The day that we had been working towards had finally arrived. Excitement filled the air. A 7 am wake up call, a quick breakfast of oats and …who the hell cares… “We are about to trek to our final UPWARD destination- Everest Base Camp! With a deep inhalation of brisk Himilayan air, we set foot outside the tea house at Gorak Shep. Even the smallest of noises are crushingly clear at 16,942 feet. Shrills of chisels against rock, think tink tink, as 15 men build new rock dwellings at a painstaking rate, tink tink tink. The sips and slurps of tea drinkers. The crunch of our feet over rock and snow, the slide of small pebbles as we push them behind. The whistle of the wind over the dreamy peaks that surround the desolate roof of Gorak Shep. The sounds of Everest are a beautiful symphony. And when you add such music behind a sense of impending accomplishment, your whole body beams with light. Atleast, that is how it was for me as we set off for the last ascent.
From what we have heard, most people who trek to EBC experience crowded trails and muddled views. For us, the moment we arrived to base camp was anything but crowded. Anything but muddled. We were honestly THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE. The time we spent in silence and in awe is unforgettable. We felt proud. We felt as one. One with each other and every atom of our incredible universe. Thinking of all the trails we had traveled, all the blisters and pains the trails gave, the scent of pine and glacier water, all the kind souls we had met and the stunning beauty of mother nature that encompassed us. It was truly hypnagogic. As we stared into the eyes of Everest, trying to grab a hold of the beauty of this moment, placing it in our memory, we heard her roar. The end to Everest’s private symphony. Luckily it was only a warning roar. As Everest raised her voice and sent an avalanche down, we stood in caution, suddenly becoming even more aware that with beauty sometimes lies danger, for large boulders the size of small cars and SUVs lied behind us. Fortunate for us, Everest’s movements were only strong enough to spew snow. So, no boulders came our way. But, moving quietly, we could feel the deepening of surface cracks over the glacier we were standing on. I felt quite timid to be honest. Questioning which way to move: forward on into Base Camp or retracting a bit to look over Base Camp. An impossible decision, which Rob made for us. Forward of course. Despite the danger that lurked with every footstep. And then a second avalanche came down. Now, we not only heard, but listened to Mother Nature’s message. Once we were in a safe zone again, I realized I had not been breathing for a while down there. But now, we were all three safe, and for that, I felt grateful. Grateful for safety in the moment, for the incredible life I have lived thus far, the man I love standing next to me, for kind souls in the world such as our guide Rakesh and our porter Saroj, for my family, for my friends, for the earth which provides us life and for the universe- which reminds us that we are all ONE.
Before heading back to Gorak Shep, we took the picture you see above. We made it. All, 17,598 ft. Life is a beautiful adventure.