Everest Base Camp Trek – Day 8
Date: 19 November 2017
Walked to: Everest Base Camp! (Staying at Gorak Shep)
Distance: 9.4 miles
Altitude: Sleeping at 5,184m (5,364 at Base Camp)
Today was really, really hard. I actually got to the point where I was looking down on Everest Base Camp, and was going to leave it there – the thought of going down to it, when I knew I would have to climb back up, was almost unbearable. Still, I was persuaded down by one of our guides, and another one very kindly carried my day pack on the way back out to Gorak Shep, where we stayed for the night.
The Base Camp itself actually shifts every year, and apparently the tented temporary climbing community that appears there each spring has to move their accommodation every week to ten days as the glacier repositions itself underneath them. So the Base Camp for 2017 will be totally different to the one my friend visited about 15 years ago – and may well be different again next year. That doesn’t detract from the iconic nature of the place itself, but it underlines the temporal nature of the place, and the rocky, uneven terrain on the Khumbu Glacier where the climbers and their support crews base themselves.
We walked for nine hours today: three hours to Gorak Shep, where we are staying tonight and where we had a very early 10am ‘lunch’ after a 6am start, about three hours to the Base Camp, and then three hours at the Camp and walking back. On the way to the Camp, and while we were there, there were two avalanches on the other side of the valley. While they were a sight to behold from our side of the Khumbu ice floe, they would have been deadly for anyone under their path (there wasn’t) – underlining once again the danger of the dream these Everest climbers have. It’s undeniably beautiful here, and it’s a privilege to have been able to walk to such an iconic place, but it can be deadly.