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Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

Day 10

Kala Patthar means black rock. It is a hill behind Gorakshep which offers splendid views of the Mount Everest Panorama. It takes about 2 hours to climb Kala Patthar and the trail begins near the lake bed in Gorakshep close to the helipad.

Most people choose to climb Kalapatthar in the morning to catch the sunrise so that they can head to Lobuche the same day without having to spend an extra dreaded night at Gorakshep. In doing so I think they are missing out on the most splendid sunset. Kalapatthar is a sunset destination and not a sunrise destination in my view as the sun rises behind Mt Everest.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar I was particular about catching the sunset on Kala Patthar so I waited until afternoon to make my summit climb. Meera was tired with the previous days base camp trek and she decided to stay back. She already got a good view of the panorama when we climbed a third of the way in the evening on the first day at Gorakshep. The conditions at Gorakshep are such that you have very little energy for anything so Meera was sure she didn\'t want to strain herself with another tough 2 hour climb. I was however very keen to going up to the summit although my energy was also low.

I was particular about catching the sunset on Kala Patthar so I waited until afternoon to make my summit climb. Meera was tired with the previous days base camp trek and she decided to stay back. She already got a good view of the panorama when we climbed a third of the way in the evening on the first day at Gorakshep. The conditions at Gorakshep are such that you have very little energy for anything so Meera was sure she didn't want to strain herself with another tough 2 hour climb. I was however very keen to going up to the summit although my energy was also low.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar The trail starts out really steep and we gained height steadily taking very frequent breaks. The younger Tserring accompanied me on this climb.
We are looking down at Gorakshep. Gorakshep is situated right next to the Khumbu glacier and it was at one point a base camp for Mt Everest until they identified newer spots up the glacier.

The trail starts out really steep and we gained height steadily taking very frequent breaks. The younger Tserring accompanied me on this climb. We are looking down at Gorakshep. Gorakshep is situated right next to the Khumbu glacier and it was at one point a base camp for Mt Everest until they identified newer spots up the glacier.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Mt Pumori in the background. The first summit of Kala Patthar is on the left in the pic

Mt Pumori in the background. The first summit of Kala Patthar is on the left in the pic

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar A wide angle view of the Kala Patthar landscape

A wide angle view of the Kala Patthar landscape

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar One can see a lot more of Everest as we climb higher

One can see a lot more of Everest as we climb higher

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar The second summit of Kala Patthar is visible now.

The second summit of Kala Patthar is visible now.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar As I approach the summit, the trail disappears and have to walk to rocks to reach the summit. It is also getting very windy.

As I approach the summit, the trail disappears and have to walk to rocks to reach the summit. It is also getting very windy.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar As you approach the summit, if you look behind the mountain you can get splendid view of the Changri Shar glacier. Further up is the Gorak Shep glacier.

As you approach the summit, if you look behind the mountain you can get splendid view of the Changri Shar glacier. Further up is the Gorak Shep glacier.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Weather monitoring equipment on top of Kala Patthar

Weather monitoring equipment on top of Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar It is so windy that Tserring has selected a relatively less windy spot. It is impossible to stand in the wind that was blowing there. The wind appears to come in waves and there are periods of calm that last about a minute.

It is so windy that Tserring has selected a relatively less windy spot. It is impossible to stand in the wind that was blowing there. The wind appears to come in waves and there are periods of calm that last about a minute.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar There are two lakes at the base of Pumori.  South Col on Everest is visible from this height. South Col is the dark shoulder to the right of Mt Everest in the picture. Further to the right is the Lhotse peak.
The South Col is where climbers begin to enter the death zone. Everest and the South Col are so high up that they are in the jet stream. All snow is blown off the mountain by high speed winds.

There are two lakes at the base of Pumori. South Col on Everest is visible from this height. South Col is the dark shoulder to the right of Mt Everest in the picture. Further to the right is the Lhotse peak. The South Col is where climbers begin to enter the death zone. Everest and the South Col are so high up that they are in the jet stream. All snow is blown off the mountain by high speed winds.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Mount Everest Base Camp as seen from Kala Patthar

Mount Everest Base Camp as seen from Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Mt Pumori as seen from the summit of Kala Patthar

Mt Pumori as seen from the summit of Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar It was so windy, had to be real quick to get the \'i was there\' shot

It was so windy, had to be real quick to get the 'i was there' shot

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Mt Ama Dablam in the distance

Mt Ama Dablam in the distance

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar This is shot in the normal view. I made sure the image in the viewfinder is exactly the same size as it would appear to the naked eye.

