I was a bit too slow to climb up. The sun had already set, but not my ambition to make it to the top.
It was only 15 minutes more, to reach the top of Kala Pathar, so just decided to go for it, and end the day with yet another small personal accomplishment, I wanted to cherish and remember from my EBC journey.
Day 9 to 11: Head Back
The final 3 days were all about heading back & rejoicing in the memories of our adventurous sojourn.
Besides having accomplished a major feat, I made friends for life.
We all celebrated with other hikers in Namche Bazaar - the buzzing, fascinating town which has a few interesting pubs & cafes.
Being away from all digital connectivity, for the most part, was a blessing for all of us.
There was so much I discovered about myself, about being.
It was undoubtedly the TREK OF A LIFETIME !!!
Some Useful Tips & Info :
Travel Company :
I used the services of Himalayan Wonders & would highly recommend them.
Website : http://www.himalayanwonders.com
I just did EBC without the side trips like Gokyo Lake, etc. So the total trip was 11 days + 2 days of landing in Kathmandu & flying back.
Most travel companies will ask you to keep a buffer of a few days, which is a good idea, as the flights from Lukla are weather dependent.
We were lucky to get our onward & return flights as per schedule, however other people on our trek got stuck for almost a week at Lukla on their way back as after 2 flights had taken off, the weather took a U-turn & no further flights took off thereon.
One can always charter one, but that apparently costs a bomb.
Travel Insurance :
It is a must. God forbid, if you fall ill, the rescue helicopters are the only way to get you back. There are very few companies which do this kind of travel insurance. It cost me 63 USD then.
The one we used was World Nomads.
It was an unplanned trip for me like most, so went unprepared to take up the physical challenge.
Not that it is impossible to do it, but would recommend some prep in case one is not too physically active in their daily routine. Atleast a month before start exercising, walking on elevation with weights up to 10kgs, as you will be trekking with a day pack, even though you might hire porters for the rest of the luggage.
Just combine cardio with weight training, it will help.
Most travel sites & blogs will give you all the information you need regarding preparing for basecamp trek, which you can look up.
Packing for Basecamp
Again there are many videos, travel blogs and advice on the net as to what to pack. Even the tour company you hire will give you a list which is handy .
Am sharing here the exhaustive list I used as a referral ... Pack the bare essentials only. Choose as per need and time of the year you traveling.
Main Trekking Bag X 1 no - Between 60 to 90 Lts
Day Pack X 1 no
UG’s - 10 nos.
Sports bra - 2 nos.
Anti-blister socks - 4 nos
Wool Socks X 2 nos
Wool Hand Gloves X 1 no
Wool Balaclava X 1 no
Wool beanie cap X 1 nos - This should cover ears.
UV Hat X 1 no
Quick Dry Long Sleeve Tee X 2 nos
Thermal Full Sleeves Top x 2 nos
Quick Dry Short Sleeve Tee X 3 nos -1 remaining
Trekking Pants X 3 nos
Shorts x1 no
Light Weight Fleece Sweaters X 1 no
Wind/Rain Proof Overlay Jacket X 1 no
Wind/Rain Proof Overlay Pants X 1 no - Did not use
Down Jacket X 1 no
Camp Towel X 1 no
Trekking Shoes X 1 no
Pair Of Shoe Lace X 1 no
Casual Shoes or Slippers X 1 no
Sunglasses X 1 no
Normal socks X 1 no
Rain Poncho x 1 no
Sunglasses - Backup X 1 no
Empty water sipper
Sleeping Bag X 1 no - Can buy or Rent
Sleeping bag liner
Paper Shower Box X 1 no - I used a basic wet wipe.
Hiking Poles X1 no - Put them in check in luggage. It became a problem as a carry on for me during security. ( Can rent or buy ) .
HEALTH & FITNESS ITEMS:
Tooth Brush - 1 no
Tooth Paste - 1 no
Shower Gel - 1 no
Shampoo/Conditioner - 1 no
Face wash - 1 no
Face moisturizer - 1 nos
Deo - 1 no (Loads of it!!)
Body lotion - 1 no
Sun Screen - 1 no (loads of it!!)
Talcum - 1 no
Lip Balm Stick - 1 no
Hand sanitizer - 1 no.
Tissue rolls - 6 nos
Wet wipes - 1 pack
Chocolate bars - 5 nos
Assorted nuts - 1 large pack - I packed them into 12 small bags. 1 for everyday
Immodium - 5 packs (For motions)
Flexon - 1 packs (for muscle ache)
Crocin - 1 pack
Digene tabs - 1 packs
O2 - 1 pack (antibiotic for motions)
Band-aid - 1 pack
Relispray - 1 bottle
AMS Tablets - Diamox - 2 packs - Super useful!
Water Reservoir - Also called a Water Bladder - easy to use as you don’t have to constantly remove the bottle from the backpack. Buy the 2-liter pack.
Water Purification Tablets - You get it locally in Kathmandu for 70 bucks. In Namche Bazaar, it was for 700 bucks. Get about 100 tablets. That's 2 packets. It is safe to use, saves money and reduces garbage.
Empty zip lock & plastic bags
Needle & thread
GIZMOS & DEVICES:
Phone -2& Charger
Portable Charger with cable.
Multi charging point
Headlamp X 1 no
Batteries For Headlamp X 6 nos
Multi utility knife/opener/ etc -Did not use
iPod shuffle & cable
GoPro + Batteries(3)+chargers+accessories+pole
20000mah charger +10000 mah charger
Passport Size Photos X 10 nos
Charging Devices & Camera Batteries
Well, the price for charging keeps going up as you head further in your trek. It could range from anywhere between 100-500 Nepali rupees for one full charge of your device/ per hour.
So carry multiple socket plugs, extra batteries, 20000 Mah power banks, solar power banks, etc to save on the same.
Hot Water for Shower
Shower facilities are there in all tea lodges. Again hot water costs more as you go further up.
Bottled Drinking Water
The cost for same follows the same line. You could buy mineral water or carry Water Purification Tablets (a much cheaper option).
All travel gear is readily available in Kathmandu, for purchase or rent, at very reasonable cost. So don't worry if you can't find anything back home or forget something.
You could also buy stuff in Namche and other towns; it's just that you end up paying more.
However, you cannot blame the prices as being touristy, because the only way to carry all the essentials to these villages is through human porters, who take as much as 100kgs on their back at times.
You will need cash to pay for above, plus also to pay for your tips at the end of the trek.
Around 20000 Nepali rupees or 200 USD should be sufficient.
We all had been having our recommended dose of Diamox tablets to avoid breathing issues, headaches or any other related symptoms. How much I hated that tablet ... with excessive urination, slightly nauseating feeling initially and in fact, I even lost my appetite. But then it was the one that made sure that I survived the whole trip with somewhat ease. I even skipped having it for a few days, only to take it one last time on the day we were heading to basecamp from Gorekshep.
It is advisable to take this tablet a day before starting the trek.