Why Everest Base Camp Trek should be on your travel wishlist in 2017!

I have the soul of an adventurer. The sea beckons me and mountains allure me.

As I am not a swimmer yet, mountains interest me more. I come alive on treks. I know basic rock climbing and rappeling.

In routine life, I may come across as apprehensive – doubting my skills, decisions, and efforts that I put in a particular field. Not in mountaineering.

In my negligible experience, I have found myself to be the most agile and fearless in the group.

My mountaineering Coach asked me if I was afraid when I was getting ready for the first ‘real’ rappelling experience off a cliff in Nainital. A 16-year old me looked into his eyes and answered, “Sir, humaari dictionary me darr shabd hi nahi hai.” (My dictionary does not have the word fear.)

While the other girls cried, some bailed out, I was calm as a cucumber – having full faith in my harness and the wall training that we did the day before. There was a flicker of apprehension when I fixed myself in the 45-degree position at the start, but it vanished as I took my first leap. I still remember the adrenaline rush I felt.

Rappelling at Nainital (2002). Click to enlarge.

 

My mountaineering ambitions did not come to fruition. However, then onwards I tried to climb any creviced wall or rocks that came in my way. I still do 🙂

Last year, we went to Manali in May. Our guide took us to a place called Gulaba to see the remains of the meager snow that the valley had seen in 2016. I and the better half trekked for 10000 foot-steps vertically and back (so my iPhone says), exploring the trickling glacier streams, the stray ice patches and marveling at the distant snow covered peaks.

The husband caught on my mountaineering vibe and strode ahead decisively up the rocky track that a very few people were taking. I had no option, but to follow him and delicately stop him in his tracks. There, we shot my first attempt at video blogging :

Caution : If you are not experienced with snow, do not wander alone on snow covered mountains. Snow is extremely slippery and it will take you no time to tumble down the same ‘un-snow covered’ slope that you spent hours climbing! We learned this when we abandoned our trek just after the video, and went back to a small ice patch along the road shown in the video.

In case you were wondering if we found snow, this is what we found…

 

 

In any activity that you take up, your efforts are always towards the highest goal that you can achieve in the field. In case of mountaineering, taming the Mt.Everest is the dream culmination of every mountain climber’s aspirations.

The Everest Base Camp prepares you just for that. Even if you are not as serious as a professional mountain climber, at 17,950 Ft. the Everest Base Camp gives you a measurable high (no pun intended).

What is the Everest Base Camp?

In the beautiful land of Nepal, stands the highest mountain in the world – The Mount Everest. (I will not mention that the Chinese share the border across its summit.) Named after the Welsh Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest, the mountain has several local names; the most prominent being – Sagarmatha (Nepal) and Chomolungma (China/Tibet).

You can climb the gigantic girth from either China occupied Tibet or Nepal. The most popular approach is from South-East Nepal – which I am going to talk about.

The whole trip takes anywhere from 13-17 days, detailed packages for which are available on Mojhi.com.


The rough itinerary provided by every trip vendors looks like this

      1. Land at Kathmandu
      2. Travel to Lukla
      3. Walk to Phakding
        4. Trek to Namche Bazaar (Enter the Sagarmatha National Park)
        5. Begin the actual leg of trekking towards the

Everest Base Camp

        6. Reach the

Everest Base Camp

       and begin downwards trek towards Lukla.
      7. Lukla to Kathmandu

Each travel operator takes different times for stay at each of these places, according to the needs of the travelers to explore the local culture, get acclimatized to the weather and pressure, and their stamina to trek at a stretch.

Things to look out for when choosing a trip operator (vendor) 

        1. Nepal Government Certified Guides (Sherpas)
        2. Number of porters per client
        3. Is food included in the package?
        4. Does the tour operator take care of all the necessary permits required?

Generally, the group size of 2-15 is taken at a time, with the average group size being 5. It is advisable to ask for group discounts while booking.

If you do not want to go through the hassle of finding the right tour operator for your Everest Base Camp Trek, you can take help of Mojhi.com. For the first time traveler and even experienced ones, Mojhi.com offers a plethora of tried and tested tour operators, whose itineraries you can check, contact them and even get feedback from an experienced traveler community which is an integral part of the website.

What’s more? You can even become a member and share your own experiences about a place or tour operator.

Not only for the Everest Base Camp, for other adventure and leisure travels too, Mojhi.com is the place to find the most sound travel advice.

