Everest Base Camp Trek, Part 3 – The Graveyard of Everest

The morning air was crisp and chilly. At nearly 4000m, sleep comes and goes. You don’t feel as fresh in the mornings anymore, mild headaches start creeping up and become more common now. The excitement of what lay ahead gets you going though.

We would be entering new territory now, as past this altitude is where you leave behind the treeline. The greenery starts to disappear and is replaced by only rock and ice.

View of valley
Leaving behind the treeline

We were in good spirits, as usual! As you can see us trying to replicate the Beatles.

Abbey road impersonation
Abbey road in the Himalayas – Credit Chris

Every now and then a Yak passes by, carrying vital supplies for either the locals in the village for their day to day life, or expedition supplies. Make sure you are always on the opposite side of the cliff edge, as there is always a small risk of them being spooked and headbutting you off!

Yak walking by
Yak friend

Our goal for the day was to hike to Dingboche, 4410m, where we would spend two days to acclimatise.

View of the path to Dingboche
No more trees
Wendy overlooking Ama Dablam
Wendy and Ama Dablam – Credit Chris

Dingboche is quite exposed, and surrounded by goliath peaks that are very prominent. Here you can see Ama Dablam from another angle.

Karl taking a photograph of Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam and Karl

The Lhotse face in all its glory is right in front of us at Dingboche.

Lhotse from Dingboche
Lhotse from Dingboche

We had climbed up a fair bit by this point, and at nearly 4500m, the altitude sickness was a real threat now. Members of the team were reporting headache, fatigue and general un-wellness.

I have to admit, this was also the first time I was starting to feel the altitude. Simple things like packing your bags were starting to become a tiresome effort.

Jana with headache
At nearly 4500m, the altitude sickness becomes more common – Credit Chris

We finally arrived at our teahouse in Dingboche. With deep breaths and exhausted lung, we sat down and enjoyed the views around us, with the knowledge that we would be staying here for two nights to acclimatise.

Krishna doing a head count
Krishna doing a head count

At night, with clear skies, the heavens open up to a view of a billion scattered stars amongst the dark sky. The snowy ice capped mountains look almost peaceful, serene and still. Until you hear thunderous cracks and the rushing white walls of snow racing down the in the form of an avalanche.

A reminder of how truly wild, unpredictable and untamed the mountains are.

Lhotse in the night
Lhotse and the night sky – Credit Chris

Next morning we began our acclimatisation hike. A steady and easy paced climb taking us up the valley and giving us some great views of the surrounding.

Ama Dablam in the valley
Leaving the clouds behind

The weather was great, and really allowed us to appreciate how high we’ve climbed, as now most thick layers of clouds that you usually look up and see from sea level were below us.

Zach standing in front of Lhotse
Lhotse and I

Selfie with Lhotse! The sister of Everest.

Fabienne standing below prayer flags
Prayer flags in the wind – Credit Chris
Leo standing with Lhotse
Leo’s action pose

We returned to Dingboche for the night. Tomorrow we would set out for Lobuche, 4940m.

Before getting to Lobuche, we would be passing the Everest memorial. A place to remember those that have died and remain on Everest.

Landscape of Ama Dablam
Leaving behind Dingboche

The village down below that you can see is Pheriche, which is where we would go on the return journey. Dingboche is on the left higher up on the plateau.

Small hut
Cosy hut in the middle of the Himalayas

You can see how much the topography has changed now. Truly only rock and ice.

Landscape of mountains
Rock and Ice

This hike would see us getting to nearly 5000m. So pacing ourselves and resting as often as we can was vital to ensuring no one got altitude sickness.

Rest point
Rest with views

The next push from here would be taking us to the Everest memorial. It was quite a steep and boulder filled climb.

Sherpa climbs up
Lone Sherpa

The backdrop is stunning, so make sure to stop and look behind you.

Eventually you make it to the top of what is called memorial mountain.

Everest memorial
Everest memorial – Credit Chris

Memorial to Scott Fischer, some may remember him from the 2015 Everest movie on the Everest 1996 disaster.

Memorial to Scott Fischer
Scott Fischer Memorial

Various other plaques and memorials are set up for remembrance.

Memorial
Song-Wonbin
Memorial Plaque
A young adventurer

It is a hauntingly beautiful place, with a silent eeriness, only disturbed by the creeping swoosh of clouds from below. Standing there, I’m sure everyone was thinking the same thing. The toll and risk we all take to adventure in the mountains just because its there.

Clouds below
Creeping clouds

There’s still a long hike ahead to Lobuche. So it was time to move on.

Valley
A long valley, we look like specs

Finally we had arrived to Lobuche. The smallest settlement so far on the trek, composed mainly of one big teahouse.

Lobuche
Lobuche

Later on, around sunset time, we went out for a walk and noticed how amazing the colours in the sky were due to the setting sun.

Karl getting his camera ready
Karl prepares his camera

No filters needed, nature in all its glory doing its own filter over a 7800m mountain.

Mount Lobuche at sunset
Lobuche at sunset

Chess is a great way to keep the headaches at bay, and something I quite enjoyed playing with the locals at every teahouse we stopped at.

Making my move – Credit Chris

The next morning was truly bone chillingly cold. All the layers, hats and gloves were out.

This would be our longest day of hiking. We would head to Gorak Shep, 5164m, the last village before Everest Base Camp. Here we would have a second breakfast and recuperate. Then we would head to Everest Base Camp on that same day, to then return to Gorak Shep to stay the night.

We were ready, and had a beautiful sunrise view over Lobuche to motivate us.

Sunrise over Lobuche
Ali modelling – Credit Chris

Pumori in the light, as we hike through the morning shadows cast by the mountains around us.

Pumori in light
Pumori 7161m

At 5000m, more rest breaks are a welcome idea!

Hikers catching their breath
Catching our breath

Further on in the hike, you will come across the famous Khumbu glacier. This comes directly from Everest.

Khumbu Glacier

Now in the far distance, we could see Everest Base Camp, and the terrifying Khumbu Icefall.

Zach posing with Everest base camp in the backdrop
Everest Base Camp in the distance

We all stood a while here, mesmerized by the collection of glacier in the distance signifying Everest base camp. To think it was so close now.

Finally, we arrived at Gorak Shep, the final village before the last push to Everest.

Pumori and Gorak Shep
Pumori

Overlooking us is Pumori, the big peak and Kala Pattar, the dry rocky hill and look out point.

It was time to rest and eat. In a short while, we would re-pack and take only the essentials as we headed out to Everest Base Camp in my final part next time!

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