Follow us to Everest - Day 9, Everest Base Camp at last!
Well.... this is it!! Today is the day all this planning and waiting is over............. Everest Base Camp. How exciting is this??
This is a long mountain day, but there is plenty to reward your efforts of the past 8 days. It is approximately 2.5 –3 hours up to the Base Camp area and the same time for the return journey to Gorak Shep. Depending on your itinerary, you could make it all the way back down to Pheriche if you were inclined, which would be a further 3.5–4.5 hours.
It is an early start though and a cold one, probably in the pre-dawn gloom. The trail up to Everest Base Camp is not too hard, but in the thin air even slight up-hills will feel like a major effort. The trail goes from the hard earth of the lateral moraine to loose rock and scree as it drops down on to the Khumbu Glacier itself, with its icy, boulder-strewn surface. The trail is not too easy to follow on the glacier, but the way is marked by a number of stone cairns.
It feels like a long way, but at this time of year you will be able to see it from a distance as there will be many climbers there.
Everest Base Camp reeks of its history: the place where great mountain dreams have been made, and broken. The view of the legendary Khumbu Ice Fall and into the Western Cwm is breathtaking. You may be lucky enough to see – and hear – one of the many avalanches that fall from the steep sides of Nuptse safely across the other side of the glacier.
Everest Base Camp is not a fixed settlement. During the main climbing season, which is right now, it will be spread out over a large area on the glacier, up to the wall at the head of the valley that marks the border with Tibet. It will be a bustling, colourful place that is alive with people determined to stand on top of the world’s highest peak. At the moment there will be several hundred people camping on the boulder-strewn ice. It will resemble a large tented village.
Mountaineers tend to make their summit bids now in May shortly before the summer monsoon season when the weather tends to be stable and the jet-stream has pushed to the north, making the usually strong winds abate. In the autumn trekking season there is little evidence of the site as there are few, if any, climbing groups.
If you are arriving in Base Camp right now it will be a very busy place as, over the last few days, there have been more than 400 people summited with more to come. A lot of celebrating will be going on and, in all likelihood a lot of helicopter activity as some people start to fly out.
But congratulations to you..... You have made it to this completely awesome place that many people in this world have only ever dreamt of going. It is a huge achievement.
There is mobile reception here so you will be able to let friends and family know you have made it to.............Everest Base Camp.
Take some time to reflect here before you head off back down the valley. You have earned it.
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