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Rhonson Ng: Climbing Everest Base Camp

Rhonson reaches Everest Base Camp at 17600 feet
Photographer and mountaineer Rhonson Ng sets out for his dream of conquering Everest Base Camp 2019 on his own. Read about his adventure. Click To Tweet

Witerary by Jojie Alcantara
Photos by Rhonson Ng

En route through a hanging bridg

En route through a hanging bridge

Professional photographer Rhonson Ng started his photography journey during his mountaineering days in college. Climbing the toughest mountains in the Philippines was a challenge.  Eventually he wanted to conquer the highest peak in the country, so he moved from Luzon to Davao to climb Mt. Apo.  He became the official photographer for the Department of Tourism Region XI, publishing shots of Mindanao’s peaks.

Meeting locals along the trail

Meeting locals along the trail

With his mountain adventures on covers of airline magazines, his next target was Malaysia’s highest mountain Mt. Kinabalu for an assignment in PAL’s Mabuhay Magazine.  The dream went further, and what prompted it was his young niece based in Australia who just reached Everest Base Camp in 2018.

Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar

“Two years ago I have set my mind for EBC2019 (Everest Base Camp).  I am not getting any younger and I want to enjoy the hike.  Seeing my niece make the climb urged me to push for my dream climb,” Rhonson said. He was also inspired by Bukidnon’s pride Carina Dayondon, the first Filipina to scale the Seven Summits, whom he recently bonded with during the Climb Camiguin campaign.

Rhonson on his way to Everest Base Camp

Rhonson on his way to Everest Base Camp

 

For his preparation early this year, he booked a guide named Pemba Sherpa who was well recommended by a good friend who has climbed EBC. He watched a lot of EBC climb videos on YouTube.  He then trained for two months of cardio training, uphill jogging and finally quit smoking.

Rhnson and his guide Pemba Sherpa

Rhnson and his guide Pemba Sherpa

His adventures started with a flight from Manila to Kathmandu, travel of five hours to Ramechapp, and another thirty minutes of harrowing flight in the world’s most dangerous airport, Lukla. Together with Pemba, they trekked towards Phakding, then Toktok for an overnight stay.

Guesthouse

Guesthouse

For several days, in between challenging treks, acclimatization (where you climb up to a point, but descend the trail back down again), avoiding a parade of Yaks which can dangerously kicked you off cliffs, meeting strange and interesting people, eating non-meat food along the way, craving for coffee, hot showers and warm blankets in guesthouses,  Rhonson and Pemba traveled from Toktok to Namche Bazaar, then to Kyangjuma (where he started to feel the dizzying effects of high altitude), to Pangboche, and to Dingboche at 4,260 meters (almost 14,000ft).

 

 

“At this point I can feel the elevation affecting my breathing and causing minor headaches. I’ve heard many stories of climbers getting airlifted due to altitude sickness,” he said. “The hardest part was not the trekking. The high altitude affects your sleeping, eating, and breathing. It was mentally challenging.”

 

Rhonson pushed on to Lobuche, his toughest trail, while battling the effects at 5,000 meters.  From Lobuche he passed by Gorak Shep, and instead of staying overnight, he pushed straight for base camp and back to Lobuche.

Rhonson at Everest Base Camp

Rhonson at Everest Base Camp

On Day 9 of April 28, 2019 at 11:30am, Rhonson has reached Everest Basecamp at 5380 meters (17,600ft).  It took him nine days of ascent and three days going down.

Rhonson reaches Everest Base Camp at 17600 feet

Rhonson reaches Everest Base Camp at 17600 feet

 

Having met interesting people along the way, and learning more on Hinduism and Buddhism, he urges fellow Pinoy avid mountaineers to climb EBC and appreciate the beauty of the mountains, but not to underestimate it.

Photo by Rhonson Ng

“High altitude climbing is way different and more dangerous than you think — one key is mental preparation and getting a very good guide.  Everest Basecamp is on top of every mountaineer’s bucket lists.  After 25 years, that dream was finally set with the help of family, friends here and abroad and my sponsors Fujifilm Philippines and MX3.  I was able to plan a 3-week journey to Nepal, and climb the basecamp of the highest mountain in the world.

Photo by Rhonson Ng

Photo by Rhonson Ng

As an advice to travelers, he said: “Continue to travel and share the experiences if you have the resources and time to do so.  Keep the adventure always alive in you.”

Yak caravan on the trail

Yak caravan on the trail

Everest peak with white caps fronted by Lhotse mountain

Everest peak with white caps fronted by Lhotse mountain

Rhonson Ng, EBC 2019

Rhonson Ng, EBC 2019

Published in SunStar Davao on July 10, 2019

 

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Filed under: Adventures, Artists, Local Heroes, Nature, Newspapers, People, Published Works, Travel, Trends

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The author is a multi-awarded photographer, journalist, and artist whose works are featured in tourism campaigns (It's More Fun in the Philippines), covers and spreads of books and international magazines. A long time columnist of SunStar Davao, she is a frequent traveler in search of inspirational heartwarming stories of human interest. She is also an  influencer and motivational speaker who gives photography workshops in universities and organizations. A former TV personality, she has done several print and TV commercials, event hosting and speaking engagements. In 2013, she has received an award from the City Government of Davao for her significant contribution in the social media. She was one of the speakers in Photo World Asia 2017.  A web designer/blogger since the 90s, she has seen the evolution of the internet and social media transition from the perspective of a traditional media person.

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