It’s something that’s been on my bucket list for years. And this May, I am determined to make that dream come true. It’s a trek to the base camp of Mount Everest. It’s the loftiest mountain after all and climbing even to the base camp will be no mean feat: at 17, 590 ft. Although we will be hiking to Kala Pattar which is higher than the base camp at 18,192 ft and has much better view (I’m told), the Base Camp itself, the mecca for all trekkers, will hold its own sway. And yes, don’t you worry, that mandatory selfie from the top of the world (well, almost) will flood my timelines on social media.
WHY THE BASE CAMP?
Nine years ago, on a flight back from Lhasa to Kathmandu on my birthday, the aircraft flew over Mt Everest and as the pilot pointed out the peak on the right hand side of the aircraft, the ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ rang through the aircraft. I had been a little smarter and Googled on which side of the aircraft the peak would be seen and stood in line early at Lhasa airport, and made sure that I got a window seat on the side of the aircraft from where the mountain would be visible. For several minutes as we flew across the Himalayas, I soaked in the incredible view of the peak. It was the best birthday gift I could have given myself. Nine years later, I am preparing to get a view of this mighty peak, up close and personal. The excitement is building up. I have started high intensity training for the trek to the abode of the Gods!
PLANNING FOR THE TRIP
Climbing the peak itself is not an easy task: the very high cost, the waiting list and the oxygen factor are telling me to take the more sensible option of trekking to the base camp. It doesn’t cost the earth, there is no waiting list and the oxygen levels are manageable at this height. Punit Mehta, an instructor with National Outdoor Leadership School, in NCR has been planning the trip with my company Soul Purpose. For the past four months, we have been pouring over each detail of the trek and have come up with the ideal option. The trek will be spread over 17 days, 12 days for the actual trek; 2 days in Kathmandu before the trek to make sure we have all the right accessories and equipment and giving ourselves a day for the flight to Lukla, the starting point for the trek. The small aircraft used to fly are weather-dependent and any inclemency can force a cancellation. The two days after the trek are also being kept for the return flight from Lukla. And of course, we need that one day extra in Kathmandu to celebrate!
TRAINING IN EARNEST
And the high intensity training too has begun in all earnest. Here’s my plan: for the first few days I will run 3 k, then step this up to 5 k progressive on weekdays. To this I’m adding skipping (rope jumping) and swimming other than climbing up and down the stairs in my house with a small day backpack (with a simulation of things that will be there during the trek) for at least half an hour. The weekends will include a 10 k run. I have started taking multi vitamin supplements, an iron supplement and calcium supplement. And i will be tracking my progress using a fitness tracker. I am told, by the experts, that a person with average fitness can easily do this trek: my fingers are crossed.
WHAT IS EXPECTED?
The trek itself promises to take us through the most stunning landscapes: snow-capped mountains, small Sherpa villages, Buddhist monasteries with colourful prayer flags and the best part will be that the route is lined with small trekking lodges, basic but comfortable and so we won’t be sleeping in tents. And i just can’t wait for the trek to Kala Pattar for the dramatic close-up view of the Everest!
(Soul Purpose Travel is planning this trek from May 1-17, 2015. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org)