everest base camp

Ever Dreamt about Trekking the Everest Base Camp?

Many of us dream of going to some exotic location in a far off land in order to get away from it all. There are many options available but one couldn’t go any higher or farther than Mount Everest. Although getting to the summit of Everest might not be possible for everyone, getting to Everest Base Camp is not too far-fetched for most. Well-used trails, friendly locals and the abundance of tea-houses and lodges make this trek a fairly convenient one. Even after completing the trek, there are many other exciting things to do in Nepal.

Here are some facts about the Everest Base Camp Trek:

  • The average trek ranges from 8 days to 16 days depending on your speed and the route (with only 8 days you won’t be able to get all the way up to EBC)
  • The best time to trek is Mid-September-November and March-May
  • Because of the Monsoon rains it is advisable to avoid this trek from June to mid-September
  • Permits are required to do this trek but they can be easily arranged by trekking agents
  • The Everest Base Camp sits at an elevation of 5364 m

The Everest Base Camp Trek has much to offer. From beautiful mountain vistas to pretty villages, this trek is sure to win over the hearts and minds of those who undertake it. Even though there are a couple of different routes one can take to get to the base camp, all of them present the trekker with an incredible and unforgettable journey. Highlights of The Everest Base Camp Trek include:

  • Experience breathtaking views of Mt Everest (8848m), Cho Oyu (8153m), Lhotse (8501m), Makalu (8463m) and Ama Dablam (6856m)
  • Climb to the peak of Kala Patthar (5,643m) and see what has been described as the “greatest mountain view on earth”
  • Learn about the culture and lifestyle of legendary mountain climbers – the Sherpas
  • Get a first-hand experience of Buddhist traditions and the culture of mountain people

There is a common misconception that the The Everest Base Camp Trek is only for the seasoned trekker and that you have to be in top-notch physical shape in order to complete this trek. However, with hardly any preparation and without much experience, almost anyone can enjoy the trek without any problems. If you’re in doubt as to your physical shape, it is always recommended to bring a porter which can carry up to 30 kgs. One porter can therefore easily be shared between two people.

EBC

One of the most important things to be aware of during treks like this is the real risk of altitude sickness. Symptoms of mild altitude sickness include headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, upset stomach, feeling unsteady, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, or generally feeling unwell. As soon as you or anyone in your group starts to develop some of these symptoms, you need to stop climbing higher up. The best thing to do is to:

  • Stay rested
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Do not climb any higher for the next 24 hours

However, severe altitude sickness may have already afflicted a person if the above symptoms worsen or other symptoms appear such as a persistent and irritable cough, breathlessness even when resting, irrational behavior, double vision, fits and convulsions. Decent is the only sensible option if your condition is severe. You should immediately trek down to lower elevations and seek medical help.

The Everest region is very popular among tourists, so getting good food and water is not a problem. Since most of the food needs to be carried from the lower elevation to the base camp, it is advisable to stick to vegetables and avoid meat that might have spent a little too much time in a porter’s pack. In fact, the traditional Nepali meal of dal bhat tarkari (lentils, rice and vegetable) is the best way to go as it is available practically everywhere. It’s freshly prepared and has enough nutrition in the form of carbohydrates and protein. Although bottled water is available in most places along the trail and around the base camp, it starts to get more expensive as the elevation goes up.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned trekker, the Everest Base Camp trek is guaranteed to awaken your senses and take you to an unbelievably beautiful place.

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Images credit (under CCL) by order:   valckerJohn Clear

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