The Climb

Home / The Climb

In 2016, Courageous Girls launched a bold, inspiring effort which which brought young Bay Area survivors of child sexual abuse/trafficking and young Indian/Nepalese trafficking survivors on a life-changing expedition to Base Camp at Mt. Everest. Throughout this journey, Courageous Girls provided these young women ways to find their inner strength and heal the atrocities of their past including:

  • Physical Training – Endurance training in preparation for the trek to Base Camp
  • Mindfulness Meditation – Teachings for strengthening their inner presence
  • Somatic Trauma healing – Guided support for each girl’s inner journey

The trip started in the Valley of Temples, Kathmandu. An ancient city famous for Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas. Several United Nations World Heritage sites will offer the girls a glimpse of the Golden Age of Nepal’s art and architectural history. After a day adjusting in Kathmandu and another prepping for the trek, the team flew to Lukla where the trail head for their courageous journey began.

Day 1
Kathmandu
Elevation: 4,383 feet / 1336 meters
Following the trans-Atlantic flight, they arrive at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Day 2
Kathmandu
Elevation: 4,383 feet / 1336 meters
Adjustment in Kathmandu, an amalgam of glorious past and modern-day chaos. Here they prepared for the final preparations for the trek.

Day 3
Phakding
Elevation: 8,563 feet / 2610 meters
A 45-minute flight from Kathmandu took them to the trail head, Lukla. The trek start on gradual slopes with 4-5 hours of walk to Phakding.

Day 4
Namche Bazaar
Elevation: 11,286 feet / 3440 meters
Hiking along the Dudh kosi, a river white like milk, the team crossed the many swinging suspension bridges before entering the Sagarmatha National Park, ending with the famous uphill towards the Gateway of Everest, Namche Bazaar.

Day 5
Rest Day at Namche Bazaar
Elevation: 11,286 feet / 3440 meters
To help acclimate, Day 5 is a rest day on mountains. However the girls stayed active with a hike to a vantage point where they took in the majestic Himalayan giants including Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse and Ambadablam.

Day 6
Thyangboche
Elevation: 12,664 feet / 3860 meters
The Day 6 destination was Thyangboche which is home to a famous monastery, perched at the highest altitude in the world. Time to get blessings and meditate on their own internal journeys.

Day 7
Pheriche
Elevation: 14,469 feet / 4410 meters
From Thyangboche we continued the journey to Pangboche, Dingboche and finally Pheriche.

Day 8
Pheriche
As the girls ascended into serious altitudes, Day 8 brought another acclimatization day in Pheriche. They stayed active by hiking to Nagakarsang Hill, then overnight back in Pheriche.

Day 9
Lobuche
Elevation: 16,109 feet / 4910 meters
The landscape gradually rose as the team hiked parallel to the Khumbu Glacier. On the way to Lobuche they passed the stone memorials for the departed souls of other climbers. Mt Pumori shined as the girls reach Lobuche.

Day 10
GorakShep-Everest Base Camp
Elevation: 17,000 feet / 5182 meters
Gorakhshep was the final point to see a permanent human facility – just a few tea-houses. But just two hours from Gorakhshep, these Courageous Girls arrived at Base Camp at the foot of Mt Everest. After spending plenty of time soaking in their momentous accomplishments, they returned to Gorakhshep for the night.

Day 11
Kalapatthar-Lobuche
Elevation: 17,575 feet / 5357 meters
One last day at this elevation allowed the girls to catch the magnificence of Mt Everest. Kala Patthar offered one of the most rewarding views — it’s where most famous pictures of Everest are taken. The day continued with a return to Gorakhshep for breakfast and then the descent to Lobuche.

Day 12
Thyangboche
Most of the physical hard work is now behind the team. As the girls go lower, the decreasing altitude gave them more energy. They rested in the evening by the monastery.

Day 13
Monjo
Day 13 passed them through Namche Bazaar and other familiar territory.

Day 14
Lukla
The last day of trekking finished here. This was their final night in the Everest region. The team enjoyed a special celebration to commemorate their amazing accomplishments.

Day 15
Flight to Kathmandu
By the afternoon the girls boarded a flight back to Kathmandu where they relaxed, settled their thoughts and pack for their next day’s journey home.

Day 16
Return flight
The final day brought incredible joy as well as melancholy and sadness that this experience is over. The girls began the long journey home where Courageous Girls continued to work with them to process this life-changing event and help equip them to succeed in the world they return to.

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, a native Peruvian sexual violence survivor and founder of Courageous Girls, led the expedition.

Silvia is currently climbing the world’s tallest 7 summits, once the team reached the Base Camp trek, she continued her journey on to summit Mt. Everest.