Back in May, I had the amazing opportunity to see one of the few things Nepal is famous for, Mount Everest. 14 days, around 100 miles and over 10,000 feet of elevation gain… Talk about a workout. Each day started oﬀ at 5:00 AM in a cold and sometimes snow covered guest house. Then came breakfast, usually eggs and toast, and a meeting with our Sherpa describing the plan for the day. With all of our gear packed up, breakfast was followed by 6-8 hours of hiking to our next destination, with a lunch break somewhere in the middle. The average mileage per day was usually around 6-7 miles, which from a runner’s perspective is nothing for that amount of time. But at that elevation, every step seems to take 10 times as much energy. Just to put things in perspective, at 17,000 feet there is 50% less oxygen than at sea level. And as I’m sure you all know, oxygen is pretty important when it comes to exercise.
One of the most important parts of the trek involved is called acclimatization hikes. On these days we stayed two nights at the same guest house and only did a day hike. This allowed our bodies to get used to this amount of activity at such a high elevation. These days were usually slightly easier but still exhausting. Even on these days, we were eating dinner around 6 PM and in bed by 8 PM.
“…this was the most physically demanding two weeks of my life…”
This trek was only to Base Camp, which is where all of the climbers who are planning to actually climb the mountain each year live. Most climbers stay at Base Camp for about 3 months while they wait for their window to attempt to summit the mountain. Unfortunately, I didn’t have 3 months (or $80k+) to spare to go for my own summit attempt, but climbing Everest has always been a dream of mine, so give it me few years and we’ll see!
Although this was the most physically demanding two weeks of my life (even more than the two marathons I’ve trained for), it was an amazing experience. Even though I was waking up as the sun was rising, I was also waking up to views of the tallest mountains in the world. I got to experience what life was like in Nepal, outside of the city. This trek also allowed me to meet people from all around the world, a businessman from Thailand, a newlywed couple from Venezuela, a police oﬃcer from Germany, to name a few. It is amazing to see how a mountain can attract people from all diﬀerent walks of life. In the end, this trek was an experience I will never forget.
I mean, how many people can say they’ve eaten a Snickers bar at Mount Everest Base camp?!