Four 16-seater mini buses departed Kathmandu for the 8-hour drive to Jiri and camp one of the 2017 Everest Trail Race. The distance is only 200km but the roads are very slowly and often only wide enough for one vehicle. It can be a rollercoaster ride of twisting left-to-right and up and down, all with a constant soundtrack of car horns.
There is a lack of road rules, which actually makes the journey very safe as drivers are constantly expecting the unexpected.
Taking regular breaks, a prolonged 30-minute break came at two-thirds through the journey and picnic stop next to the river that flows through the impressive valley through which we travel.
Along the road, small refreshment stops appear with locals selling wares from small carts; anything from a vegetarian rice meal to crisps, chocolate and even Red Bull! As is normal in Nepal, the locals are always friendly – they beam with laughter and smiles.
Back on the bus the ride continues for 3 more hours and finally our arrival at Jiri came. The glow of yellow tents was a warm welcome as the day began to lose its light.
Arriving in camp, water and tents were allocated to the runners. These tents are home for the next 6-days as we all make our way towards Everest. Runners settled in and made final preparations as the reality hits home that tomorrow, the 2017 Everest Trail Race starts. The heat of Kathmandu soon disappeared with the arrival of darkness and t-shirts were replaced with down jackets.
Day 1 commences at 0900 Thursday 9th November.
Jiri (1850m) to Bhandar (2050m) – 21.5km 3795m+/-
The stage has two summits, one at 2400m and the high point of the day at Deurali Pass 2700m before descending to the finish at Bhandar.