I have started saving for my Everest Base Camp trek. I hope my thrilling accounts of trekking and what awaits you at the Everest Base Camp have motivated you enough to take on the ‘quest’ too in 2017!

Please let me know what your travel plans are for this year, in the comments.

Twenty-third Ramble

Cheat post. Poem written in March 2014. Still holds true…

Write. I want to.

But Time. Where do I find?

Hollow words, stuck in a rut, life grinds.

O dear mind,take me tither,

where time doesn’t matter.

There is no rat race,

life goes on at a leisurely pace.

O dear mind, take me to the days,

when I was a kid,

and there was no need,

to choose from so many worldly ways.

There was only one way,

one thing, that I did.

Whatever my heart said!

Sixteenth Ramble : Today, I don’t feel like writing.

I don’t feel like writing today. Hey! I can post this same sentence over and over again in the rambles, can’t I?

No. I know. Also, I won’t.

But today, I really don’t feel like writing. Maybe I’ll write a few backlog posts that I have missed, but I don’t want to write today’s post.

Isn’t that really how I have come to think? Finish off tasks from days or years before today. What I have to do today can be done tomorrow. And what about tomorrow? Those tasks can be done day after tomorrow.

Writing is not a task though. It is a hobby. What is the difference between a hobby and a task? Can a hobby not have a task or can a task not be a hobby? I have to set weekly goals in my shooting, all of which require certain tasks to be done. Now shooting is a hobby…which has tasks…so can writing also be/have tasks? No. Somehow, thinking of writing as a task puts me off. Why does a task have to sound so negative? Tsk…tsk…

So yeah, I am not going to write anything for the 16th of February. Although I may write the backlog posts as I have said.

I have a Grammarly widget which identifies all sorts of ‘possible spelling confusions’ but does not give a prompt when I write ‘it’s’ in place of ‘its’. You are a failure, Grammarly extension for Chrome! That said, I must reduce dependence on it. Waise bhi, it was installed as a requirement for a content writing task.

Task…there we go again. Today is a holiday at the shooting range. I miss my shooting tasks. I have writing tasks waiting for me. I will do anything to wiggle out of them. I did my nails (that is a rare occurrence), and am even thinking of drawing (which makes me miserable; for I cannot draw what I want to draw and end up jealous with those having the knack of drawing) and cleaning my room (this is a fairly regular occurrence but I never finish the task…like I don’t finish writing. But I am willing to give finishing it a thought rather than finishing writing).

I see my blog staring  at me with a ‘I am disappoint’ look.

Sorry blog, but I just don’t feel like writing today. And like most of the times :

But am just showing up…because 80% success…blah…blah…

 

Fifteenth Ramble : Ek manjar range ke andar…

On 13th February, the day was passing usually, till suddenly I began to hear ‘cat meows’ with my headphones, which were supposed to give only Pro-Timer alerts. (For the uninitiated, Pro-Timer is a workout app).

I was at the shooting range, doing holdings (lifting a pistol in front of a wall and staying there for 15-30 secs, and then putting it down). I thought my brain had gone cuckoo (see, I never go cuckoo, it is always the brain, ALWAYS) because the earlier evening, Abhijeet had unceremoniously dragged me away while I was trying to coax a momma cat and her 2 carbon copy kittens down. (They were perched on an electric pole.) I was so cat-sick, I wished for a cat to appear anywhere I went after that evening.

I asked the neighbour whether he was hearing the mews too? He said that there are cats living beyond the target panels. Huh? How is that possible? Maybe I had not heard him right. To me, it was as if the kitten was stuck in one of the AC ducts above me. Now, how is THAT possible?

Since I am working on self-discipline, I tuned out the alluring mews and went back to holding.

There were sounds of a scuffle at the far end of the range. Someone was shouting ‘Catch her!’ I could hold myself no longer. I set out to investigate.

A kitten skidded in front of me and went straight towards down-range. Heck! It is suicidal, I thought and was about to shout ‘Cease-fire!’ when I realised the bottoms of the tables are blocked and it was too small to jump up on the desks. Phew! I continued trudging towards it, now in the opposite direction, since it ran straight to where I had come from. A lad tried to pounce on it, it swerved deftly and ran straight at me. (Well, diagonally. Diagonally straight at me). It realised that and ran straight towards the stands. (I am going to set a record in using straight in a blog post).

