Everest base camp trek with the highest golf tee offs by a foreigner
Everest base camp trek with the highest golf tee-offs by a foreigner.
I took Harry Tan, a 71-year-old trekker from Singapore, to Everest base camp on a trek (not a climb to the top). I devised the idea to make this a trek to Everest base camp with a twist.
This idea came to me on the morning of 7th December as he was flying here to make him tee off from 3 places above the altitude of 5000 meters.
I had known him since 2015 when he came to golf with members of the Seletar golf club before the massive earthquake on 25th April 2015. He did a short trek in 2016 and was here in March this year with other club members. He is a keen golfer and part-time Physical Education teacher at Nanyang Technical University.
8th to 13th December 2019.
We did this trek on our regular itinerary by flying to Lukla, trek to Namche, a side acclimatization trek to Amadablam base camp, etcetera. We hiked to Dingboche according to our plan. It started snowing lightly on the 6th morning from around 6.30 am.
Upon reaching Dingboche, we stopped in a shop so Harry could buy warmer gloves, as the two pairs he brought from Singapore were not doing the ‘job.’ So instead, he ended up buying a pair of feather mittens.
We just hung around the lodge, eating/drinking hot food and beverages.
It continued to snow lightly for around 22 to 24 hours with occasional short breaks.
14th December 2019
We started our hike on a partially cloudy/foggy morning in the snow between 30 and 50 centimetres in depth. Despite December being the slow season, 70 to 100 other trekkers were on the trail. We reached our destination Lobuche 4940 meters, at 4 pm with the boots all damp.
15th December 2019
This was a massive day as Harry would be teeing off from 2 above 5000 meters. It began snowing lightly from 7 am, with the wind swirling up the valley behind us, blowing snow/sand.
We hiked for about 90 to 100 minutes before reaching the flattish ground on Lobuche pass to Gorakshep 5180 meters. We stopped to bring out our 3 Wood driver, rubber tee, and an ecobioball manufactured by Albusgolf. These balls were imported from Europe 3 years ago for my project.
It was a complete whiteout when Harry did the first-ever 5000-meter tee-off by a foreigner, a fellow Singaporean; Mark arrived just in time to witness this feat. We became friends six days ago in Namche Bazaar and crossed paths regularly on the trail.
We continued on the lateral moraine towards Gorakshep. We had a quick lunch and left for the Everest base camp. We were the last to reach EBC and planned to avoid unnecessary attention from other trekkers. However, the other trekkers talked about a Singaporean with a golf club and wondered what he would do with it.
We reached EBC trudging through snowy/icy conditions with strong wind gusts. Harry had to practice his swings with five layers of jackets in cold and windy conditions, not an easy feat for someone from sea level and a warm tropical country. Nevertheless, he managed to get an excellent swing.
We headed back to Gorakshep for the night. Unfortunately, we learned that the overnight temperature was between -18 to -20 degrees Celcius.
16th December 2019
This was another significant day as Harry was going to tee off from Gorakshep at 5180 meters, and as it was a very clear day, once more from Lobuche pass. So Harry teed off from Gorakshep and Lobuche pass (a world difference between a foggy morning and a bright sunny day).
We stopped at Pheriche and not Pangboche as planned due to the conditions of the trail. We had been walking on snowy/icy trails for the fourth day.
17th December 2019.
We had planned to reach Namche Bazaar on this day. Instead, we had a gloriously bright morning with 360-degree views. Shomare the first settlement after leaving Pheriche, took us nearly two hours in snowy and icy conditions. On regular days it is only a 45-minute hike.
There are patches of very icy trails where communal taps are left running to avoid pipes bursting below freezing temperatures.
Before reaching Pangboche (standard time 90 minutes), which had taken us more than 3 hours, I gave Harry the option of flying down to Lukla by helicopter, bypassing these treacherous conditions and avoiding getting injured.
Harry was happy to fly by chopper as it would also be his first experience. First, however, we had to wait a few minutes for the helicopter to bring cargo on a sling to arrive, leave the load, and get us to Lukla.
We arrived in Lukla after a short 7 minutes but a thrilling flight by helicopter.
We had a relaxing afternoon in Lukla, basking in the sun, having a warm shower, and the last night’s party with our talented staff Sundar Rai.
18th December 2019.
We got to the airport terminal at 8 am and had a three-hour delay. We had to wait in the cold airport terminal. We were happy to leave Lukla when our aeroplane finally arrived.
Harry was dropped off at his airline office to change his flights and was free to sort out his things for the afternoon.
19th December 2019
We dropped into the airline’s office to upgrade Harry’s flight before heading to the airport. Finally, we bid adieu at the airport; another innovative adventure ended.
We are trying to get a few media companies to print this story.
Just for the record, I have set the record as the first person with 12 tees-off from above 5000 meters.