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Everest Base Camp trek highlights: My unforgettable moments

Thumbs up on the EBC trek | Sally Dobromilsky
Thumbs up on the EBC trek | Sally Dobromilsky

It all starts so serenely; wandering along cobbled paths, gentling descending sloping stairs as we farewell Lukla and look eagerly ahead to what lies in the valleys and mountains in front of us.

A passing donkey thrust into the face of a fellow trekker in an act of karma as the universe reminds her to slow down breaks an air of anticipation. Our small group muffle our laughter.

Over the coming fortnight, we would all unknowingly forge the journey of a lifetime, each member of our team on a slightly different mission yet unified in our resolve: to see Mt Everest and her Base Camp with our very own eyes.

Comradeship

The camaraderie that grows from a journey shared is like no other. Different to that forged in the workplace, the sports team or the circle of childhood friends; we were all adventurers with a common goal and despite having no shared experiences, we were full of kindred spirits.

There are countless moments where the solace of a person who was a stranger a few days ago becomes so fitting in the context of having shared this unique experience.

Trekkers en route to Everest Base Camp |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Perseverance

They say you must be tough to take on the Everest Base Camp trek, which is true in part, but more so because mental resolve is overwhelmingly the deciding factor in reaching the top. Going into this trek, I knew it would test me.

I’m a survivor of cancer and while I beat my illness over a decade ago I continue to negotiate the ongoing side effects, which I see more as a dare to challenge than an impediment or reason to retreat. This made the moment when I stood at Everest Base Camp all the sweeter.

Trekkers, Sally and Ben, in high spirits on the Himalayan trails |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

Achievement

I took in the crystal-clear view of the top of Mt Everest – which is rare during this time of year – as a big high five from Mother Nature to myself. The magnitude of the landscape surrounding Everest Base Camp, the formidable presence of the Khumbu icefall, and the dozen or so tents dotted amid the glacier were so much to take in.

To walk amid this wilderness for days upon end felt like a privilege, especially after the demand of the altitude and unforgiving weather systems. We were visitors in Earth’s freezer and she was only permitting us to stay for a short while.

The locals

Those who call the Himalayas their home have adapted to the harsh conditions.

Yaks, dzopkyo, donkeys and their herders are constantly passing us; bells gently ringing to alert us that they are here to bring more supplies that will sustain the villagers and help us and our fellow trekkers on our journeys.

Yak sighting at Everest Base Camp |  <i>Sally Dobromilsky</i>

School children cheerily zip down the paths at a pace much greater than our own and hotel managers wait until dark to light their fires. To them is it summer here, meanwhile we ate dinner with gloves on.

You know it’s been a good journey when you can make an entire photo album purely from livestock. The majestic calm of the yaks enchanted me; their elaborately decorated collars, their voluptuous hair, their delicate steps, and the lucky ones sporting red and white earrings.

Some would say they have more grace than those of us in our small group who hit the dirt often; of the hundreds of yaks I saw, none put a step wrong but of our nine travellers, it wasn't all gracefully sailing.

While it all sounds poetic and scenic, there was also much grunting, puffing, tears and we held off on the beers.

Camping with World Expeditions brought even more legitimacy to the journey as we refused to retreat from nature, choosing to immerse ourselves in the wilderness of the Himalayas wholly.

Morning views at our private Kyangjuma eco-campsite |  <i>Kelvin Law</i>

The Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar trek is not a journey that you can wake up and decide to take on next Tuesday – although we did meet a few exceptional nomads who were doing just that. (But even these souls met challenges, however a donated pair of fresh tweeds instantly solved a week-long crisis for them.)

This is the kind of trek that you minimise as much as you can upon approach and are astounded at the accomplishments within each moment, each hour, and each day. You have to really want it. And when you finish it, the feeling of accomplishment is awesome.

Words by Sally Dobromilsky

Feel inspired? Begin your fully supported journey to Everest Base Camp with World Expeditions, pioneering adventures in the Himalayas since 1975 >


Nepal, EBC, Everest, Mt Everest, Everest Base Camp, Kala Pattar, trekking, Himalayas, traveller stories

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