Base Camp BABY!

So, as I marshal on with less communication…..and fewer showers, I increasingly get fatigued. That is OK, though, cuz it is what I signed up for. I am far slower than the group. Three went up Kala Pathar on their own  and got great views. I got rest and tried to eat. But it was cold in the tea house so I went to bed right after dinner. No liar’s dice! So we got up and headed out to Base Camp. Nothing is a slight uphill to the finish. This hike was up and down and up and down again. Across the wonderful glacial push of the Kuhmbu.  It is so quiet and I cannot even hear the foot steps of my daily Sherpa, Mani. He smiles all the time and speaks only little English. His goal with his money from trekking season is to buy lumber to cut for a house and to study more English. People here want so badly to speak English because it means better trekking jobs etc. I have met many people on the trail that I have previously met at the tea houses. They pass me and sometimes lap me going back from Base Camp.

One of the big up hills today culminated in a high flat area filled with monuments to fallen climbers. The first at the top of the pass was Babu Chiri Sherpa. He was the first Sherpa to get outside of Nepal sponsorship. he is the hero of the Sherpa people. I remember the very day he died. It was the same day as Dale Earnhardt. I had been following Babu Sherpa and then he stepped back to take a photo and fell into a crevasse. It was mesmerizing when I saw the plaque.

Full shot of Babu Sherpa Memorial

Full shot of Babu Sherpa Memorial

Just down from there was the large monument to Scott Fischer. He is the founder of Mountain Madness and was one of the victims of the 1996 storm from which books like INTO THIN AIR and THE CLIMB originate. It was an emotional moment and part of the dream of being here for me.

But this day was the day that would never end.  I keep pushing and try not to stop too much but Mani tells me stop and I do. I drink and eat a snack and move on. A snack is a Shock Block or a bite of protein bar. Just no appetite. I got some views of Everest and Mani and others took pictures for me. Onward. I could see base camp. A long sprawling thing that seemed to never end….and we would be camped in North Face tents at the far end.

Everest Base Camp Monument

Everest Base Camp Monument

I was just getting beat. Dragging myself one foot in front of the other. I finally got to the spot. The clearing where everyone gets the Money Shot. EVEREST BASE CAMP. I was there. I had made it. All the years of wondering what it was like and dreaming and reading all at once…I was there. The jagged ice falls behind me. Russell Brice‘s huge set up complete with Dome Disco tent! I was there.

After a few minutes of relishing the moment, we moved on. Spent as I was, I had a long way to go to get to my groups camp. We passed camp after camp of busy porters and Sherpas working away for their particular teams. Jagged Planet,  RMI, Mountain Hardwear….then there was this place all these Sherpas kept passing me to get to with pick axes and shovels. They were gathered at one mesa looking place and were swinging away setting up this year’s Heli-Pad. They have to do a new one each year because of the movement of the glacier. Onward. Then it hit. Just like day 2 when I was sick and retching.  I was not doing well and we still had a way to go. Pretty soon, here came Kadji. Another of the Mountain Madness Sherpas that is on our team. He and Mani walked with me and helped me where the ice or slush made climbing difficult. I was absolutely out of gas. No fumes. Nothing. But tonight  would sleep on the glacier, hear the three big avalanches, listen to the pop and crack of the ice underneath me.

I literally fell into a heap in the dining tent. Blood Ox low, heart rate high for me. But I was there. I Had seen every bit of what I have come to see and I was soon to be huddled in a tent with my excellent room mate for a night on the glacier.

During the middle of the night I had to get up for a call of nature. I walked out into the cold air of 3 degrees Fahrenheit and looked all around at the wonderful mountains. Huge above us they shot into a night sky filled with stars. What wonder. But back to the tent quickly at that temperature! A few hours and our stay at Base Camp would end. As Sonya put on my logo: “I dreamt that I was standing at the foot of Mt. Everest…..and then I woke up and I was there! Cannot wait to share some pictures!

Mane and ME at EBC

Mane and ME at EBC

About WhelanTrek

The mountains are in my blood and Everest has been a symbol to so many areas of my life. I blog about adventures and life in between.

