It was all a dream once until 12th May 2022 5:53 AM. I stood at the top of the world and lived every second of the 45 mins. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. What feels, really!
Well, it has been over a month since I lived my dream and ever since people have me asking me a zillion questions. I will try to share everything I know, experienced, loved and of course, the things that went wrong.
The Beginning Of It All
I used to tell my dad that I will climb Everest one day. And when I grew up, I realised, it isn’t gonna happen because it costs a mountain of money. Coming from the middle class, it seemed impossible. Hence I left the dream right there and started travelling.
Until last year, when I managed to climb Mt. Ama Dablam (6814m) and saw the mighty Everest. Uff, it was like a calling, a connection. Then I knew I had to manage and get to the top of the world anyhow.
I came back from Ama Dablam in Nov 2021 and started my training for Everest. Living in Manali, you can imagine how cold it must have been during the winters. But I had to do away with excuses.
I trained really hard every day. Wake up at 4.30 AM, do Yoga till 6 AM, followed by Strength Training till 7 AM, then immediately run for 10kms, come back and start the household chores, take Maru and Olive for a walk, prep their food and mine. Then before sunset, go cycling for at least an hour every alternate day.
I did all of it for over 4 months. Be it snow, winds, parties, rain, friends or family – I would just get up and start my routine at 4.30 AM. I was very focused and determined. And my efforts paid off, really. Keep reading!
Trek to The Everest Base Camp
The journey starts from Kathmandu from where we take a flight to Lukla which is said to be the World’s most dangerous airport. It is one hell of a 20-min flight. Once you safely land at Lukla, you get to witness some great views of the mountains and life in the villages of Nepal.
Short Itinerary I followed for my trek to EBC
- Day 1: Lukla to Phakding – 3 hours of easy walk.
- Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar – 5 hours of steep hike.
- Day 3: Namche Bazaar for acclimatization. Hike up to Everest View Point.
- Day 4: Namche Bazaar to Debuche via Tengbouche – 5 hours in total with some steep slopes till Tengbouche.
- Day 5: Debuche to Dingbouche – about 4 hours of a moderate hike.
- Day 6: Dingbouche for acclimatization. Hike up to Nagarjuna Peak (5040m)
- Day 7: Dingbouche to Lobuche – about 5 hours of gradual ascent with magnificent views.
- Day 8: Lobuche to Everest Base Camp – about 4-5 hours of gradual ascent with views of Everest and Khumbu Glacier.
Once you reach the Everest Base Camp, the real adventure begins.
Higher Camps & Khumbu Icefall
After reaching Base Camp, we got to rest for a few days to acclimatize at around 5500 m before starting our rotations to higher camps. Since the only way to acclimatize is to go higher and sleep low, one must do rotations.
Ideally, people do 2 rotations. One to camp 1 and second to camp 2 and higher. I got to know that crossing Khumbu Glacier will be risky. So I tried to minimize the risk by doing my first rotation to Lobuche East 6116m.
The climb to Lobuche East was incredible and full of learning. I saw a beautiful sunrise over the iconic snow-capped mountains of the Khumbu Region.
After summiting Lobuche and being acclimatized for camp 1, I went for my rotation to camp 2 (nearly 6500m). I felt really strong and chose to stay just one night at camp 1, then the next day at camp 2 and further touched halfway to camp 3 and came back to base camp.
A lot of people choose to spend two nights at camp 1 during their camp 2 rotations, but one must decide according to how they feel at the altitude. There are no shortcuts for acclimatization at such high altitudes. You got to go higher and sleep low.
In general, about two weeks go in rotations and rest in between to recover.
Overall short itinerary of my rotations:
- Day 1 – Base Camp to Lobuche Village
- Day 2 – Lobuche – Lobuche High Camp
- Day 3 – Summit of Lobuche East and back to Base Camp
- Day 1 – Base Camp to Camp 1 via Khumbu Icefall
- Day 2 – Camp 1 – Camp 2
- Day 3 – Rest at Camp 2
- Day 4 – Camp 2 to touch 7000m and back to camp 2
- Day 5 – Camp 2 to Base Camp via Khumbu Icefall
Rest & The Weather
Rest between rotations is a must for recovery. So between every rotation, I took about 4 days’ rest, ate well and sleep well.
After I came back from my rotation 2, the weather became pretty erratic. The forecast was nowhere close to correct and we were in dilemma as to when to push for the summit.
For a week, we kept looking at the weather forecast and finally left for the summit push on 8th May 2022. What a day. We started for Camp 1 at 1 AM while it snowed. I prayed to the mountains for our safe passage through Khumbu and further.
We made it to Camp 1 in about 5.5 hours, further to Camp 2 in just 2.5 hours. Slept at Camp 2 on 8th May only to witness snowfall and snowstorm. It was clear that we must wait for it to clear up.
On 10th May, we left for Camp 3 (7200m), I started using my supplementary O2 from 7000m. On 11th, we made it to Camp 4 aka South Col (8000m), rested a couple of hours in the death zone then left for the summit push at 8.30 PM.
The Last Climb
It took me almost 10 hours from Camp 4 to make it to the top of the world. I was extremely happy to see how far I have reached. Really, I was feeling on top of the world & quite literally I was at the top of the world! 8848 m. Yes, I did it.
I hope this write-up gives you a brief idea of why it takes 45 days to climb Everest. Stay tuned for more updates on my experiences from Everest!