KGN HIKES TO EVEREST BASECAMP
Embarking on a journey to the Himalayas is a dream for any adventure seeker so when KGN advertised their next expedition to Everest basecamp 4 brave clients and friends jumped at the opportunity. Jide, Kamerun, Lewis & Simrit accompanied by Keegan and our videographer Arran set out on an unforgettable expedition to Everest base camp in Nepal. On the 31stMarch 2023 after a 13-hour journey to Nepal from London we landed in Kathmandu, for a free day exploring the city, we jumped in a local taxi and braved the lawless roads to visit the monkey temple. Returning to our hotel we met our Nepali guides Hira and Sam who would soon turn into close friends thought our trip.
Day 1: Flying to Lukla and trekking to Phakding.
Our journey commenced at 1:30am with an overnight 6-hour coach ride from Kathmandu to Ramechhap airport where we caught a flight to Lukla airport. The thrilling flight on a small aircraft offered breathtaking views of the rugged Himalayan terrain, as we flew over lush valleys and soaring peaks. Lukla airport, known as one of the most dangerous airports in the world due to its short and sloping runway, added an element of adrenalin to our adventure.
Upon landing at Lukla, our small group of 8 settled for lunch at a local teahouse where we had our first taste of the local cuisine before setting off on foot following a trail that led us to Phakding. The trek started with a descent the picturesque sherpa villages, terraced fields and suspension bridges covered in colourful prayer flags. We were greeted by friendly locals with “namaste” – the traditional Nepali greeting. After hiking for approximately 3.5 hours, we arrived at Phakding, a charming village nestled in scenic valley. We were shown around our tea house where the realisation kicked in, we’d be ruffing it in cold rooms and hard beds for the next 9 nights.
Day 2: Trekking to Namche Bazaar.
The second day of out trek was filled with excitement as we set off to Namche bazaar, a busy Sherpa town situated at, and altitude od 3,440 metres. The trail gradually ascended taking us through dense rhododendron forest and across more suspension bridges. We hiked for approximately 7 hours, covering 8.7 miles, and ascending and elevation of 800m. the challenging terrain tested our endurance, but the mesmerizing beauty of the Himalayas kept us motivated.
We approached Namche Bazaar known as its gateway to the Khumbu region, with its colourful houses and bustling markets we settled into our tea house for dinner which offered us stunning views of the surrounding peaks.
Day 3: Acclimatization trek to Hotel Everest View & Keegan’s Birthday.
Acclimatization is a crucial aspect of hight altitude trekking to avoid altitude sickness, so on day 3 after opening birthday cards and presents from home, the group took a day off from intense trekking and set off to hotel Everest view, located at an altitude of 3,880m. along the way we encountered friendly locals and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains including Ama Dablam, Lhotse and our first peak of Everest. We Hiked for approximately 2.5 hours, covering 4 miles and ascending 400m reaching hotel Everest view where we had lunch at one of the highest hotels in the world.
After lunch in the clouds looking at Everest, we descended back down to spend the rest of the day in Namche Bazaar and begin the celebrations for Keegan’s birthday. We spend the evening exploring the village, visiting the local markets and stocking up on supplies and kit we might have missed, after interacting with locals and soaking up the atmosphere we stumbled upon an Irish bar where we had dinner and drinks, which we would all later regret, after an evening of darts drinks and laughter we found our way back to our tea house where Keegan was greeted with a small surprise birthday party organised by the group, the tea house was set up with balloons decorations a cake and fellow hikers from other groups all singing 50 cent in the club and happy birthday.
Day 4: Trekking to Dengboche.
On day 4 we resumed our trek towards Tengboche alongside the valley, high above the Dudh Koshi river enjoying panoramic views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam, until we reached Phunki Tenga where we would rest and stop for lunch before beginning our steep climb to Tengboche. We hiked for approximately 7 hours covering 6.8 miles and ascending 400m before reaching the Tengboche monastery, which is one of the most significant Buddhist monasteries in the region, we were fortunate to have a look around inside where prayers take place and even got to meet and talk to a few of the younger monks. We then descended to Dengboche where we would spend the night in another tea house.
Day 5: Trekking to Pheriche.
As we bid farewell to Dengboche and continued our trek the trail took us through alpine meadows and across glacial streams, as we gained altitude and reached 4000m our guide pointed out we were at the tree line where vegetation changed, and trees can no longer grow. We hiked for approximately 7 hours covering 5 miles and ascending 400m, the thinning air also made the trek more challenging, and we took regular breaks and were happy to stop for filming opportunities. Upon reaching Pheriche we were greeted by its rustic charm with stone houses and yak pastures dotting the landscape.
