“I don’t think I should be drinking right now.”
Seeing that this was the last of that quarter of Old Monk rum, I guess that it was a little late to be stumbling upon obvious universal truths.
It was March in Bombay and exactly one and a half months prior to my Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek. I had a torn hamstring from a careless session of High-Intensity Interval Training, and walking felt as difficult as explaining my life plans to a person who is fast asleep. Thank god for physiotherapists and muscle relaxant sprays.
Ever since I was a young boy with a massive jooda (hairball) on my head, I’ve always felt the need to physically exert myself and push my body to new limits, simply because it eased my mind a bit and filled me with a sense of achievement. My decision to ditch a Eurotrip and go for a challenging 15-day trek to Nepal was probably a direct result of this, but it’s much deeper than just that.
I’ve always looked at adversity as something that is physical, a force that you must use your brute strength and willpower to overcome. You may disagree with me on this point, but this is how I see the world.
After getting caught up in the daily rut of working late nights and missing my early morning workouts, I found my life lacking the adversities that I craved; I wanted to be more than just a working professional, I wanted to do something that made me feel alive. It was perhaps perfect timing then when I found out about a trek to Everest Base Camp that Ankur Bahl and his wife, Sangeeta Bahl were organizing (incidentally, Ankur Bahl had summited Mt Everest a couple of months prior to this). It took a little thinking, but I knew that this trek was exactly what I needed.
Preparing Myself For Everest Base Camp
Preparing for EBC was no easy task, especially keeping in mind that I’d torn my hamstring and had a bit of difficulty walking. But that wasn’t all, I had to also ensure that I had all the necessary gear that I needed for the trek. I needed a plan.
For me, it was simple- do whatever you have to in order to prepare your body for the shock that you are about to put it into. This meant going for several physiotherapy sessions a week to help my hamstring heal and rehabilitate, as well as increase my protein intake to as much as I could, sometimes even opting for a plate of fried chicken liver for dinner (I don’t and never have believed in taking protein shakes- but that’s for another time). Once I was up for it, I started climbing stairs with a backpack full of bricks every night before sleeping to prepare myself for the ascent that lay ahead. I also had to ensure that my BMI (Body Mass Index) was not above 25 and that my lipid profile seemed sound, and obviously, not drink or smoke at all.
15 days prior to the trek, I gave my body strength by gourmandising on all the food that I could get my hands on, while at the same time doing a lot of cardio. Much of my cardio came from doing a lot of walking and climbing stairs. By this time, I could climb approximately 90 storeys at one go.
In my opinion, this was the relatively easy part. The hard part was acquiring all the gear that I would need. Thankfully, Impact Mountaineering (the mountaineering tour group started by Sangeeta and Ankur) gave me a comprehensive list of everything that I would need. You can find the list down here.
At this point, I must admit that without my sister and my mom, I would have never been able to acquire all the items on this list. Their proactivity and nagging is what really helped me to achieve this particular goal.
Thankfully, figuring out where to stay and getting a tour guide and everything wasn’t something that I had to be even a little worried about, as Impact Mountaineering had that sorted, right down to the daily itinerary. It’s for this reason that I would highly recommend going with a tour group if you plan on embarking on such a trek.
You can check Impact Mountaineering out here.
Documentation Required and The Total Cost Of The Trip
To be able to go for this trek, you would need a Visa to Nepal (It’s Visa on arrival for Indians), a permission to enter the region that EBC is in (you have to pay extra for this), a health certificate, and of course, flight tickets (don’t attempt walking to Nepal).
Impact Mountaineering sorted all this out for me and the total cost for everything (including lodging and meals at the lodges) was about 1.35 lakhs. I spent an additional number of Gs on the gear.
In the end, everything finally came together- my gear, most of the torn muscle fibres in my hamstring and my leave from work.
Early in the morning on the 17th of April, I made my way to the airport for what would be a very fine adversity indeed.