It all started with Facebook. I saw Ms. Gina’s ‘FB like” in one of my travel photos and checked her profile out. I was amazed with the pic where their background seemed to be Mt. Everest. Without hesitation I contacted Ms. Gina and asked her about it.
And it was indeed Mt. Everest. I was so amazed and at the same time inspired with what I’ve found out. I have not personally spoken to any Filipinos who have been to Mt. Everest before. I’m a big fan of great adventures and people who go the extra mile to achieve something that they dream of. And for me, Ms. Gina and her husband, Jojo, were one of those people that really attest to the statement “Yes, the Filipino Can!”
I mustered all the courage I could and asked Ms. Gina if they could do a guest post in my blog so I could feature them in flipnomad. She generously agreed and I was so ecstatic about it because I know some people who are interested to do it as well but doesn’t have much information. Their personal feat would definitely help those who are interested to achieve climbing the Everest Base Camp.
Without further ado, here’s Ms. Gina’s personal account of their experience climbing the Everest Base Camp.
‘We’ve been to the base of the world’s highest mountain’.
Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, where every mountaineer’s dream of seeing it up close. That dream had become a reality…
The Everest Base Camp trek hailed as one of the greatest mountain walk on earth. The most spectacular mountain scenery in the world is before you each day of this trek.
It begins with a short flight from Kathmandu to Lukla where we boarded a small Twin Otter plane. The view over the Himalayas was simply breath-taking. Seeing some of the highest peaks in the world draws excitement of what lays ahead our trek.
Lukla (Tenzing-Hillary airport) is situated in the Himalayas at heights of 2800 meters above sea level. Considered as one of the most dangerous airports in the world. It has a short landing strip of only 460m long and at the end of it is a steep 610m drop into the valley below. Our inbound flight was smooth and uneventful, the outbound flight, however, was considerably rough.
After we landed, we gathered our gears, met our porter and we immediately started the trek through the village of Phakding. On the main path of Lukla, there are several small tea-houses, shops, and bars all catering to tourists and trekkers.
The early part of the trail took us through some beautiful pine forests along the Dudh Koshi river. As we trekked along, we crossed a number of suspension bridges, passed through several mani walls, series of holy stupas and small sherpa villages.
Most of the trail was extremely steep, muddy and rocky, lots of traffic consisting of other trekkers, oxens, mules, and sherpas.
There are frequent yak trains carrying supplies, which can often times be heard from their “cow” bells hanging from their collar. One of the warnings we’ve got was “Always stay on the up-hill side of any passing yaks.”
We arrived at the village of Namche on our 2nd day of the trek, the main pit stop for all trekkers going up and down the mountains. It sits at 3,440m with the glistening Thamserku and Kongde Ri dominating the valley. It has lots of tea houses, souvenir shops, internet cafes, bookstores and Tibetan flea market. We have to stay here for 2 nights for acclimatization. Having acclimatizing days helps our body to adapt at specific altitude, thus it lowers our chances of having altitude sickness.
Our first glimpse of Everest came just outside the village of Namche, the 4th day of our trek. The dream we have of seeing Everest for the first time was realized. After turning a corner, the splendor of Everest was revealed to us, the famous Everest plume was clear to see, it was one of the best experiences of our lives.
The most interesting part our trek is above the tree line. Shortly above Tengboche, home of the world’s highest monastery, were the trees thinned and disappeared. For six days we were on barren, rock-covered slopes and talus type fields. There is no shade and winds can be pretty harsh, and it gets really cold at night. Even though there are no trees, I would not consider this part of the hike boring by any stretch ‘coz the best views are the ones where the tree-lines end.
The lovely Dingboche situated at an altitude of 4,530m, is by far our favorite village we stayed on, a photographers’ haven. Our teahouse is situated at the foot of Ama Dablam, the most picturesque mountain in the Khumbu Region.
