Travel Tales - Everest Base Camp Trek - the Ups & Downs

People say trekking and MBA don’t gel together. I say otherwise! Firstly because ISB has taught us that a lot can be accomplished in a 24 hour day, And secondly, a long trek is more or less a revision of some learnings of life that we tend to take for granted, just like the MBA!

                Nishant Suri, Dhruv Loshali, Milan Partani & Ankit Maheswari - The 4 ISBians on the way to EBC                      

On 23rd April, a day after completing the Co’19 orientation week, 4 ISBians joined 4 trekkers from the Bangalore Trekking Club in Kathmandu, to take on the 140 km walk to the base of the world’s highest mountain, over an altitude gain of over 9000 ft! The ever so beautiful Himalayas kept rising higher and higher, as we trekked past majestic views of a few 6000m peaks towards the mighty 8000m peaks of the Everest Range. With the decreasing temperature & air pressure, our anticipation of getting closer to the base camp rose by the day and we finally made it to the Khumbu glacier, the ever-changing park of ice walls after smiling past hundreds of trekkers, going up & down scores hills, running across dozens of bridges, passing through tens of mountain passes and walking our hearts out. Exhausted but Elated!!

                                                                                  The entire group                                                                                  

I wanted to write about the journey and how we tackled the low oxygen levels and so on and so forth, but now I realize there was so much more to it.
After a lot of planning, shopping, packing & repacking, and repeating the circle until we left our Kathmandu Hostel, we got ready to leave for Lukla on our scariest flight journey ever, happy that we are up and about! But this, as we later realized, was the easy part. Having myself organized several treks with BTC, I was pretty confident (Read: over-confident) about our capability to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek with ease. How wrong was I!! From the moment we reached the airport, what lied ahead of us was a grueling mix of physical, mental and emotional challenge that none of us had ever imagined.

                                                    Trekking at about 5200m, the last push towards EBC                                                        

From the patience of waiting 4 hours for a flight to the pain from carrying a 12kg backpack; From the fear of heights to the loss of appetite; From the constant thought haunting “if it’s worth it?” to the idea of taking a heli-evac; From the awe of meeting a person who has summited Mt. Everest 4 times to the goosebumps when visiting Scott Fischer’s memorial, This trek was more of a revelation for us than an experience.

A revelation that:

  • No matter how tired or drained you might be, there’s always some energy left for one last push and then one more. Else we would never have made it to the end and back through the clouds, fog, rain, and snow!
  • No matter how talented and skillful you are, there is always someone who can do it better and quieter than you. We bickered about the weight of our bags while the porters walked past us carrying 30kgs on their backs!
  • Reaching the top needs strength, deciding not to push further when the risks are high, takes much more than that. If not this time, you can always come back for another go!
  • No matter how low the resources be, you can always, I repeat - always, make do. We survived 11 days in the mountains with just 2 pairs of clothes, no laundry, 2 baths and absolutely basic food - who would have thought!
  • No matter where you come from, the mountains treat you the same.

We had some of the most humbling experiences on the mountains when a lodge owner checked on our health on arrival, when a stalwart climber shared his climbing stories through the night, or when Indra bhaiya, (our porter) smiled and thanked us when we offered him “masala papad” and when a double amputee crawled his way to the base camp.

                                     The view just says it all - all the pain and breathlessness totally worth it!!                                

The mountains taught us to be modest and keep going, to respect others and most importantly, to keep smiling, no matter what!! This journey was in a way, a continuation of our MBA, reminding us to keep pushing, stay determined and be grounded. The learnings apart, we will remember this journey, the memories and ‘Papaji’ for the rest of our lives.

Thank you EBC :)

Ankit Maheswari
PGP Co’18