Rough Kitchen – Nutrition

Preparing for nutritional challenges on expedition

In the previous post, we noted that ‘nutrition can have a massive impact on both your training success, and on your ability to adjust to prolonged exposure and altitude.’

One of the major challenges on any expedition is preparing yourself from a nutritional perspective. This is a double-edged sword, as inappropriate nutrition can scupper your efforts well before you even get close to completing your preparations.

A well-balanced diet is essential for stimulating and enhancing adaptation from training. An appropriate mix of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein) along with important micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are all required to ensure that you build tissues, change your internal chemistry and recover from regular exercise. The foods you consume are also essential during your daily workload to allow for a level of physical performance required to cover the required distance and recover/regenerate for the next effort – this also helps the body to limit tissue damage under severe climatic conditions and altitude.

Your body will return from an expedition with reserves of energy (and some of the working parts) significantly depleted. Many climbers return from expeditions with noticeable losses in total mass, reduced body fat and wasted muscle. Remember you will have to rebuild all of this, and get back to peak physical condition before attempting your next hurdle.

Unfortunately, expeditions take place in environments where high-quality foods, along with their storage, transport and preparation are just not possible. You and your body will need to learn how to live out of tins! The majority of foods realistically available on the sides of a mountain are limited to various forms of sealed packaging. In addition, proteins are difficult to provide and the majority of climbers (especially due to fatigue and altitude) cannot stomach heavy, protein- and fat-rich meals (never mind carry them up there!). In addition, the balance of the macronutrients and essential micronutrients are often not at a level that can sustain sustained performance or limit tissue damage. Carbohydrate-based items are by far the easiest to prepare and consume – however, carbs only provide short-term energy, and can do little to spare your muscle from wasting.

The body requires energy, resources and oxygen to complete digestion – under the adverse conditions experienced during expeditions, your body (and especially the liver) just doesn’t have the energy to digest and reduce food items into viable energy.

In short, your body slowly (or sometimes quickly) starves itself – reduced performance and restricted work capacity quickly follow. This is one of the reasons why short acclimatization stages are effective – you climb to a higher altitude, and return to a lower altitude after a relatively short period, so the body can recharge – this happens not only due to the body’s inability to operate under reduced oxygen pressure, but also due to the restricted ability of the body to function continuously under high stress without adequate fuel – go back down to recharge the batteries!

You don’t need to climb a mountain to climb a mountain!

The trick is to balance getting used to eating the types of foods you’ll get on your trip (and to be comfortable with the type of preparation), with the high-quality foods that encourage maximal adaptation from your training and preparation.

In short, practice with ‘expedition food’ periodically, but make sure you generally eat well to build your body up for the challenge during your routine training. You also need to pay attention to how you respond to any food allergies or intolerances, and how these may affect you body under the combined stress of exercise, fatigue, adverse weather conditions and increasing altitude.


Zac van Heerden

M.Sc (Med) (Exercise Physiology)

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Climbing is not enough! Complimentary training for your expedition

Regular climbing and hiking are vital elements of your preparation and training for any planned adventure, but they are not enough on their own to provide you with a full arsenal to mount a successful challenge.

Many of us suffer from a variety of imbalances and dysfunctions, particularly of the mechanical sort – often the result of old injuries and past indiscretions, affecting various muscles, joints and skeletal structures. You may cope well with these issues in your daily life, but the combination of exertion, fatigue and altitude will more than likely reveal all of your weak spots.

Three elements to correct:

Driving the car doesn’t sort out the wheel alignment

Consider engaging in specialized resistance and corrective training for muscular imbalances, joint dysfunctions and postural deficiencies. An appropriately-qualified medical practitioner (physician, physiotherapist, biokineticist or sport scientist) are best to consult in terms of assessment and structured intervention. Spend some time in your training getting used to the conditions you might expect – spend a few nights in a tent and on the type of camping beds/mattresses you expect to encounter – then iron out the problems. Find out what happens in the comfort of your own home, rather than on the side of a mountain!

