I didn’t count the number of switchbacks on the bone-crushing three hour journey over this mountain pass, but suffice it to say when we got to the Everest Region it all paled into insignifiance. Stunning views in whatever direction you looked.
The photo below is the view from Everest Base Camp. Advanced Base Camp further on was off limits and is reserved only for actual climbers with special permits. I would have been up there faster than a ferret up a trouser leg given half a chance. The penalties from the authorities are said to be “severe” for non-compliance. I will say no more.
The thing about the Himalayas is that as soon as you get there, you are already high up. Base Camp on the Tibetan side ‘weighs in’ at 5200 metres (17,060 feet), the air is very thin and it’s a tad nippy in November (to say the least). We got great views of Everest itself from mid afternoon through to sunset.
I’m very mindful that it’s not an easy place to get to. Plenty of people arrive with it shrouded by mist and clouds, so I count myself very fortunate to get such a clear line of sight. There are good times and bad times of the year to go, so check that out before you embark on any travels here. Going in November was a fantastic experience as it was right at the end of the season, with very few other people there. The tented village was packed up and gone for winter.
After the sun set, we really began to feel the cold so returned to our lodgings to warm up with the choice from yak butter, jasmine and sweet teas. One
brave chap started on the beers. Alcohol is not the best idea at this kind of altitude, and the night time temperature of -18C made it even more difficult to stay warm. Suffice it to say that many of us resembled Michelin Men waddling around with every layer of clothing we could possible get over their heads.
Our accomodation was alongside the Rongbuk Monastery, which is the highest monastery in the world. I prefer the Tibetan spelling to the one on the sign 🙂
They are a pretty hardy bunch, these monks. I can’t even begin to think about what the windchill factor would be here in the middle of winter.