This is shot in the normal view. I made sure the image in the viewfinder is exactly the same size as it would appear to the naked eye.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Its a long way down to Gorak Shep

Its a long way down to Gorak Shep

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar The summit of Mt Pumori

The summit of Mt Pumori

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar The ice fall on the slope of Mt Pumori

The ice fall on the slope of Mt Pumori

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar The show begins. What I have been waiting for. The sunset was even better than what I imagined. Here are 4 pictures as I pan the camera left to right. 1 of 4

The show begins. What I have been waiting for. The sunset was even better than what I imagined. Here are 4 pictures as I pan the camera left to right.
1 of 4

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar 2 of 4

2 of 4

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar 3 of 4

3 of 4

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar 4 of 4

4 of 4

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar In still photographs its hard to know how windy it was. It was over whelming to say the least. I planned to getting some shots in a particular order and video. But all those plans went haywire. I couldn\'t find a spot where my tripod wouldn\'t fly. Yes, I saw my tripod rise up in the air even though it had its legs positioned to keep with very low on the ground. It tumbled to its side and I had to quickly run to grab it so that it wouldn\'t fly off the edge. There were extended periods where I just had to wait for the wind to pass lying very low. If one stood up the wind can very easily knock you off balance. So I ditched the tripod, went on to Auto ISO and took many hand held shots in the fading light. To review my pictures I had to get my gloves off that was an ordeal by itself. The conditions are really crazy there. I should have probably descended a bit where I speculate it would not be so windy but you wont get the same view. It was a great experience and what I felt was a lot more than what I captured in pictures. Watching the changing light as the sun set and the twilight afterglow was very beautiful. We were the only ones on the summit that evening.

In still photographs its hard to know how windy it was. It was over whelming to say the least. I planned to getting some shots in a particular order and video. But all those plans went haywire. I couldn't find a spot where my tripod wouldn't fly. Yes, I saw my tripod rise up in the air even though it had its legs positioned to keep with very low on the ground. It tumbled to its side and I had to quickly run to grab it so that it wouldn't fly off the edge. There were extended periods where I just had to wait for the wind to pass lying very low. If one stood up the wind can very easily knock you off balance. So I ditched the tripod, went on to Auto ISO and took many hand held shots in the fading light. To review my pictures I had to get my gloves off that was an ordeal by itself. The conditions are really crazy there. I should have probably descended a bit where I speculate it would not be so windy but you wont get the same view. It was a great experience and what I felt was a lot more than what I captured in pictures. Watching the changing light as the sun set and the twilight afterglow was very beautiful. We were the only ones on the summit that evening.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar As the sun sets, the quality of light changes rapidly and Mount Everest is glowing a Golden Orange

As the sun sets, the quality of light changes rapidly and Mount Everest is glowing a Golden Orange

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Here are a series of photographs of the fading light

Here are a series of photographs of the fading light

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are the 3 tallest peaks here. The light is still on them  even though the valley is becoming dark

Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are the 3 tallest peaks here. The light is still on them even though the valley is becoming dark

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Nuptse is losing light

Nuptse is losing light

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Everest and Lhotse are the only ones having light

Everest and Lhotse are the only ones having light

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Lhotse has lost light too. Everest is the last peak to lose light

Lhotse has lost light too. Everest is the last peak to lose light

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Sunset is over

Sunset is over

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar Looking west, there is still light in the sky. We begin our decent in the fading light. This is the start of the long descent, not just Gorakshep but all the way down to Lukla in the coming days. I was feeling sad that I was leaving the place, since its so hard and takes so long to get to this place. I just love the landscape here. There is more to the place than what the eye or the mind sees.

Looking west, there is still light in the sky. We begin our decent in the fading light. This is the start of the long descent, not just Gorakshep but all the way down to Lukla in the coming days. I was feeling sad that I was leaving the place, since its so hard and takes so long to get to this place. I just love the landscape here. There is more to the place than what the eye or the mind sees.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar I deliberately slowed down. There was no need to hurry down. I kept watching the mountains in the twilight as I walked down. Soon the stars began to show. That night it was wonderfully clear and bright with stars.

I deliberately slowed down. There was no need to hurry down. I kept watching the mountains in the twilight as I walked down. Soon the stars began to show. That night it was wonderfully clear and bright with stars.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar As we descended in the dark, I could still see all the snow peaked mountains in the starlit night. But Everest was different. It appeared as a dark shadow blocking a portion of the sky. I knew it was there, but couldn\'t see it. The absence of stars revealed its silhouette.

As we descended in the dark, I could still see all the snow peaked mountains in the starlit night. But Everest was different. It appeared as a dark shadow blocking a portion of the sky. I knew it was there, but couldn't see it. The absence of stars revealed its silhouette.

kiran chakravadhanula kiranc Everest Base Camp Trek: Kala Patthar I used a point and shoot to take this long exposure shot. I could have gotten a better picture but there was a lot more to experience than to take a picture of something.


Click here to view the next album from the Everest Base Camp Series

I used a point and shoot to take this long exposure shot. I could have gotten a better picture but there was a lot more to experience than to take a picture of something.

Click here to view the next album from the Everest Base Camp Series