You don’t need to run a marathon to climb a mountain

Many novice adventurers make the mistake of engaging in misguided training. Long-distance running, mountain-biking and similar pursuits may help with your fitness – any training is better than no training! However, these types of exertions will not prepare you for the dual challenge of extended endurance (8-16 hours of hiking and climbing – normally for a number of consecutive days), they will not assist the body with acclimatization to altitude. It is better to engage in much lower-intensity effort, and work on extending your training times.

Don’t run on the wrong fuel

Nutrition can have a massive impact on both your training success, and on your ability to adjust to prolonged exposure and altitude. Learn from more experienced climbers and guides, and consult with a nutritionist if necessary – especially if you have any food allergies, intolerances or medical conditions that might be aggravated by changes to your diet or exercise patterns (such as diabetes, asthma or glycaemic dysfunction).

You also need to practice your nutritional strategies – try them out a number of times during long training sessions, and on any preparatory trips or climbs. Remember to get used to the food items to be expected on your expedition – most trails don’t provide cordon bleu menus!

You will need to find the balance between this specialized preparation, and spending the appropriate amount of time perfecting your climbing and hiking in a real environment. Preparation breeds success – fine tune with the specialized training, test your preparations and fitness level by exposing yourself to challenges similar to what you will expect on your adventure – the success will take care of itself!

Zac van Heerden
M.Sc (Med) (Exercise Physiology)

Getting Started! Preparing for your next adventure …

There is no feeling to match a successful summit, or the hard-earned blisters of a rewarding trekking or hiking adventure. If this is your first challenge or expedition, or if you are heading into new territory, you may have some questions on how best to prepare yourself.

My focus is on the medical and physical aspects of mountaineering and adventure activities – there are any factors that contribute to successful expeditions, but physical condition plays a significant role.

The first step is to ensure that your health is at an adequate level to sustain you through the trials and challenges that lie ahead – not just the expedition itself, but also the training and preparation that will be required – and the return to a safe environment. A good starting point, if you are in any doubt about your health status, is to pay your family doctor a visit – or better yet, complete an exhaustive pre-expedition medical with an appropriately-qualified sports physician. Also prepare yourself with any travel-based assessments and be familiar with the travel medications that you may need later (such as malaria medication, required vaccinations etc), as these may have an impact on your physical performance.

The second step – even before we get to the actual training! – is to evaluate your equipment needs. Consider the current state of your climbing/hiking equipment, and piece together a timeline for any repairs and replacement. A massive part of your preparation will involve you familiarizing yourself with your equipment. Certain items, such as your footwear and backpacks need to be worn in, and your body may need to fully adjust to them – so get them in early and start getting used to them.

Part three – start thinking about a plan of action. Put together a training plan – consider the amount of time you have available, and the training goals and objectives you will need to achieve before you are ready to go. This may result in you delaying your trip if you feel you may not be able to get to the required level in the time you have available – better safe than sorry!

You cannot complete all your training in the comfort of a gym, so be sure to schedule in time outdoors in environments similar to that of your destination – be sure to have your critical equipment in action training with you! Other aspects of your training can be conducted in more comfortable environments (such as your local gym, or with a suitably-qualified practitioner – make sure you “outsource” your hopes and aspirations to someone who has experience dealing with mountaineering and adventure activities). If you are in any doubt about the best way to formulate a training schedule, or if you are not confident in your ability to get the best work done, make sure to consult with an appropriately-qualified professional.

A key element of preparation is “simulation” – getting out into terrain similar to what you will be experiencing on your trip. The mental aspects of preparation are as critical as the physical ones, so make sure you research the environment well (by attending talks, investigating the region using print and online resources, and spending some time with tour operators and guides familiar with your destination). Many challenges are completed in your head, well before you even begin the physical journey!

