[RD] The Everest Basecamp Trek

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by warpus, May 18, 2020.

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  1. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Taboche and Cholatse

    This is the view south-west from the trail leading to the summit were climbing. (The summit is to the right, Dingboche is sort of to the left and down)

    Taboche (6,495m) is the tall mountain on the left and Cholatse (6,440m) is the peak in the middle of the shot. These two mountains are connected by a ridge and often photographed together.



    We would eventually end up hiking a loop around both of these mountains. After visiting Basecamp we would return to to this valley (down below) and hike following that river until we reach the Cho La pass, which allows you to cross this range of mountains to get to the other side. Then we would return to Namche Bazaar via a valley on the other side. This is the difference between the classic Everest Basecamp Trek and the variant we were hoping to finish. Most people return to the trailhead in Lukla the exact same way they came. We wanted to mix it up a bit and return a different way. But for now we were following the classic route all the way to Basecamp.
     
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  2. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    Do folks ever actually climb those peaks?
     
  3. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    The first ascent of Taboche (also known as Tawoche) was made in 1974 by a French expedition. An ascent by another expedition is documented in the book Last Days, which I believe was written by the expedition lead.

    Cholatse was first climbed in 1984 by an American expedition. I found a website where you can sign up to climb the mountain - the cost is $16,000 USD. This seems to include everything except for the flight in and out of Nepal.
     
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  4. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    Following that link, it is a 32 day trip and at $16k that is only $500 per day! :)
     
  5. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Yeah, climbing one of these nearby mountains is a completely different ball game than the hike we were doing. What we were doing was tough, but getting up to a 6,400m high peak is another story entirely, even though that's "only" 800m higher than the highest point we ended at on the trail. In this case this peak is for experienced climbers only (it seems), and not beginners. The high price point pays for all the support staff needed for such an ascent, including I believe porters to carry oxygen tanks. It also probably includes plenty of overhead, and I bet they put you up in nicer hotels and drive up the cost there a bit as well. You also have to acclimatize at multiple basecamps along the way, and those probably aren't cheap to maintain. If you do this climb you might very well end up spending a night or two at that resort/hotel we walked past on our first acclimatization hike as well, and other similar accommodations along the way (i.e. not the cheap teahouses we were staying at)

    It costs around $40,000+ to climb Everest, which is over 2,000m taller, and takes about 2 weeks longer for the whole experience.

    However, there is a peak in the region that is open to beginners and is a bit cheaper. Imja Tse aka Island Peak, standing at 6,189m, will cost you about $7,000 and takes about a month as well. This climb is described to be a perfect introduction to mountain climbing, but only for people who already have high altitude hiking experience. It is not meant to be something you do your first time at these altitudes.

    These are also the prices you pay if you sign up with a Western tourist agency. If you want to climb Everest with a local Nepali company, you will pay somewhere between $25,000 and $40,000. It's cheaper, but not a ton cheaper. I am not sure how much you would pay to climb Island peak w/ a local company, but it will still probably cost a couple thousand. Our guide actually climbed Island Peak! He showed us pictures from the summit on his phone. Looked pretty epic and seems sort of doable. I doubt I would ever consider doing this, but.. you never know!

    Many people hear of these super high costs of climbing these mountains, especially Everest, and assume that doing the Everest Basecamp Trek has to be expensive as well. However, if you remember my post where I break down the cost, that is not the case at all.
     
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  6. Naskra

    Naskra Emperor

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    Just looked at your opening pics. I was in Kathmandu 50+ yrs ago. The wonders and horrors of progress you reveal make we wish never to return.
    Back then, I think the route to Everest was closed; a day's hike north would bring you to military checkpoints.
     
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  7. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Yes, the same military checkpoint is still there (it seems), that's where your documentation is checked to ensure you have all your permits. I bet it's the same place, since the location is very narrow and everyone has to pass through it from what I remember. Plus I read that the military is stationed there, so they must have barracks or some such structure, so it makes sense to re-use the same one. It's also about a day's walk from Lukla.

