Up To Everest Base Camp By Horse Cart
Where you are dropped off at Everest is 8km’s downhill from where the actual base camp is located. There are two options for getting up to the gravely road to base camp, either walk or take a horse cart. Vehicles are no longer permitted to drive on the road. At this extreme altitude and in the freezing cold we were not about to make the 16km round trip by foot.
There were a row of horse cart drivers lined up in turn waiting to take people. The men all had long hair done up in a thick braid with a bright red scarf tied around the top of their head. Part way up the road the clouds cleared just long enough for us to get a view of the mountain.This is not an event to take for granted. Some people come here and spend a few days in the area without ever getting a clear view of Mount Everest.
It was lightly raining when we arrived, but part way into our horse cart right we were starting to be pelleted by huge pieces of hail. Our umbrellas were becoming useless. Jack put on his rain poncho and put the camera bag under it for protection. We had gotten to where the grade was at its steepest so the driver was walking beside the cart. We assume to make the load lighter for the horse. He soon noticed Jack was not using the umbrella and motioned for it. It turned out to be quite the event to get it back from him, he really liked it!
We made it to the top very wet and cold. We had some fuzzy pullovers on and our rain jackets, but no gloves, hats or scarfs. It was freezing and these would have been a smart thing to bring. We really didn’t realize how cold it was going to be up here. To make matters worse I had on short Capri pants and sandals! That’s okay, I’m Canadian, we can handle the cold right?
This area is called tent city, there are a dozen or more large tents set up as to as sleeping accommodations, tea houses and a few places to eat. This isn’t where climbers stay to get acclimatized; their tents are usually located a few more kilometres away from this site.
Standing In Awe of Everest
Just beyond tent city there is a steep slope that you can walk up to get a better view of the mountain and moraine that lays in front of it. It made us really dizzy as we tried to make our way up it. Each step had to be carefully taken and then a small rest to catch our breath. It was a major challenge to move at this altitude, but so worth the amazing site. You can’t go any further beyond this point without a special permit and a guide.
We stood in awe of the mountain for some time. You are already up over 5000 meters in elevation so it is the other part of the mountain up to its peak of 8800 meters that you are looking at. Apparently if you walk around to the left side of this hill you can get an even better view, but that would require the aforementioned permit.
After making our way down the hill again the sky cleared and the sun broke out. We got another great view of the mountain. Sometimes it’s from this area near the monastery that you actually get better views of the mountain. Often at base camp you have to try to look through the clouds at it.
No opportunity to see the mountain is wasted. Word quickly got around that there was a clear view, people started to come from out of the surrounding buildings to get a look. We stood for as long as we could and stared at it, our hands were going numb and the wind was cutting right through us. We decided to go try the food at the main hotel, since the monastery only a few choices. The food at the hotel was nothing special, but it was warm inside and we could see Mount Everest out one of the windows, what’s there to complain about. It’s a site you just can’t get enough of.