Without doubt the holiday of a lifetime, for both me and my wife. The scenery was stunning, the trek leader organised everything really well, the food and accommodation were better than we expected (albeit still fairly basic), and we made it all the way to Base Camp. The group of people we trekked with were also superb and helped make it a more memorable experience.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Either getting to Base Camp in clear conditions and enjoying a great view of the area; or being taken by surprise by the stunning scenery at Tengboche, with the amazing and unexpected views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. The flight into Lukla from Katahmandu was inspiring, giving great views of the full expanse of the eastern Himalayas.
We were unable to get to the top of Kala Pattar due to the strong winds that day, but the view of the Everest summit from halfway up was still spectacular.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Lhakpa Tensing was an excellent trek leader. Our group was of mixed ages and abilities, but he ensured that there was a reasonable pace set throughout, both on the ascent and descent. One older member of our group went downhill a little slower than the rest of us and Lhakpa ensured that either he or Ratna (assistant guide) stayed with this chap on his way down. Lhakpa also pulled out all the stops to get us back to Kathmandu in time for our flights home, when we experienced 2 days of weather enforced delays in Lukla at the end of the trek. He did brilliantly in arranging a flight out when the backlog of stranded trekkers was piling up, and other trekkers (either in other groups or independent) were paying for expensive helicopter flights!
He also brought us to meet his dad at Namche Bazar - the last surviving sherpa from the 1953 Hillary expedition.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
We managed to avoid stomach bugs and altitude sickness through the trek, but would still recommend taking the pre-pro-biotics with you, diarrhoea pills, diamox and anything else that gives you comfort that you will be covered should anything arise. Anti-bacterial hand gels are also of great benefit for meal times.
Bring plenty of memory cards and batteries for the camera as you will take photos all day long - at least 4GB probably.
A decenty sleeping bag is also essential, as it can get particularly cold higher up (below -10 at Gorak Shep). In winter it will be cold throughout the Khumbu Valley.
Good footwear (strong, waterproof) is also essential. Boots are definitely better than shows/trainers. I used Meindl Softline Ultra GTX and these were perfect.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Getting to Base Camp is achievable for anyone with reasonable fitness, due to the way that the trek leader managed our trek. A couple left the trek early after the climb up to Namche, but this was probably due to a mixture of altitude sickness (and taking diamox too late for it to be any benefit) and a possibly underlying condition.
It is the trip of a lifetime in surroundings and an enviroment that will inspire you. I can't recommend this trek highly enough.