A life changing experience!! when Ian asked me to write out my personal experience trekking to Everest Base Camp I was delighted, and only too happy to endorse his services, which were fantastic. I am in my early 50’s now and used to do a lot of hiking in Colorado, New York and around the US. Life took over! I didn’t loose my love of the mountains, but I was too busy gaining a lot of weight.
Last year, I was talking to a friend about hiking and big mountains. They recommended that I speak to Ian Taylor. I called Ian and realized he was Irish, so that was a big plus for me, with my Irish background. Ian spend 45 minutes on the phone with me and explained the process to preparing to trek to see Mt. Everest. I had to lose 50 pounds and get in better shape. A fitness program was established with my local trainer in the gym. Ian was good enough to take many calls from the fitness instructor and explain the key areas I would need to improve.
Eight months later I lost the weight, felt fully prepared to take on the world. Ian’s help was instrumental in my preparation and helped me so much in getting to this stage. Six of us left the states for Kathmandu and I was struck by how crazy the streets were. The local people in Thamel, which is the main tourist center, trying to sell us anything and everything. The night life was great and picked up some quality clothing for the trip. Ian knows a small store in Thamel that gave great deals on last minute items. We visited the monkey temple on the outskirts of Kathmandu and Durbar square where Bob Marley hung out many years ago. Kathmandu is now in my top 5 world cities to visit.
We headed out the following day from Kathmandu to Lukla and almost forgot that we were now 100 miles away from a road, only walking trails and trekking through the Khumbu Valley towards Phakding and onto Namche.
I had read so much about these places from books, but now to be standing here and having this experience was truly remarkable. I really didn’t believe I could physically get myself ready to take on this journey, let alone in 8 months. Again I couldn’t believe I was here standing among giants. These mountains truly are massive. I remember tilting my head back so much my neck started to hurt. In a good way!!
As we moved through Namche we passed through the Namche Bakeries, Cafe Danfe, the coolest bar on the planet and one of the world’s highest bars. I could notice the air becoming thinner. I was glad we had an extra day here and I understand some of the groups take 3 days here now. If you like your beer, just would be a great place to hang around. I was under instruction to wait until I returned, before getting festively into the Beer.
I was coping well and our pace was so slow which was the key for the whole process. As we turned a corner on route to the Monastery town of Tengbouche you are continually facing Everest and wondering how climbers can reach the summit when we are walking like snails down here. It was time to stay positive, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt at this stage as it was warm 70+F and beautiful. I will never forget the long stretch of hill up to Tengbouche. It seemed to go on forever but so important to pace yourself and take lot of breaks. I must have taken 50 breaks which is fine. I didn’t want to push it too hard. We got there a few hours later and found myself in another bakery. What a place!!
We had plenty of time to rest and recover and our guides bringing us hot lemon tea, making sure we were comfortable and servicing us continually which made our day, everyday. From here we moved to Dingbouche for two days. I really enjoyed this part of the trek. I was becoming used the walking, enjoying the awesome mountains and settling into life on the trail. I was feeling the altitude a little but we had the whole afternoon to read, relax and enjoy the Sherpa company and unwind and acclimatize.
The next day and each day brought new challenges, and scenery. We had now reached 16,000ft a new height record for everyone and higher than any mountain in the continental US. Only Denali stands higher. I felt more comfortable after my second night here in Dingbouche. We could see Island Peak, Lhotse, Ama Dablam from a new angle, it couldn’t get any better and each day brought me new joys and understanding of how people live in these environments.
We moved out of Dingbouche on Day 7 and headed for Lobuche on the final stretch to Everest Base Camp, this would take us up the famous Dugla hill and at the top the cemetery for lost climbers. No bodies are here just some plaques, prayer flags and names carved into the rocks. A somber place, with stunning scenery back across the valley and jagged peaks jutting out across the skyline. A moment is taken, and we focus on our journey and move forward towards Lobuche. The Dugla hill needed to be taken slowly and now the walk became a lot easier as we walking and talked and enjoyed the mind blowing scenery all around us. We arrive two hours later and get changed and start re-hydrating and keep on acclimatizing. Everyone is doing good and we talk about training and people seemed to put in a lot of preparation for the trip and we all felt this preparation was paying off as everyone patted each other on the back as to how great we are. For me is was a big achievement, to get this far. I really didn’t think I would make it. The mountain, the team, the support, the guides, the training all working to get us to our goal and I was having the time of my life.
Motivated to move on we head to Everest Base Camp we started early at 8am and moved alongside the Khumbu glacier which we will mirror all the way to Base Camp, after be stopped for a break in Gorak Shep, where we would sleep. We moved on to Base Camp where we met teams of climbers and people preparing to summit Mt. Everest, this was amazing we even got to walk on the ice at the bottom of the ice fall and this was a dream come true. What a moment and one I will never forget. We spent an hour walking and talking and headed back to Gorak Shep for the night. We were going to rise early for our Kala Phattar summit in the morning. We sat around that night talking about the journey and base camp and what a privilege to have been there. Everyone was feeling good and looking forward to the 4am start up Kala Phattar for that classic view of Everest.
It was truly spectacular. It took us 3 hours to make the hike up to 18,500ft. It was hard work and I needed to stop quite a bit toward the top, but what a view once we made it. Immense energy return and so excited to be here and experience this wonderful view. It was cold but we sat down and enjoyed the moment and spent about 30 minutes taking it all in. I had a release of emotion and felt happy and encouraged to keep this up and get healthier and strong. I left Everest with a sense of determination. As I walked back down the valley over the coming three days I felt great, ready to take on my next challenge.
I had an amazing experience in the Himalayas, and will return. I was remembering the phone call with Ian and he believed in me, encouraged me and helped me achieve my goal. The set up was amazing, great support before and during the trip and couldn’t have done it without you all. I enjoyed heading back to Namche Bazaar and enjoyed to few Everest Beers in Cafe Danfe. I think the longest day was the trek back to Lukla and took 7 hours. It was glad to have finished that day and looking forward to enjoying Kathmandu and a nice hot shower.
My Everest experience: Frank Myers, New York 2013