Ascent to Everest base camp, Following our pleasant stay in the cozy house of Shomare, we left for Dingboche. We wanted to go step by step because of the high altitude so we could acclimatise ourselves to the altitude and we thought that the 400m of climb from Shomare (4010m) to Dingboche
(4410m) would be enough at this point. Before we left, Pere, I and Bru did an uphill training session reaching an altitude of almost 4800m. It seemed that Bru didn’t notice the height. Whilst we had a harder time breathing, Bru was making his way effortlessly with his usual energy and strength that is normal for him. On our way to Dingboche we noticed that the weather was changing. According to the forecast a storm was coming up and almost all the conversations were about this subject. Would it snow or not? Would it be very windy? And what about the cold? The next day the sky was all grey and the temperature was low. We had decided to stay 2 nights in Dingboche to allow our bodies to thoroughly adapt to the conditions and as we had the time along with suitable weather, we took the opportunity to go for a long run. We made a beautiful and demanding loop passing the Khong-ma La pass, the highest mountain pass in the area with its altitude of 5535m. We did: Dingboche – Chukhung – Kongma La pass – Lobuche – Dughla – Dingboche. Sincerely, after the pass, I started to feel weak. My body had expended a lot of energy summiting the pass and I had little strength left to stretch my legs for the fast run on the way back to our lodge which was mainly downhill. The next day there was a big storm and it snowed continuously, but it was time to continue our trekking and so we put on all our gear to face the cold, wind and snow.
Onna wore from top to toe: a tubular + cap on the head, Julbo glasses, a fleece tubular around her neck, thermal underwear, a sweater, a fleece vest with a hoodie, a hooded down jacket, long trousers, a ski suit, warm socks, Merrell boots and thermal overboots. She also wore my or Pere’s Santanderina down jacket. As you can imagine, she wasn’t cold …
Even so, the weather was very tough and the snow storm didn’t make it easy for us to advance through the thick layer of new snow which was almost untouched.
After a few hours we arrived at Dughla, an habitual resting point for trekkers before hiking to Lobuche. The resting point was a good test to see how Onna really felt, because during the break we took of all the layers of clothes and to continue it would be necessary to put them all on again. How would she react to the proposal to get re-dressed? In fact, her reaction was very positive! It was very clear to her that she wanted to continue towards the Everest!
The second part was less windy and we arrived well in Lobuche. For those who worry about Bru, he had a really good time! He’s like a Yeti, totally in its environment. It even surprises me!
The next day the layer of snow had grown even thicker and the sky was still grey, but if the weather remained stable we intended to climb to the Everest base camp in two phases. After a tasty pancake with egg we left to Gorak Shep. The climb was slowgoing with the difficulty of the altitude and the extremely cold temperature of – 27°C. When we arrived at Gorak Shep we decided not to move on. On the one hand because of the cold and on the other hand because we wouldn’t have any views with the grey, misty weather anyway.
The new plan was to wait until the next day and to get up early and climb to Khala Patthar to see the sunrise. Later, at mid-morning we would walk to the Everest Basecamp with Onna.
However, in the afternoon the sky started to clear gradually. Small blue patches were appearing and it looked as if the weather would improve soon!
We got ready to climb to Khala Patthar to watch the sunset from an altitude of 5643m! It was magical to watch from high above how the light slowly disappeared from the mountains until the sunlight only illuminated the summit of the Everest, the most famous and revered mountain in the world. Such a majesty! When its light was finally dimming, we turned on our head lights and went back down to Gorak Shep. There, we had a good dinner and full of hope for good weather on the next day, we went to sleep.
The night was cold and it was hard to sleep. When the night finally turned into day and it was time to get up, we realized that the bad weather was not yet over. It was extremely cold and windy with gusts of up to 70km / hour. We waited a little and then dressed Onna and set off to try and reach our family goal. It was Onna’s desired destination, the house of the Yetis, Everest! The first km went well. Onna was happy and I heard her singing. Then, during the last km she started to feel cold. She told us she wasn’t having fun and immediately we stopped and turned around. We were lucky to “find” the gift that the Yetis had left Onna right there, hidden in the snow. It was clear that “today” wasn’t the day and that even the Yetis wouldn’t want us to go further…
So, we stayed at about 400m from the Base Camp. In fact, we did reach an altitude of 5300m with Onna, a big achievement for a 5 year old girl.
We went back to Gorak Shep as quickly as possible and soon recovered in front of the stove with a hot drink. That same afternoon the wind calmed down a bit and according to what the local people said, once we went down to the valley, the wind would no longer bother us.
Again we dressed Onna and went down. We descended about 10km with 1000m of negative slope until we reached Pheriche (4371m). Pheriche is located in a beautiful valley. A little flow passes through it and the views of the mountains are amazing! We had Nepali-style pizzas for dinner and went to sleep. In the morning we woke up to a blue sky and a bright sun! We could enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains which showed all the details of their shape to perfection.
Pere and I went out to train. The paths were beautiful and on the last crest Julen came up to film us. It was a wonderful day and even though the temperature was low we didn’t feel cold outside in the sun! 😊 In the afternoon we hiked to Shomare. We stayed in the same cozy place as before. This time I carried Onna on my back which was very rewarding and I wish I
could do it every day! But the next day, my back complained and I suffered a lot.The job of
taking Onna stayed with Pere again, who does a great job on that!
From the kindness and the hot stove of Shomare we left for Phortse. The path was a constant up and down, the scenery was stunning!
The next day we had a very nice family trek to Khumjung and then straight on to Namche. We were in a good mood and felt a great family spirit! Getting to Namche, we had a big batlle with a clan of dogs who attacked Bru. It was a filmlike situation. We had to defend him with our poles and stones…
Today we went running in the morning and then we began our penultimate trekking to Tok
Tok. The landscape has changed a lot now and our eyes need to get used to the green color of the leaves and grass again! We’ve just spent a splendid afternoon at the Karma Friendship
lodge, a beautiful place with a familiar ambient and the best food! (100% recommendable!)
I feel so fortunate to have been able to experience everything I have seen and felt during the last week in this wonderful land.