17 Jun 2013

base camp with flag st johns and flagIn March I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. The trip involved friends who had summited Kilimanjaro with me in 2010 and we decided to raise some money for The Foundations Project Trust while we were there, all costs of the trip being covered by ourselves. Charlotte Haggie of The Foundations Project http://thefoundationsproject.org/ has devoted huge amounts of time and energy to starting up a charity that will build a new pre-school and skills development centre in Caledonia West, near Donnybrook. Charlotte advised that a donation of around $1500 would be enough to purchase a borehole for the school and so we had a target to aim for.

My training prior to the trek involved a lot of walking, initially without weight then gradually carrying a backpack weighing up to 10kgs. Although the trek is not particularly demanding you are walking for 6-7 hours a day and need to be fit and robust.

The trek took 14 days from Kathmandu including flying into the “compact” uphill airport at Lukla and involved gaining 7000m in altitude altogether. Base Camp is at 5300m. We stayed 12 days on the mountain, sleeping and eating in “Tea Houses”. The group covered a total distance of 130 kilometres and the coldest temperature was around -10 degrees. The panoramic views in the Himalayas were absolutely breathtaking and the hospitality of the Nepalese all along the Kumbu Valley was astounding. I was glad to turn around at Base Camp, as other groups prepared to start their acclimitising for the summit and the whole group returned to Kathmandu safely. It was an unforgettable trip and I have no doubt I will return to the Himalayas in the future.

Many thanks for all the kind donations from St John’s Prep School staff, parents and friends, too many to name, and to Charlotte Haggie, Jax Fingland at Off the Track Expeditions for the flights and support throughout. Thanks also to the Glynns for advice and equipment prior to the trip.

Nicola York
(Prep School Member of Staff)