Welcome to 2020!
In my last post I mentioned I was counting down to my trip to Neapl – hiking up to
Everest Base Camp. I did get to go to Nepal.
I traveled from Ottawa, to London, to Muscat to Kathmandu and arrived on Wednesday November 20th. I spent two days exploring on my own, going to the Garden of Dreams and to the Monkey’s Temple. I met my team, five other people on November 22. The following day, the 23 we took the plane to Lukla and started our hike. From Lukla on, our oxygen levels would be tested each night to make sure we were in good health and could continue higher up to base camp.
Saturday December 1, the day we were to make it up to Everest Base Camp. Our guide mentioned it would take us between seven to nine hours to get to Base Camp and back to the tea house where we would spend the night. We had been warned that by the time we actually reached Base Camp our oxygen level would normally drop to 70%. Which is low and could be potentially dangerous. The plan was to spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes taking photos at Base Camp and then we would start hiking back down.
That morning we woke up and geared up. It was just like in the movies. Outside was pitch black, cold and crisp. Everyone donned their headlamps and dressed in layers. We had two guides, a guide and an assistant. The Assistant Guide lead the group. The Guide stayed back. The first half hour was okay. After that, the other five members of my team were ahead of me. I kept going. About an hour later the guide stopped for a small break and to drink water. I did the same. I felt okay but extremely slow moving and felt like my energy was being sucked out of me.
The guide stared at me for a minute. He asked to check my oxygen levels. I said okay. Checking oxygen levels only required putting a small gadget on my finger. He showed me the results. I held my breath for a minute. This was not good. With at least another four hours or more hiking ahead of me, my oxygen levels had already dropped to 55%. This was dangerous. The guide explained, he could not risk my life. It was not worth risking my life just for a photo op. While I understood this, it was still extremely frustrating. I just kept thinking of my kids and loved ones back home. There was no other option. I had to get to a lower altitude as soon as possible. I had to start hiking back down.
It took me three hours to hike what had previously taken me an hour and a half. I ate, had water and rested for an hour. Then I continued hiking on for another three hours where I ate and rested for another hour. My oxygen levels were monitored at each stop point and they kept improving the lower we went. By that evening I was fine. The next day I continued hiking to lower ground and even joined up with my other five team members.
My trip was quite the journey and I plan on writing a book about my entire experience. So close! I made it to about 5,000 metres – just past Lobuche. Everest Base Camp is 5364 metres. While I did not make it to Base Camp, I accomplished so much and am extremely proud of how far I did make it. I have a fear of heights and managed to cross six suspension bridges. I almost fainted but I still did it. I can cross another item of my bucket list – visit Everest!
I just got back from Nepal a couple weeks ago so am recovering from that and the holidays.
Wishing you all the best for 2020.