    I can imagine Nepal changing quite a bit in 50 years, although I can't imagine which specific things might have been different other than the obvious. What stands out to you the most?

    We noticed a decent amount of destruction from the earthquake that hit the country 2 years before we arrived in Kathmandu still. After we completed this hike we spent about a week in Kathmandu and got to explore a bit more of it, and saw more rubble in the streets and destroyed buildings. We were wondering what the place might have looked like had we gone 3 years earlier.. Hard to imagine what it might have been like 50+ years before that.
     
  8. Naskra

    Naskra Emperor

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    There was zero automobile traffic, just bicycles, bullock carts & foot. Nothing over two stories tall. Very limited cuisine.
    Shops with apothecary jars of gumdrops & hashish. Electrical service was available, but not common.
     
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  9. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    50 years ago, only hippies and climbers ever went to Kathmandu! ;)
     
  10. Naskra

    Naskra Emperor

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    And gumdrop connoisseurs.
     
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  11. Naskra

    Naskra Emperor

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    seriously, the Nepalis did like their sweets. It was an ancient city, much brass, no aluminum, and ofc much smaller. Lanterns after dark. Very few hippies or climbers. Boring to the former, forbidden to the latter. The king toured daily in his Rolls. Long ago and far away.
     
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  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Views from 5,000m

    I was lagging behind my friends, but at this point I was almost at the top! From this vantage point you can see the direction in which we'd be hiking over the next couple days.

     
  13. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    5000 meters!!

    "Om mani padme hum"

    Spoiler :
    OM - Purifies the body
    MA - Purify the word
    NI - Purify the mind
    PAD - Purifies Emotions
    ME - Purifies the latent conditions
    HUM - Cleanses the veil that covers knowledge


    Spoiler :
    That's like getting to 50,000 posts!
     
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  14. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Prayer flags and Mountains

    There were several of these prayer flag mounds near and at the summit. There are a LOT of photos from some of these spots, so I'll try to stick to only the best ones.

    The datestamp on this photo is about 4 minutes before the first shot from the summit, so I was basically there.. but I do remember the last 10 minutes being a big pain.. it got pretty steep and the terrain became more rocky and annoying. There might have been some mild climbing near the end as well.



    This had been the biggest challenge on the trail so far and I was basically at the top, acclimatizing at 5,050m.. It felt amazing to be there, seeing the scenery from that vantage point and to have successfully completed the rest day.

    Technically I did not really successfully complete it yet, as I had to stay up here for about a half an hour and then get back down.. But the toughest part was behind me and I could relax a bit and take some pictures. Descent wasn't going to be fun either, but it felt amazing to finally conquer 5,000m+
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
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  15. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Acclimatizing at 5,050m

    Just to be clear, I don't know who the guy in the shorts is.. but this is the only photo I have from the very top.



    We were all feeling well and were now in standby mode, in order to spend about 30 minutes at the summit. The views were beautiful enough to warrant that, but you also wanted to acclimatize properly.
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Ama Dablam

    From the summit I was also able to take some unique shots of Ama Dablam (6,812m)



    Ama Dablam means "Mother's necklace". It was first climbed in 1961 by an international group of climbers (NZ, US, UK)
     
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  17. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  18. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Dingboche Down Below

    It still seems crazy to me that the previous day we were just breaking through 4,000m for the very first time.. and here we were looking at Dingboche (4,410m) from so high above just a day later.

    In this shot you are looking back at the way we originally came. I am facing more or less south for this shot



    This acclimatization day was key. It took a lot of mental strength to make it all the way to the top, but it would really help us face the challenges the trail would throw at us over the next several days.
     
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  19. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Introducing The Three Amigos

    At some point the phrase "The Three Amigos" started being thrown around to describe the three of us. I am not sure how or when that began, but it sort of caught on. This first photo could have very well been the catalyst for this.



    This was the highest possible point where you could climb up. On the other side was a crazy drop down, but don't worrry - I was holding on to a metal pole just out of view. I'm the guy who looks like a ninja if you aren't sure.

     
  20. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    How big was your whole hiking group that trekked together?
     

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