Since the 1920s, Mount Everest has captivated the most intrepid men and women. The exploits of legendary mountaineers such as George Mallory, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Tenzing Norgay have put this majestic mountain on the map of the world, and thousands of adventurers have followed suit.
In their quest for the summit, all have made enormous sacrifices, and many have paid with their lives. However, the Everest camp trek has now become an accessible goal for anyone wishing to admire the roof of the world, whatever it is. In 2012, between 35,000 and 37,000 people trekked in the Everest region.
Everest Base Camp Trek FAQs-Expert Advice
What does the Everest base camp trek look like?
Besides breathtaking scenery, travellers can experience the unique Sherpa culture, visiting monasteries and museums along the route. The natural beauty of the landscapes, cultural discovery, feeling of personal success, Nepalese hospitality. This intoxicating mix makes the Everest base camp trek one of the most memorable in the world.
When to do the trek?
From March to May and from September to December. It starts to get hot in May, just before the monsoon season; expect showers. In December, temperatures drop below freezing, but the days are pleasant, and there are fewer hikers (remember to cover yourself up well in the evening).
Do I need a guide?
Following the disappearance of several independent hikers and the death of a Belgian trekker in the Langtang region in June 2012, the Nepalese government plans to make the use of the services of a guide for the coming season. As the ban on solo treks has not yet been declared, it is currently possible to go alone. However, hiring a guide or porter has many advantages: for the US $ 10-20 a day, you provide decent work for a local, and in return, you learn a lot about the local culture and the natural environment.
Trekking agency takes care of the entire organization, including transfers from/to the airport, accommodation, and porters and guides as well as their insurance. You can book your tour with a western agency before leaving, but the rates are much lower when booking in Kathmandu - make sure the chosen agency is a member of the Association of Nepal Trekking Agencies (TAAN). The list of certified agencies is published on the site www.taan.org.np.
What physical preparation to adopt?
Nothing can really prepare you for the extreme elevation differences of the trek and the altitude reaching 5,545 m. But that should not discourage you: anyone who is in normal physical shape can do this hike. "Slowly but surely" is the secret to having a successful trek and having a good time. Follow a cardiovascular workout several times a week: cycling, swimming, vertical drop hiking, and a lot of walking. Take a 5-hour course once a week. Spot hills or find a tall building and go up and down the stairs several times.
What should I take?
Travel light: bring a bag of 10 to 15 kg. Before bringing a large bottle of shampoo or thick jeans, think about the weight. A fleece jacket, a puffer jacket, and Thermolactyl underwear are essential because, in the Himalayas, it is cold above 3,000 m altitude throughout the year. Also bring two pants, two or three T-shirts (synthetic material absorbing sweat and not cotton), and a warm sweater or fleece. For your feet, you will need walking shoes already worn but in good condition, hiking socks and sneakers or sandals for the evenings. You will also need to bring a raincoat, gloves, a woollen hat, a hat, and polarized sunglasses. A good sleeping bag (suitable for temperatures of -20 ° C) is compulsory; in winter, a Thermolactyl ® lining is appreciable.
Choose small toiletries, including an effective sunscreen, lip balm, travel towel, and facial tissue. Baby wipes are handy for those days when you can't shower. Your first aid kit should contain anti-diarrheal drugs, antibiotics for the treatment of pulmonary and sinus infections, and bandages for blisters. Consult your doctor for specific vaccinations in Nepal. Using two one-litre bottles with purifying tablets is a reliable and safe way to drink water. This method is less damaging to the environment than the repeated purchase of bottled water in shelters.
Stay healthy during the trek:
Take your time. Acute mountain sickness can affect everyone, even those in excellent physical condition. (This is why acclimatization days are planned, usually in Namche and Dingboche.) Watch for signs of altitude sickness: symptoms include headache, dizziness, insomnia, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath.
Take Diamox tablets; if symptoms persist, come back down. Become a vegetarian. Even if you dream of a juicy yak steak, keep in mind that all the meat is brought in by porters from Lukla or below, due to a ban on hunting in Sagamartha National Park. When it reaches you, it will no longer be completely fresh. The safest and healthiest option is dal bhat (lentil soup topped with rice), made daily—nothing like filling up on protein and energy.
Protect yourself. The sun is hot, so use an effective protective cream and renew the applications regularly. Wear pants, long sleeve tops, and a light scarf - this will help prevent sunburn.