Following these simple steps will hopefully set you up on the right path from the word go – ambitious adventures have the potential to come off the rails before you can even start, so plan carefully and methodically.

Article by Zac van Heerden M.Sc (Med) (Exercise Physiology)

 

Everest 2017 • Summit Success!

Friday 19 May

Anshu Jamsenpa, Furi Sherpa and Karma Sherpa left Base Camp at 2 am for Camp 2. They plan to summit on Sunday the 21st. This will potentially be Anshu’s 5th summit, Furi’s 7th summit and Karma’s 2nd summit. Best of luck, and please stay strong, focused and safe.

We have just heard that Neil Ward and Tendi Sherpa are safely at Camp 3. They had a little difficulty finding their tent, but they are pitched, comfortable and warm. Tomorrow they will move up to the South Col, with the intention of summiting on Sunday. The attached pics depict their climb up the Lhotse Face and Camp 3.

These three have now arrived at Camp 2. 

Saturday 20 May

We are very excited to announce that Neil Ward, Anshu Jamsenpa, Tendi Sherpa, Furi Sherpa and Karma Sherpa have arrived safely at the South Col. They will rest for the next five hours before starting their summit push. We are watching the weather forecasts extremely closely, but right now it is looking fantastic and all looks good for successful summits. Rest well team and keep us posted.

Sunday 21 May

Good news! Anshu Jamsenpa, Furi Sherpa and Karma Sherpa summited about 45 minutes ago. This is Anshu’s 5th summit and the highest number of summits by any Indian female ever. It’s also her second summit this season. Congratulations to Anshu, Furi and Karma!

We are extremely proud of you. Neil and Tendi decided to stay at th

e South Col and not to push, because of the wind. They will reconsider their options later today.

 

Tuesday 23 May

Unfortunately Neil Ward and Tendi Sherpa decided to turn around at the South Col. They made their way safely down to Base Camp. Anshu Jamsenpa, Furi Sherpa and Karma Sherpa should reach Base Camp later today and then the big pack-up begins. Congratulations to everyone for a safe and successful expedition!

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Everest 2017 • Summit Days

17 May

We are excited to announce that Neil Ward and Tendi Sherpa will leave Base Camp in the early hours of tomorrow morning to start their push to the summit of Everest and to the summit of Lhotse. They will spend tomorrow night at Camp 2, then move up to Camp 3, before climbing up to the South Col for the first of their two summits. We are right behind you guys, and wish you all the courage and strength in your endeavours. Stay strong and be safe.

18 May – Everest 2017 Camp 2

Neil and Tendi made it through the Ice Fall and up to Camp 2 this morning in just under 6 hours. That is climbing 1,200 vertical meters and covering about 10 kilometers, all at above 6,000 metres! Very impressive.
Neil said he was a little tired, but at that pace, I don’t blame him. They will rest at Everest 2017 Camp 2Camp 2 tonight and move up to Camp 3 tomorrow. According to Neil, it is blowing on the summit, but that should abate.
This pic shows the views that he and Tendi are enjoying right now and, of course, Nima, our Camp 2 cook, who has been there for a number of weeks looking after our team. He is an an absolute stalwart and completely dependable. Thank you Nima, for looking after our climbers. Without you it would be almost impossible.

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Everest 2017 • Reaching for the summit

21 April

It has started snowing here in Base Camp and the forecast seems to indicate that this will continue for the next 48 hours. Neil will come down from Camp 2 tomorrow and the rest of the team will consolidate here in BC. We hope to see that summit soon!

22 April

We had a fair bit of snow last night, with a little more expected over the weekend. A team of trekkers from the Philippines joined us in BC last night. None of them had ever seen snow before. They were so excited and thoroughly enjoyed their visit.

23 April

Neil arrived back in Base Camp yesterday after spending one night at Camp 1 and two nights at Camp 2. He is in great spirits. Four of our Sherpas left BC at 1:30 this morning and deposited a few loads at Camp 2, and another two of our team members will leave at 2 am tomorrow for their first serious push through the Ice Fall. A huge thanks to our Sherpas, and good luck to our fellow team mates.

