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How Breathtaking Can It Be? Everest Base Camp Trek Day Three

We awake to see plumes of our breath in the room. It’s a quick rush to the bathroom and I dress hastily. Teahouse bedrooms are not heated but who cares when you wake up to this view.

View of Namche Bazaar
View of Namche Bazaar from our teahouse

Namche Bazaar

In the daylight, Namche Bazaar looks like a bustling Himalayan town with gift shops, bars, restaurants, pharmacies, and numerous hiking stores. There are even some bakeries and coffee shops. It’s not at all what I expected when I booked this trip. I’d envisaged a tiny little village with a few ramshackle houses, not this metropolis!

Namche Bazaar village
Namche Bazaar village

Morning: acclimatisation walk to Everest View Hotel

We leave the hotel around 8 am for the four-hour loop to the Everest View Hotel. As we climb from the town the views become more and more dramatic with glistening peaks perched atop woodland clinging to the steep mountainside.

It’s a tough slog and I’m struggling to regulate my breathing. Even at the back of the group and going ‘slowly, slowly’ I feel but a moment away from a panic attack. John (our guide) coaches us through diaphragmatic breathing encouraging us to fully fill the chest cavity. I recall the frustrations I felt when I was learning this technique in yoga teacher training and it’s even more difficult at altitude.

Acclimitisation walk from Namche Bazaar
Acclimitisation walk from Namche Bazaar

Worrying thoughts race through my mind, such as:

How will I cope with higher altitude if I’m struggling now?

Will I hold up the entire group?

Will they be behind because of me?

Or worse yet, ‘will they send me packing because I just aren’t good enough?

I ask myself why I did this – after all, I’m supposed to be on vacation and yet I’m thoroughly stressed. I wanted to see what I was physically capable of and whether I would have the mental strength to complete this challenge. So, I plod on, one small step at a time, trying to give my body time to adjust to the altitude. Not thinking of how far I have to go, but just one small step at a time and it seems to work.

Views on our acclimitisation walk
Views on our acclimitisation walk

Snow-covered peaks

It’s our first day of spotting snow-covered peaks and it is truly breathtaking. These are not small peaks but mega mountains. Stern, strong and overpowering they rise dramatically around the bowl of Namche Bazaar.

The track is relentless however and I find I must stop frequently to rest. It’s unbelievably frustrating but Ally (one of the group members) drops back to keep me company and distract me from my torment. It’s humbling but I’m grateful. I soon realise that getting to Everest base camp is a team effort, where group support is essential.

Yaks in Namche Bazaar
Yaks in Namche Bazaar

Occasionally we hurriedly rush to the side of the track to avoid being mown down by another yak train. In reality, these animals are not yaks but a cross between a cow and a yak. Lower down in the valley, thoroughbred yaks become ill due to the lower altitude, whereas these animals can cope at this height. They lumber up the pathways, their bells tinkling, lurching from side to side and occasionally barging towards us. The herders shout instructions at them, urging them on, whilst we repeatedly snap photos of them against the backdrop of the mountains.

Everest view lodge

We eventually reach the Everest view lodge, which is both a hotel and trekkers’ hangout. A large indoor area leads to a spacious terrace overlooking Everest. Sadly, today is not the day for us to catch our first glimpse of the mighty mountain, as the wilderness in front is shrouded in cloud. Instead, we order hot chocolates and sip on them whilst chatting and joking.

Action Challenge group
Our Action Challenge group

Action Challenge group

Our group is comprised of 24 people including a medic and UK guide. We also have 8 Sherpas guiding us and liaising with the locals. The group is full of characters. There’s Steve from Leeds who is a cheeky, chatty chap (yes even chattier than me) who briefly considers exchanging his girlfriend for a yak (don’t worry Steve, I won’t tell her!). Then there’s Schweta, an investment manager from London who likes a selfie and becomes affectionately known as ‘princess’ during our trip. Daisy the doctor truly lives up to her birth name, being bright as a daisy and cheerily shouting greetings to everyone we pass. But let’s not forget Goldie, whose endless positivity urges us up some of the steeper sections of the mountain paths in our quest to reach Base Camp.

