Graeme and Leanne Carling Climb for a Cure: The Everest Diaries – Day 1

Day 1 of the Everest Base Camp trek was a day filled with excitement, anticipation, and a little bit of fear. Graeme and I were picked up early in the morning for our 6 am flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, which is known as the world’s most dangerous airport. The flight was everything I had imagined it would be, with the plane navigating through the mountains and landing on a short runway that seemed to end abruptly. However, the stunning views of the mountains made it all worth it.

When we landed in Lukla, we were met by our guide who took us to a nearby lodge for breakfast. The sun was just rising over the mountains, and we were able to see the three peaks that would dominate our day one: Numbar, Kongde, and Kusum Khang. After breakfast, we started our trek, passing along the up and down trail towards Phakding, our destination for the night.

As we made our way from Lukla, we registered our presence at the national park with the park ranger’s office and the police. We passed many Buddhist monasteries, and our guide was fantastic at giving us the history of the place as we tackled the ups and downs. The trail was challenging but stunning, with breath-taking views of the mountains and valleys.

One of the things that struck me the most on day one was the sheer beauty of the landscape. The mountains were towering above us, and the valleys were lush and green. It was hard to believe that we were actually trekking towards Everest Base Camp, but the sight of the mountains in the distance was a constant reminder of our goal.

Another thing that stood out was the hospitality of the people we met along the way. The locals were friendly and welcoming, always ready to offer a smile or a word of encouragement. We stopped at a few tea houses along the way for snacks and water, and the owners were always happy to chat with us and share their stories.

As we reached Phakding, we were exhausted but exhilarated. The weather had been perfect, and we had been lucky enough to avoid any altitude sickness or other problems. We settled into our lodge for the night, ready for an early start the next day. Our guide warned us that day two would be almost all uphill as we made our way to Namche Bazar, a bustling town that serves as the gateway to the Everest region.

Looking back on day one, I feel incredibly grateful for the experience. The trek was challenging, but the scenery and the people we met along the way made it all worthwhile. It was a humbling reminder of the power of nature and the resilience of the human spirit. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trek has in store for us.

Now off for some rest before day two.

Leanne & Graeme

Leanne and Graeme are raising funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to support their efforts to find a cure for Type-1 Diabetes. In a bid to raise as much money for the charity as possible, Graeme and Leanne have launched a JustGiving page which can be found here: