Saturday, May 25, 2024

Adventurers reach base camp of world’s highest mountain

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Wesley Upfold and Nicki Reid pose for a photo on a large boulder at Mount Everest base camp in the Himalayas. Photo supplied

East Auckland adventurers Wesley Upfold and Nicki Reid have achieved their lofty ambition of reaching the base camp of the world’s highest mountain.

The local couple were part of a small group that left New Zealand on April 16 heading to Mount Everest base camp in the Himalayas.

The base camp is used by people during their ascent and descent of the mountain.

The trip was a bucket list adventure for Upfold, who runs a successful food truck business, while Reid, a primary school teacher, decided to join in when she went to book the tickets.

The pair have been keeping their loved ones back home updated regularly on their adventure through Facebook, posting photos and descriptions of what they’ve seen and done each day.

One of the first images they shared depicted what could be described as an electrician’s nightmare – dozens of entangled powerlines outside a tall building in Kathmandu.

The couple were awoken at 1am the day before their trek to base camp began to undertake a five-hour van trip to Lukla airport.

That was followed by four hours of walking to Phakding, including in bitterly cold weather of just above freezing.

Day two saw them journey to Namche. On the way they used a piece of infrastructure named for famed Kiwi mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary.

“Crossing the incredibly high Hillary Bridge (terrifying) thank goodness there were no donkeys coming the other way when we crossed,” Upfold and Reid posted.

“Then just purely uphill for hours afterward. The legs were definitely sore.

“A huge achievement to make it to Namche. Up 800 metres in altitude today.”

On day three of the journey the couple finally set eyes on Mount Everest.

They both began taking altitude medication that day due to suffering from headaches.

They then kept going from Namche to Tengboche on day four.

“What a hike uphill!” they posted. “11.7km in total for the day, 8am to 4pm.

“Doesn’t seem like a lot but with the terrain and the altitude … wowzers!

“We go slowly slowly slowly, about 30-50 paces then stop and breathe, at a very casual strolling pace.

“At Tengboche we were very lucky to go inside a monastery as well and saw the monks in a full prayer session, no photos allowed inside though.”

Upfold and Reid pause to take in the scenery during their journey to base camp. Photo supplied

Day five saw them travel 11km to Dingboche, where they stayed to get used to the altitude.

“Only two days until we reach Everest Base Camp!

“We also had a cake and a mint lemonade at Cafe 4410, one of the highest bakeries in the world. Still feeling good.

“No showers anymore, but we did take a hot bucket of water back to our room for a quick wash down.”

Day seven was “very big and very slow” as they moved on to Laboche, a distance of almost 12km.

That’s the location of a famous memorial to climbers who died on Mount Everest.

Day eight saw the group make it to Gorak Shep, where they stopped for lunch before their final push on to base camp.

Ten hours of walking and 13.5km later, they’d finally made it.

“Everest Base Camp!!!!,” they posted. “A huge accomplishment!”

Upfold and Reid took numerous photos of themselves at base camp, including several of them standing and sitting atop an enormous boulder.

A short time later they had to turn around and start making their way toward Pangboche to begin the long journey home.

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