I am once again sitting on the veranda of the Dom Himalaya hotel in Kathmandu just over one year since I left here with my tail between my legs. In March of last year, I attempted a trek all the way from Jiri to Everest Base Camp. I turned around 1 day short of my goal. You can read about that trek here.
About a month or two after my return to my home in Chiang Mai, and after a week spent at the Beach in Samui, the regrets started to seep into my mind. Not reaching a goal that was so close at hand began to eat away at me a little at a time – finally I had to seriously consider coming back to finish what I had started (and 95% completed). I happened to mention my thoughts to my good friend and golfing buddy, Tom Prouty, as we sipped beers after a hot round of golf last summer. He confessed that hiking to EBC had long been on his bucket list. This was the push I needed to make my return possible. To make a long story short, after a bit of cajoling, we both placed our deposits on a an EBC trek for April 2019. So here we are.
My 2018 trek began at Jiri, which adds an additional week and over 10,000 vertical feet of up and down to the EBC trek. This year we will fly into to Lukla cutting out the week-long up and down and up slog from Jiri. This also means gaining altitude from Kathmandu at 1,400 m to Lukla at 2880 m in about 45 minutes. Hopefully this short cut will leave me fresher for the high altitudes to come. Also, I hope it will help me to avoid catching a cold that morphed into a severe cough on last year’s trek. We will see about the rapid altitude gain.
I will have to admit to more than a little trepidation this time around. I’m not nearly as conditioned as I was last year due to the dense smoke in Chiang Mai this March. I am significantly overweight, but hopefully my legs and lungs are good enough. Last year I had issues with breathing while trying to sleep, so this year I have come armed with sleeping pills (purportedly safe to use at latitude), and an inhaler to ease my asthma which kick-in in cold dry air. I will also forgo taking diamox, which makes me pee every 20 minutes, unless I have significant symptoms of AMS.
Tomorrow morning, we fly into Lukla. Success on reaching EBC will depend mostly on motivation. Hopefully Tom calling me a wuss will be sufficient. We are also taking a couple of extra days for acclimatization above Namche Bazaar. Still I am apprehensive. I’m a wimp in the cold, and it is freaking cold up there. I’ll keep the world informed as best I can via this blog.