Everest base camp felt something like what I’d imagine the moon to be. Dry, dusty, cold and icy. My hands were swollen, my feet tingled, and my balance was completely wobbly. I had a thumping headache from the altitude. The only real difference was that I didn’t feel at all light on my feet. And it took 7 days of walking, rather than space travel, to get there. Totally worth it.
A small bout of altitude sickness meant there was no way we were getting up Kala Pattar peak the next morning (which by all accounts gives the most epic view of Everest). I’m still slightly dark about it. But it didn’t really matter. Just being among those giant mountains was a privilege. Everest was so close, it almost felt climbable. Almost. Except for the fact that even at base camp, every step of mine was laboured. Still, I could see the top of Everest… just right… there.
After the excitement of Basecamp wore off, we had an uncomfortable night at Gorekshep (with more of the headaches) before we were able to descend back down 500m and get some sweet relief. Surrounded by white peaks and bare dry valleys, there was an airy feel to the whole place. It was added to with each stone monument we passed, staning motionless in memory of the individuals who have perished on Everest.