Mount Everest which rises 8,848 meters or 29,021 feet above sea level (asl) is the highest mountain in the world. It draws thousands of hikers and climbing enthusiasts to Kathmandu, Nepal every year. Many climb to the peak, some fail to return but the majority hike to the Everest Base Camp (EBC) at 5,364 meters or 17,593 feet asl to enjoy the scenery, and the view of the mountain ranges or simply to enjoy plain hiking.
We took the trip with five Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) students, leaving Kuala Lumpur on 2nd November for Kathmandu which is a bustling metropolis with narrow streets, full of taxis, trishaws and pedestrians. The bleating of the horn is characteristic of the Kathmandu traffic.
After preparation and purchase of hiking gear, we left Kathmandu on 4th November for a half an hour flight on a 18 seater twin propeller engine plane, a Dorsier 228– 200 belonging to Tara Airlines, to Lukla, purportedly the most dangerous airport in the world. If one is lucky to have a seat on the left side of the plane, which I did, one could see the magnificient snow capped mountain ranges of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest in the background. The view was spectacular!
We landed in Lukla airport (2,840 meters asl) along a sloping narrow runway. Upon reaching Lukla, we met our Sherpa guides who would take us to EBC. From there onwards, it was journey on foot, the longest hike in my life.