The day after Kongma La Pass, we slept in to hopefully feel better. Luca felt a bit better, but I not so much. Regardless of how we felt, we had to continue trekking. Prakash knew the Nepali guy running the Italian Pyramid laboratory (where we had stayed the night before) so we were able to get a tour of the lab. It was so super cool! They do all sorts of tests ranging from environmental tests looking at glacier water and rainfall to high altitude physiological studies (my favorite!).
From there we began walking towards Gorek Shep, the ‘village’ closest to Everest Base Camp. We again had to cross part of a glacier, but it was a much different experience because the glacier was more stable and much more traveled upon. I don’t really remember much from the walk (or the whole day) besides being exhausted. We got to Gorek Shep (elevation 17,000 feet) in time for lunch. I was not hungry at all and ate 3 noodles and drank some pineapple juice. We were supposed walk to EBC, but I was too exhausted and slept/laid down with my eyes closed around 6 hours. I didn’t feel like moving, nonetheless hiking anywhere. We got up for dinner. While waiting, we could see the sunset falling on the mountains from the window. Prakash, Luca, and I quit playing cards immediately to run outside in 3 winter coats each and in sandals to take some pictures. The sunset made the mountains look gold and it was breathtaking. I ate 3 bites of rice, petted the resident dog (the only dog I’ve seen allowed inside in any of our Asia travels), and headed to bed.
I woke up and felt terrible (my blood oxygen level was half of what a healthy person should have). I could barely get out of bed, but I put on my big girl pants and decided I am getting to Everest Base Camp no matter what. It was finally Everest Base Camp day! Luca and Prakash force fed me toast and tea and we were off for the day. There were lots of ups and downs to cross of glacier moraine. We were very lucky with a almost cloudless day and could see the very tippy top of Everest. The thing is with Everest is that on the Nepali side, it is surrounded by mountains so the top is very difficult to see. We passed lots of yak caravans carrying down equipment from Base Camp from the spring climbing expeditions. Luca’s favorite moment of the day was peeing while looking at Mount Everest. He said it was his “favorite pee.” We took our time and took lots of pictures along the way.
We eventually made it to Base Camp (elevation 17,600 feet). The yellow gortex tents of climbing expeditions dotted the rocky valley area in front of the Khumbu icefall (the first part of climbing Everest). We took lots of pictures at the famous EBC boulder and sat on rocks eating Oreos for a while. The rocks at the Base Camp area were really sparkly and left shimmering dust on everything they touched. We soon headed back to Gorek Shep and had lunch. I don’t remember, but I believe we also slept this whole afternoon as well.
Before dinner we played cards again (we probably played thousands of times over the course of our trek). We played altogether and another Nepali guide joined us. We couldn’t speak together, but still had fun playing cards, laughing together. Language differences don’t have to be a boundary to making new friends! We had dinner, petted the dogs again, and went to bed. Due to how Luca and I were feeling and the difficulty of the other pass to cross, we decided it best to skip the other passes and head back down. We say that skipping the passes gives us an excuse to come back to this part of the Himalaya again.