I was supposed to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla just me and the air hostess, but sadly it got cancelled in the middle of takeoff – I did get to pose with my “Faces of Nepal” t-shirt. The one I’m wearing is a sample where I realised the print had to be bigger. So the real size is what you see on the second picture.
Ps. Lukla airport is rated “P” for Poooop your pants at landing and takeoff 💩🛫
Buy the t-shirt here:
1 dollar from each item sold goes to support WWF & Unicef 😊🙏🏻
Trekking to Everest Basecamp in a fat suit
After month of trying to put together a decent looking web-shop for the blog – it felt like my body had aged a 100 years from the cycling shape I had spent a year and a half building up only 5 month earlier – my back hurt like hell and everytime I climbed more than 5 sets of stairs it felt like I was wearing a fat suit.
So naturally I looked for the dumbest way to kickstart my flabby form back into shape – and being in Nepal it seemed silly not to visit Mount Everest. 22o’clock at night Thursday, nearly ready for my website launch, I bought a plane ticket leaving for Lukla about 7 – 8 hours later and started looking for the most unnecessary things possible to drag with me on the 50 kilometer route up the mountain – Great things like cooking set (wtf), sleeping bag, a mattress, a fucking tent of course, a notebook for some reason, my Mac, 2 fat lenses a tripod and God know what else.
Fun fact, because Everest Basecamp is probably one of the most visited trekking routes in the world, you don’t need any of these things, well a camera is a good idea – but there are lodges/little mini hotels all along the route and little popup shops with enough climbing gear for you to start your own expedition up to the top of Everest – for quadruple the prices of course – which are around the same prices you would give if you bought it in Denmark.
I had 13 days to get up and down… Or actually, 12, because I spent 1 day in Lukla finishing the shop… Well, I say 12, but it’s more like 11 because I have to catch my flight back to Kathmandu in morning on the 17th.
Quick tip, anyone can trek up to Everest Basecamp, and I mean anyone! I met a guy with no feet crawling up there – so I would be confident enough to drag even my old parents with me one day, no problem – but, don’t be in a hurry and do try to at least walk in the days before, so your feet remember how.
When I finally got going Sunday morning, I figured a small 18 kilometer walk from Lukla’s 2860 meters to Namche’s 3440 meters would be a good first day, and then I could spend a day in Namche to acclimatise – Unknown to me though – the Yakkie Yak burger I scoffed down the night before was also in a hurry – which meant I now had what you in leimans terms call – Ass-fountain.
So after walking the first 14 kilometers to the Himalayan Lodge outside of Jorsalle and thoroughly ignoring the lodge owners warning about this being the last lodge before Namche, a 4 kilometre walk 500 meter straight up, I ended up sleeping only 1 kilometer from the nearest lodge in the middle of the forest – so yippie for bringing all that extra stuff ey. Luckily I found a little toilet (important) with a roof where I could park my sleeping bag for the night.
So, great start!
Some things can cost up to 6 – 7 times more than in Kathmandu, but you just don’t care when you see how people drag it every day, all the way up to basecamp itself. If you need a shower the water is heated by these big gas canisters, which means you all of a sudden become both really smelly and reeeeally good at getting out of the shower FAST! 🚿⚡ #dadwouldbeproud
Why Jebus? Why?
Pretty much all the way up this dumb mountain, like always my mind keeps asking the same question: ”WHAT – THE – FUCK?” – Followed by: ”See those whirly things flying above? You could just rent one! Seriously, walking, why?”.
When things are tough your brain uses 90 percent of its time telling you how to get out of it in the easiest possible way, and the other 9 percent asking you “Why?” – “For the love of Jebus, why are we doing this?” – The last 1 percent is reserved for “Hey, look a cow” and “Oh oh, time to pooh again”.
A couple of months ago I started this whole web-shop project because it felt like something was missing from the trip all of a sudden, and I thought that was it – I thought I needed something to do – which is half true.
