When Thaxted Park Golf Club Head PGA Professional Cody Sherratt returned from the trip of a lifetime to Everest Base Camp in March, little did he know that he was about to go from the top of the world to complete lockdown.
Yet the mandatory downtime due to COVID-19 has allowed the South Australian-based Professional to reflect on an experience like no other.
When the chance to undertake the Base Camp trek arose in 2018 Sherratt didn’t hesitate. Keen to take on what he describes as the “optimum challenge” that would take him well and truly outside of his comfort zone, Sherratt had 24 months to mentally prepare for the trip before flying into Kathmandu.
Following months of training Sherratt traded his clubs for trekking poles for 12 days of traversing a rough, barren but stunning landscape in often below-freezing temperatures at an altitude that challenges even the fittest participants.
Needless to say, it was a fair way from the fairways of SA.
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🔥🔥🔥 EBC 🔥🔥🔥 Booked this trip 2 years ago and it’s been the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have accomplished. The trek taught me a lot about myself and in particular learning to be more patient 🔥🔥. Thanks to @jimmysmith.aus for putting it all together, Much Appreciated. @adventureswith_ @pumptboylie @joshburnn #everest #nepal #trekking #mountainranger
“It was a bit overwhelming but also amazing. From the get-go the scenery is just phenomenal with mountains on either side of you,” Sherratt reflected.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect but it came around so quick. There are so many things that you don’t really think about that play a role in doings these types of things but we were fortunate that the whole thing went pretty seamlessly.
“I was glad I accomplished it and I feel like I’ve gotten to know myself a bit better as well, what I can and can’t do in regard to challenging myself.
“It was just a good feeling to be able to do it.”
While walks up Mount Lofty in Adelaide and lower body training aided in his preparation for the Everest hike, Sherratt admits little could have prepared him for the rigorous 144-kilometre expedition he faced once landing in the Himalayas.
“We flew into a little town called Lukla which is regarded as the world’s most dangerous airport,” said Sherratt.
“So even flying in there up in the mountains, just straight away I was happy to land and get off the plane in one piece.
“It was zero or minus one in temperature and the altitude was about 2,800 metres so straight away you do have a little bit of shortening of breath.
“Throughout the journey we got all types of weather conditions. It was always cold in the morning but then we had some beautiful days where it got to two or three degrees with the sun shining. Then there were a couple of days where it was basically a snow blizzard and walking eight to 12 kilometres where you can only see a metre or two in front of you.
“At night time it would get anywhere from minus 10 to one night we had minus 18. That was when I knew it was something that I probably didn’t prepare for, that type of cold.
“I wear contact lenses and I took my contacts out that night and when I woke up the next morning my contact solution had frozen over. My contacts were ruined so I had to wear my goggles that day.”
As the group edged closer to base camp, 5,380 metres above sea level, altitude sickness began to take its toll but with a day’s worth of hiking left until their destination Sherratt was determined not to give up.
“I was taking some tablets but I got really crook on one of the nights. I had a severe headache and was throwing up,” he recalled.
“We had about eight kilometres to go before we got to EBC. The leader, Jimmy, was saying that potentially you could get a helicopter back and as soon as you start coming back down the mountain the air is higher in oxygen and you feel better straight away.
“But for me this was two years in the making and I thought, I’m just going to push through it. And I’m glad I did it and went the whole way and made my way back again in one piece.”
While Sherratt admits it’s unlikely he will take on an expedition like this again he is grateful for the experience and the lessons he takes back to everyday life.
“It’s pretty cliché but we’re very fortunate here in Australia and in Adelaide with what we have,” he said.
“My patience is something that I need to work on but being able to do the trip and be patient and understand that you’re not going to get things done in five seconds… Things take time and that’s how I probably need to look at things with work and life in general as well.
“Again it’s a bit cliché but I hope it might inspire a few people. If I can do it potentially anyone else can do it as well. If it inspires some juniors here at the club to pursue their goals that would mean a fair bit.
“It reinforces that no goal is really that silly if you can put your mind to it and get it done.”