"I think I want to go to Nepal" - According to my boys, I had been saying this for over 10 years. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but if so, 10 years was too long to just think about it.

I had started trekking regularly with various groups for a couple of years, listening attentively about past and future exotic expeditions across the globe. I wasn't sure which if any I would do or when.

One of my oldest and closest friends, Jayjit, also an active member of local trekking groups, contacted me in March this year. Everest Base Camp Trek. It had also been on his bucket list, and he now had a small group who were going to do it in 2019. "Would you like to join?" The reply took a fraction of a second to answer.

After suffering a frozen shoulder, another close friend, Sanjay, introduced me to Aspire Leisure Centre. Swimming and exercising in the heated swimming pool along with physio remedied the shoulder over 18 months. After completing recovery, I continued going to Aspire two to three times a week. Combining the full-body workout swimming provides, with 10-mile treks on alternative Sundays, serious training had started before I even realised.

Once I set my mind on Everest Base Camp, I knew that despite my elevated training schedule, the English countryside could only prepare so much. For a few years now, my eldest son has been living in a town just out of Barcelona. He invited me and my brother Dinesh, out over the Easter weekend to do some altitude training. We went to Catalonia’s Aigüestortes National Park bordering on France. At 2000m we encountered stunning frozen lakes with mountain backdrops, and at 2200m the snow was ten feet deep with the sun beaming down on us at the same time. Not taking into account the snow, our route for the last day was marked as "easy" for an hour and a half. With the snow, it took us around 2 hours to get to the halfway mark. Needless to say, I was out of my comfort zone. Despite the conditions, our determination and teamwork kept us going. I felt better prepared for what was still to come.

I started to feel really good about myself. I was going to accomplish a personal goal (if I make it) to Everest Base Camp. Wanting to spread the positive vibes, my friend Sanjay suggested I raise funds for the charity Aspire. I couldn't think of a better way of giving back to them for everything they helped me with.

Fast forward to the 18th of October. Our small but well-prepared group set out to Nepal. Team leader Bishnu made sure we enjoyed the full experience. Hearty, fresh and flavourful meals were prepared to sustain us for daily strenuous treks. Our blood oxygen levels were monitored daily to ensure we were physically ready for the daily schedule. We met fellow trekkers of all ages from all nationalities worldwide, language was never a barrier. The group was made very comfortable throughout the experience, including summiting Kala Pathar and auspiciously reaching Everest Base Camp on Hindu New Years' day. 

We started to trek after a helicopter ride from Kathmandu to Lukla at 2700m. Daily treks followed to Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche and Khumjung Alt 3790m.  From here on we were above the tree line so the landscape became more baron. Lobuche and Gorakshep Alt 5164m were the last villages before Everest Base Camp. We climbed Kala Pathar (5644m) on Sunday 27th October, and started trek to Everest Base Camp on Monday morning at minus 18 degrees Celsius. Luckily none of the group had any health, or altitude sickness issues. We all took plenty of photographs as our minds were truly blown away by the sheer beauty and scale of the Sagarmatha (Everest) region of Nepal.

The trip was more of a “personal challenge” of my own physical and mental capacity.  After completing the Trek Back at Lukla, I felt a calm overcome me and was feeling a connection with all family and friends that had passed away from earliest memory.  Shaving of the head is practiced in some Hindu religious orders to designate mourning.  It felt right for me to this in Lukla.

Has this experience been life-changing? Yes. I now more appreciate the basics in life without the need for luxuries. I feel privileged having been to Everest Base Camp. I am also proud to be able to give back to an organisation like Aspire whose mission is to support people with spinal injuries.

Thank you to Kanti for choosing to support Aspire in this challenge and to his family and friends who have raised over £1200 to help people whose lives have been changed by spinal cord injuries.

Sponsor Kanti

How we help