It sat mewing in panic in the corner, trying to figure out if there was a way out if it jumped up. Niet. And it was too small to know aggression common to cornered cats. Meanwhile, I had jumped the railing in pursuit and was looking at it from a distance. (Also trying to soften its state of mind by mewing back soothingly.) I told the others not to try to catch it by force. Let it settle, and I’ll take it out. (Not with a pellet!!!)

An ace rifle shooter from our academy came from behind and caught it when it was trying to run back in the other direction. So much for knowing cat psychology, hmph. He caught it but dinno what to do next. So I offered to drop it outside. The poor kitten was panicked and frightened beyond imagination. All it could do was to wail and try to climb over my shoulder and run for dear life. I assured it by my genteelness in holding it that I am not a predator.

I took the wailing fellow downstairs into the office and at the gate, thinking they would know the whereabouts of its family. Everybody agreed that they live in the space above the false ceiling of the 10m range, but nobody knew how they get there. So the watchman, the caretaker, me, and 2 of the rifle shooting girls decided it best to set it free by the neem tree at the end of the parking lot, where it would be safe from the puppies which are seen goofing around the building these days. Momma cat would come to the rescue there since she had not come to the range.

It was trembling. Its brain had shut down. It didn’t know how to react to the petting it received from me. One second it liked it and looked like it would settle down comfortably on my hand and the other second it remembered it had to call his mother and wailed. If not for the genuinely frightened fellow, I would have found it highly comical. When it could think of nothing else; it hid its face in my elbow, like a true blue ostrich.

The peon got milk from the kitchen. It would not drink in front of company. So I took it at the end of the parking, and set it down. It wanted to run away outright. But I picked it up again and made it smell the milk. It was torn between the urge to lap it up and the instinct to run for dear zindagi. In the end, it decided to stay and have the meal, because in any case, if it were to die, it would be better to die well fed. With tail firmly lodged between its hind legs, it lapped up the milk while I sat beside it, giving it complete freedom after 15 minutes of smothering it with the most luxurious petting anyone could ever receive (and give). It stole looks at me – probably thinking : petting done, feeding done, now the predator is going to eat me.

Unlike the tiger from Life of Pi, it did give me a backward glance after sprinting suddenly, leaving the milk midway. It even ran back to me. So I thought. However, it was only to sniff at the dead giant cockroach lying upside down 2 feet from the milk bowl. It decided that the cockroach dessert wasn’t worth it, especially since the predator had risen on its two legs. So much for gratitude. Paah!

And then it ran straight into the bushes, exactly like the tiger from Life of Pi. It did not vanish and was not never heard of again afterward though; because on 14th, when I walked in to the range, I found the rifle shooter and told him about where we dropped the kitten yesterday. He smiled and said that a big cat had come today. (Thankfully, he doesn’t know the difference between kitten (chhoti billi), cat(badi billi) and big cats (???) otherwise I would have fainted. I am dead afraid of big cats.)

Abhijeet wouldn’t let me pet the cat in the mall parking. So what? GOD sent me a cat right where I was practicing the next day. (Selective atheist me?) Such an amazing Valentine’s Day gift!

Even today, I could hear the distress calls of kittens and the cajoling/scolding calls of the momma cat from the ceiling. Thankfully, they were restricted to the ceiling only and there were no magical apparitions to tend to my cat-sickness anymore.

 

 

Sixth Ramble

Okay, I have jumped 3 posts.

My arms are aching from 3 hours of rigorous training today. That has resulted into a little brain freeze.

I have started reading books on mental fitness as my coach says I need to train my mind more now that my body has the basic stamina to go through the training. (Then why are my arms aching, sigh…)

Mental Combat is the first such book I read this season. I picked it up because the title is very catchy. Who wouldn’t want to be combat ready? I read it between my training breaks and I must say, it helped me from the word go.

It explains the scientific reasons for pressure in difficult/challenging situations – the physical changes that occur (racing pulse, adrenaline rush) and the resulting disturbance in one’s mental state – and how to tackle it.

I think it is a good idea to read mental fitness and competition technique books when training. The day I read it, there were no thoughts other than shooting in my mind. Talk about focus!

The voice of these books is so calming and empowering that you feel like Rambo or Sarah Connors or any other fictional character that you hero worship for their fitness (mental and physical).

I know I have not rambled enough in this post, but at least I have turned up. They say 80% of success is turning up!