Nepal: looking south in the Khumbu Valley.

This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, trekking up to Everest Base Camp, a little short of Gorak Shep, a small settlement and pretty much the last outpost before Everest. The air up here is thin, at about 4500m you’re surviving on a lot less oxygen and the body has to adjust. For me, the altitude manifested itself in constant low-level headache, nothing unbearable, just a mild throb which I treated by chugging down a couple of aspirin. A lot of this is connected with being dehydrated, the air up here is incredibly dry and with every breath, you’re losing moisture. Also because of the lack of cloud cover and the extreme altitude, you’re being baked literally by the sun, it’s hot up here and sunburn is a real issue.

I was in the company of 14 other trekkers, led by the gregarious Pat Falvey, who has summited Everest twice and failed on two other occasions.