Everest Base Camp - 2018

NYC to Kathmandu to Nagarkot

My brother got married in New York City in September of 2018. After the wedding, we flew from NYC to Kathmandu for our trek to Everest Base Camp. We flew directly from my brother’s wedding in NYC to Kathmandu. After a three legs and 30 hours, we landed in Kathmandu and made our way to our hostel for the next few days. Kathmandu was a dusty, busy town. Motorcycles slip between vehicles and pedestrians with no room to spare. The city is in a valley and the heat and still air leads to smog and dust. We had a really fun time walking through our neighborhood of Thamel, checking out the wares.

While in Kathmandu, we had two days before our friends arrived. On the advice of some fellow travelers, we took a bus to a nearby town of Nagarkot. Nestled in the mountains, we spend the day breathing fresh air and day hiking.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Mary and I had arrived in Kathmandu a few days earlier than the rest of our friends. While we were waiting around and exploring Kathmandu, we tried to organize our plane tickets to the airport in the mountains. Treks to Everest start with a flight into Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla. Unlike a normal airport, flights to Lukla are purchased through a tour guide and often require some intense negotiation to find open seats. The system is super chaotic - because the weather in Lukla is often poor, the flights constantly get cancelled day of and moved to the next day. Instead of moving to the back of the line, they jump to the front and push everyone back. This creates huge backups - when the weather is poor for days at a time you end up with 60+ flights ahead of yours. We arrived in Kathmandu in a window of bad weather for Lukla. After talking with our ticket guy, we opted to switch our plane tickets to helicopter tickets. Although this was a big cost overrun, we had a blast! Man, if you get a chance, fly by helicopter! It was an incredible experience to get lifted through the mountains and clouds, as if by a giant hand. Unlike an airplane where you feel the speed. But in a helicopter, you just…go.

Here was our route to Base Camp:

Here are some highlights from our hike.

The incredibly short runway at the Tenzing-Hillary Airport.

Interestingly, you don’t get to see Everest until the very end of the trek! We climbed to 18,000ft to the summit of Kalla Pattar. We watched the sunset over the Khumbu Valley and on the tip of Everest. As the sun dropped below the horizon, the entire top of Everest glows. 18,000ft is the highest I’ve ever been and we all felt the altitude as we hiked higher.

Overall, we had an amazing time. It was truly liberating to backpack and not have to carry food or shelter. It was also wonderful to get food cooked for you all the time (although the meals do get a bit plain as we climbed higher). We did find the trail very crowded at times. Many porters and tour groups ply the route so often the guesthouses and inns can be completely full. By completely full I mean we once all bunked up with two German backpackers in one, long bed. The scenery was completely unparalleled. As you walk up the valley, you stare around at peaks that climb a mile into the sky, disappearing behind cloud banks and reappearing thousands of feets higher.


When our trek was over, our friends left but we still had another week on our visa! We took a bus to Pokhara and attended a yoga retreat for three days. We had a fabulous time and Pokhara was a much more fun town to explore. It was full of amazing restaurants and gorgeous scenery.