Reaching Base Camp and then the peak of Kalar Pattar will stay with me forever. They were the two goals that were set during my Trek to Nepal in aid of St. Oswald’s Hospice. It was great working as a team to drag ourselves to the collective summit – all of us had days when we weren’t quite on top form, but we all wanted everyone to share the experience and reach the final destinations. After we reached the goals, we were told it was normal for a few of the group not to make it, either due to altitude problems, general fatigue or lack of willpower. Our group had been particularly supportive of all group members, and the Sherpas were always there to support us physically and mentally.
On the way back from Kalar Pattar, we were honoured to see the good work that many mountaineers have done to put something back into Nepal and improve local daily lives: the school and hospital founded by Sir Edmund Hillary and subsequent work by other mountaineering groups, rotary groups and other organisations. It was amazing to see the benefit these were having.
Our return journey was necessarily stilted, allowing time for flight delays out of Lukla (which are quite regular) and then time to briefly reacquaint ourselves with Kathmandu. This also provided us with an opportunity to visit parts of the world heritage site – the main temples and the royal palace that are presently shored up awaiting the skilled craftsmen to be available to restore their fine plaster, masonry and woodwork. It will be some time before these monuments are back to their former glory but it was good to see things becoming stabilised.
On the way back home, we saw signs of the other major part of the Nepalese economy – vast numbers of (predominantly) younger Nepalese men flying off to the Gulf states to work on construction projects. Again, this was humbling in terms of the ingenuity and resolve of the Nepalese people to contribute to the economy and improve their lives. Nepal is starting to get back on its feet, but the need for tourists to start going back cannot be underestimated.
I would definitely recommend a visit – even if a 12-day trek to and from Base Camp is not your thing, Nepal has so much to offer, and in terms of a life experience, will repay you may times over. Humbled.