Dreams and Realities…
If you’re going to climb a mountain, you’d want to climb the highest one, right? Since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by Mount Everest. I’m not totally sure what caused this fascination but it’s always been in my mind that I’ve wanted to scale the world’s highest peak. There is just something mysterious and alluring about climbing Mount Everest that I’ve never been able to fully get out of my head.
As I got older (maybe wiser?) I came to the realization that my dream to summit Everest was just that, a dream. Unless I came into some serious money or get some amazing sponsorship (anyone got a spare £30,000 lying around?) I was never going to fulfill my childhood dream.
Planning and Research…
Fast forward a few years, and I was planning the next best thing. If I couldn’t climb Mount Everest, I could at least get to base camp. That’s the next best thing right? When we originally planned our round-the-world trip, Nepal wasn’t even in our minds, let alone our plans. We were always going to start our trip to Thailand. Then it dawned on me — we would be practically flying over Nepal on the way. Why not add it to the start of our trip?
At first, Claire wasn’t interested, and it took me a good month of persuasion to convince her to head to Nepal and begin our trip there, I think the promise of going to Chitwan National Park and seeing the elephants and rhinos was the clincher. Little did she know I was already reading up and researching all things at Everest Base Camp, and it took me a further month to convince her to trek to base camp. Persistence really does pay off :).
Looking at the options of trekking to Everest Base Camp, the most popular seemed to be flying into Lukla. Apparently the world’s most dangerous airport, Lukla is situated 2,845m above sea level, with the runway only 527m long, on the side of a mountain with an 11.7% gradient to help slow the planes down when landing. Check out the picture below to give you an idea of what I mean!
But there is another way you can trek to base camp. A cheaper, but more strenuous, the option is to take a 6-8 hour bus journey from Kathmandu to Jiri and begin your trek from there. This adds around an extra 6-8 days to the usual 14-day trek if flying into Lukla, but it saves the price of the flight. Now, me being an adventurous type who likes to challenge myself, I jumped at the chance of this option. Not only would it save on our budget, but it would allow us to see a part of Nepal many others miss by flying straight to Lukla. It would also give us a better sense of achievement knowing we had trekked in on the same trail Edmund Hillary took all those years ago on his summit attempt of Mount Everest.
The Countdown Began…
So the wheels were set in motion for starting our epic round-the-world trip in Nepal. Now, we would be starting it with a 21-day trek to Everest Base Camp — and ticking off our number 1 item on our bucket list too!