After a couple of tiresome days of walking, I found a book called “Beneath a scarlet sky” in a lodge only 15 kilometers from Everest – Having nothing else to do with no power on my all of my gear, I gulped up the first 100 pages and disappeared into a story about a young Italian guy called Pino Lella living in Milan during the second world war. Pino Lella is a true person who at the age of only 17 guided several jews from Italy and into Switzerland before he became a spy for the allies.
Like most things WW2, it’s a crazy story, a sad story and luckily also a good story, because we know it ends well.
I was reading this thing and all of a sudden realized what had been missing. On the bike every day I talked to what for an introvert felt like a 100 people, influencing what would happen that day, and where I would go tomorrow.
So basically, what was missing was being able to look back at “the time” I had such bad diaria from eating a Yak burger, I had to sleep in a forest in the Himalayas. And only 3 days later sitting in a lodge listening to real climbers talk about climbing Everest and Lhotse – having helicopters buzzing around picking up people hit by AMS and dropping new climbers off – every day meeting up with superhuman like Nepalese men and women casually saying “Namastay” as they overtake me on their way up the mountain with a house on their back.
Learning new skills like photography, videography, writing, building a web-shop and so on is awesome and something you need for a trip like this to not feel like you’re just aimlessly flopping about – but if you forget to live your own adventure so to speak – then everything else becomes meaningless.
“Running for the hills”
Day 6 of the Everest Trek I thought my body had finally figured out that there would be no more whiskey until this was done, so I managed to pick up the pace a bit and overtake a bunch of the other tourists heading the same way – happy as a clam I reached Lobuche, the last village I was supposed to stay in before basecamp, and then it happened – a sudden and massive headache followed by a complementary fever.
Lobuche is just shy of 5000 meters up and it cost you 8000 dollars if you need an emergency evacuation from here – Which wasn’t really the problem since I’ve been throwing money after a crazy expensive travel insurance for that last 2 years – no the problem was really, is this bad?
The route is plastered with tourists, who all of them has a story they heard from someone who heard it from someone else. They all end the same way, some idiot (sounds like me) goes up the trail to fast (possibly) in too bad shape (definitely me), and is found dead somewhere days later after complaining about a headache and hard of breathing. There are several different variations of this story, and short of running up the mountain with your fingers in your ears going “Lalalalala, not listening” you won’t be able to escape it.
So after sitting in the lodge for a good hour with the thumper banging away at my brain, trying to figure out if I should start “running for the hills”, the nicest couple from Chile told me they’d had had the same problem and were puking at the end of the night – so they gave a couple of pills that help against that sort of thing – and it did, almost instantly – except for a small side effect, that made my whole body prick and tingle more than it’s done since I was a teenager. But who cares, I didn’t puke, die or worse turn back around.
If you haven’t read “Into thin air” yet, it’s a good read no matter if you’re a “stay-at-home-dad” or an inspiring Wonder woman Everest climber. The stories you hear all the way up about AMS are there for a reason – we’re not made for climbing mountains, and you notice there are casualties beyond count passing by all the memorials on your way up warning you to be careful.
The oldest lesson in some book
Day 8 of the Everest Trek – I don’t give a toss about most motto’s – all those feel-good sentences someone may or may not have said a bajillion years ago. I like the ones that come to you no matter what language you speak, or where you’re from, the ones that are so true that you have to be a real dummy to miss.
Everest basecamp wasn’t all that impressive, it’s a spot a bunch of people has agreed is the best place to start their Everest climb from, and being there looking at a bunch of yellow tents doesn’t all of a sudden change how you look at the world – if it did my multiple trips to Roskilde Festival should in that case have turned me into some sort of Gandhi’esk person instead of a babbling pee soaked idiot.
The only life lesson you learn from trekking to Everest basecamp is probably one of the oldest in some book – It’s about the journey up there, all the people you meet the new sites you see and the experience of pushing yourself beyond what you normally do – and not actually seeing the tents parked near some mountains.
And the obligatory I’ve been here pic, 7 days later, thinner & smellier but a whole lot happier 😜
This was cool – A great trek, and that’s coming from a giant trek noobi.
The orange jacket is “James-the-American”, we were racing to the top, I’m not sure he knew – but we were and I won.