Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Everest Base Camp Trekking Day 09 - Gorakshep to The EVEREST BASE CAMP

This is it..this is the day...

Oh my..I don't know why but I feel quite nervous about it. We had our breakfast around 7:45 am. At this point, I don't have appetite for food at all. I can't take the garlic soup or Dal Bhat anymore. My body was really tired after 8 days of trekking but I have to make sure that I have enough energy to reach the base camp. I shoved the pancake into my mouth and swallow it with tea, alternately...

And...I haven't showered in a week...!

It was snowing quite heavily last night. We started our trekking at 8:20 am in the cold morning surrounding with snow-white landscapes. I'm taking this opportunity to dedicate this final trekking for those who were on board MH370; besides for my late mom and my family. I took out a marker pen and wrote it on the Malaysian flag carried by Dorje.

 Kala Patthar (5545 m) with Pumo Ri (7165 m) behind.

"We're heading there..!"

The trek was difficult. We walk (walk? yea right), I mean ascending along the Khumbu Glacier, crossing loose rock boulders, put one step at a time while gasping for air. The trekking is interspersed with regular breaks to stop and catch our breath, drink lots of water and of course, taking photos. During ascending, there's a particular spot where you can see the mighty Everest (8848 m) laying gracefully yet deadly behind Nuptse (7861 m). Along the way, rocks and loose gravels falling from the hill (or mountain?) nearby caused by the crows swarming and landing on it....and the Discovery Channel's cameraman scouting for a place to shoot Joby Ogwyn (who would have been featured in "Everest Jump Live" by attempting to make the first wing suit flight off the Everest summit but was cancelled due to the deadliest avalanche hit, killing 16 Sherpas on 18 April 2014).

 The only spot to view the Everest.

The mighty Everest behind.

Everybody was walking very slow at this point now. The oxygen rate is about 50% with my heart was pounding like I was trail running and racing with Kilian Jornet (ok..that's a bit exaggerated). But honestly, my heart pounding fast! Every 10 steps, I have to stop and take a deep breath. After 3 hours, we were attempting the final leg to the base camp. The closer you get, the rougher the terrain, you are crossing through a rocky terrain and the treacherous Khumbu Glacier.

 The treacherous Khumbu Glacier.

After 9 days of trekking and climbing..crossing among the highest and scariest suspension bridge in Himalaya..facing the most challenging and extreme climate condition..with less than 50% oxygen level and minus 15 Degree Celsius in temperature, at 11:40 am Everest time (1:55 pm Malaysian time), 15 April 2014 we finally reached the EVEREST BASE CAMP (5364 m)...!!!

Proud to be Kedahan.

Dedicated to our Sultan, His Royal Highness Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah.

 This Deuter Futura Pro 42 back pack was sponsored by Syamsul Bahtiar.

 The least I can do for my beloved country, Malaysia.

The feeling is euphoric! The pride, the relief, the completion feelings can be felt and all the feelings of tiredness somehow turn to excitement. We broke into tears while bowing down in prostration, to humble our self in front of Allah and to thank Him for letting us reaching the base camp safely. It's such an amazing feeling! Only those who have been there can relate the way we felt. We spent almost an hour taking photos, exchanging handshakes and hugs. At one particular moment, I was standing in complete silence, emotionally appreciating the mountains surrounding us; gazing at the Khumbu Ice Fall and yellow tents of mountaineers who have ready to scale the Everest. Wow, I have stood half way towards the top of the world...!

"I did it Mak...I did it...!"

After my personal achievement has been satisfactorily recorded, we head back down to Gorakshep, reaching there in 3 hours. Sitting quietly at the tea house, doing nothing, we let our mind drifting off to thoughts related the sweet experience of reaching the Everest Base Camp. Somehow, we realized that it was not just about the destination; but the journey getting there.

I would really like to thank my personal porter, Dorje Sherpa and our guides, Mingmar Sherpa and Pasang Sherpa for taking good care of me and my wife during the journey.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Everest Base Camp Trekking Day 08 - Labouche to Gorakshep

Our morning started with an evacuation by one of the hikers suffering hypothermia due to the extreme cold weather yesterday. We continue our mission by trekking and gradually climbing along the Khumbu Glacier with the marvellous view of Pumori (7165 m) ahead and Nuptse (7861 m) on the North-East.

 Pumori Peak.


 Everest jet stream behind Nuptse.

About two hours later we reached the desolated Labouche Pass (5110 m) and further on started to cross the Changri Shar Glacier moraine. It was snowing and the trek was covered with ice. Pasang and Dorje have to ensure that every step is secure and not to step on the soft, thin ice. Otherwise we will end up in the glacier below. Around 1:30 pm we safely reached Gorakshep (5140 m) with Kala Patthar (5545 m) overlooking it.

 Memorial of the fallen.

 The Himalayan Snow Cock. In this case, a male bird..oh-kay..?



 Kala Patthar with Pumori behind.

Onze (left) has climbed Mount Everest 8 times..! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Everest Base Camp Trekking Day 07 - Dingboche to Labouche

Starting from Dingboche, crossing the Nangkartshang Gompa and down to the Labouche Khola valley, it was a veeeeeeeeeeryyyyy long and slow climb along the valley. Outstanding views of Taboche and Cholatse will accompany you all the way (I couldn't care less anymore as I'm starting to feel tired). Some trekkers will take the Periche (4270 m) trek through the village of Pulaji Khala (4343 m) which run parallel with the one we're taking. We stopped for a while at the village of Dusa (4503 m) to catch our breath and had some dates (Dates really helps to act as a supplement and as an immediate booster to gain energy besides power gel). This trek was like a never-ending route to hell..! After four hours of cursing and babbling to myself..we reached Dughla/Thokla (4620 m) for lunch. I realized that the trek was mentally challenging. Or maybe I'm starting to feel the lack of oxygen in my body? or am I hallucinating? Ok..I need to do something about it. During lunchtime I was pulling myself together and telling myself "look..you are already more than half way reaching the EBC..don't let this emotional and mental sh*t f**k everything up..! Just buckle up and go..okay..!" 

 Our room at the tea house.

 Nangkartshang Gompa Stupa.

 Labouche Khola.

 The village of Dusa.

The never ending valley..!!!


Dhukla + Thukla Yak Lodge & Restaurant.

From Dughla the trek goes directly up and full of loose gravel. With 55% oxygen rate at this height, climbing starting to become 'no fun at all'. About one and half hour later we reached Thokla Pass (4830 m); a desolated path at the top of the ridge full of memorials to lost climbers and sherpas. That eerie feeling can be felt at the same time reminding me or anybody passing that this trek either to the base camp or to the summit is a  'no joke' thingy. If I'm not mistaken, the biggest memorial there commemorates Babu Chiri Sherpa and the obvious one, Scott Fischer.

 Leaving Dughla/Thokla behind.

 At the Babu Chiri Sherpa memorial, Thokla Pass.

 Panoramic view of Thokla Pass.

 Ama Dablam appears as a perfect pyramid in the background.

 Khumbu Glacier.

 Labouche Base camp.

 It's -10 Degree Celsius here at the Khumbu Glacier.

Along the treacherous Khumbu Glacier.

About 45 minutes later, we were walking down along the starting of Khumbu Glacier. The temperature was about -10 Degree Celsius plus wind factor about -17 Degree Celsius (see the temperature here) at that time!! We can see yellow tents at the Labouche Base Camp. Further up, there's a big boulder painted with 'Labouche 30 minutes'. Yea right..Around 5:30 pm we reached Labouche (4910 m).