The ATM was down in Namche so it took us a little while to get going in the morning, and we needed to pay the remainder of our tab with Boo. It’s been surprisingly difficult to get cash since I’ve gotten to Nepal, but we got it all sorted. We finally got moving around 9:15 AM, and it was bright and sunny. We even got one more peek of Everest. Yesterday I tried to eat a normal meal, and my battered stomach didn’t like that at all. I started to feel sick about an hour and a half into the hike, and I had to slow our pace way down.
We got to lunch around 1:30 PM, 45 minutes later than we should have. I was feeling super sick by this point. And it started to rain. We got going around around 2:30 and were starting to get worried that we’d be hiking in the dark again. Normally we’d be fine, but a bridge had been knocked out by the earthquake and mudslides. The detour was going to add at least another hour. When we got to the bridge, the bridge itself was intact, but the handrails were gone and the other side was blocked by a big pile of dirt from a mudslide. A few people went across anyway, including a guide who twirled an umbrella as he went thinking if he fell he may float slowly to the ground. Dan caught it on tape, but sadly lost his phone later.
Because of the rain, the detour was as dangerous as the bridge. Everyone was slipping and falling all over the place in the mud. Sam got separated and panicked. He was yelling all of our names and “help” and “rescue”. At one point I purposely slid about 15 feet down the hill in the mud since that seemed safer than trying to walk on the path that was only a few inches wide. Boo did not like that idea. I was covered in mud afterward. After that adventure, Dan declared that we had in fact succeeded in reaching his goal of mild risk of death status on the trip.
We finally made it to Lukla a little before 6 PM. Done hiking! When we paid the porters their tip, I gave Jit the hand warmers I had left over. He seemed very happy. After dinner, we went out to one of the two bars in town for a celebratory drink. The walls of the bar are covered in tags from people who have done the trek. I signed the wall with all of our team nicknames. I ended up getting a nickname today. “Slider” from having slid down the hill earlier. A trekker from another group that was at the bar tried to buy drugs and started a fight between two sherpas. They were punching and kicking each other, blood was everywhere. I’ve never seen a bar fight like that before. They started to pick up balls from the pool table. Fortunately, those were taken away from them. The army ended up coming to break up the fight. Andrew and Dan wanted to stay out. Sam, Mike and I were beat so we went home to get some sleep.
In the morning, we woke up relatively early and ended up sitting at the airport for what felt like a very long time. It was all very disorganized. We had no idea what time we were going to leave. After a couple hours of anxiously waiting, we got on a flight. We had managed to get out of the mountains and back to Kathmandu safely. To quote the book on the 1996 Everest disaster Into Thin Air, “With enough determination, any bloody idiot can get up this hill. The trick is to get back down alive.” It still seems a bit surreal. We had done it. 12 days and over 50 hours of hiking. Everest Basecamp – check.
If you have questions or comments about trekking in the Everest region, please leave them in the comments below, we’d love to talk about it
Date: 27-28 September 2011
Path: Namche Bazaar to Lukla to Kathmandu
Where Did We Stay In Lukla: The Nest
Elevation: 1400m / 4593 ft
Hours hiking: 7 1/2
Hours hiking w/ stops: 8 1/2
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