icons/avalancheicons/bootscompassfacebookicons/gloveshandsicons/hearticons/helmeticons/ice axeinstagramminusmountainicons/pathsMap Pinplusicons/questionicons/guideicons/ropeicons/gogglesicons/stafftenttwitteryoutube

Everest Basecamp Trek #1: Season’s first trek a great success!

Not easy writ­ing up a final trip report when you’re not quite ready for the trip to be over just yet. That’s the main sum­ma­ry of this first Moun­tain Mad­ness Ever­est Base Camp trek this Spring season.

Sat­ur­day, April 14th: we’re back in Kath­man­du reflect­ing, the first trip of the sea­son had many suc­cess­es, but as impor­tant­ly, we had an out­stand­ing team that sup­port­ed each oth­er through­out the adven­ture. We left off our last report hav­ing just left Ding­boche, perched over 14,000 feet. From there it was a con­tin­u­a­tion of the theme: crisp, clear, cold morn­ings and dust­ings of snow each afternoon.

And along with spec­tac­u­lar views, and peace­ful days on the trail: 100% suc­cess for the whole team achiev­ing base camp!

And just in time for Andre’s birth­day. For our Brazil­ian, it was a trip of a thou­sand firsts — first snow­fall, first tent camp­ing, first time above 12,000 feet. So, breath­less and hit with the Khum­bu cough, hit­ting base camp was a state of awe and won­der tak­ing in the sweep­ing peaks all around us. His pure hap­pi­ness at this life­long goal achieved inspired more than a few of us.

For Al, our Alaskan hard­man, no day seemed tough enough to put up a real chal­lenge. He topped out on Kala Pat­tar on our trekking day into base camp, just as the icing on top the cake. And man­aged mak­ing the top of the peak just before the clouds rolled in, obscur­ing those clas­sic sum­mit views. Mani, our lead sher­pa, seemed qui­et­ly impressed by his efforts. How much so? Well, he gave Al the prop­er Sher­pa beast­ing, tear­ing back down off the sum­mit and stream­ing back down the moun­tain to Gorak Shep in what’s known around these parts as Sher­pa time”. And Al held on! A high­light of the trip for Al, but I think even more so for Mani.

Next up was Matt. He swears the fam­i­ly won’t believe him, so it’s going blog offi­cial here: Beyond his excite­ment and steady strength all the way up and down this trek, our last day of ascent into base camp saw him fight­ing off the guide’s enforced Snick­ers refu­el­ing. I think this might go down as leg­end in the house back home. But yes, we can con­firm it’s like­ly the one and only time in life the gen­tle’
sug­ges­tion of down­ing a whole bar was met with, Do I have to?”

Strange things this low oxy­gen world! Once we rolled into camp though, it was a full range of excite­ment and cel­e­bra­tions. A feast of egg and bacon break­fasts, step­ping out to views of blue ice tow­ers, and the clink­ing of rocks and tents as base camp slow­ly came alive — mess tents going up, heli­pad plat­forms trans­form­ing from raw chunky edges into fine, smoothed out pads. All in antic­i­pa­tion of a busy sea­son just beginning.

Phil. Phil was always our wild card this trip. Hap­pi­ly befriend­ing the wild life along the trail, his day’s high­lights involved adopt­ing team pup­pies and sur­rep­ti­tious­ly feed­ing them our din­ner left­overs beneath the table, till the tea house own­ers caught on and sent our new friends pack­ing. He sur­vived aller­gies, sore knees, headaches, and still strolled into base camp first of our team. Mak­ing the best of chal­leng­ing con­di­tions and some­how immune to the cold after­noon snow show­ers we met each day, we cred­it the ever-present buff.

And last but cer­tain­ly not least, our team leg­end, Kari. Hit with a clas­sic Khum­bu virus just above 14,000 feet this trip. (We cred­it the team of a cou­ple dozen teenagers shar­ing our tea­house in Ding­boche) she pushed on and per­se­vered. Like­ly beyond what any of the rest of us could have achieved in sim­i­lar con­di­tions. Through nights of rough sleep and days of snif­fles and Sudafed, Kari fought on. She arrived into base camp with a grin big­ger than any of the rest of us, and mak­ing sure her trusty side kick Dawa was tak­ing in plen­ty of hot sweet drinks just along side her. This was tru­ly a team sup­port­ing each oth­er to make dreams come true. And for the Sher­pa teams and myself, just a pure­ly dream team to guide through these wild Himalayan peaks.

So a trip of firsts, of uni­ver­sal suc­cess at our base camp goal, and most impor­tant­ly a trip filled with mem­o­ries and friend­ships for a life­time.

Thank you team! And thank you Dawa and com­pa­ny for a tru­ly mem­o­rable Himalayan ascent.

- Mara and the Moun­tain Mad­ness team