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Nepal 2014

Day 7. Everest Base Camp Trek. Bupsa to Lukla

NEPAL | Saturday, 31 May 2014 | Views [2391]

It rained hard in the night and we woke to a sparkling day with Numbur peak and a few others showing tantalisingly over the ridge tops of the immense Dudh Khosi river valley. The village boasts a monastery and stupa on the point of the ridge, on the lap of the gods with views of Paradise.

I know now why the previous days have been so challenging and testing of resolve and will. They were to prepare us for today, unquestionably the hardest day of all so far. Today was the day to make up the half day lost at the beginning of the trip, so it was always going to be a hard one, made harder by continual gains and losses of elevation as we skirted the flanks of the valley from ridge line to ridge line towards Lukla.

We started with a hard climb to near 2,900 metres and were continually delayed with other hikers and porters by mule trains, sometimes labouring uphill, other times careering downhill. The day consisted mainly of gaining a ridge top on a rough track, traversing the mountain flank, losing most of that altitude to cross a stream, then regaining it to cross the next ridge. It was relentless, testing your resolve at every moment.

Most of the trail has been hacked or blasted through solid rock, on slopes that must approach 70 degrees in places. You can imagine that not a lot has been, nor could be done to make the paths smooth or the grades acceptable, so much of the time we were scrambling over boulders and rubble, and slopes going up or down of close to 1:2 in places. Try that for 9 hours at a time and see how the feet and especially knees hold out. However, it was gratifying to feel that we were moving more easily at near 3,000 m, so much more comfortably than a few days ago

Passing over an immense black rock ridge in late morning the entire valley revealed itself; Serke in the deep valley, Lukla with it moth-like planes flitting on and off its tiny runway on a distant sloped ridge, tomorrow's trail from Lukla to Phakding scratched into the valley flank northwards, and the immense, circling peaks of Kusum Kanguru, Nupla and nameless others of snowless, sheer black rock.

Lunch at a ridge top teahouse overlooking Serke and Lukla served a pre-warning: we must lose 600 metres to 2250 metres at Serke, then regain 600 metres to reach Lukla.  It was a test of resolve and determination, having painfully gained the elevation we were presently at.

We dragged into Lukla at 5pm in light snow and found our lodgings right at the end of the runway facing the incoming planes. There are no fixed wing flights in the afternoon since the visibility and crosswinds make the one-chance-only approach too hazardous. No doubt tomorrow we'll see many coming and going. 


Water intake inventory today: Breakfast - Nepali tea; 1/2 litre water before starting; 2 litres en route; 2 hot lemon drinks at lunch and a bowl of soup; 4 hot lemon drinks on arrival; 1/3 litre in the night. Thirsty work! Tumbled into bed, exhausted.

In our state of exhaustion and after 6 days of hard going, the ascent from Serke to Lukla became burned into our memories as the hardest of the trip. Many others to come were challenging because of gradient and altitude, but this one holds pride of place as the worst.

Tags: bupsa, everest base camp trek, lukla


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