Posted on April 8, 2012, in 2012 Nepal, 2012 Trek to Mount Everest Base Camp, Hiking, In Nepal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Susan Nicaise

    Karen, YOU DID IT!!!!!!! I have tears in my eyes, girl! Your description of your journey really put me there in spirit … I cannot wait to see your photographs and more importantly, to give you a great big hug!! Safe travels on the way down, and your journey back to the States. Love and hugs! Susan


  2. Steve Jovanovich

    Congratulations Karen. And again and again. What a life changing hike!

    Can’t wait to see your pictures. My daughter is completely excited to do this.

    Rest up well and be careful getting down out of there.


  3. Julie Cordahl

    Oh My Gosh, I am just waiting for the next blog, I so enjoy reading of your adventure. I hope you were feeling better after some rest, though I don’t think I could sleep where you described, to cold for me and the sounds of the glacier cracking, wow. Many Blessing Karen.


  4. Enjoying your posts immensely but worried you are pushing yourself too hard! Just hope there won’t be another plaque up there with your name on it! Be careful, Big Sister, and if this is worth dying for–go for it! No better way to go than while fulfilling your Dream.


  5. That is some serious Burke toughness and dedication that got you up there! Congratulations and thank you for being an inspiration.


  6. Fabulous! Congrats! Can’t wait to see the pix. I can’t even imagine what the stars look like – awesome!


  7. Rick-Pittsburgh

    Big congrats Karen. This actually put a giant smile on my face. I am so happy for you.

    I always say that “the individuals that cannot achieve something are the individuals that have set limitations for themselves.” Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

    You proved that theory in spades.

    Once again AWESOME job. Give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done, hug a few sherpas, and give a yak a big ol’ kiss.

    Well done Big Sister, well done indeed.


  8. You made it big sister! YOU MADE IT! Love you. Safe travels as you come back down.


  9. Jeanne Forrest

    WOW! I can only imagine, thanks in large part to your fabulous writing, the many emotions and physical sensations you are experiencing as part of your journey. So proud of all you have overcome to make it happen. I can’t wait to see the pictures and hear more of your stories upon your safe return. Congratulations on achieving your dream!


  10. You are Big Sister to us…showing the way to set a goal and meet the challenges! Charlie and I eagerly await for your posts, cheering you every step.


  11. What a great accomplishment.
    Reporter: What are you going to do now that you’ve reached Base Camp?
    Karen: I’m going to Didneyland!


  12. As your Sherpas helped you traverse the ice and slush, I hope you looked at them and said, “Hooooodely-hooooooodely-hooooooo.”. Damn good going, Karen-o!!!!


  13. I’m so glad we have this amazing technology to follow along with you. I check my Facebook everyday for more news! Safe travels home!


  14. Congratulations Karen. I knew you could,do it. Soooooo PROUD of you! Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


  15. CONGRATS KAREN!!!!!! Like so many others have said. What an inspiration you have been. I have throughly enjoyed following you on this adventure. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced the phrase “to be there in spirit” more! Now I am anxious for you to be tucked away in a nice warm hotel room and resting up from this life changing adventure! I pray your journey back down is safe and rewarding! You rocked it Karen!! So very inspired and proud of and by you!!


  16. Happy Easter!!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful adventure!


  17. Happy Easter Karen! What an adventure, I am so proud of you that you even dreamed of doing something like this at our age. It just proves that there is no such thing as “at our age”. You go sister! God Bless you 🙂


  18. rickpittsburgh

    Karen, I just wanted to wish you safe travels on the second leg of your journey. I hope that your trip back goes as smoothly(or more so)as your trip there did.

    Also, do not worry about being passed by others. The main thing is that you made it. Unscathed at that.

    Just make sure to hike your own hike.

    I commend you for your efforts. Awesome job as I stated earlier. Now make it back so we can see some pics. :p

    Wish I could be there with you.

    Happy Easter Karen.


