Wednesday, July 15, 2015


( 16 Days, April 8 – 23, 2015 ) 

Being my first trekking trip to high mountains, and mindful of my senior age at 66 with an average fitness, I carefully did my homework on line to eventually finalize a flexible 16 days itinerary of solo trekking in Everest / Solukhumbu region of Nepal in the month of April, 2014.

The trekking package was booked through a Kathmandu based travel agency who provided me with a young guide cum porter. Domestic flights Kathmandu / Lukla / Kathmandu, all meals and lodgings were included.

The tailor-made itinerary was basically one of  EBC ( Everest Base Camp ) trail, with provision of an optional extension to Gokyo Lakes on another trail. Three prime destinations has been included in the planned itinerary, namely EBC ( 5,364m / 17,594ft ),  Kala Patthar ( 5,545m / 18,192ft ) and Gokyo Ri ( 5,360m / 17,585ft  ) .

Solukhumbu, also known as “ Gateway to Sagarmatha National Park “, welcomes some 35,000 trekkers through its park entrance in 2014. On record, there were 6,908 trekkers in April 2014, and 2,397 trekkers the following month, bearing in mind that some 1,500 mountain climbers with their expedition teams were not included in these figures.

There are two peak seasons for trekking in Everest / Solukhumbu region, Spring ( April / May ), and Autumn ( October / November ).  

Summer is monsoon season with rainy days. Winter is cold, and some of the mountain lodges / tea houses on higher altitudes may not be open for business.

April is usually sunny days, clear sky, and colorful flora in full bloom along the trail. 

It is also a busy month when hundreds of Mt. Everest climbers along with their respective expedition teams packed the same trail up to EBC. It is therefore an opportunity to catch a glimpse into some great things in action.

Along the EBC trail, dubbed by some as "the steps to heaven", the terrains change from tropical jungle below the tree line, to glaciated peaks above the snow line, merely over a walking distance of about 50 km ( one way ).

Having trekked up to above 4,000m and into the alpine wonder land, I was not exhausted but felt humbled at the panoramic vista of towering peaks and deep valleys.  

Once trekked up above 5,000m and into thin air with views of ice falls and glaciers along the way, and being exposed to turbulent changes in mountain weather, I was overwhelmed not by a sense of fulfilment, but a sense of awed to the Great Nature.

Prior to, and upon reaching Gorak Shep which is the highest lodging location on EBC trail, weather somehow changed from bad to worse. 

According to weather forecasts which also matched with the general opinion among trekking guides, the unfavourable weather was unlikely to relent soon. In view of the circumstances, I have no alternative but to make changes to the remaining itinerary after consulting my trekking guide.

Much to my regrets, all the three prime destinations in the original itinerary have to be plugged out from the amended itinerary. Not withstanding the fact that having endured more than a week of tough trekking and all the way up to be eventually coming to a point so close to those Himalayan giants, the rather “ anti-climax “ decision was simply a voluntarily option, and at that point in time accepted with least hesitation.

With the three prime destinations falling out of reach, did I feel disappointed towards the end of my trekking trip ? Absolutely no ! 

Taking advantage of being on solo trekking coupled with the flexible itinerary, I was able to opt for "soft trekking" on the way down, wandering from village to village, some of which a bit off the “ standard “ EBC trail.  Having re-tuned the mindset and slowed down the walking pace, the soft trekking part turned out to be very enjoyable expedition, much beyond my expectation. 

The 16 days of solo trekking in the Everest wonder land was indeed a fantastic trip of a lifetime. The breathtaking scenery of towering snow mountains, the spectacular views along meandering trails, the peaceful villages that mostly nestle either on hilltops or valleys, the hospitality and cleanliness of lodges and tea houses, the friendly and ever smiling Sherpa villagers, all these delightful moments eventually shaped up to a colourful mosaic of  fond memory. 


No comments:

Post a Comment