Vinita Aggarwal visited the Everest Base Camp - Nepal with Juniper in April 2019. In this article, Vinita shares her experience about a trek up Kala Pathar.
Asleep in a scruffy lodge in Gorakshep, my alarm went off at 3:30 in the morning shouting for attention. The thrill of climbing the Black Rock overcame the dread of using the common toilets. Up and about anticipating below freezing conditions I got into my Merino wool warmers for the first time, pulled out my Namche acquisition of cutting edge gloves for mountaineering. Put on my pants, jacket, and beanie, packed my bag, and headed downstairs.
Kala Pathar or black rock, ironical to its caption, is the most lustrous point in the Khumbu region. It illuminates magnificent views of Everest, which, sadly you cannot see much of from the Everest Base Camp (that`s how massive the mountains surrounding Everest are).
The Kala Pathar pinnacle is a 360-degree blowout of at least 9 peaks more than 6000m in height. For me a trek up Kala Pathar was the highlight of my sojourn to the highest point on Earth and was also the highest that I had ever set foot on.
The walk on the sand across the now dry lakebed between the lodge and the base camp of the climb is short. The headlamps of earlier risers mark out a path up the mountain as one nears the trail. Hands benumbed with the icy mountain hike and lungs bursting after thirty minutes of that sheer ascent required constant breaks. On cresting a ridge a third of the way up the 5600m, the summit comes into play. Looking up is frustrating and seems an impossible task. The best strategy was to keep walking one foot after the other without looking ahead.
The sky turned from black to purple to pink to blue, and the path below turned from dirt to rocks as we neared the peak. The vertically dominated Black rock gives no respite to the weary climber at any point. In fact the foot slog amplifies at the fag end of the trail, which requires one to scramble big boulders to reach the summit, fluttering with prayer flags.
We were cocooned in a valley of some of the highest snow clad peaks of the world. The shimmering arc of Giants was breathtaking and unbelievable. I could have easily believed if told I was on Mars or the Moon. Pumori stood behind me, majestic and white. The mountains stretched for miles around, a natural miracle almost too elegant, too graceful, to be real. Yet there it was. We got to see the entire Everest range of mountains (starting from left to right) Lingtren (6714m), Kumbutse (6636m), Changtse (7550m), Lho-La (6036m), Everest (8848m), Nuptse (7836m), Kali Himal (6985), AmaDablam (6856m), Kangtga (6635m). The climbing route up Everest was fairly visible except the Western CWM. Adrenaline and joy surged through all four members of our climbing team as we soared atop the apex in reverence to mother nature.