24 April

Early this morning, two Sherpas got injured in the Ice Fall. They were immediately brought back down to Base Camp, and then flown by chopper to Kathmandu. We are yet to hear the outcome of their injuries. Our two team members turned around on their way into the Ice Fall and made their way back to camp. The route was fixed soon thereafter. We have another climber going up to Camp 1 tomorrow and our Sherpas prepared to assist with her first rotation. The rest of the day was spent chilling.

25 April

This morning one of our team members left Base Camp at 3 am, accompanied by four of our Sherpas. She climbed through the Khumbu Ice Fall to Camp One. She will spend the night with one of our Sherpas, while the other three will set up Camp Two. On a sadder note, two of our team members decided that their expedition was over and they flew out of Base Camp this morning to Kathmandu by helicopter. Strength and courage to everyone on their respective missions.

30 April

The last few days days have been exciting for our climbers on Everest. Anshu, who had spent some time at Camp 2, ascended the Lhotse Face and touched Camp 3. This almost completes her acclimatization. Two days ago, Neil moved through the Khumbu Ice Fall with Tendi Sherpa to Camp 2. They both felt strong. Neil, who is attempting Lhotse without oxygen, will sleep at Camp 3 in the next few days and then deposit a load at the high camp on Lhotse, which is situated around 7,900 metres. We will keep you posted with the progress of Neil and Anshu. This pic of the Khumbu Ice Fall was taken by our Sirdar, Lhakpa Rangdu Sherpa. Thank you Lhakpa for sharing these with us.

2 May

The Adventures Global team have completed their acclimatization and now await that first weather window. Neil slept at Camp 3 two nights ago and dropped some gear higher up on Lhotse the day after, and Anshu is currently resting in BC. The winds have been strong, but should start dropping towards the end of the week. Exciting times. We will keep you posted.

6 May

The winds on Everest are starting to abate and we should see our first few summits in the next couple of days. In the meantime, Neil and Anshu have been resting and getting ready for their respective pushes. Our thoughts are constantly with them.
It is important for everyone that has been following our expedition to know that Ronnie and Elizabeth are no longer in Base Camp. They trekked out some days ago, but continue to monitor the progress of their remaining climbers, who are completely self-sufficient and only require the help of our extremely competent Sirdar and team of very experienced Sherpas. This is a long story, so if anyone really wants to know the details of this decision, please send AG a private message and we will respond accordingly. However, they are both healthy and well and currently in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. Namaste to one and all!

8 May

The Adventures Global team are preparing for their first summit pushes. Neil is climbing Lhotse without oxygen and he is now waiting for the last of the fixed lines to be put in place. Once that climb is completed, he will drop down to BC for some rest, before attempting Everest without oxygen. Anshu hopes to summit Everest twice this season and should leave Base Camp in the next few days. All the teams are watching the weather forecasts and we should see the first summits of the season in the next few days.

12 May

Nine Sherpas have finally reached the summit of Everest on the North Side. They are the first to have summited Everest this climbing season. Congratulations guys. Lets hope that the route can now be opened on the South Side.

15 May

Finally the route is open. Good luck to everyone queuing up at the South Col. Be filled with courage as you head off on your summit push tonight!

Today, 16 May

We are very excited and proud to announce that Anshu Jamsenpa and Furi Sherpa stood on the summit of Everest at 09:15 this morning! Congratulations guys, and now for a safe descent.

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Everest 2017 • Base Camp Days

12 April
This morning we all managed to grab a shower in Base Camp. Our first in over four days – what a pleasure! We also managed to get our internet connected, so we are all good to go and connected.

13 April
Today some of our Sherpa team started packing for their first load carry to Camp 2 next week.

14 April
Good morning Everest Base Camp! Today the team are making their way up to the high camp on Pumori, to aid their acclimatization. Good luck guys.