  19. Happy tears Auntie! You did it! You are finally there! WOW!
    You are such an inspiring, courageous amazing woman!!!
    Please hug Mani for all of us, all the way from Washington State, for taking such good care of you!
    It sounds like it was all that you dreamed it would be, and more!
    We are so excited for you & I thank you again for letting us come along with you! Can’t wait to hear the rest!
    Amy & Phil


  20. Karen, I am so very proud of you and your accomplishment, as I am sure you are. You created a dream for yourself and fulfilled it, RIGHT ON!! You have given me (and obviously your other followers) a wonderful experience to share with you. And again I thank you. It has been quite the journey, I have been able to share in your joys, your pains, your happiness, your tears, the sights, the sounds, the sorrows and fears, I have smiled and cried with you and for you, enjoy the rest of your home bound journey my friend, as always be safe. Looking forward to the next entry and can not wait to see your pictures Big Sister!


  21. Kathy Patterson

    Yay! Karen ~ Yay! Tears of joy that you made your dream a reality. We are so excited and proud! I am wearing my shirt in honor of your Base Camp arrival! We can’t wait to see pictures! You are awesome! Can’t wait to see you when you get home! Love ya girl. Kathy


  22. No words for how happy I am for you!!! It’s been quite a ride and I have been sharing your story with so many others! You TOTALLY ROCK pal o’ mine!!!!!

    Can’t wait to hear the stories sitting on your patio back. In LV!

    Beautiful! Had my WhelanTrek shirt on too!


  23. I knew you would do it! Your determination is a personal inspiration! Base Camp!! Now comes the easy part the down hill! Yea right, Hang tough, take it slow and keep working on those snacks!! We all know you will make it down safe too.

    Be safe and take care!


  24. Bill S (OGBO)

    There was no question in my mind that you would get there, Karen. Remember what the guides and porters on Kilimanjaro say – “polepole!” which means “slowly, slowly.” One thing that helps with “altitude anorexia” (which you say you are suffering from) is some good, hot soup. I helps with the hydration as well as calories. That yak butter tea with lots of sugar will help, too. The lesser amount of O’s in the thinner air does call for taking it slow – one step at a time. You will be pleasantly surprised when you get down a few thousand feet and discover all sorts of new energy. Loss of appetite is typical. But as long as you aren’t getting headaches, you don’t have AMS or HACE.

    You have achieved the main goal. The main priorities are (1) get back, (2) alive, (3) with all parts intact and working properly.


  25. What an inspiration you are Karen, I am so happy and proud for you. Take your time now and be extra careful. We all look forward to seeing you post on trail space from vegas and hearing that you are fully charged again.
    Take care of Karen for us.



  26. Darlene Mainwaring

    You made it ~ what an awesome plethora of emotions that must have invoked. Thank you for virtually sharing your adventure. Safe travels home ~ Darlene


  27. Awesome, you did it! Be safe on the return trip. By the time you get to 12,000 ft, you’ll be running down the mountain. Great job!


  28. Weeee Haaaaaw !!!!
    So excited for you Karen


  29. What can we say–??? One word only—-BRAVO !!!!!!!!!
    Mucho besitos senorita,
    Jim and Maggie
    PS: Oh and the newest addition to the family–Mt Charleston Snow Angel Bunny–you’ll meet when ya get home!!!!


  30. Karen, so very happy for you! Can’t wait to see your pictures!

    You are so dear to yell-out Ron’s name in the mountains there. I believe in reincarnation and know that Ron was there as a beautiful snow monkey running and climbing at high speed when he stopped to hear your call.

    Again, so many strong women in your family must be beaming with pride today knowing you made it to the top of the world.

    Can’t wait to see you in Vegas.



  31. Shannon Grella

    Awesome job Karen!!! I’m SO stinkin’ proud of you!!!!
    Love ya bunches!


  32. Rick-Pittsburgh

    The fact that you made it is a tremendous accomplishment and regardless of how you got back the main point is you made it back.

    Good job Karen.


  33. Theresa McKinley

    Congratulations Karen!! What an amazing accomplishment!


  34. Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!


  35. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers
    and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work
    on. You have done a outstanding job!



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