At today’s 5:30am wake up call the dawn was breaking clear and a crisp -10 degrees Celsius in Lobuche. Our first stop after a 4 kilometer hike was to drop our bags at the tea house in Gorak Shep, a small village closest to Everest Base Camp. It sits at 5200 meters on the banks of the Khumbu glacier and under the majestic Lhotse (8,516m) the worlds 4th highest mountain.
After lunch we set off for the 8 kilometer round trip trek to Everest Base Camp. Every spring the base camp becomes a teeming tent city with expeditions from all over the world coming to chance their luck at scaling Mt Everest. it has become a pilgrimage for Trekkers as just to reach the BaseCamp, as we are finding out, is a mighty physical and mental achievement.
Fortunatelay for us we had the ideal guide to show us the way. Sherpa Mingma is our guide for the whole trekking trip and the climb of Island Peak.
Sherpa Mingma was born in Lukla and as a boy saw the constant flow of trekkers and climbers arriving in his home town and heading for the high mountains. As a boy he had a dream of climbing Everest. His father was a climbing guide. At 18 he started started trekking as a porter. His brothers were also trekking guides and soon realized Mingma had the talent to be an assistant trekking guide. For 2 years he did this and also started learning and training to acquire the skill sets as a climbing and guiding professional. He took many many climbing and guiding courses with the Nepali Mountaineering Association and the Khumbu Climbing Centre. He stated leading clients on the leading 6000m. peaks as a trekking leader. Finally his big chance came in May 2018 when his brother told Mingma he could guide on Everest with Himalayan Trailblazers. On 21 May 2018 Mingma summited Everest for the first time. Mingma has many fascinating tales about his climbing experiences and we are lucky to have him leading our team..
The trek to the base camp was an undulating walk along and across the side of the Khumbu glacier, one of the biggest glaciers in the world, and finally we crossed the glacier to the Base Camp at 5250m. We were all elated at reaching one of our primary goals of the trip. It sits opposite the Khumbu Ice fall which is the gateway to the route to the summit. It sits on the glacial moraine in a spectacular amphitheater of the worlds highest mountains. An expedition member can expect to spend up to 60 days at this base camp when they attempt an Everest climb.
With the sun starting to dip behind the mountains, we headed back along the ridge walk and got back just in time as the sun set and the temperatures started to plummet. It had been an exhausting but rewarding day.
And our prize for achieving one of our goals…… Mingma telling us the plan tomorrow is a 4.00am wake up call so we can climb Mt Kala Pathar (5650m) by torch light to watch the sunrise over Everest. We should dress warmly as it could be -15 degrees Celsius and following the climb it will be a15 kilometer hike back down to Dingboche. Quiet Sunday in prospect for the Cayman Turtle Trekkers.