Day 6: Acclimatization Hike in Pheriche.
Our Acclimatization hike was a gruelling trek up to Nangkartshang peak (5100m) we would gain 900m in elevation in a single day, day 6 was by far the most challenging day as we would summit and come back down to Pheriche covering 3.75 steep miles taking us 7 hours with no lunch stop. However, acclimatization became even more crucial to avoid altitude sickness and allow our bodies to adapt to the harsh mountain environment.
Day 7: Trekking to Lobuche.
After a tough acclimatization day, we resumed out trek towards Lobuche, a small village located at 4910m. we hiked for 7 hours covering 5miles and ascending 600m. the thinning air and challenging terrain tested our physical endurance and mental resilience, however with our boombox and good vibes we danced laughed and sang the whole way surrounded by the snow-capped peaks
Upon reaching Lobuche we settled into our tea house, the cold mountain air and serene environment made us realize how far we had come on this epic journey and tomorrow would be the day we reached Everest base camp. As dinner was getting prepared our guide Hira alerted us there is a 30min walk to look over the valley at the Khumbu glacier, we all jumped and set off to see the sight, as soon as we left the teahouse we were met by a pack of wild mountain dogs who stuck by our side the whole way to the glacier, it was quiet the experience and defiantly one of the more emotional memories of the trip as we walked to the ridge the dogs played and ran alongside us till we reached the top and all stood over the humbling Khumbu glacier, the dogs howled and bark and we all fell silent as the size and beauty of what we were looking at set in. once returning to the tea house, after dinner and a game of cards we quickly found our beds and rested for the long day ahead.
Day 8: Reaching Everest Base Camp.
The most awaited day of our trek had arrived as we set out to reach the pinnacle of our adventure. We hiked through the Khumbu Glacier, the largest glacier in the region, and navigated our way through the rocky and icy trails, constantly in awe of the surreal landscape.
We hiked for approximately 8 hours, covering 7.5 miles and ascending 434m to finally arrive at Everest base camp, and as we have done the whole way up we turned the music up and celebrated for about 5 mins straight, we were definitely louder and more excited than anyone else in the mountain but as we jumped and danced our guides soon followed suit and shouted along with us, I don’t think any of us had expected to feel and react the way we did, something about the surreal accomplishment we had achieved in style took over.
We spend some time soaking in the breathtaking views and taking 100s of pictures to capture this momentous occasion. Base camp is a home for mountaineers attempting to summit the world’s highest peak and we were stood here amongst them; we were a part of a small community that has experienced Everest base camp, and we were proud of our achievement. After a memorable time at Everest base camp, we retracted our steps back to Gorak Shep where we spent the night. Before bed we decided we would wake up at 4am to summit Kala Patthar in time for sunrise then get our helicopter ride back to Kathmandu a day early.
Day 9: Summit Kala Patthar & Helicopters Home
We wanted to catch the sunrise view from Kala Patthar, a renowned viewpoint known for its panoramic views of Everest and surrounding peaks. We woke up early and hiked up to Kala Patthar in the pre-dawn hours, braving the freezing temperatures and high altitude. We hiked for approximately 3 hours covering 1.5 miles and ascending 340m to the highest point of our trek. Reaching the top, we were rewarded with breathtaking views of the golden sunrise bouncing off Everest revealing its majestic beauty.
Instead of retracting our steps back to Lukla and taking the domestic flight back to Kathmandu, we decided in true KGN fashion to take a helicopter ride for a faster more convenient journey, and more a reward to the team. We bid farewell to Gorak Shep for our first leg of the journey to Pheriche, it was a thrilling experience to see the familiar trails and landmarks from a different perspective. After a short stopover in Pheriche we continued our journey to Lukla and then on to Kathmandu, the helicopter ride provided us with a unique and memorable way to conclude our expedition in the Everest region.
Upon reaching Kathmandu we were welcomed by the bustling cityscape and the comfort of modern amenities after out days in the wilderness wed never been so happy to see clean toilets comfortable beds and running hot water. Reflecting on our incredible journey to Everest base camp, grateful for the breathtaking moments, the camaraderie among our team, and the moments that would last a lifetime. We formed lasting bonds with our group and guides as we overcame challenges together and celebrated our achievements.
It was a journey that pushed us beyond our limits, expanded our horizons, and left us with memories that would last a lifetime. We returned to Kathmandu with a sense of accomplishment, a newfound appreciation for the power of nature, and a desire to embark on more adventures in the future. Our trek to Everest base camp was truly an experience of a lifetime and now it was time to celebrate and treat ourselves to a safari in Chitwan we had booked.