Everest Base Camp Trek Day 11: Trekking at night

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ March 7th, 2012. Updated on February 20th, 2013. Published in: Travel blog » Nepal.
Red Sunset on the Himalayas

Red Sunset on the Himalayas

Two nights arriving in darkness on the Everest Trail

My own oxygen high came with some stupid risks too. Due to my broken boots we could only go slowly. Yet our side trips to see things like the Nepalese Tahr kept us occupied. As a result we arrived into Namche Bazaar just as darkness was setting in.

We sat with the Italians and drank hot chocolate by candle light around a meek wooden stove with a young German who was trying to make it to Gokyo with his guide. Tails of snow, ice and costs lead us well passed dinner. He then told us of some crazy Japanese man he’d met sleeping out in an arctic tent looking for wildlife.

Narayan and I looked at each other and remembered another crazy Japanese man years ago … it could never be the same man. Then again, it was Nepal, so it would be no surprise if it was.

The Italians recalled meeting another guy wanting to climb Everest in the off-season. A strange man with nothing more than a single backpack. We concluded he was already back in Kathmandu in the Rumdoodle with a bottle of Kukuri rum.

The conversation reminded me of old school backpacking. When people had to ask where the good places were, how to get there and the characters they met on the way

Suspension bridge in Nepal

Suspension bridges can be good or bad … slightly better if crossed in daylight

The next day we left early. It wasn’t going to be possible to make it all the way to Lukla in one day. Not at the rate I held us back. Day 12 we would be leaving Lukla even if it meant trekking at night. Quite why we were rushing I don’t know.

Maybe it was the rush of oxygen, maybe it was the “been there, done that” effect. Or maybe, it was the adrenaline rush of trekking at night.

Trekking at night on the Everest Base camp trail

As the sun dipped low I felt that euphoric mix of adrenaline and oxygen kick in. My mind was sharper. I could think two steps ahead. My body was on auto pilot. We left the Italians behind and marched on into the night.

Snow and ice were still on the ground, but the trail at this end was well-worn and the there was little danger of slipping.

Sun over the Himalayas

When the sun goes down over the Himalayas, it gets dark quickly

Little danger that is until the skies went from dark blue, to navy and finally black with swirls of stars and faint rifts of the milky way.

Trees surrounded us now, and they blocked out the moons brief glow as clouds moved in to throw us into a near pitch black trail. Head torches on I realized why a high-powered one is essential at for night trekking.

Push ahead at all costs

Narayan was near laughing at this stage. It was a complete turn around from a few days ago. I was stripped down to wearing only a shirt and although felt the cold air it no longer penetrated. Being on autopilot with excess oxygen pumping through our veins meant we just get going along the trails.

Before me my weak head torch warned of lose rocks, and hidden dips. A long cold steel suspension bridge rattled away in the darkness. Finally distant yellow lights on a hill popped into view. We had made it …

Phakding at night

The final hill was a struggle as we hadn’t eaten since lunch. Adding to this there’d been a late flight arrival at Lukla. A group of Koreans were making their way to an expensive hotel lit up like a 5 star generals tent. They pushed and shoved along the narrow trail like the stubborn Yaks that followed them.

Their porters kindly whispering apologies on their behalf with the tales of a late flight.

“I am reminded of how we are getting closer to civilization again.”

Meeting more travelers and sharing stories

Back at the same lodge where we first started our trek from I treated myself to an expensive steak. Not so good, but it was a reward. We were the only guests aside from a female priest also on the way back, but sensibly taking her time.

Steak dinner on the Everest Trail

Steak dinner over worldwide tales of adventure

She was studying religious history at the Vatican and I has hooked for the night. So more stories of what happened on our treks became mingled with the human element of religions answers born from historical evidence.

It’s here in Nepal that I truly enjoy the company of other travelers.

There is no talk of package tours. What food they like to eat. No murmurings of what’s out of date in a guidebook. What they say to do. How much cheaper they got it for than you. No talk of beer nor idle chat about cool places to see.

Here things are different. And, I’m not quite sure why. Maybe they are not travelers, but self challengers. Or maybe I just don’t want to say why I prefer the people I meet here compared to other places. All I know is that I do prefer it. By far.

The last day on the Everest Trail

Tomorrow there would be no rest. We needed to get into Lukla well before the first flight and try to reserve a ticket to fly out. I’ll be honest and say I would have preferred the company and conversation of the Russian Priest than a morning of trekking.

But like nearly all interesting people you meet, it’s usually only for a fleeting moment.

Instead we had a distraction ahead of us.

We were about to fly off the side of a cliff on one of the shortest and highest runway in the world!

Coming Soon

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 12 (Lukla at dawn, and a video of the crazy flight!)

The Everest Base Camp Guide:

Planning a trip to Nepal and trekking to Everest Base Camp? For all the details on what to do, when to go, permits need, costs, maps and much more check out my dedicated Guide to Everest Base Camp.

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9 Great responses to Everest Base Camp Trek Day 11: Trekking at night

  1. H says:

    nooo..i can sense that this story of epic journey is about to end. i love the everest series, very much!
    i think u should climb another mountain after this, pleaseee..


    • Yep, tomorrow’s the last post about the Everest Trek. I was going to follow it up with a “How to” but “Someone” mentioned about wanting to see Holi ;)

      Also there’s an important anniversary next week I want to cover.

      No more treks until after tourist season I think!

  2. Anna's World says:

    Sounds dangerous to me! Glad you made it back in one piece. Looking forward to reading about the flight back!

  3. Eric L says:

    I don’t think I could handle trekking at night. I’m guessing but I think all that oxygen might be the cause of all this?

  4. What an amazing adventure! I like your quote– that on this trip you finally enjoy other travelers. I can see that :) BTW what is on that steak– cheese?!

    • There’s a different breed of traveler here alright. I like it :)

      The steak sauce is a kind of tomato sauce thing. I think they make it from tomato soup … well … I guess they have to make do with whatever they have to hand!

  5. I like what you said about self-challengers.

    But I have a sneaking suspicion that what you experienced comes with doing a strenuous trek and the comraderie of sharing war stories. When the self-challengers get back down, they’ll turn into travelers again…. sharing the war stories of cost comparisons, where to go, etc… ;-)

    I’m a big believer in mankind and its human tendencies.

    Although Nepal could be a special place as well. When I was there, I met locals; but absolutely no fellow travelers. How that’s possible, I dunno.