Our Accounts Manager Karen, has recently completed a new personal challenge that took her to the lofty heights of 17,600ft at Everest Base Camp.
Safely back in the UK Karen reflects on her epic journey: “I took up this challenge as it was an opportunity of a lifetime to join my partner. It was a scary decision as I knew I would have to face my fears - altitude sickness, scary flight into Lukla airport, the heights, crossing suspension bridges, whether I would be fit enough, if I got ill, getting pushed off the mountain by a yak, being the weakest link, not showering or washing my hair - to name but a few.
"As soon as I had made the booking I started running. I went from not being able to run even a mile without stopping for breath, to running five miles non-stop within a month. Every chance to exercise I took, but it was a fine line between feeling as though I wasn’t doing enough, to doing too much and getting an injury.
"On arriving in Nepal, we had a few days before beginning our trek so we made the most of exploring the local attractions and area as much as possible. In fact, we arrived late for our initial Base Camp meeting as we were totally spellbound whilst witnessing a couple of Hindu cremations on the river in nearby Pashupatinath.
“From our starting point in Lukla, it took eight days of tough trekking up, up and up to finally reach Everest Base Camp. Two of these days were acclimatisation days so we stayed at the same place to get used to the new higher altitude, even though this involved another hike higher up the mountain, then back down to sleep.
“When we reached Base Camp, I was hungry and physically the weakest I have ever felt in my life! I kept thinking ‘I’ve got to walk back yet…!’ Despite all this, I didn’t have any altitude sickness and just couldn’t believe I had made it! Little ole me! Once I ate my boiled egg snack I felt numb with disbelief and numb with the cold but so happy!
“My most favourite parts of the trip have to be the sheer beauty of the mountains, the amazing waterfalls, the peace, to be somewhere so remote and close to nature, to be higher than the clouds and to watch helicopters below you and resembling a speck in the distance. Just so bizarre! Meeting our fellow trekking buddies and then spending the next 14 days with them. Experiencing the highs and the lows together and of course the banter we all had kept us going too. Our brilliant Nepalese guides, without which would’ve made the trip much, much harder. They looked after us so well, they are experts in the mountain, know exactly how much to push you, when you should rest, drink, eat etc.
“Would I do it again, no? I faced many of my fears and I feel like it’s given me so much more confidence in myself but I don’t feel any need to do it again or go higher. In fact, I think now I deserve a proper tropical beach holiday.”