15 April
We had about 10 centimetres of snow last night. How quickly the weather can change here at the base of the highest mountain in the world! After breakfast, Neil, Lhakpa and Ronnie attended a meeting to discuss the rope fixing on the mountain. The Ministry have allowed that all rope and hardware be airlifted to Camp 2. This minimizes the hazardous load carries by the Sherpa’s through the Ice Fall. All of this equipment was flown by chopper two days ago, so the rope fixing above Camp 2 will commence in the next few days. This is great news.

16 April
Last night the wind absolutely pumped in Base Camp, which made sleeping rather challenging, but this did not prevent various teams from moving through the Ice Fall up to Camp 1 early this morning. We will spend a relaxing day in BC in anticipation of our Puja Ceremony tomorrow morning.

17 April
After an extremely windy night, we all got up early to take part in our Puja Ceremony. Part of the proceedings were conducted in our lounge tent because of the windy conditions and then we all moved outside to raise the prayer flags above our camp. The Puja Ceremony is very important to our Sherpa team. Equipment is blessed and we ask for safe passage on the mountain. Our team is now at liberty to proceed through the Ice Fall and onto the higher reaches of the mountain.
After our Puja Ceremony we had breakfast, and then went into the Ice Fall to sharpen up on some of our ladder crossing skills, as well as our abseiling. All in all, a very productive day.

18 April
Ronnie Muhl has had the privilege of climbing with Nima Nuru Sherpa on more than one occasion now. He is an outstanding mountaineer, who has summited Everest 20 times. The current record held by Apa Sherpa is 21 and it would not surprise us if Nima did not attempt two summits this season. He joined us at our Puja Ceremony yesterday. Congratulations Nima on an exceptional climbing career to date. At your age, I think you are just starting to warm up. We will watch your mountaineering progress with keen interest. Ronnie is proud to have climbed with you and we are honored to be associated with you.

20 April
Our Sherpa team left early yesterday morning to drop loads at Camp 2. They all moved incredibly well, with most of them being back in BC by mid morning. Neil moved up to Camp 1 to spend the night, before heading up to Camp 2 for two nights. We then had a horse visit us before attending our neighbours’ Puja Ceremony hosted by Sirdar Nima Nuru Sherpa. Elizabeth finally arrived in BC. How nice to have her join us. What an amazing day.

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Everest 2017 • Kathmandu to Base Camp

31 March
The Adventures Global Everest expedition team are slowly starting to arrive in Kathmandu. The Yak and Yeti Hotel is buzzing with expeditions and a number of briefings are taking place out in the gardens. Gear is being checked and the nervous energy is tangible. We are excited for what lies ahead.

3 April
It has been a busy 24 hours for the Adventures Global team. Yesterday afternoon we collected our permit from the Ministry and then went to a traditional restaurant for our welcome dinner. This morning early we had a Puja ceremony in Kathmandu and then held our official briefing back at the Yak and Yeti Hotel. This is our last day in Kathmandu, before we fly to Lukla first thing tomorrow morning. The rest of the day will be spent doing all that last minute shopping and then getting to bed early.

6 April
On Tuesday the Adventures Global team flew from Kathmandu to Lukla. After rearranging some bags, they trekked to Phakding (2,640 metres) and spent the night. Yesterday they trekked to Namche Bazaar (3,440 metres) in beautiful weather. Everyone arrived safely, in good spirits and in fine health.
Today the team trekked up to the Everest View Hotel for some additional acclimatization. The weather was incredible and the views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam were outstanding. They were back down in Namche Bazaar for lunch. Ronnie stayed behind and attended a Puja Ceremony in commemoration of the new Chorten that be built soon, to replace the one that got destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 2015.

