Everest Base Camp: The End of the Road

This is day 18 of my 24 day trek through the Khumbu region of Nepal -> View all posts for this trek

It had been a long, challenging but incredibly rewarding trek through the Khumbu region of Nepal over the past couple of weeks. It had its highs and lows but the scenery was simply spectacular, the people friendly and welcoming and the whole experience really magical. There were many moments when I couldn’t quite believe that I was actually here in this incredible place. I only had one more thing to do before I began making my way home. It was time to head to the end of the road; it was time to trek to Everest Base Camp.

I left Lobuche fairly early on another cold, crisp and clear morning. The soft light gave nice morning views of Nupste as I made my way up the valley wedged between the mountains and the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. It was nice easy flat trekking to start with, but I yearned for the warmth of the sun that I knew was there behind the mountains.

Morning View of Nupste

Trekking to Gorak Shep

At the end of the valley the trail begins climbing up the moraine of another glacier which flows into the Khumbu. At 5000 metres in altitude, climbing is hard, even if it is a short climb. It was a lot of stop-start trekking all of the way up the rocky trail. At the top the trail meandered along the edge of the glacial moraine and the huge Khumbu Glacier stretched out before me, tumbling down off of Everest somewhere ahead. The ice capped peak of Pumori marked my path north as I trudged along the rocky, crumbly trail.

Khumbu Glacier, Gorak Shep

Pumori and Kala Pattar

Eventually I climbed up to a point where I looked down upon the trekking village of Gorak Shep, where I would spend the night and use as a base to trek to Everest Base Camp and to climb Kala Pattar, which I could see sitting barren and brown above the village. I trekked down into the village at 5160 metres and checked into my teahouse in time for a mid morning cup of tea.

Gorak Shep, Kala Pattar and Pumori

After a short rest I got ready to make the final trek to base camp. The trail follows along the crumbly moraine of the Khumbu Glacier for several kilometres. The creaking and cracking ice was ever present below me on my right, with the massive peaks of Everest and Nupste towering above. Everest stayed hidden most of the time but the surrounding mountains are all just as spectacular.

Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Khumbu Glacier

View of Everest Base Camp

It was a long trek along the moraine for about an hour and a half before the trail eventually made its way down the unstable terrain and onto the glacier itself, a thin layer of gravel making it possible to trek on the ice without crampons. At places the glacier had cracked open to unveil the beautiful blue of the ancient ice within. A short trek brought me to the middle of the glacier where a series of cairns and prayer flags mark the base camp, empty of climbers at this time of year. The glacier surrounded me on all sides with giant mountains all around. The brilliant blue of the cracked ice coming down from the Khumbu Icefall added colour to the dark rock and the white of the snow and ice of the mountains. I stood at 5340 metres, at the foot of the highest mountain in the world. I had made it to Everest Base Camp.

Khumbu Glacier Ice and Gravel

Khumbu Glacier Ice

Khumbu Glacier Rock Balancing on Ice

Everest Base Camp Glacier and Mountains

Everest Base Camp trekking team

Everest Base Camp Sunbow

Everest Base Camp Panorama

I enjoyed just being there for some time, reflecting on what I had accomplished, before eventually making the long trek back to Gorak Shep to spend the night. In the morning I would climb Kala Pattar to reach my highest point on the trek and to view Mount Everest in all of its glory. Then, it’s time to head home.

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8 comments… add one
  • Rosemarie Driscoll Oct 4, 2016

    I never knew the Himalayas mountain range was this desolate, I was thinking that it is grassy when there is no ice. Great photos of the trek experience!

    • Dean Wickham Nov 10, 2016

      Hi Rosemarie. There is some grass and shrubs around but yes, it is mostly rock, and all rock and ice at this altitude and higher. It is a harsh but beautiful landscape.
      Dean Wickham recently posted..Lake Pukaki in New ZealandMy Profile

  • Rosemarie Driscoll Oct 4, 2016

    I thought you guys will be buried is snow since Nepal is near the Himalayas which is buried in snow all throughout the year, but now that I see it, you guys are surrounded by rocks and more rocks!

    • Dean Wickham Nov 10, 2016

      There isn’t a lot of snow around at the time of the year that I visited, which is why it is a good time to trek. The majority of the snow falls in the monsoon season throughout the summer, believe it or not. On my previous visit though I did get a good snowfall in November and I was trekking through snow the whole way to base camp 🙂
      Dean Wickham recently posted..Lake Pukaki in New ZealandMy Profile

  • Dave Briggs Oct 17, 2016

    Awesome pictures along with a well documented trekking experience. The Himalayas is beautiful in its barren state, although I can’t imagine how cold it gets when covered in snow. That’s a wonderful experience to have and one I hope I might be able to do also in the future. Gotta have to get fit first if I’m ever going to survive a trek that long, though!
    Dave Briggs recently posted..Nafpaktos – An Ideal Weekend Break From AthensMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham Oct 31, 2016

      Hi Dave. It certainly does get cold, especially at night, however as long as you come prepared with the right clothing, it is all good. Being fit is important, however certainly doable for the average person. I think the more important thing is to be strong minded and have the ability to push yourself on.

  • Miguel Jul 25, 2017

    That’s awesome! I hiked the Annapurna base camp and loved it, but the Everest base camp looks terrific! I also thought that it would be more grassy, like the Annapurnas, but no. it looks mostly rocks, which I like, it reminds me of Kashmir, the Ladakh province in India.. another amazing place.

    Cheers,
    Miguel.
    Miguel recently posted..Top 10 best places to visit in KathmanduMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham Aug 3, 2017

      Hi Miguel. Yes, it is all rock that has been churned up by the glaciers. The whole place is basically just glaciers and rock. Very dramatic and I recommend the trek. I would like to visit Annapurna some day 🙂

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