ISB Alumni : Travel Tales


A lot of times in life, we have an opportunity to do something much bigger than ourselves and accomplish something intangibly precious in the process. The trek to the Everest Base Camp was one such opportunity. A joint effort between the ISB Adventure Club SIG and the Adventure club of XLRI ensured that 17 members of ISB community made it to the Everest Base Camp and back to tell the tale.

I, Sahil Kaul along with nine other ISBians set upon the journey in four different batches to accommodate schedules. The best season to go for this would be in between March-May.

The trek to Everest Base Camp required 11 days of climbing to Lukla and back. The distances were over 150+ kms on the mountain terrain. Clearly, this was something none in the group had attempted so far.
Out trek started from Lukla and progressed through a very tough second day uphill climb to Namche Bazar. The third day was an acclimatisation day climb to the first view we had of the mighty Everest. The fourth day saw us navigate our way to the beautiful monastery town of Tengboche after a strenuous last stretch of 3 hours. On the fifth day, we walked across the fields to the picturesque Dingboche surrounded by snow-mountains. The sixth day was another acclimatisation day climb to the Nagarjuna Parvat peak. The seventh day was the coldest as we struggled through a snow blizzard that blinded us on our way to Lobuche and finally, on the eighth day we reached Gorakshep and subsequently the Everest Base Camp.
There is a decent physical preparedness that is needed as it involves anything between 6-10 hours of walking every day. While the trek isn’t daunting, the lack of oxygen and the risk of AMS (acute mountain sickness) impacts people majorly. Prior high altitude experience really helps. A strong mental resolve and a risk appetite to tread through bare minimum paths also goes a long way.

While words may substitute feelings and pictures may substitute views, what transpired was nothing short of challenging. Our group walked through paths that were extremely narrow and exposed to the valley below. There is a certain mental strength required to push your body in case of adversities. What each of us realized is that the major block is not the external environment but our reaction to it. Physical ailments and minor breathlessness impacted some of us. While it was not advisable to trek through pain or illness, sometimes the mind is capable of much more, above bodily peril or physical pains.

It was a journey full of roadblocks that came our way, some figurative and a lot many literal, but at the end of the trip, the grit to make it and the will to protect a dream outlasted any pain the body suffered. A lot of people asked me why I would trek to the Everest Base camp and the response that came to mind reminded me of what the ace mountaineer George Mallory told reporters when they asked him why he wanted to climb the Everest, “Because it is there”. Perhaps, someday I’ll get to do a Mallory for real.

This article was written by Sahil Kaul, Alumnus from PGP Class of 2017