Everest Base Camp Memories
Mr. Arvind Chitale, at the age of 60, decides to go for Everest Base Camp Trek and here's what he has to share:
Turned 60 this January (2018). Was thinking of doing something to kick off the newly acquired "senior citizen" status. Couple of months back had done a 1500 km cycling tour, Pune Kanyakumari with my cycling group. A year ago had done Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal Himalayas. So what could be next. Naturally, Everest Base Camp. Was bit apprehensive due to the altitude, you trek to (5300 mtrs). Annapurna was 4100 mtrs, and I was a year younger. But then, if I don't do it this year, I am not going to be any younger next year. That's it.
Started looking for EBC treks program. One being arranged by Giripremi of Pune, starting 20th April suited me. I didn't have to worry about getting time off work, as I am not in employment. That gave me three months to prepare myself for the trek.
My preparations included climbing Sinhgad atleast once a week, a few treks to nearby forts in Sahyadri, and walking the hills in and around Pune. My regular cycling continued. 30 kms a day, 4 days a week, with a few long distance weekend cycling rides.
On 20th april joined the group of 13 trekkers, from Pune and Mumbai, at Kathmandu for EBC. Three of us were senior citizens. That gave me good company. Rest were between 23 and 55.
Except for a couple of members, all of us completed the trek successfully. The weather was very cold, the descends and climb, moderate to difficult, with high altitude casting it's spell. EBC trek route offers good stay and food facilities. The Sherpa guides and trek leader from Giripremi were friendly and kept us encouraging.
Experienced walking through snowfall and chilling wind. Also had some sleepless nights at high altitudes.
Changing terrain offers different views, from dense forest trails to cold desert as you climb up.
Unpredictable weather throws challenges of cancelled or delayed flights (from Kathmandu to Lukla, where the trek begines)
Reached EBC on 29th april, i.e. 7 days from start, including 2 additional stays for acclaimatisation.
Return was relatively simple. Completed Workshop to Lukla in 3 days.
Return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu did not happen due to bad weather. Instead had to take a chopper upto Faplu, which is the nearest road head. The 270 km, 10 hour, Jeep journey through hills of nepal to Kathmandu was equally adventurous.