Everest Base Camp Trek Day 8 part II: Trekking to Base Camp, avalanches & yeti prints

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ February 24th, 2012. Updated on February 20th, 2013. Published in: Travel blog » Nepal.
Mount Everest Base Camp Sign

There are many famous sign posts around the world, this is one of them …

The Trek to Mount Everest Base Camp

From cloud covered mountains to blue sky vistas of Kala Patthar and the remaining trail to Everest Base camp. The morning proved that in areas like the roof of the world things can change in an instant.

Narayan and I crunched through the snow out of Gorak Shep. My broken boots were already sodden, cold and icily wet from the mornings dance with the Yak. But this was little distraction to the pristine untouched beauty that surrounded us.

Trekking on snow covered rocks to base camp

While climbing up rocky frozen hills and walking along snowy horizontal trails was nice. The view to the right was legendary. Giant white mountains tore majestically out of the dark ground.

Their age and presence was what hit me more than where I was. Thousands have been before and seen them. Billions more have seen the photographs.

It is something else to walk the walk to Everest.

Yeti foot prints in the snow

Well, that was what we joked. In truth, even today, no one can tell me what these foot prints are from. Snow leopard tracks they are not. Neither are they mountain sheep. Something else was having a trek around Everest with us today. Musk deer or Goral?

You can click any of the photographs to enlarge them for a closer look!

Strange footprints in the snow at Everest Base Camp

Strange footprints in the snow at Everest Base Camp

Unidentified footprints in the snow at Everest Base Camp

Unidentified footprints in the snow at Everest Base Camp

More strange footprints in the snow at Everest Base Camp

Do you know what made these footprints? Let me know in the comments!

If you know what they are, let me know in the comments! Please leave a link to state your evidence! I can only think they are a little rabbits fresh tracks!

Climbing down to Khumbu glacier

Khumbu glacier is that long winding stretch of rock, rubble and ice you see under these majestic mountains. Millions of years old it is like the artery of life that joins this section of the Himalayas together.

View from Khumbu glacier

View from Khumbu glacier (click photograph for larger size)

Standing on it you nearly expect to feel something move. But it’s as solid as the earth itself. Taking a trek along it is not so easy though as the terrain is fraught with craters, heavy rocks, ice and deep holes. Up ahead is the basin that is the deserted camp. But look behind and be awestruck by the view of Khumbu glacier.

Avalanche on Everest!

Trekking back to the edge of the glacier and a distant crack. Up a little and straight across from us there is silence as a slice of mountain falls away in surreal motion.

Then echoing all around us we hear the heavy pounding of the avalanche. Almost as if losing part of its body the mountain bares a thick blueish scar where the snow broke away. Beneath it a plume of snow rises up.

Avalanche by Everest Base Camp Nepal

Avalanche by Everest Base Camp Nepal

Almost like deja vu we’d witnessed an avalanche near Throng La Pass on the Annapurna trek years before. It’s an incredible sight to behold. Scary, powerful and a reminder of what’s happening to our ice caps.

Making the final trek to Everest Base Camp

Base camp itself is covered in snow and ice at this time of year. During peak season the glacier where Everest summiteers camp is filled with brightly colored tents. Today, in the midst of the off-peak winter season, it’s a vacant spot of tundra. Not a person is to be seen.

Those trekking here will not see a wonderful vista. The glacier is magnificent. But if you come here to see Everest, you will be disappointed. I knew this before setting off. Hence the trek up Kala Patthar to get a great view of the Mount Everest Himalayan range. Gokyo also beholds another incredible vista.

Mount Everest Base Camp in the off season

Mount Everest Base Camp in the off season …  not a tent nor person in sight. Climb Kala Patthar beside it for a better view or the Himalayan range!

The mindset of “Everest”

Strangely when you tell people that you’ve been to Nepal. They will always ask. Have you been to Everest?

If you answer that you’ve seen it from Kala Patthar they will look a little confused at the strange name and a little disappointed. Yet if you tell them you’ve been to Everest Base Camp they will be full of bells and whistles for you. Even if you only get to see Everest’s tip.

My advise: go to both. You’ll get the views for yourself on Kala Patthar, and the story for everyone else by going to Everest Base Camp.

The return to Gorak Shep

The Longest Way Home Sticker on Everest Base Camp

It’s an unwritten tradition on Nepal treks to leave a little sticker behind on a door or small window. The Longest Way Home – was here …

For me it’s true, thousands of people have made the trek to Everest base camp. In peak conditions it’s not that hard if you do some preparation for the Everest Base Camp Trek and do not get altitude sickness.