On to another acclimatization day, we set out to climb a hill around Dingboche at 4800 meters, the climb up was relentless and surprisingly tough. We were literally out of breath as we got higher and higher into the altitude. But surrounded with beautiful views and the majesty of the mountains, it made our efforts well worth the trek. At the top, we were rewarded with an awesome view over Dingboche, we’ve seen peaks of Lhotse, Taboche, Cholatse, Kangtega, Thamserku, Makalu and Island Peak, and a set of beautiful glacial lakes.
Right after a steep climb above Dughla, we passed by some stone memorials built in remembrance of climbers who have lost their lives in the Himalayas. Views from here are simply magnificent. We found ourselves stopping quiet often to turn around and take in the fantastic vistas.
Finally Reaching Everest Base Camp
After a relentless 8 days hike deep into the heart of the Himalayas, on the afternoon of November 18th 2010, we finally arrived at EBC.
Standing at the base of Everest, 5364m, the feeling up there was overwhelming. We had to take a moment to take it all in. We’ve dreamed about this for years and years to actually stand on the top of the Khumbu glacier.
Climbing Kala Patthar
The next morning before sunrise, we climbed Kala Patthar, the highest mountain we had ever been at 5550m. The ascent was steep combined with thin air, we were breathing heavily and constantly stopping to catch our breath. Given the fact that we left before sun rise, it was extremely cold. Our water bottle frosted around the edges, our fingers were numbed, and our noses were running like a leaky water pipe. As we made it to the summit, the sun started to peak over the Himalayas, the view from the top was superb.
An entire panorama of the mountains we have seen throughout the week, Lobuche, Pumo Ri, Lhotse, Nuptse and the Everest, all peaks over 6000 metres high. We sat on Kala Patthar summit rocks with our eyes taking in that awesome view of the Himalayas, we are looking at something so amazing that only few will ever see in their lifetime.
It was a great adventure all the way from the views, to the people we’ve meet, the stories shared by our sherpas and the sense of peace we felt out there in the Himalayas. Thanks to our guide Tendi Sherpa, our porter Angawa Sherpa, to our friends Bejay and Anita who patiently answers all of our inquiries and requests. We will definitely come back to Nepal and relive the experience all over again!!!
“It was indeed a journey of a lifetime. “
For the physical preparation, we had undertaken fitness training well in advance – at least 12 months before the beginning of our trek. Training such as running on sloping terrain, anaerobics, combined with a lifestyle of mountain climbing.
• TNF Jackets (Vapor wick, Fleece, Hard-shell Summit Series)
• Gloves (TNF Fleece and HEAD Waterproof)
• Headgear (beannie/bonnet, balaclava/bandana, cargo hat)
• Julbo Glazier Glasses
• TNF Trekking pants and Aigle Snow pants
• Trekking Shirts (Vapor wick, Quickdry)
• Thermal wear
• TNF Wool Socks
• Waterproof/IceProof Trekking shoes (Her Columbia and His TNF)
• Leki Trekking Poles
• Backpacks – Her Deuter and His TNF
• Nalgene water bottle
• Expedition Bag
• DSLR Cameras – Nikon & Canon
• Sleeping Bags: -15° ratings (Her Mountain Hardware and His TNF)
• Petzl Duo Headlamps
• Altimeter – Casio Pro-tech 50 Watch
• Sea to Summit Quick dry compact Towels
• Sunscreen SPF50, lip balm SPF20
Husband and wife, Jojo and Gina Antonio from the Philippines, couples bound with a common interests in mountaineering, photography and living life to the fullest. We started climbing since 1998, we travel places with one thing in mind, to climb the highest mountains in those areas, scaled the high peaks of Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, South-East Asia’s Mt.Kinabalu, and Indochina’s Mt. Fansipan.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Mrs. Gina and Mr. Jojo Antonio. All pictures and text are provided by the authors. To Mr and Mrs. Antonio, Thank you very much for sharing your inspiring story. Stories of great achievement like this inspire people to keep on moving forward and achieve their own respective dreams.