This wasn't the first time I was venturing to Everest Base Camp and it wasn't definitely the last. The vivid images of my previous trip were running through my mind as we were waiting for the flights to take off to Lukla where we would start the trek. For some, the 35 minutes flight was scary as hell but for me it was yet another 35 minutes of excitement.
We reached Lukla at 0945hrs exactly. In the past, the airport in Lukla consisted of old gravel landing strip and notoriety which is now replaced with impressive new tarmac and there is also a modern stone-built terminal building. I asked my group to meet me at the exit as I went into receive the baggage. Our 14 days journey to one of the highest place had started, officially and I was only hoping everyone in my group would reach base camp safely because the last time I was there I could not go to Kala Patthar because one of my client had problems in Lobuche with his back and had to come back to Kathmandu.
First day of walk from Lukla to Phakding wasn't that bad considering the amount of walk we would be doing in the next 2 weeks of time. 45 minutes of walk and we were into the Dudh Koshi Valley. After couple of hours of walk we arrived to Phakding where we spent a night. Day one went well and I had hoped this would continue for the rest of the trip.
But a lot of problems were actually waiting for us along the way. First it was in Dingboche (day 5), where I received an urgent and rather sad message from my office. One of our team member, SANJAY’s father-in-law had passed away and needed to get back to India ASAP. He left to Kathmandu the next day. Next day while on our way to Lobuche, another member PAUL got high altitude sickness and had to be rushed down to Pheriche hospital. We were lucky we were not further uphill. After an half an hour later, another member IAN started having problem with his health and he was rushed to Pheriche Hospital. Paul's oxygen level had gone down drastically. However he felt better with one night of oxygen of supply of oxygen but he was rescued from Pheriche along with IAN. It was in Gorak Shepe, where another member NARESH had problems breathing after reaching Gorak Shepe which is just below Everest Base Camp. Next day, instead of heading to Base Camp I had to take Naresh to Pheriche leaving the whole group at Gorak Shepe.
When I reached Pheriche hospital, I found out PAUL and IAN had just left to Kathmandu. Naresh was given oxygen for a night as I waited for my groups to arrive the next day. They arrived at around 5 pm next day. Naresh was feeling better and we were checking on him if he would be able to walk down to Lukla with us or needed helicopter rescue. He decided to walk back with us and everyone was fine after that until we arrived to Lukla. In Lukla I got sick. It must have been the lot of butter along with Chamba (Sherpa food) that my aunt fed me in the morning at Phakding so while I slept like a baby while my group was having fun in a pub below enjoying the last day of the trek. It was ironic situation for me but I was happy - happy that I was going back home to my mom and my dogs and happy at least 6 out of the 10 made to base camp and Kala Patther. As for me, Kala Patthar isn't going anywhere and I am definitely coming back again.
PS... more photos coming up..!!