Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – First Days

It’s a nearly two weeks since I landed in a cold, rainy Manchester, after three weeks trekking in Nepal, and it’s taken that time to get some photos and notes of the trip in order. The original intention was to set a limit of one photo per day and one post, but it proved too difficult and too limiting and so I threw that idea under a passing oliphant and instead decided to do the complete opposite and provide a comprehensive photo diary, complete with brief diary and shooting notes at the end. I’m sure there are many, many, EBC trekking posts that are more informative and better written, but hopefully the pictures go someway to redress the balance.  More posts to follow over the coming days.

Day 1: Katmandu to Lukla, then onto Monjo (2,850m)

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Another Safe Landing, Lukla Airport | Sony RX1rII
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Kusum Kanguru SW Face | Sony RX1rII
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Kusum Kanguru | Sont RX1rII
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Mani Stones overlooked by Nupla | Sony RX1rII
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Nupla | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Day 2: Monjo Acclimatisation Day

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Looking Up Monjo High Street, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Looking down Monjo High Street, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Tomorrow’s Journey Toward Namche Bazaar & Beyond | Sigma DP3 Merrill Stitched
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Monjo des. res. Overlooked by Sacred Khumbila | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbila & the Road Ahead | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbila | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Mountain Stream Study 1, Monjo, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Mountain Stream Study 2, Monjo, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Prayer Flags, Mountain Stream Study 3, Monjo, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Day 3: Monjo to Namche Bazaar (3,445m)

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High & Low Bridges crossing Dudh Koshi | Sony RX1rII
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High & Low Bridges Crossing Dudh Koshi | Sony RX1rII
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Everest First Sight | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Thamserku | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sont RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar overlooked by Thamserku | Sony RX1rII

Diary Notes – Days 1 to 3

Saturday 5th November: Katmandu to Lukla, then onto Monjo (2,850m)

Day one. The alarm goes off early! There’s no lie in, and after the long flight from Manchester via Abu Dhabi I could really use one. Overdressed and overheated (an attempt to make the luggage weight of 15kg) we’re expertly guided through the chaos of Kathmandu airport check-in by our guide, Dumbar, and now sit in a mini-bus on the tarmac watching, our Twin Otter plane being checked, fuelled and loaded, with bright, red, Mountain Kingdom kit bags. The Twin Otter will take us to Lukla, 2,800m up into the Himalaya, and the start of our trek. The sky is blue, the weather calm, a perfect flying day. If you want a tip sit on the left to see the spectacular white wall of mountain peaks. We fly into Lukla without a hint of danger. And what a flight! What an incredible introduction to Nepal’s high country! The World’s high country. After a relaxing cuppa, a sorting of kit bags and lengthening of walking poles, we plunge into the sights, sounds and smells of the Himalaya. I’m lost in a state of awe.

Sunday 6th November: Monjo – Acclimatisation Day

Day two. Acclimatisation does not mean rest! It means an early start and a slow but strenuous hike straight up, then down, a near vertical Yak trail to gain, then lose, 600m of altitude. After lunch the afternoon is more relaxed as we take in Monjo, get our first view of the sacred, unclimbed, mountain of Khumbila, and, from the National Park checkpoint, the trail ahead. In the late afternoon I take a camera and tripod down to the stream we crossed at the foot of the village and lose myself in the moment. It takes five minutes to walk down the trail to find the stream and twenty minutes to walk back up! Even at 2,800m the effect of the thinner air is very real.

Monday 7th November: Monjo to Namche Bazaar (3,445m)

Day three. More incredible scenery as we first follow the river, then climb up and over suspension bridges, heading toward the market town of Namche Bazaar. On the way we catch our first glimpse of our ultimate destination, Everest. In the afternoon, to gain more metres, we climb to the Sagarmatha National Park Visitor Centre. From there we have distant views of Everest and Lhotse but I find myself more enthralled by the mass of rock close by, Thamserku. In the evening I head out with the tripod to take street shots of Namche at night, and as I wander I stumble on a view of the town dominated by Thamserku behind. At 3,445m I’m starting to feel the altitude. I’ve yet to shake off the nagging headache I’ve had since I arrived in Nepal, and combined with my first bout of the craps I’m not feeling my best.

Shooting Notes

With a weight limit of 15kg I limited myself to two cameras, the Sony RX1rII and, for those shots that needed some extra reach, the Sigma DP3 Merrill, the latter of which I hope will also provide some unique Foveon images. Incredible really that with the former currently costing ten times more than the latter I’ve absolute faith in the Merrill. The Sony’s 35mm lens means it’s out most of the time, but in the bright conditions the Sigma is in its element. When walking there was no real chance to use the tripod, we didn’t stop in a place long enough, so the majority of shots are handheld unless stated. All Merrill shots are at ISO100.


7 thoughts on “Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – First Days

  1. This is a beautiful post. I lived in Nepal during the month of July, and it was one of the most eye-opening, inspiring experiences. Nepal is simply amazing. I love your photography, and your photos reminded me of what a gorgeous culture Nepal has. I actually have lots of photos of my trip on the blog as well, if you’re interested: https://cookiesnchem.com/nepal-2016/

    Thank you for sharing, and I wish you all the best 🙂 Looking forward to future posts!

  2. Hi. Thanks for your kind comments. Nepal is a stunning place. I loved your pictures some of which show a very different perspective. I’ve just published the second post in the series. I hope you enjoy it as much as the first. Richard

  3. Thanks a lot for sharing. How many days did it take to get to the Everest Base Camp? And on the way did you just camp or did you find some places in the villages to crash during the night? Kind regards.

    1. Hi, it was a 15 day trek in total and we reach base camp on day 12. We stayed in lodges and tea houses which were pre-arranged as it an organised trek. I think you can camp, but I wouldn’t recommend it when you get to higher ground. However you do it, I’d recommend making the trip. There’s no where else on Earth like it. Richard

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