When I visited Nepal in 2009, I asked someone how I could see Everest without going to Base Camp. They replied “Head towards it, then turn left”. I didn’t want to be part of an endless line of trekkers and I didn’t want to get high altitude sickness. Quite early on I saw a young man being carried down in a basket on the back of a Sherpa half his height. Mountain sickness can ruin everything. I played it safe, trekked along the same hallowed path to Namche Bazar then turned left to Thame for a couple of days.
On the return, I ascended to Syanboche and stayed in what was then, the highest hotel in the World. The air was rarefied. I fought for breath but oxygen was on hand if I needed it. Everest was there right in front of me. I watched the sun go down behind her. This is what I came for, to see and not to suffer.
Early the next morning, I walked under moonlight to the little airstrip to catch a plane back to Lukla.