9 April
On Friday the AG team left Namche Bazaar and trekked to Tengboche. The weather was magnificent and the views exquisite. We spent a comfortable night at the Rivendell Lodge. Yesterday we made our way up to Upper Pangboche, where we had a Puja Blessing with Lama Geshe. It is always a special occasion. We had lunch in Somare at the lodge owned by Lhakpa Nuru, before making our way to Pheriche. We will spend two nights here.
Today the team did an acclimatization walk on the ridge above Dingboche. They reached 5,000 metres. They got back down feeling good.

12 April
On Monday we left Pheriche (4,200 metres) and trekked up to Lobouche (4,950 metres) via Dukla, where we stopped for tea and a snack. Neil went off to climb Island Peak, while Elizabeth decided to spend an extra day in Pheriche to aid her acclimatization. We spent the night at the Eco Lodge in Lobouche and then yesterday made our way up to Base Camp. I have never seen so many people on the trail before. It has been incredibly busy. It was great to be welcomed in Base Camp by all of our staff and climbing sherpas, who have been here for two weeks setting up camp. Without them we would really struggle. What an epic two days, where we ascended about 1,100 meters. It is awesome to finally be here, but surreal to think that this is where we will live for the next 45 days.

 

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Aconcagua 2017 • The Adventures Global team head off on another Aconcagua adventure!

Sunday 8 January

Ac2017D?_02The Adventures Global Aconcagua team met up in Mendoza on Friday. Yesterday they drove down to Penitentes and spent the night. This morning they will drive to Puente del Inca, before setting eyes on Aconcagua for the first time. Tomorrow morning, they will start their trek into Base Camp.

Monday 9 January

The team left Penitentes this morning and set off on their three-day trek into Plaza Argentina (Base Camp). Tonight they will camp at Pampa de Lenas (2950 metres), where the muleteers will prepare dinner for them. Their exciting journey is unfolding!

Tuesday 10 January

Today the Adventures Global team trekked from Pampa de Lenas to Casa de Piedra (3240 metres).The journey took about six hours. Tomorrow they will trek to Base Camp where we will get more information on how everyone is doing.

Thursday 12 January

Ac2017D?_11Yesterday the Adventures Global team left Casa de Piedra for Base Camp. They crossed the Vacas River early in the morning on the back of mules, and then made their way up the steep Relicho Slope before crossing another river. They could see Aconcagua in the distance, always looming. They arrived after about six hours of trekking. Today they will take time to settle into Plaza Argentina (4200 metres) and rest. If the weather plays along, they will do a load carry to Camp One tomorrow.

Sunday 15 January

Ac2017D?_15The Adventures Global Aconcagua team settled into Base Camp and, after some rest, did a load carry to Camp One, at 5000 metres. Right now we are not sure whether they have already moved to Camp One, but we will confirm this as soon as we hear from our local logistics. The attached pics depict some of the terrain they would have endured. We will report back soon.

Everest Base Camp: an unforgettable experience

Never in a million years did I think that I would find myself trekking to Everest Base Camp in 2016. I mean, ‘roughing it’ in my experience means not having my nails done every two weeks. I didn’t even have hiking boots. Or a sleeping bag. Or an idea of where Everest actually is

You can therefore understand my surprise (and the complete and utter disbelief of my family and friends) when I accepted an invitation to join my adventurous cousin on her second trip to Everest Base Camp. And to be honest, no one was more surprised than me. But you see, I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to say no. Every excuse I came up with was just that – an excuse. And at the very core of all my reasons not to go, was a deep knowing that it was time. Time to step outside the routine of day-to-day life, the labels of wife, mother, and friend, and see what I was made of.

So I said yes. And immediately sat down to google ‘Where is Everest?’ while having a mild panic attack! My mantra over the next few months became ‘I can do hard things!’ – during the long training walks, steep stair climbs and while shopping for my gear. This was something so completely out of character (and out of my comfort zone), that I needed to toughen up mentally before I even set foot on the plane. It wasn’t just about the physical training – I had to redefine my idea of who I was, to make space for the idea that I could be so much more.

