NEPAL & MT. EVEREST

October, 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. 
So why bother in the first place?
Just this: what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above.

One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. 
There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by what one sees higher up.

What one can no longer see, one can at least still know." - Rene Daumal

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

The trek to EBC starts in Lukla (with a flight into the craziest and shortest runway in the world) and follows a very clear trail to base camp, crossing with other significant trails along the way. You start in lush terrain and forests filled with birch trees. Each day is a steep struggle of straight up and straight down trails. The path not clean, but very rocky, covered in vines so you must watch where you step often. You are smashed on a tight trail with other trekkers, Jokyos, Sherpas, Porters and Yaks. All doing business in some sort of way.

 

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

Many villages have monestries and temples tucked away. Beautifully protected from western culture. Some are open to tourists, but many are closed to us…to protect the culture and religious practices. We visited the ones allowed, sat with monks in the mornings, and had tea in many monestaries and homes.

 

Show More

Lodging is "luxurious", in the fact that you can stay in fire-heated tea houses all the way to Gorkasép, some with wifi, and all serving copious amounts of Dal Baht. 

 

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

Over a few days, you switch from those amazing forests to high alpine terrain. Small bushes and incredible views of the Himalayas. It's dustier here...and the traffic lessens as you go on. Trekkers have veered off the basecamp trail to other trails, or turned around altogether. The trail changes to dirt...which changes to glacier and glacier silt. Before you know it, you are hiking on a glacier. Gray water (filled with glacier silt) flowing around you. Yak's take precedent and push you off the main path often, forcing you onto small ledges that overlook 1,000ft drops into crevasses. At Gorkasep, you are met with limited beds available in the only tea house, prices skyrocket for food, and most parties start their tent campaign. (The part of the trip where you sleep in tents from this point forward). 

 

© Kelli Spencer 2017

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

The days and nights get much colder, with wind whipping off of the summits of some of the greatest peaks on earth: Everest, Lhoste, Lobuche, Chola, Ama Dablam, Changtse, and more.

 

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

As the trip progressed, we moved from high alpine to glaciers, snow, and rock. We climbed through the Khumbu ice field, with sounds of avalanches falling very nearby and far away. A symphony of ice and rock crumbling under their own weight. As we climbed through, we were surrounded by towering ice walls, and crevasses that revealed the true size of the glacier. Glacier rivers poured into the crevasses, and turned into glacier waterfalls the higher we climbed.

 

Our early morning starts were met with cold air. When the sun finally shined, it was 20 degrees warmer than when we were in the shade. Any sun was welcome.

 

The nights were cold. So cold that even my toes and hands felt numb when I was tucked into my -30 sleeping bag, and they stayed cold for most of the trip. (In fact, a minor case of frostbite on my big toes should be proof enough).

 

PHOTO BY: BAL KUMAR RAI

So close to summit!

 

The views of the Khumbu region were stunning. Unreal. Breathtaking. Massive peaks draped in glaciers surrounded us. The Khumbu Ice field flowing out of the Khumbu valley. Fresh snow clung to the rocks in the lower valley, and higher up provided with wind trails. The views disappeared like clockwork almost daily around 3pm. Clouds rolled in, covering the valley in a dark shadow, blinding anyone on the mountain from progressing forward. Those same clouds brought fresh snow to the peaks, so every morning we were welcomed with a new view.

 

© Kelli Spencer 2017

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

© Kelli Spencer 2017

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

© Kelli Spencer 2017

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

No matter how many times I saw the Himalayas, no matter how high I was on my hike, I was constantly blown away by the scale, difficulty, and beauty of each mountain. No photo can do them justice, but they help provide a small idea of what it’s really like to be here and climb here.

 

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

© Kelli Spencer 2017

More photos from the trip:

 

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: BAL KUMAR RAI

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: BAL KUMAR RAI

PHOTO BY: BAL KUMAR RAI

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: BAL KUMAR RAI

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: RAI FAMILY

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: EDDIE MCHUGH

PHOTO BY: BAL KUMAR RAI

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: TOURIST

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: KELLI SPENCER

PHOTO BY: TOURIST