I have been dreaming attempting this trek for years, in 2017 I retired from the London Fire Brigade and finally got the opportunity to realise my bucket list dream.
I wanted to do it not as a group trek, but to organise it myself and be a bit more independent. I set about first reading lots of blogs written by people who had completed the trek in a similar way to which I wanted to do it, it was very informative and gave me some good ideas for finding guides etc.
First thing was to do just that, and I eventually found the right company for me via Facebook in the shape of Nepal Sanctuary Treks I can really recommend them, just check out the reviews. Tulsi is very quick to communicate via messenger and answer any queries I had, and tailor made my trek to my specification. It was going to be just me and a guide, no porters.
I booked return flights with Jet Airways, via Dehli, which were quite reasonably priced, sorted my visa for Nepal down at the Embassy in London, and my visa for India was done online, this was probably the most tedious part of the whole process as it took me a couple days to get through the application.
I read that water can get more expensive the further up the trail you go. This very true, in Kathmandu a 1 litre bottle can cost 25 nrp (roughly 20p English money). At the highest tea house in Gorak Shep it’s 350nrp which is about £2.50…. so as I would be drinking about 4 litres a day more than normal I thought I would take my water filter and use tap water. I have a ‘Sawyer Squeeze’ filter and it worked very well until at Gorak Shep I left it out of the sleeping bag at night and I found ice inside it, reading up before I left, I read that if this happens then the filter is useless as the filters will have expanded with the ice and this would let bacteria through, so I didn’t risk using it on the journey back to Lukla.
I also read that it’s best to avoid eating meat on the trek as it takes so long to get it up the mountains that by the time its served up it can be not at it’s best, and up there the last thing you need is a dose of the trots! So I became a vegetarian for the duration and can’t say I missed the meat as the menus the tea houses are quite good.
My guide for the trip, Bim, was very good, he knew the area inside out and was almost as mad on taking photo’s as I am! I was well looked after, having my oxygen levels and heart rate checked every evening, something which all NST guides do. The other thing about NST company policy, is the guides do a certain amount of litter picking along the trek. I was actually amazed at the amount of crap we encountered, it makes me wonder what goes on in peoples heads when they just chuck plastic bottles all around the countryside and stuff food wrappers into the gaps in stone walls. All this even when there are litter bins provided all the way along the route….. crazy!
I was a bit apprehensive about the flight to Lukla after watching the Youtube vids and hearing horror stories, it’s reputation was pretty scary!……. It was superb, definitely a part of the experience not to be missed, and the views from the plane are fantastic, sit on the left side on the outward trip to get the best mountain views.
Anyway here’s some pics, I took hundreds of photographs and lots of Go-Pro footage, this is just a few. If you are reading this and are going to attempt the trek, feel free to get in touch if you have any queries.
The view from the cockpit on the flight from Lukla.
The views just got bigger and better every day.
This is how supplies get to the tea houses and shops up the trail, unbelievable loads are carried.
The Tenzing Hillary bridge which starts the bloody steep climb up to Namche Bazar.
The view from my tea room window at Namche, there’s a lot worse views to wake up to!
The Sherpa museum at Namche Baza, worth a visit. On the entrance is a sign explaining you are now on historical ground.
The 1953 Everest expedition and all expeditions in the 60’s and 70’s camped on this ground.
Boiling a kettle at Lobuche, solar power is widely used.
Bim returning at Gorak Shep, looking alien like!
Me at Everest Base Camp.
The summit of Kala Patthar 5550m with Pumori 7160m in the background.
The views on the return trip were just as good.
Ama Dablam 6812m in the background.