Forget mountain climbing – Everest is the ultimate high for hikers (with gallery)

ARIELA FRIEDMANN
FOR POSTMEDIA NEWS

Mount Everest

Trekkers follow a trail as Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, is seen with other peaks from Syangboche on Dec. 3, 2009. Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Standing on the mass of moraine and ice surrounded by frozen tundra and glaciers, I looked around and felt so blessed – this was it; this was the Base Camp of books and movies and dreams lived or shattered. Mount Everest Base Camp, 5,356 metres high in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. I was filled with awe. I was standing on hallowed ground where so many had come before.

Myself, and two others, Sandy Turner and Lorena Townsend, had planned a trip of a lifetime to visit Nepal and trek through the mountains. None of us are climbers or mountaineers, but we love to hike and explore.

Our journey to Base Camp had begun thousands of feet below in Kathmandu, where we had organized our gear and supplies and hired our guide before taking the spine-tingling flight to Lukla (2,850 metres), the traditional starting point for trekkers.

We spent 21 days in the Khumbu Himal Valley trekking a circuit that would take us from the lowlands up into Gokyo Ri (5,380 metres) and then over to Gorak Shep, the last village at 5,140 metres up in the mountains, where people tend to stay to do the long day hike to Base Camp.

Our journey to Everest Base Camp began in the wee hours of the morning. Leaving our “lodge” – an unheated plywood building where the temperature inside in our room read -12 C (yes, that’s a minus!) – we trekked for two hours before descending into the plateau that has been made so famous for its cast of characters and annual seekers of the world’s highest high. There is no sign that says “Welcome to Everest Base Camp,” but you know where you are because of the Tibetan prayer flags and the massive Khumbu Glacier that marks the spot.

We spent an hour at Base Camp taking photos, walking where a few months later expedition tents will claim their territory, taking in the icefall and glacier, and seeing the memorials to the many sherpas and climbers who have perished. Professional climbers tend to take over Base Camp around April. But we were there in November, when the days are mostly sunny though the nights are cold. The payoff is spectacular views of the Himalayan range without clouds.

I’m not a climber and have no interest in climbing Everest. But to hike there? Yes, yes, yes – and anyone can do it as long as you’re fit and give yourself time to acclimatize to the altitude.

The night before trekking to Base Camp, we had hiked to the top of nearby Khala Pattar (5,545 metres) to watch the sun set over Everest’s peak. We saw a spectacular view under a full moon as Everest turned from snow and rock, to fire orange, then pink as the sun set. Then, it seemed the moon became a giant light bulb bathing Everest in a spectacular moonbeam. As dark set, we trekked down, guided by the soft beams of our headlamps.

While we could argue that the hiking trails of B.C. and Alberta are far more technically challenging, what makes the Himalayans so challenging are the elements you constantly battle: numbing cold, air, and dusty and rock-filled trails shared by trekkers, porters, guides, locals and trains of yaks and their handlers. We have much respect for these mountains, the elements, the views and mostly for the people that call this place home.


Mount Everest


Picture 7 of 13

An aerial view the Mount Everest range some 140 km northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal on Jan.14, 2011. Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Tags: ,





Featured

Rashida Samji

B.C. Securities Commission finds Vancouver woman who ran a Ponzi scheme committed $100 million fraud

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI VANCOUVER – A B.C. Securities Commission panel has found that a Vancouver woman and two companies she controlled committed a $100-million fraud….
Continue Reading »

crime-sexually touching minor

West Vancouver police looking for woman who yelled at man accused of inappropriately touching minor girl on bus

THE CANADIAN PRESS Police in West Vancouver are investigating a disturbing incident involving a man accused of inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl on a bus….
Continue Reading »

Canada-Edmonton-stolen

Canada balks at returning Indian statue of a woman believed stolen from Khajuraho temple

DOUGLAS QUAN POSTMEDIA NEWS  India is trying to repatriate a “voluptuous” 12th-century statue of a woman with a parrot on her bare shoulder that somehow…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

BC Sikhs

Frustrated Port of Metro Vancouver truckers want government to push companies to comply with action plan

THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Drivers servicing the country’s largest port urged government on Monday to take swift action against trucking companies, which they say…
Continue Reading »

Rashida Samji

B.C. Securities Commission finds Vancouver woman who ran a Ponzi scheme committed $100 million fraud

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI VANCOUVER – A B.C. Securities Commission panel has found that a Vancouver woman and two companies she controlled committed a $100-million fraud….
Continue Reading »

crime-sexually touching minor

West Vancouver police looking for woman who yelled at man accused of inappropriately touching minor girl on bus

THE CANADIAN PRESS Police in West Vancouver are investigating a disturbing incident involving a man accused of inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl on a bus….
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

BC Sikhs

Frustrated Port of Metro Vancouver truckers want government to push companies to comply with action plan

THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Drivers servicing the country’s largest port urged government on Monday to take swift action against trucking companies, which they say…
Continue Reading »

A hangman's gallows sits idle at the Benghazi Central Prison on March 1, 2011 on the outskirts of Benghazi, Libya. Inmates broke free of the prison during the uprising a week ago in the city. John Moore/Getty Images

Indian state offers fat pay raise in attempt to attract applicants to jail hangman job

RAMESH BABU HINDUSTAN TIMES The Indian state of Kerala is offering a pay raise worth thousands of dollars in an attempt to attract more men…
Continue Reading »

An Indian woman herds her cattle past an almost dried-up water body on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Delayed monsoon rains have raised fears of possible drought in some regions with the meteorological department reporting an acute deficit in rainfall in many areas, according to news reports. AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

Armed bandits demand north Indian villagers deliver 35 buckets of water a day during drought

BISWAJEET BANERJEE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LUCKNOW, India — Armed bandits in drought-stricken northern India are threatening to kill hundreds of villagers unless they deliver 35…
Continue Reading »

Narinder Kaur Kalsi, who has been on life support, since a domestic dispute at her Surrey home last week has died. Kalsi was pronounced dead just before 4:30 p.m. Sunday, said police. Her husband Beldev Singh Kalsi was arrested and charged in connection to her death. — Facebook Photo.

Surrey temple president charged with murder as wife dies in hospital after alleged domestic assault

CHERYL CHAN  VANCOUVER DESI The charge against a former Surrey temple president has again been upgraded after his wife, who suffered severe injuries in an…
Continue Reading »

Sikh American designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia is featured in a Sikh American PSA. Screengrab/YouTube.

U.S. organization launches first-ever Sikh American PSA featuring Waris Ahluwalia to combat racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI An American Sikh organization has created the first-ever Sikh American public service announcement in an effort to combat an ongoing “anti-turban bias” across…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra’s ‘Mary Kom’ to have world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival

IANS Toronto – Priyanka Chopra-starrer “Mary Kom”, based on boxer M.C Mary Kom, will have its world premiere here at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF),…
Continue Reading »

Nargis Fakhri

Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri bruised, battered after shooting for “Devil” item number

SUBHASH K JHA IANS Mumbai – “Rockstar” fame actress Nargis Fakhri may be in bed resting it out after sustaining injuries while shooting her “devil”…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan speaks during an appearance on a television show in Mumbai  June 5, 2014. STRSTRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Shah Rukh Khan’s one-year-old baby AbRam likes Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball

IANS Mumbai – Usually parents are cautious about their teenage children, but superstar Shah Rukh Khan is wary of his one-year-old son AbRam, who was…
Continue Reading »