In a two-day’s notice, I had to leave for Everest Base Camp. My colleague who was on assignment to cover the Everest Marathon couldn’t make it and so my editor passed on the duty to me.
Excited is the first word that comes to my mind if I were to define that exact moment — just four months into my first journalism gig, and I was being sent to EBC. And excruciating is how I would sum up the trek; but every little step I took toward the base camp of the world’s highest peak and all the running I did to meet the deadlines is worth remembering.
As the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first ascent to Mt Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary, the climbing season has been marked by a number of conquests and controversies — from the world’s highest brawl to the world’s highest agreement on that brawl, the world’s highest garbage site, the world’s highest traffic jam … and not to forget the deaths and notable human accomplishments.
Every year people come to climb the mighty peak. Each year records are made and also broken. Here’s a paragraph from Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s Three Cups of Tea, which I think subtly summarizes mission Everest.
“Everest is a harsh and hostile immensity. Whoever challenges it declares war. He must mount his assault with the skill and ruthlessness of a military operation. And when the battle ends, the mountain remains unvanquished. There are no true victors, only survivors.”
Personally speaking, it’s a treacherous but a rewarding trek. With every meter, you’re stepping into a higher territory without knowing if you’ll be able to resist the altitude. However, it’s always comforting to reach the stop for that day, to be welcomed by a different peak and a sight to remember.
For a majority of us, Everest is a remote though – well, it’s not even a thought perhaps. And for most, I think base camp is the closest we can get. I’m glad that I did it but quite not sure if I’ll ever go up there again.
So when I say ‘a trip of a lifetime,’ I think Everest Base Camp is what I would actually be referring to.
Here’s a collection of photos from my 2010 trek to Everest Base Camp.