Well, this post might win the award for being the longest post on our blog so far. But, it is a great post, and it’s filled with amazing photos. With that being said, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy visually reliving one of our favorite adventures yet!
When we were planning our trip across Asia, we knew we wanted to visit Nepal. While researching what to do in Nepal, we asked ourselves if it was feasible to do the Everest Base Camp trek. It was one of those things that had been on our bucket list for a long time, but nothing we had planned on checking off any time soon.
The more we researched it, the more we wanted to do it, but we still didn’t know if we could swing it both physically and financially. Our research showed that budget travelers who are already in Nepal can do the EBC trek for about $1,000 per person. That was expensive for us, but something we could swing if we really wanted to. Also, we were not experienced trekkers. Yes, we love hiking and all outdoor activities, but we had never been on a multi-day trek before. And, we had never been above 14,000 feet of elevation. High altitude trekking is a whole different ball game. Basically, no one knows how their body will react to high altitude until they are actually at a high altitude. Another important issue was time. Most people say you need at least 15-17 days to complete the trek.
After we had planned out more of our trip, we decided that we would have enough time to do the trek if we wanted to. We also realized that many people fly to Nepal from across the world to do the EBC trek, and we were already going to be there. The thought of accomplishing such a big trek intrigued us, and we just couldn’t pass up this opportunity. That was it… we were in!
We could have bought a tour package and gone with an organized group, but we wanted to do it as adventurous and budget friendly as possible, which meant doing it solo. Yes, no guides and no porters.
We arrived in Kathmandu with nothing but our hotel booked. We decided to give ourselves a day and a half to gather everything we needed for the trek. Our hotel was located in Thamel, a huge outdoor gear shopping area in Nepal’s capital city. We had no problem finding everything we needed for the trek.
To keep this post from turning into a book, I’ll keep it fairly simple and just give you all an overview of our trek highlighted with our favorite photos.
One of the big decisions we had to make was where to start our trek. We could either buy a flight ($150 one way, per person) to Lukla and start our trek from there, or we could buy a bus ticket ($7 one way, per person) to Jiri, and hike an additional 7 days to Lukla. It’s pretty basic–cheap and 7 additional days of hiking, or expensive and a short 45 minute flight.
We decided to take the first option for a number of reasons. It’s much cheaper, and the additional trekking will help us get in shape and acclimatize better. We had also heard that the Jiri section is a very beautiful part of the trek.
With our rucksacks on our back, trekking poles in hand, and compass/map in Jared’s pocket, we boarded the 6am bus to Jiri. We were relieved when another trekker boarded the bus. His name was Claude; little did we know, we would end up spending the next 20 days with our new friend. Looking back on the whole situation, we are so blessed that we ended up on the same bus as Claude! He is an experienced trekker from France and he taught us so much about being on the trail and in the mountains!
If you want to see our itinerary or budget, read this post. Ready for a visual of our trek? Here are just a few of the thousands of photos we took while on the trek. Enjoy!
Jared studies the map in our hotel room before heading out. We wanted to make sure we didn’t have another “Great Wall” experience! The 8 hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Jiri was absolutely terrible. Just imagine being stuck in a dusty, dirty, cramped washing machine… for eight hours… not fun, not fun!Claude, you’re the best! Thanks for all you’ve taught us about trekking and for sharing your love for the mountains with us.A local in Jiri showed us where the trail started, and for the most part, we were able to following the orange spray painted circles that marked the trail. After the bus ride, we hiked for three hours until we reached Shivalaya. Most of the rooms we stayed in looked like this. Just a basic room with two single beds. No heating, but they usually only cost about a dollar a night, so you really can’t complain. The first section of our trek was down in lower elevation where most of the land was used for agricultural purposes. Can you see the monkey in the tree?Porters carry in all supplies. Food, building equipment, furniture, etc. The donkeys do a great job of carrying the less bulky items. Our meals were simple, delicious, and fresh. For this bowel of rice pudding, the lodge owners informed that it would take a little bit longer because they needed to go milk the Nak (female Yak). Talk about fresh!Kids would gather around us in the evenings. We would let them play games on our iPod Touch, but these two guys were more interested in playing with my red hair!The lead donkey in a pack wears a special decoration as a token of good luck and protection for the journey.Stupas (Buddhist shrines) can be found in nearly every village.Washing my hair while the sun is out!Our first glimpse of the mountains… so beautiful.The two swinging bridges on the way to Namche!Namche was the first (and only) large village/city we came across on our trek. It sits at 11,286 feet above sea level.Mountain man!This is a Himalayan Monal, Nepal’s national bird.Isn’t she a cutie?It’s official, yaks are awesome!We met up with this awesome group on the trail and had a blast trekking with them!First time at 5,000 meters!!! (16,404ft.)Look at the hanging glacier!The town of Gokyo…Where they serve the most delicious Yak Sizzlers… mmm yum!The climb up Gokyo Ri…This is our first glimpse of Mt. Everest. How amazing it was to see the tallest mountain in the world with our own eyes.Frosted prayer flags at the top of Gokyo Ri.Who knew that yak poop make great fuel?!Look at the sea of clouds… just breath-taking.Another impressive glacier.You see the little black hill below that large white mountain? That’s Kala Patther… it sits at 18,519 feet. From the top of it we got a great view of Mt. Everest and what was left of the Everest Base Camp. Mt. Everest.We made it to base camp! Can you believe that this is just the beginning for the expeditions that take place on the mountain each year?Fresh hot coffee at base camp? Yes please!We saw the occasional chopper come to and from base camp picking up supplies and giving tours to tourists. Porters definitely don’t have it easy.After 20 days of trekking, we decided to take the easy route back to Kathmandu. We opted for the 40 minute flight instead of an additional 6 days of trekking plus another terrible bus ride. What’s wrong with that runway? It’s on a hill and very short! Welcome to what is known at the most dangerous airport–Lukla Airport. We had a great flight back to Nepal’s capital city. While we were very excited about being back in civilization, we were at the end of our greatest adventure yet, and that was a bit sad. Nonetheless, we were getting ready to head to India where we definitely experienced an extreme and vibrant culture! Stay tuned for more adventures!