A Journey through Khumbu

A lone figure carrying a large backpack crosses an isolated snowy pass

A journey through Khumbu
A cornucopia of delights
Pain alloyed with pleasure
Bask in mountains of might.

It will make you cry with exhaustion
Awe, fear, and surprise
But the ant trail to Base Camp
Makes weary fresh eyes.

Your room is a fridge
The sun a tanning lamp
The wind chills to bone
But with luck you don’t camp.

A fish out of water
Is any human up so high
Save for the mighty Sherpa
Lifting kilos to the sky.

Cut off from the world
We find peace and tranquility
Friends made through these trials
Stay shackled for a century.

Weeks can go by
Without seeing bees, trees, or flowers,
I hesitate to remember
How long I went without a shower.

Death, frostbite and injury
Lay just around the corner
But accomplishments done alone
Make for memory that much warmer.

To the Khumbu we come
In gaggles, flocks, and droves
Yet to Cho Oyu I look –
Everest is so faux.

With a final resounding cry
I struggle up a pass
Wondering, as I slip,
If this day will be my last.

But face danger we must
To make for great things
The civilisation we live in
Was not built by meeklings.

As I stand on the peak
Watch white pillows pass below
The eight thousands glow red
With twilight sun on the snow.

And should I be left listless
With no higher to climb?
At least, my budget won’t stretch
To Aconcagua next time.

In the harsh valley of the Yeti
I sit and meditate
Let the years of raw trauma
Drift off of my plate.

The cynic within me
Dies a soft death
With each gasp for more oxygen
Every calm and controlled breath.

In sweat we must pay
Not dollars or pounds
Here, ten crore rupees
Will only buy you the helicopter down.

I end with a prayer
For all the lost souls
Who do not see the magic
That the world can behold.

To the Khumbu I left
With the weight of a rucksack
I return with a blessing
And nothing on my back.

Photograph by Sarah A.

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