Everest

Every child knows the answer to what is the highest mountain in the world. And here I was gazing at it in all its snow-clad beauty, we’d made it. Across two continents, numerous deserts and mountain ranges and now the challenge of getting up to Base Camp, Everest. Two checkpoints to clear before we’re allowed onto the track, then over a hundred hairpin bends as we wound our way upwards. The hairpins were challenging, often steep and always covered in gravel, the group was soon spread out along the mountainous slopes. We reached a pass where we all gathered for a group picture, lining the bikes up alongside the van as we posed for a photo that will be going in all our albums with the view of Everest’s north face behind us. Then the next section of hairpins, I was attempting to take photos of the others tackling the difficult curves whilst riding alongside them – with mixed results as often I had to grab the hand grips at the last minute in some particularly loose gravel (another in the occasional series of don’t tell my Mum). Through small villages where the locals looked on with surprise, and then the final stretch up to Rongpu Monastery (the highest in the world). We left Mark there- disconsolately changing his shock absorber which had died on him 10 minutes earlier. This is his third trip to Everest so we didn’t feel too bad at leaving him in the monastery yard; after all he had a great view of Everest as he got the tools out and started work.

Base Camp Everest –it felt like we were the highest motorcyclists in the world and who knows... perhaps we were. We gazed at the awe-inspiring sight in front of us, savouring the moment after the culmination of weeks of hard travel. Scrambling to the top of the small hill by the camp was so hard due to the elevation that I had to stop to get my breath every 10 steps or so. We felt as if we could have stayed there the rest of the day but we still had the 60 miles of hairpin bends to negotiate back down again. A final photo and off we went, pausing to pay our respects at the monastery and to collect Mark.