Beautiful plant life on Everest Base Camp trek
Beautiful plant life on Everest Base Camp trek

The joy of this challenge is not only the sublime views but the diverse mix of people. Everyone has a story to tell and it is fascinating getting to know people as we take on the arduous climb, although oftentimes I simply do not have enough breath to speak. So, yes it is pretty darn breathtaking!

Return to Namche Bazaar

We return to Namche via Syangboche Airport which is little more than a rock-strewn swathe of land. We spend the afternoon wandering the streets and shop for a few necessities including snacks and pharmacy items.

Namche Bazaar views
Namche Bazaar views

Namche is a quaint town nestled into a mountainside bowl, with colourful houses in tiers on the hillsides. It reminds me of a ski resort except that I’m not drinking due to the constant altitude sickness (headaches of varying intensity). Hopefully we can have some fun here on the descent!

Namche Bazaar prayer wheel
Namche Bazaar prayer wheel

Why Everest Base camp?

To find out more about our trek to Everest Base Camp sign up for our travel the globe 4 less newsletter. You will be notified when posts go live. In the meantime, you can also read:

Everest Base Camp trek – day one

Everest Base Camp trek – day two

Finally, we are raising money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. If you can spare any money to help their cause please visit our justgiving page.

Day three route

And here is our route for day three.

Fast facts

Height change:

Namche Bazaar (3,443 metres) to Everest View Mountain Lodge (3,962 metres)

Distance travelled:

5km

Trekking time:

4 hours

Overnight digs:

Hotel Sherpaland. Comfortable rooms with en-suite facilities and even bedding is provided.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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9 comments

  1. I am looking forward to be in the EBC please let me know the suitable time to EBC thanks

    • Most companies seem to offer trips between February and May and September and December which are outside the monsoon season. However I would also bear in mind that the tea houses are not heated and thus November, December and February might be chillier at night. We travelled in October and the days were beautiful and warm but nights were really chilly (particularly above Dingboche). Also if you go in the depths of winter the chances of snow will likely increase and the last stretch to EBC involves clambering over boulders which I imagine get very sloppy during those periods. That said I’m no expert as this post and others in the series simply recounts my experience of being there last month. If you want to explore further, I would speak to a number of operators and ask their advice as they will be able to address these queries and others you may have.

  2. Ramayah Rasiah

    Hoping to do ebc in late March.

    • If you put Everest in my search bar you will find some posts which might be of interest if you are thinking about a trip. There’s loads of things that really surprised me but in a good way mainly

  3. I’m very interested in find out more information about the Base Camp trip.

    Sounds amazing.

  4. Nepal needs to increase the fees 5x and use 3x if those fees to remove the garbage on the mountains.

    Also increase the fees for littering should be increased 100x and 50 came beatings.

    • Have to confess I was really shocked by some of the littering. I cannot imagine why anyone would think it acceptable to come to such an amazing country and just leave their trash on the mountain. They should be ashamed of themselves!

      • Benjamin Bernstein

        The Nepalese government should stop treks not only for littering sake but the human traffic when I was there was ridiculous at Everest, and I was one of those people, I loved every aspect and as much as the tourism trade helps the locals, the condition of the beauty and splendor will only continue to become disheveled. I only say this because I’ve seen not only the majesty and splendor of that part of the world but the wear and tear my a heavy presence of man.

        • Don’t you think that’s a tad hypocritical though if you have done the trek? You’ve done it so now they should stop it? I do think the littering is disgraceful but in a country which has extreme poverty they need all the revenue they can get.

          Personally I think the trekking companies should be more responsible and educate people about this and tell them it isn’t acceptable. They will kick them off the trips etc if they don’t respect it. Our company never had that conversation with us which I found a little disappointing but I did not leave anything littering the mountain. I wouldn’t do it at home and I sure as hell wasnt going to start there but then clearly some tourists don’t care about the mess they leave

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