Everest for Breakfast

Everest for Breakfast

In Spring 2010, fashion designer Prabal Gurung took a quick trip to the Himlayas before heading back to New York. “As I sipped tea, I looked out the sunroom’s wall-size window in awe: In the distance, high above the deep Kumbu valley and piercing through a layer of misty haze, the unmistakable dark pyramid tip of Mt. Everest,” he wrote of his experience in a travelogue for Vogue. “It was surreal and quite fabulous. And it was overwhelming. Twenty-four hours ago I was in Kathmandu. Forty-eight hours later I was going to be half-way to New York. But at that moment, in one of the most remote parts of the world, I was having breakfast with Mt. Everest and some of nature’s most stunning works around me. I was humbled, and I had fallen in love with Nepal all over again.”

First Prabal Gurung Scaled New York, Now It’s Mount Everest

First Prabal Gurung Scaled New York, Now It’s Mount Everest

For many years I have made sure I am home with family and friends in Nepal for at least two weeks in the spring. This year, two days before I was flying back to New York, I took up a spontaneous offer to have breakfast with Mt. Everest—or Sagarmatha, as it is called in Nepali—the world’s highest peak, at (29,029 feet). Day 1: Gateway To Everest I had arrived at Kathmandu’s airport at 6:30 a.m. for my 30-minute flight at 7 a.m. to Lukla. But weather-related delays had us grounded all day, and when our Pilatus Porter aircraft finally landed at the Lukla Airport it was just past 4 a.m. Lukla is the “Gateway to Everest.” It is located at 2,650 meters above sea level (8,694 feet), and the landing strip was built in 1964 with the help of Sir Edmund Hillary, who, along with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, was the first person to scale Everest in 1953. The small town is vibrant with Internet cafes, restaurants and bars, coffee shops, and bakeries. In a street corner, local children with chubby red cheeks played carom-board as trekkers walked by.