12.07.2007 - 15.07.2007 -17 °C
After several days of confusion and uncertainty, we made it to Mt Everest. After crossing the border from Nepal, things started to go wrong almost immediately. The first 50km of the Friendship Highway are being reconstructed. Traffic is only allowed through at night, so we had to drive from 1am to 7am. For most of the distance, the only passable route was a very rough, narrow track to the side of the road, often with a sheer drop below. After a few hours sleep, we headed into Tingri to try to solve our second problem. When the trip began, the plan was to drive the truck to Everest basecamp. Since then the Chinese announced their plan to upgrade and tarmac the road to basecamp. This means that the road is passable only in jeeps, now that work has begun. When we could not find vehicles in Tingri, it appeared that there was no way to reach Everest. The next morning, heading away from the mountain, we stopped in Shegar to buy some food. Unexpectedly finding vehicles for hire, we arranged some for the next morning. We returned to the camp we had left in the morning and tried to acclimatise to the altitude, ready for a 4am departure.
After driving for about 4 hours, we reached the end of the road. From there, it was an hour's walk to basecamp. Everest was covered by cloud most of the way up, with just brief glimpses of the summit. Just as I got to the viewpoint at basecamp, the cloud began to clear, giving an almost pefect view of Everest. We sat taking in the view for a while, then walked down as the cloud closed in again. From the end of the road, Everest was now completely obscured. Despite being tired and suffering the effects of altitude, it was a thrilling day. Having had our Everest fix, we were happy to head for Lhasa.
Everest seen from basecamp
The north face of Everest
Chinese flag at basecamp