And then we were off for what would later turn out to be the adventure of a lifetime. There were moments that my brain just couldn’t comprehend where I was and what I was doing. The flight into Lukla airport, crossing a suspension bridge with yaks coming in the opposite direction, the sheer majesty of the Himalayas, my first glimpse of Everest, reaching Namche Bazaar and not quite believing that I had managed (and loved) the steep climb, the breathtaking views around each corner, the quaint beauty of the teahouses, the Nepalese children running up and hugging us when we trekked through each village, the comaraderie with other trekkers, the altitude headaches, the many hours of being alone with my thoughts, the time and space to think – or not think, the simple pleasures of a hot shower and cup of tea.

Having just received a blessing from a Lama in Kathmandu for safe travels on the mountain.

Having just received a blessing from a Lama in Kathmandu for safe travels on the mountain.

The first of many cups of tea at beautiful tea houses along the trail.

The first of many cups of tea at beautiful tea houses along the trail.

We learnt to take these suspension bridges in our stride!

We learnt to take these suspension bridges in our stride!

Give way to the yaks at all times!

Give way to the yaks at all times!

It was like walking in a postcard. Every day.

It was like walking in a postcard. Every day.

See that village? That’s Namche Bazaar and we'd left there that morning!

See that village? That’s Namche Bazaar and we’d left there that morning!

There’s nothing like the sight of a porter carrying 45kgs of weight up the mountian to make you feel less tired!

There’s nothing like the sight of a porter carrying 45 kg up the mountain to make you feel less tired!

At times, it was like walking in a movie – and I had to remind myself that this was me. I was actually doing this. And loving it. The preconceived labels I had of ‘not being sporty’ and ‘not being outdoorsy’ and ‘being a bit of a princess’ no longer applied. I was a trekker!

The path seems to be a bit ... rocky.

The path seems to be a bit … rocky.

Just when you think it couldn’t get more beautiful. Sunset takes place.

Just when you think it couldn’t get more beautiful. Sunset takes place.

Breathtaking scenery around every corner.

Breathtaking scenery around every corner.

We never tired of the prayer flags and prayer wheels. The spirituality in Nepal is both humbling and inspiring.

We never tired of the prayer flags and prayer wheels. The spirituality in Nepal is both humbling and inspiring.

One of the many Stupas along the trail.

One of the many Stupas along the trail.

Highlights of the trip are too many to mention. Top of the list would be the spectacular views – words and photos can not to do justice to what we were privileged enough to witness. It’s astounding to think of nine days up to Everest Base Camp and four days down – all filled with jaw-dropping views.

Soaking up the beauty surrounding us!

Soaking up the beauty surrounding us!

The stark beauty of the landscape as we got closer to Base Camp.

The stark beauty of the landscape as we got closer to Base Camp.

And then there was Hupendra – our phenomenal guide. His wisdom and gentle guidance were invaluable, as was the attentiveness to our health, mental well-being, and making sure that we enjoyed each day to the full. Words cannot express the respect and appreciation I have for this man, how much we enjoyed his amazing sense of humour, and endless knowledge, and how integral he was to our experience on the mountain.

Hupendra finally gets defeated at UNO!

Hupendra finally gets defeated at UNO!

And then there’s that indescribable feeling of achievement – the tears on reaching Base Camp, that feeling of I did it, and that knowledge that life’s challenges would never seem quite as big as before. There’s a clarity that comes with this type of adventure that is hard to describe. Just a deep knowing that something has shifted and that something has changed – and that many more adventures await!

We did it – we made it to Base Camp!

We did it – we made it to Base Camp!

My enormous thanks to Ronnie Muhl, Lisa, Hupendra and the rest of the Adventures Global team for their attention to detail, on-tap advice and encouragement, incredible expertise and care. I cannot recommend this organisation – or trip – enough!

Shelli Nurcombe-Thorne
November 2016

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