The weather challenges you differently in the off-season. And broken boots can make it a whole different experience.

After all is said and done I can now leave my mark behind on the Everest Base Camp trek. This journal of my winter trek to Everest Base Camp and a single sticker among many others on a door at Gorak Shep.

Coming Soon:

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 8 part III (The journey back brings along some new adventures)

Note this trek took place in late December/early January in the off-peak winter season

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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28 Great responses to Everest Base Camp Trek Day 8 part II: Trekking to Base Camp, avalanches & yeti prints

  1. hayadeen says:

    congratulations dave!..

    i think i have the everest mind, because i didn’t know what/where/why Kala Patthar until i read your blog ;)

    about the footprints, erm..maybe marten?
    out of those 3 photos,

  2. Mandy says:

    Yay mission completion!!!

    Can I have a TLWH sticker? It would be cool to stick on the car rear windscreen especially when trap in the standstill traffic ;P

  3. Anna's World says:

    I’m going to guess Deer!

    Congrats by the way!!!

  4. Victoria says:

    Wow. What an awesome privilege to have experienced this magnificent natural beauty alone!! Deeply humbling and awe-inspiring. Can totally understand why you struggled through in winter, not-to-mention your iffy boots ;-) Well done.

  5. Greetings from Cambodia.

    Dave, great that you made it – was wondering – as each post rolled in – if events were going to conspire against you. Yeah, off season, potentially-shitty weather and other issues are better to take-the-chance than the blighted guarantee tons of tourists in season. Good one.

    By the way, I can confirm – as an expert in the field – that those footprints are in fact yet more evidence of alien – earth encounters ;)

    Lastly, excellent series of posts and pics on a great trek where you had excellent luck in a cool place. Well done.

    Regards – Michael

    • Hey Michael,

      Yea, it was touch and go for a while with the snow moving in. Only thing I’d really change were the broken boots. But even in hindsight I still don’t thing I could buy a pair in SEA.

      I might have to leave those paw prints as Alien encounters alright. Seems to be a mystery.

      Hope that tooth of yours is … well, better!

  6. Giulia says:

    Loving your updates more and more each time I get my copy in my mailbox :)
    I like the idea of the stickers, I think I’ll print some to start leaving mine around too!

  7. Keira says:

    Hey Dave, hello from Canada! I’m still loving reading about your travels and was particularly intrigued by the Everest Base Camp trek since I didn’t get a chance to do it. I do think you’re completely mental to do it with duct-taped boots!
    Anyways, my first thought when seeing the tracks was rabbit, but I can’t tell how big the tracks are so that makes identification a little tricky. I do know a bit about tracks from living in the the wilderness two winters but I’m not an expert in Nepalese wildlife!

    • Hi Keira, Glad to see you’re still following along!

      I wish it was duct-tape. I ended up wrapping them up in insulation tape. A poor-man’s equivalent in SEA I think!

      I’m thinking rabbit too. I was kicking myself not to put a foot down next to the for a size reference. I obviously wasn’t paying attention during “Big Foot” documentaries!!

  8. Barbara says:

    Oh, I want to believe they’re yeti tracks. Please tell me you found some stinky fur trapped on a thorny stick!
    I’d love to do the base camp trek. I am in awe of your sticking power at getting to your goal. Well done!

  9. Thank you for taking me with you to the top, Dave.

    Btw, here’s a fun account of Yeti footprints in the snow. May be of help in identifying your mystery tracks.

    Other than that, alien is it.(always a fan of the unknown):-)

  10. Loeffle says:

    Clearly Yeti tracks!!!

    Better contact Reinhold Messner
    at once ;)

  11. Loeffle says:

    Khumbu question from last post answered.

    One of my first adult books I read was the one by the mountaineer I named above, when he told about climbing all the tops higher than 8,000 metres.
    That’s more than 20 years ago, but I still remember than Khumbu glacier.

    I doubt that I ever will enjoy the view from Kala Patthar, so I thank you for taking me there!

    • Can’t believe I didn’t answer this comment! Sorry man. I think you should have more confidence. Nepal is not as warm a South East Asia, but it does get hot on some days. If you ever get a month of work, just do it and have a lifetime of memories! :)

  12. Ida says:

    I would like to know about using your images, and that I think it surely is a marten, (living in the snowy land of Finland for most of my life), Rabbit trail looks a lot different.

    There is a link to similar Marten prints. :)

    Having a big Mount Everest fever due to researching for work..