I lead an expedition to Everest Base Camp this April & May. I got a good vibe from this group straight away in Dublin Airport when we met.
They all knew each other very well & they’d even met our doc on their training weekend – I was the only “outsider”. They took me into their folds on that first day & we haven’t looked back since.
These guys know how to pass the time & have fun. As we waited for a delayed flight into the mountains – Kathmandu Airport became a scene where everyone joined in on an improvised game -involving boots & paper. Crowds gathered & laughter ensued. People no longer waiting separately, anonymously….. but all belonging to a temporary airport tribe.
This trek is a trip of a lifetime, with stunning scenery, magestic mountains & big skies. While all of that was our fabulous backdrop – the group laughed their way up & down the mountain. We genuinely had fun every day & sometimes went out on brave hunts for caffeine – Caroline our head coffee guru.
We had our Yak spotter & Diamox dealer – Frances, full of mischief & fun.
Pauline (aka) Pablo ( another story!) setting us our balance challenges across high suspension bridges. Balance challenges completed by all….. despite Cian’s (Diva) best efforts. Although Beavis & Butthead were constantly at large with daily mischief.
We nearly lost our “dreamy” Conor to a Taiwanese team who had “notions”.
Dermot did see this…. even though he was looking for his water bottle at the time!
Our doc Pete, relaxed & happy with such a healthy bunch of messers & he was definitely one of them in the thick of the stories & craic.
He was also chatting away in Japanese to some trekkers and kept up the chat with the local Nepalese guides who could also speak Japanese. Not something any of us were expecting!
Robert taking it all in & photographing, in his element at altitude. Perhaps also an eyebrow raised along with Frank at the local building “techniques”.
We adhered to our 3 holy ‘f’s everyday religiously – of Faffing, Fretting & Foostering with gusto and dedication!
Our diamox challenge included taking it , drinking copious amounts of water, ( my name became Fr. Jackie) – drrrrink!!!
Then because of all that “driinnk”…..peeing at altitude was the next challenge, as was the regular hunt for a toilet spot – that when found, was then discussed at length afterwards- depending on what state “where the incident occurred” and or the view!
The variety of food throughout the trek that appeared out of rucksacks was astounding ( thanks to pre trip advice from Grainne – good on ya!). From protein powders, sweets, salami, chocolate, fruit & nuts ( for a bunch of fruit & nuts!) even on day 10 there were new varieties available. That’s as well as the Tengboche croutons….
The group bought into preparation advice pre trip departure & with any advice I gave on trek. They ate up the information & acted on it. Responsibly, diligently, with good humour, respectfully of themselves, others & the environment. Frank, Frances & Carmel our wonderful pace setters high up on the mountains.
We had a super special & emotional experience at Pangboche – whereby the group had chatted to others & got the latest trail gossip (what a surprise!).
We ended up in a small, sunny field , surrounded by dry stone walls, with a Stupa in front of us & Ama Dablam as a stupendous backdrop………to a live concert of 3 violinists, a celloist & a guitarist that played for us. Kate somehow had the cognitive awareness to request Bach’s prelude. We were treated to a concert in a field of dreams. Surreal, yet absolutely real. I fought back the tears. What a gift of pure joy we were given in the Himalayas. A memory to cherish forever.
To try and sum up this trek experience is like trying to put an ocean in a bottle. There’s simply too much to fit in. The depth, variety & scope too large a scale. We had many word games en route and superlatives seem too small to sum it up.
I’m incredibly lucky, proud & privileged to have spent quality mountain days, with genuine quality mountain people in this magical place. Thanks for such an incredible trip. Up the Banner!!!!
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