Everest Base Camp Challenge
2nd Ahoghill Company Section officers Ryan Young and Thomas Clarke took on the extreme elements and high altitudes of the Himalayas as they trekked to Everest Base Camp in aid of a local charity.
The fundraising event had been organised by Friends of VisPa, to fund the build of a new primary school in Kisumu, Kenya. The money raised will greatly improve the lives of around 300 vulnerable children in the area.
The challenge began on Saturday 6th October as a group of nineteen Friends of VisPa supporters flew to Nepal from Dublin Airport. The group also included Company secretary Geoffrey Young, and past 2nd Ahoghill leaders Liz Davison, Colin Hayburn, James McBride and David Wylie.
After spending a night in the capital city of Kathmandu, the team rose early on Monday morning to catch an exciting Twin Otter flight to the infamous Lukla airport (2,840m). The short flight offered fantastic views of the breathtaking scenery which would play host to the group during their two week adventure, including a brief glimpse of Everest itself.
After meeting their guides in Lukla, the group began their ascent with a 12km trek along the banks of the Dudh Kosi river to the village of Monjo (2,835m) where they settled down for their first night in the mountains.
Tuesday’s hike included the impressive Hillary suspension bridge which towers above the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and Bhote Kosi. After this was a steep two hour climb up “Namche Hill” to the bustling market town of Namche Bazaar (3,450m), where the team would stay the next three nights.
The following days included acclimatisation hikes to the Sherpa Museum (3,600m) and Shangbouche Hill (3,900m), as well as a game of football with the guides. The remaining time was spent immersed in the local culture as the team explored the market stalls and bartered for souvenirs.
The group continued their ascent on Friday as they left Namche and trekked through a dense fog towards their next rest stop in Tengbouche (3,900m), opposite the impressive architecture of the local monastery.
Saturday’s trek followed the Imja Khola valley 10km to the picturesque farming village of Dingbouche (4,410m), where the team remained for an acclimatisation hike to 4,900m the next day.
The ascent continued again on Monday as the group travelled to Lobouche (4,940m) for the night, with the second half of the trek noticeably colder as the team skirted the edges of the nearby glaciers.
The following day began with a 5km trek to Gorek Shep (5,180m), where the group stopped for lunch ahead of their final ascent to base camp.
The team finally arrived at Base Camp (5364m) on the afternoon of Tuesday 16th and got an amazing view of the treacherous Khumba Icefall, from which climbers begin their summit attempts. With the sun beginning to set there was just enough time for a few group photos before the team trekked back to Gorek Shep for the night.
Those looking an extra challenge rose before dawn the next morning to climb Kala Patthar (5,550m) for breathtaking sunrise views of Mount Everest and the surrounding peaks.
The final three days of the trek were long descents back towards Lukla, with overnight stops at Periche (4,200m) and Namche Bazaar (3,450m).
After a final night in the mountains at Lukla, the team flew back to Kathmandu to spend their remaining time exploring the market streets around the hotel before their return flight to Dublin on Sunday 21st October.
A massive thank you to everyone who supported the team financially and prayerfully; and a special mention to the fantastic Sherpa guides from Ian Taylor Trekking who looked after us during the trek.
If you would like to support the work of VisPa, you can donate via the Friends of VisPa JustGiving page.