hours (without breaks)

Everest Base Camp was the third, and final, one of my "dreams" that I have had for decades and the only one left to reach. (Don't worry I added to the list when I was in my late twenties!)

Most people fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, the most dangerous airport in the world that has the shortest runway on a steep slope to aid landing and take-offs. Trekking from Lukla up to Everest Base Camp and back takes around 14 days including acclimatisation days.

We had already met people who had told us to start from Jiri which would add 7 to 8 days but has great views and far less tourists. We also wanted to go to Gokyo and the lakes which would add more days.

We booked a flight from Lukla back to Kathmandu on the 10th April, 31 days after we started, knowing that we could change the flight. We didn't know how long it would take us. I was going to be our guide who was armed with little more than a map, a print out from the internet with a basic description, and a lot of information in my head.

The map showed the places where we could get possible accommodation and we would simply set off and see how far we got each day. We reduced ourselves to the minimum as we would be carrying our own back packs and booked a car and driver to take us from Kathmandu to Jiri in 6.5 hours rather than take the cramped and dusty bus ride which would take almost twice as long.

We arrived in Jiri after a long drive through the hills and along serpentine roads and set off walking just before 2pm. Jiri was a very dusty, busy town so we headed out along a sandy road and managed to find the trail when it turned off left and went steeply uphill. The trail was also very sandy and we needed to stop to readjust the weight in our backpacks. It had been a long time since we had carried anything on our backs and our bags felt heavy probably because of the water which weighs 1kg for each litre.

Our aim for the first day was just to get over the first hill (over 500m of ascent) and find a place for the night before 5pm. Over the next few weeks our routine was basically the same each day:- find a place for the night, get a bowl of warm water for washing, make sure we got blankets for the beds, order food, put hot water into the Sigg bottles (like Thermos flasks) to use as hot water bottles for the beds at night and then use the same water to drink the next day. (This system cost less, kept us warm and saved water all at the same time!)

The accommodation was in tea houses which were mainly just family houses and very basic - just a small room with hard beds and an outside 'drop' toilet, sometimes without a sink, so teeth cleaning had to be done outside. They mainly cost between $2-$3 per night for the room and evening meal and breakfast would cost around $10 each. We would stop for lunch around 11am - quite early but we generally started walking between 7am and 8am so by 11am we were hungry again!

After a steep uphill walk we found a tea house in Mali, negotiated a price, had a bowl wash and went down for our first Dal Bhat, the staple food in this region - lentil soup with rice and curried vegetables. There was no problem to ask for boiling water to make our tea - we had brought our own tea bags because the Nepalese tend to make tea very strong and sweet.

The evenings were very cold and we needed to put on all our winter gear right from the start. The first morning we woke up to frost on the ground and great views of snow covered mountains all around us! Wonderful!

Breakfast was a fried egg with chappatti and tea and we set off downhill. The walk from Jiri to Namche was very tough, continually going steeply uphill and then downhill - hard going, even for hardened walkers like us. But we loved it! By the time we got to Namche we had done so much accumulated ascent that we had already climbed Everest itself!

Even though our packs felt heavy, we met a large number of porters who carried 90 to 120kg in huge packs, with the weight carried on their foreheads using a strap! Amazing!

Unfortunately, on the fourth day, my right knee was slightly swollen and I told Kirsten that we were going to have to get a porter. We were on our way up a long and steep ascent of over 1,000m that day. We stopped in a little village called Chimbu where we had lunch. Within an hour, our chef Lakpa, turned into our porter and carried all our stuff for the next 20 days. We had reduced to the minimum anyway, so he had less to carry for two people than normal, but it made a huge difference for us. All of a sudden we could walk faster and the steep slopes weren't as hard. It meant we could really enjoy the walking.

We went over passes in the snow, through many villages, went to various monasteries, crossed over numerous suspension bridges and had to watch out for all the donkeys used for transporting goods along the route. We also met some really nice people along the way and kept meeting up with them - after all, we were all going to the same place!

At Everest View Lodge we got our first sighting of the famous mountain in the distance with a huge plume of snow being blown off the peak. It looked like a smoking volcano and was very bare. All the snow and ice had been blasted off by the high winds. And people want to climb up there?? Well, not us - we just want to get to Base Camp. That's enough for us!

Everest Trek Part 1: Jiri to Nuntala

As we got closer, we were getting surrounded by huge peaks. The Himalayas are just fantastic and the views take your breath away. In Monjo, it poured down with rain as we arrived for lunch and we ended up staying there for the night. We didn't want to keep going in that downpour. We would get to Namche the following day instead.

Monjo was down in the valley and had rain, but it was snowing up in Namche, 600m higher and only a 4 hour walk further. So the next day we walked up the steep path in the snow, to Namche. We stopped at a viewpoint where we had a magnificent view of Everest. It was very clear and a beautiful day. Sunny with blue skies, surrounded by a "winter wonderland". Unbelievable!

Arriving in Namche - 360° Panorama
(move mouse over panorama and click on the arrows)

We got to Namche just after 11am and hunted out a bakery for warmed up croissants and chocolate doughnuts. Yummy! Then we went on a spending spree - we needed water proof jackets ($23 each), new thermals for me ($23), another Sigg bottle and hired two sleeping bags as we were expecting overnight temperatures of around minus 20°C.

We also stocked up on rations to take with us as everything would get far more expensive the further we went - including toilet paper (which is never provided) and chocolates. A Snickers bar would cost up to $3 higher up! Not surprising, as everything gets transported by Yaks above 3,500m and there is no road, just the trails.

We'd made it this far and were really looking forward to the rest. We would be taking a less direct route so that we could get acclimatised along the way and see some of the spectacular mountains and valleys here. The Himalayas is going to ruin us for all other hiking trips. How do you beat this!

Everest Trek Part 2: Nuntala to Dingboche