(Photos in slideshow: Valerie Hovland, Tunc Findik, Elselien te Hennepe, Bruce Manning, & Preston Stroud)
News of our recent expedition: Westminster College Everest Basecamp Trek
Trip Summary: “The trek was fantastic! We loved all our guides, and things went really well. Thanks for all your help getting stuff planned.”
- Kerry Case, Westminster College Outdoor Education Instructor
Kala Patther, Nepal 5,545m 18,192ft. Westminster Everest Base Camp Trek 2012 (Kyle Knutson) Team member at Periche (4,250m 13,910ft) with Cholatse in the background. Another glorious day
This season our team of 24 men and women from Westminster College wandered the gentle and wide snow-free trails through beautiful green terraced villages, lush forests, with amazing Himalayan views. Our team included top-notch sherpas and friendly porters carrying delicious food, high-quality tents and excellent equipment. We stayed in teahouses. Not only did we visit our world's most famous basecamp but we also hiked the Everest view ridge of Kala Pattar, and were treated to stunning views of Everest, the Khumbu icefall and an amazing overview of basecamp and the massive glacier and all of the surrounding peaks. We followed in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa who made the first ascent of Everest.
Our expedition began after only 35 hours of travel fun and an exciting ride through the city of Kathmandu before we settled in at Hotel Fuji in the Thamel district for the night.BACK TO TOP
The next day we enjoyed a fun, educational tour of various sites around Kathmandu . Most shops were closed due to a political strike, but tourist spots and gear shops were doing business.
We were all geared up and ready for an early flight to Lukla in a small twin engine, twin pilot, 18 seat propeller driven "Twin-Otter", the trusty workhorse of the Khumbu-Everest trekking trade, we flew for 40 minutes from Kathmandu to the airstrip at 2,840 metre/9,300 foot-high Lukla and strolled for a couple of hours down and through the forested and farmed Dudh Khosi valley with a small clean river ripping through a narrow green rocky mountain studded valley to the picturesque small town of Phakding, where we camped in a field on the river bank at 2,650 metres/8,700 feet. We saw many big icy mountains popping out above us as we walked along easy wide snow free trails. The villages up here are small and quaint with pretty houses and terraced potato fields.
We slowly and steadily walked into the steep village of 3,440 metre/12,800 foot high Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa region, and had lots of time to explore and experience the stunning views of Numbur Peak (6,959 metres/23,000 feet) We ended the day healthy and happy at our beautiful hotel in Namche (wifi finally). Today, we got our first glimpse of Everest. We spent the next day here too for acclimatization and saw Ama Dablam in all its stunning glory. We had beautiful weather with everyone in great spirits.
Between Pheriche and Dinboche. Team members resting at Tangboche hill 3,900m 12,795 ft (Lindsay Bekken & Jess Repko) eam members delighted as they reach Everest Basecamp (Kerry Case, Meghan Johnston and Kyle Knutson).
We set off bright and early for Tangboche and saw the beautiful Buddhist monastery. BACK TO TOP
Next up was acclimatization day in Dingboche at 14,400 ft the group had lots of fun and remained in amazingly good spirits, so imagine smiling faces and lots of enormous peaks!
The next stage was a walk for an easy few hours through the villages of Pheriche and Dugla over to Lobuche Basecamp at 4600 metres/15,050 feet, and rested a bit more in the grassy fields at the base of Mount Lobuche. After a slow and careful walk up to high altitude, with plenty of time for rest and acclimatization, the team stopped at the tiny hamlet beneath Everest: "Gorak Shep". We used Gorak Shep as our basecamp (it was also Hillary's) and we had the opportunity to spend an entire day walking up to the modern-day Everest basecamp, where all of the big Everest expeditions now go. The following day we walked up to the ridge top known as "Kala Patar" for fabulous views of Everest. On the way back down we stayed in Pheriche (14,000).
It was a very fun trip and one of the highlights was all of the different kinds of plants, birds and animals we saw along the way. Another highlight was the friendly, helpful and accomplished leaders and staff. Also the charming Sherpas we met and the great care they took of us in their quaint little villages. It was great to be trekking with our college friends. The weather was pretty nice. Each day it warmed up and the nights at high altitude were chilly. We were glad we had our lightweight down/duvet jackets, fuzzy hats and mittens. It sprinkled a little down low and there were a few snow flurries up high, but it did not stick to the ground. Throughout the entire trek the trails were good, very wide and even. We never set foot on snow.
