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Steven Betteley - Everest Base Camp
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Steven Betteley - Everest Base Camp

Published date: 21 November 2018 by Marc Dwyer

Steven Betteley - Everest Base Camp

An inspirational guy Steven Betteley took on an incredible challenge in October/November this year in memory of his grandaughter Jamie Sale.

Having previously completed treks to Kilimajaro and Machu Picchu in 2016/17 this was Stevens third consecutive year of International Trekking. Steven went on the 'Open Challenge' to Everest as the only participant from Zoë's Place.  Here is his first hand account of this amazing adventure.

'It was an eventful trip, not least because I suffered badly from altitude sickness on the day of the walk to Base Camp itself and, unfortunately, this put paid to my plans to climb Island Peak. This was the first time I've experienced this, and I was somewhat surprised as I had managed to go up Kili a couple of years ago without feeling it's effects. It isn't something I'd want to repeat as it feels very uncomfortable, a feeling of not being able to breathe, no strength, nausea, shivering (even when warm), and complete lack of appetite.

It all started well enough, and after a very exciting flight to Lukla, the world's most dangerous airport, we made our way to Phadking on day one. It felt good to be walking, and the following day we reached Namche Bazar at 3440m above sea level. We spent the following day there to aid acclimatisation to the altitude, and we visited a viewpoint where we got our first view of Mount Everest in the distance.

After a further two days trekking amidst spectacular mountain scenery, we reached Dingboche at 4410m, and again spent an extra day to acclimatise further. It was now getting significantly colder.

The next day's trek took us to Lobuche at 4940m, and the views now were simply stunning, particularly the lofty height of the peak called Amadablam. This was our last stop before the push to Base Camp the following day.

On that day we started out to Base Camp, I didn't feel well from the start and unusually for me, didn't eat my breakfast. I struggled to Base Camp, not wanting to stop so close to the end point. The environment now was alpine-like, and we walked alongside the Khumbu glacier, crossing part of it to reach the base camp at 5364m above sea-level. Oddly, there is nothing but a pile of rocks and a jumble of colourful prayer flags at the base camp, apart that is from one or two other trekking groups who happened to be there at the same time. The other strange thing about Everest Base Camp is that you can't actually see Mount Everest from the camp itself. There are high peaks all around of course, including Nuptse and Pumo-Ri. We took our photographs, and incidentally, one of our party was also promoting the centenary of the end of the First World War, which explains the banner on the group photograph. 

We trekked back to Gorak Shep where we spent the night, and this is where I took a decided turn for the worse. By the morning however, I felt able to start the walk back down, and after a few days re-tracing our steps, felt much better.

The last drama in our trek was the day we we supposed to catch the flight out of Lukla back to Kathmandu. The tiny airport, not much more than a couple of dafty wooden out buildings, was chaos. The weather had closed in, and Lukla was immersed in the clouds. In these conditions, not many planes managed to get in and out during gaps in the cloud cover. Our flight didn't happen, and there was an anxiety that we might be stuck there. The problem was that the weather wan't looking any better for the following day, and by then there would be another influx of trekkers all wanting flights making it even more difficult. Many of our party, including me (I had re-arranged my international flight) needed to be back in Kathmandu. We took the decision to hire a helicopter at $3000 shared amongst 6 of us. Eleven of our party took the helicopter option that day, and 5 decided to take their chances the next day. I'm pleased to report that they made it out ok by travelling via an intermediate town and a long coach trip.

I will never forget my visit to Nepal and the adventures I had there'

Cheers,

Steve

 

Everest Base Camp

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