Congratulations Gary – you finally made it to Everest Base Camp! We are of course very proud and grateful for letting us following you on your big adventure, in every stage of your way! We are really curious of knowing how it all went. But first, can you tell us what was the toughest challenge during the trip? 

– By far the hardest part of the trip was the ‘EBC Summit Day’ where we had to get to Everest Base Camp from Lobuche, we rose very early and followed the broad valley that runs parallel to Khumbu Glacier, with a gradual ascent enabling us to build the slow, steady rhythm required when walking at high altitude. When we reach the moraines of Changri Nup Glacier, there was a series of small ascents and descents over a rocky trail lined with cairns that eventually lead to the surprising glacial sands of Gorak Shep (5160m) – this point was reached after about three hours of strenuous uphill trekking. After only a brief rest and hot drink at Gorak Shep we headed off towards Everest Base Camp. The trek to the base camp also then took three hours,  where we encountered treacherous rocky terrain under foot and also hundreds of yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions at EBC. After only 30 minutes at EBC to take photos and congratulate each other we set off again for Gorak Shep where we would camp for the night. From EBC there are no good views of Mount Everest, but we were able to see glorious glaciers, lakes, caves, and the notorious Everest Ice Fall that flows from the Western Cwm. It's regarded as technically the hardest and most dangerous section of the mountain. The return journey from the Base Camp to Gorak Shep here more hours.

Overall a 9 hour tough trekking day for only 30 minutes of time at EBC, with only 50% oxygen levels at 5000m+, temperatures as low as -13 degrees C and wind speeds of 60 kmph.  Sleeping at Gorak Shep was not easy, there was no heating nor running water so we slept as best we could, had some breakfast and left early the next day.

Which hiking trail did you like the most vs the least?

– The best trails were those below the tree line, this allowed for trekking through the forests in good weather and spirits were high on those days, the least favourite days were above the tree line (4000m+) trekking on long hard rock falls for hours and hours having to watch every step in case you were to slip and hurt yourself.

Do you think you will take on a challenge like this again?

– At 54 years old my hiking boots are now well and truly hung up in retirement, that said we had a 4 people older than me in the group and each succeeded in completing the challenge – Lee from Australia 70 years old, Anne from UK 65 years old, Dolf from Netherlands 60 years old and Anton from UK 58 years old.

Last but certainly not least - how much did you manage to collect in total for your charity fund at Reubens Retreat?

– There were 5 in our group of 14 people raising funds for Reuben’s Retreat and in to total (so far) we have raised over GBP 20,000, some funds are still being collected in cash but we are delighted with this achievement.