Throughout the entire trek, every day, our bags were carried by porters and yaks. Interacting with the people transporting our equipment, as well as their livestock was an interesting part of our trip, and allowed us to set foot into the local culture.
Also, the schedule was good allowing for careful rest and slow acclimatisation and adjustment to the altitude. Another special thing about the trip was the round-trip return flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and back to Kathmandu , which was included in the price of the trip. Lukla is an amazing airport, and the views during the flight were incredible. We had a good feeling for what a mountainous and green country studded with snow-capped summits Nepal really is. Oh, and also I wanted to mention, our flights were all met at the Kathmandu airport and we were taken to a nice hotel. Then the kindly staff and leaders checked our gear and took us shopping and showed us around Kathamandu, and we were able to see some interesting sights and enjoy some nice restaurants. Speaking of restaurants, the food was very yummy through the entire trip. Summit Trek has some very skillful cooks! BACK TO TOP
The way to Gorek Shep (A busy village at the edge of the Khumbu Glacier). Liz Rogers at Kala Patthar 5,545m 18,200ft with Mt. Everest in the background
Kala Patther, Nepal 5,545m 18,192ft. Westminster Everest Base Camp Trek 2012 (Kyle Knutson)
Team members delighted as they reach Everest Basecamp (Kerry Case, Meghan Johnston and Kyle Knutson). Team members at Everest BaseCamp 5,300m 17,400ft (Kerry Case & Liz Rogers). Everest Base Camp 5,300m 17,400ft. Member posing just below Namche with Mount Everest in the background. BACK TO TOP
The way to Gorek Shep (A busy village at the edge of the Khumbu Glacier). Liz Rogers at Kala Patthar 5,545m 18,200ft with Mt. Everest in the backgroun. BACK TO TOP
Namche bazaar 3,440m 11,286ft (The capital of the Sherpa people) and our first glimpse of Everest. Team members enjoy a well-deserved rest at Gorak Shep tea house (Ben Dove, Lindsay Bekken, Meghan Johnston). Members at Lobuche behind Chanjay Lola Nhuptse. Team member poses at the Memorial BACK TO TOP
Between Pheriche and Dinboche. Bhaktapur Darbar Square in front of the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom. Team members resting at Tangboche hill 3,900m 12,795 ft (Meghan Johnston). Team members resting at Tangboche hill 3,900m 12,795 ft (Lindsay Bekken & Jess Repko) BACK TO TOP
Buddhist Mani at Ghat. Cloudy day. Deboche Enjoying the day (Kerry Case & Liz Rogers) BACK TO TOP
The local school. At Kathmandu restaurant, Kerry Case’s and Ang Gyaluk Pinasa start the birthday celebrations. Stunning landscape. Porter doing excellent job carrying team equipment. BACK TO TOP
Some of the team posing in front of Lobuche. Yaks bring the equipment up to the team. Kerry Case amidst the rugged terrain. Rugged landscap. BACK TO TOP
Team member at the Memorial. Lobuche 4,930m 16,174ft. The way to Lukla along wide paths with stunning scenery all around. Team members at base camp 5,300m 17,400ft. BACK TO TOP
Team member at Periche (4,250m 13,910ft) with Cholatse in the background. Another glorious day. Time for a rest! Team members with the beautiful Buddhist statue at Shoyambhu Nath Kathmandu. BACK TO TOP
Team members touring Shoyambhu Nath (Ben Dove). Pheriche 4,371m 14,340ft with the sturdy yaks carrying the equipment. Phakding suspension bridge which is one of the longest bridge on the Everest trail. Arriving at beautiful Namche 3,440m 11,300 feet. BACK TO TOP
The full posse at Everest Base Camp. Go team Westminster! (Zoe Zulauf, Robert Caesar, Lindsay Bekken, Abigail Johnson, Bryanna Osmonson, Luke Bucciarelli, Taylor Merrill, Aurora Green, Matthew Giglio, Matthew Balk, Jessica Repco, Nicholas Burnett, Kyle Knutson, Brett Carroll, Alessandra Amato, Benjamin Dove, Quinn Depperschmidt, Zachary Lancaster, Meghan Johnston, Elizabeth Rogers, Kerry Case,Fern Miller, Patrick Hanna, Ryan Holmes) BACK TO TOP
Westmister College Team Members – EBC Trek 2012
Kerry Case - Leader
Elizabeth Rogers - Leader