Bathrooms Abroad: Peeing on Everest

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Pot

A post by writer and traveler Gwen Bellinger, who uncovered some interesting ladies rooms on her Everest trek. Take it away, Gwen!

In September I completed the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. Before I began my 18-day journey to 17,598 feet, I thought I had looked up everything. I knew the temperatures, the clothes I needed, how much money to bring for food and lodging, and generally what to expect. It’s easy to find photos of the mountains, information on altitude sickness, and people’s life-changing experiences, but have you ever wondered what it’s like to pee on Everest?

Day One: I started with a 12-hour jerky and bouncy van ride form Kathmandu to Salleri, a small mountain town about 12 days walking from Everest. Eight of us were crushed inside the car so tightly we couldn’t even move our arms. This was our first potty break:

We stayed in a lodge that night in the town of Salleri with slightly better plumbing:

Day 2: I had a pleasant walk from Salleri to Taksindo. No cars are able to drive after Salleri, and most tourists fly to a town further up on the mountain. This meant the walk was very quiet, mostly just nature and a few locals. This outhouse was attached to an empty house on the side of the path.

 

I stayed in a nice lodge that night. The room was 100 rupees per person ($1 USD), but we negotiated that we could stay for free if we ate the homemade dinner there.

 

Day 3: Another outhouse on the walk from Taksindo to Kharikhola. In Karipkola I took my first shower of the trip. There were no lights so I hung a flashlight from the ceiling of the outhouse.

Day 4: Karikhola to Paiya.

On the way to Kharikhola I bumped into some of the trekkers from the van ride from hell from Kathmandu to Salleri. We actually decided to pass Paiya and walk an extra hour. We stopped at a lodge in the middle of nowhere, between two towns. Once again, we offered to eat dinner at the lodge in exchange for a free room. What you pay for is what you get, right?

Day 5: Paiya to Phakding.  Phakding is the first mountain city that exists after tourists reach the region by air. It’s the beginning of the more popular Lukla to EBC trek. You can see the amenities are a lot better!

Day 6 & 7: Namche Bazaar. I took a rest day in the largest city in the region in order to acclimatize. The toilets in my lodge were similar to those in Phakding. However, I did find this slightly crude door in the highest located bar in the world:

I also found a nice looking outhouse in a local resident’s garden:

Day 8: Namche Bazaar to Tengbouche. On day 8 we got a mixed bag of toilets during the walk.

Day 9: Tengbouche to Dingbouche. The toilet situation wasn’t much improved. By this point my legs were so tired that squatting to pee became quite difficult.

Day 10: Rest day in Dingbouche to acclimatize. The high altitude affected different people in different ways. Many people felt sick or light-headed. For me, I woke up nearly every hour needing to pee.

Day 11: Dingbouche to Lobuche, nearly there! Unlike the rest of the trek, almost no villages exist between these two towns.

Final Day: Gorakshep and Everest Base Camp. No toilets! Not anything. Just ice and rock.

But peeing outside isn’t so bad when this is your view:

Gwen Bellinger is a freelance writer and editor currently splitting her time in Medellin, Colombia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In September 2016 she solo trekked the Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal. For more stories about Everest or to follow her adventures living and traveling around the world, check out her blog at: www.Gwengetsglobal.com

6 responses »

  1. Those squat toilets are the pits (sorry!) Thanks for the enjoyable views of toilets I’ll never have to use. 🙂

  2. Sure is humbling, toilet wise. Makes me VERY grateful for modern bathrooms. I will be sure to pass this on to Martin who will be doing the climb soon! Thanks, Gwen…..you are so brave! 😊

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