Cool Things I've Done on Vacation: Visiting Everest Base Camp (Image: Mar Pages)
Like it? Share it on your Pinterest board! (Image: Mar Pages)

This is part of a blog series called “Cool Things I’ve Done on Vacation”, an exploration of the greatest moments I and other travelers have had while traveling the world.

This is a guest post by Mar Pages, an ultra-frequent traveler, serial expat, and owner of the travel blog, Once in a Lifetime Journey.

Visiting Everest Base Camp

The sightseeing flight was just not enough. Yes, we flew over the Himalayas. Yes, it was at sunrise so the orange hues of the sun reflected on the snow-capped mountains. But I just did not get enough of the views and I wanted to get closer. Not to mention that the windows were so scratched, the landscapes looked distorted.

So I visited and called every single helicopter company in Kathmandu airport asking for quotes for a trip to Everest Base Camp. After all, these companies’ main role was devoted to the evacuation of climbers who contracted altitude sickness on their way up and whose only cure was to descend. Fast. So they were well versed on the trip and, since the 2014 avalanche that killed many had just taken place, nobody was allowed to attempt the summit and the Base Camp area was almost void of any climbers.

I thought their “workload” would be subdued and they would be more open to discussing on price. I was up against a $10,000 bill for the emergency evacuation for the trip, an amount that was far from my well-stretched-out budget. So I persevered and eventually got the price down to what I was convinced was the lowest I would get. I only had one more day so I couldn’t play war of attrition. I had to decide. There and then, I went with the lowest quote.

Taking off for Everest Base Camp
Taking off for Everest Base Camp (Image: Mar Pages)

Take off was just after sunrise, at around 7am. We were scheduled to fly to Lukhla, the famously scary landing strip (it does not even qualify as an airport in my mind), though it was tamed when arriving on a helicopter that does not need to attempt landing between the mountain wall and the abyss. From there, we would drop petrol to be lighter and carry on towards Base Camp.

At landing, the skeleton of the last plane to crash at Lukhla was visible by the side of the strip. I was pleased we were on a helicopter instead, as the airport was truly terrifying. A quick stopover and we were soon on our way to Base Camp.

Heading up to Base Camp
Heading up to Base Camp (Image: Mar Pages)

The views were amazing. It was the beginning of May and the snow had started to melt. We flew low, as the helicopter was struggling to catch altitude at such levels. The glaciers and trekking route climbers use to reach Base Camp were very close and clearly visible. The route did not look tough, for the difficulty of reaching Base Camp lies in the altitude and the length, usually requiring 9 to 14 days of daily trekking to complete. We passed the world’s highest temple, various huts for climbers to take rest in and even a few tiny villages. Finally, right in front of us, towering and majestic, Everest stood.

Arriving at Base Camp with Everest in view
Arriving at Base Camp with Everest in view (Image: Mar Pages)

We arrived at Base Camp, flew in a full circle over it, quickly, as the pilot, who since Lukhla was breathing through an oxygen tank, was afraid one of us, or him, would catch altitude sickness and collapse. There was also the risk of the helicopter collapsing, as that height was well at the limit of its capacity. We finally landed above the Camp, on a mountain slope just next to it.

The stop was short and sweet. We were there for only a minute or two, enough to take two photos. Just two magical photos. And to feel the fresh and cold air on our cheeks. The temperature, warm with the summer sun in Kathmandu, had dropped to zero at Base Camp so we had to wrap ourselves with a jacket the hotel had lent us. But it was oh so worth it.

A quick stop for a really memorable photo
A quick stop for a really memorable photo (Image: Mar Pages)

After the quick photo op we flew back down to Everest Hotel, the highest hotel in the world and a beautiful spot at that.

There, we enjoyed a high-altitude hot breakfast consisting of eggs, coffee, fruit and bread with the most incredible views of Everest in front of us. We were still at 3,500 meters high, but the risk of altitude sickness was much lower and I did not feel dizzy or confused in any way. As we were savouring our incredible breakfast, our pilot had to leave for an emergency evacuation. There were only a handful of tents still pitched at Camp, and one of the climbers had suddenly succumbed to the dreaded disease and had to be taken down to Lukhla, so we had the privilege of enjoying an even more leisurely break to admire the stunning scenery with blue skies and perfect silhouettes.

To say this was magical would be an understatement. This remains one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

Mar Pages
| + posts

Mar is an ultra-frequent traveler and serial expat. She started her blog, Once in a Lifetime Journey, almost two years ago focusing on the type of travel that she loves doing: luxury and out of the ordinary. She has visited almost 90 countries and is a member of the Traveler’s Century Club.

14 thoughts on “Cool Things I’ve Done on Vacation: Visiting Everest Base Camp

  1. Lillie says:

    Love this! I’ve always been so curious about what it’s like to climb Everest, and this is revealing that it is both more complicated and more beautiful than I thought! Yikes about seeing the plane crash skeleton and the evacuation insurance, but yay about those VIEWS! Kudos to you for doing it.

    • Mar Pages says:

      It absolutely is for both, everyone who is curious should DEFINITELY go for it! Words can only do so much, it doesn’t come close to how spectacular the entire experience was. 🙂

  2. sabrina says:

    I can only imagine the emotionf of the flight over the Himalaya and of all the other vews! was your lunch also accompained by some good beer or wine? If I was in your shoes… I would need it! 🙂 thank you for sharing this

  3. Hugo says:

    What an experience. This is the first time I read about someone doing this. Probably a bit too expensive, but definitely amazing!

    I would love to go to the base camp and I’m thinking about doing the hike within a year or two. Better get ready.

  4. Tess Andrade says:

    What a good idea! I honestly wouldn’t have thought of doing that. We trekked the Annapurna Circuit and the Thorong La Pass was spectacular in itself but I now wish to have asked helicopter companies as well to take us up to Everest Base Camp. 🙂 I would be curious to know how much you paid for it in the end!

  5. Natalie Deduck says:

    Holly Molly!
    What an experience! I can only imagine how beautiful and powerful the view of Everest was! Truly a magical trip! Congrats for bargain and have the guts to go to such a dangerous place! And how was the feeling of being in the top of the world?
    Cheers,
    Nat 🙂

  6. Hung Thai says:

    Oh man that sounds amazing! Though that’s too bad you couldn’t linger longer at Base Camp. I think that would have been so awesome to sit and relax for a few hours.

  7. Claire says:

    I’ve always wanted to visited the Everest base camp but never thought I was a strong enough hiker for it (bad knees) so it’s fantastic to know I can get up there by helicopter. Thanks 🙂

  8. Nisha says:

    What a magical trip! I am so glad I read this. I can imagine how much fun it would have been. Next month my husband is going to go there but of course not in a helicopter. 🙂

    He’ll take his own sweet little time. Have bookmarked it, will send him the link.
    Thanks for sharing.

Comments are closed.