Everest Base Camp Trek Challenge
You can get there on an expedition, a trekking group holiday or on a private holiday, with plenty of local operators with expert local guides available to help create and guide your trip. You can camp, which gives you greater flexibility on your route, or stay in the small tea houses and lodges that are found along the route.
The Everest (Khumbu) region of Nepal is best to visit from the beginning of March to the middle of May; and from the beginning of September to the middle of November. Mid November to February is the winter with temperatures, especially at the higher altitudes falling well below freezing. It makes the final days walking very cold and slippery. Between mid May to August it is the monsoon, making the first days of the trek very wet and meaning there is cloud covering the peaks and obscuring the views. In early May, visitors can enjoy the blooming rhododendrons and flowers, which are spectacular.
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, at 8,848 meters or 29,028 feet. It is also known as Sagarmatha, Qomolangma, and Chomolungma. The mountain lies on the border of Nepal and China. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first successful climbers in 1953.
There are many companies and outfitters who offer tours of Everest Base Camp. It is important to research thoroughly, read reviews, check safety records and business practices. Once you've decided on a company to hire for your travel, you're well on your way.
Although itineraries vary from company to company (and can be extended or modified depending on a traveller's preference), a classic trek would be about 15 days.
The holiday begins in Kathmandu, which is a historic city recognized for its ancient temples and culture. Perhaps some nearby towns such as Boudhanath and Durbar Square would be visited, as well as the ever-popular Swavambhunath "Monkey Temple."
Trekkers might spend the night at Thamel, the centre of Kathmandu's traveller area, before the beginning of the trip. There are plenty of small hotels and restaurants.
To start the trek you can either catch a bus to Jiri or another point on the road to Everest. From here you start trekking, walking through the foothills before reaching the valley of the Dudh Kosi River and turning northwards towards the High Himalaya. It takes about 5-7 days to reach Lukla, but offers different landscapes from the views you see from that point. It also gets you fit and helps get your body used to exertion at low altitude.
The alternative is a flight to Lukla. This large village has one of the most spectacular airstrips (tarmac) in the world and the flight gives a great perspective of the sheer scale and enormity of this part of Nepal. It is in Lukla or a town much like it where travellers will be meeting with their Sherpa's and commencing on a trek along the Dudh Koshi River. At this time, it will be possible to see the Sherpa villages with their famous prayer flags waving in a sea of colour.
Since the porter's will be carrying the heavy trekking equipment, trekkers will be able to walk freely and shop at the famous Namche Bazaar, which is the main town and trading spot for the Sherpa nation.
The next day, the group begins the downward trek across the Imja River and up to Tengboche, where trekkers will have the opportunity to tour the monastery. The next day, the group enters the Khumbu Valley, the gateway to Everest, where memorials to fallen climbers are solemnly placed.
After spending the night in Lobuche, the group climbs through the glacial ice to reach the last outpost, Gorak Shep, before trekking on to Everest Base Camp at the edge of the Khumbu Icefall. There, one can witness the other adventurers who are attempting the ultimate climb. This is the ultimate thrill, being able to share the expedition in part with the others.
There is also the option to visit Kala Pater, a small ridge to the west of Base Camp which gives excellent views of Everest and Lhotse - from Base Camp you are so close it is hard to get a clear view.
- A wide variety and layers of clothing are mandatory for the Mt. Everest Base Camp trek. Everything taken should be lightweight, weather-adaptable and durable. Make sure to bring a good, worn-in pair (or two) of hiking boots, as well as soft and light shoes for the villages.
- Bring a lighter backpack for short trips and village jaunts, to carry your camera, a change of clothes, and to carry purchased items. Also bring a light sleeping bag, such as one with a comfort-temperature of about 10 C°.
- Remember plastic bandages and fabric bandages for sweaty feet, as well as duct tape.
Are guides needed?
- If you are strong, then a porter isn't needed, although it certainly gives the trekker more flexibility. Expect to pay about 1,200 to 1,600 Rupees for a day of service, plus meals.
- Guides are not required until Pangboche or Tengboche. There, they can they guide you on the right path and can be invaluable if a member of the trek becomes ill. Guides must have an official license to operate. They are more expensive than porters, and bag-carrying is not part of their service. Like porters, they find their own meals and accommodations unless invited along with the group.
- Guides and porters can be hired for a fee through agencies in Kathmandu, Namche or Lukla.
- Get fit. While there is nothing technical about the trek to Everest base Camp, it is still a hard trip, done at altitude. You will enjoy it a lot more if you get fit before you go.
- Don't drink the water. Bring purification tablets or pumps. You can buy hot drinks, bottled drinks and even mineral water as you go but it is expensive as it has to be carried in by porter.
-Altitude sickness affects young, old, healthy and weak. One should always return to a lower altitude if sickness comes on.
There is an emergency centre based in Namgyal’s lodge in Machhermo, but just that - They will not treat common illnesses or small injuries. The Kunde Clinic in Kunde Village does have Western-trained medical staff and is well-equipped, with a decompression chamber.
The Himalayan Rescue Association has a clinic in Pheriche, as well. The staff will check blood oxygen and pulse rate.
The Everest region has no phone lines or P.O. Boxes, but international calls can be made in Namche. However, there are several Internet cafes with WiFi. Expect to pay about 100 Rs per half hour.