Tears well up in my eyes, my throat feels constricted and I’m struggling to catch my breath. I feel like I’m about to have a panic attack and I’ve barely been walking five minutes. I turn to the guide sobbing and am ushered on to a rock to catch my breath. It feels like my bag is full of the boulders from the moraine field we are about to cross. After some words of reassurance from John, our guide, I recommence the slow trudge onwards. Not a great start to our Everest Base Camp Trek day eight.
Everest Base Camp trek day eight
Morning: Lobuche (4,910m) to Gorakshep (5,140m)
What follows is brutal – a three-hour slog through a boulder-strewn landscape. We clamber up and down hills as we gradually climb to Gorekshep (the graveyard of crows) our last stop before the final ascent. It’s a real team effort, as the illness that ravaged our group earlier in the week has taken its toll. It’s humbling to witness the way in which this group of virtual strangers have come together and collectively are willing one another on.
After each climb we celebrate with high fives and when we finally reach the hill overlooking Gorakshep I inwardly cheer. Half-way there! 5,190 metres – just 174 metres of ascent to Everest Base Camp.
Afternoon: Gorakshep (5,140m) to EBC (5,364m)
Three more hours of hard graft follow, during which I frequently feel like vomiting. I know I’m going to make it but it’s no longer possible to find much enjoyment in the journey. I try to distract myself by chatting to other trekkers coming back from Base Camp.
Then, we turn a corner and I get my first glimpse of the Khumbu icefall. My heart almost stops. It’s nothing like I’d imagined. Rows of huge jagged peaks dot the bottom of the glacier! Then we spot tiny orange tents on the horizon. I am so close I want to weep.
By chance, I spot a young girl wearing an Edge Worldwide top. ‘Surely not?’ I think. I ask her if she is here with Dave Pickles, to which she answers yes and then there he is. What a sight for sore eyes! To see a familiar face in Nepal of all places! We hug and chat for a few minutes, then feeling re-energised I continue on.
Reaching Everest Base Camp
With our Sherpa, we continue along a long ridge parallel to the mountains and then descend the scree to traverse a final section of rocks before reaching base camp. I weep with relief. We made it!
There have been many times this week when I was suffering with altitude sickness when I honestly thought I would not make it. Yet, I pushed forward, one step at a time, drinking in the scenery and often feeling overwhelmed by the majesty of these mountains. I was determined to get here!
We pose for pictures by the rock announcing that we are at Everest Base Camp. I then wander amongst the prayer flags but feel a strong urge to explore the icefall. I clamber unsteadily over unstable rocks and boulders until I can admire it properly. It’s incredible up close.
Glacial streams carve through huge blocks of ice and amazing ice sculptures dot the icefall. Bright blue colour seems to shimmer from within. It’s totally enthralling and I simply don’t want to leave. I feel like a kid in a sweet shop and could spend hours exploring the intricacies of this natural phenomenon.
Everest Base Camp to Gorakshep
But alas we need to get back to Gorakshep before dark. Despite being utterly shattered, the journey passes relatively quickly. I have a newfound spring in my step, full of jubilation and pride for having overcome the difficulties I have experienced. It is hard to explain the joy that fills me at having made it this far despite the obstacles.
Lobuche (4,910m) to Everest Base Camp (5,364)
Everest Inn PVT with western-style toilets on the accommodation floors. This teahouse was particularly cold and draughty with no electricity during the night so do bring a torch. I recommend these solar chargers from Amazon which have an in built torch.
Day eight route map
Here is our day eight map. As you can see we pass through Gorakshep on the way up and return there the same evening.
Here are the other posts in the series of our Everest Base Camp trek.
Feel free to sign up for our newsletter if you wish to be notified of future posts in this series.
Why Everest Base camp?
We are raising money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. We would hugely appreciate it if you can find it in your heart to help their cause please visit our justgiving page.