10 Things to Know Before Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp
Mount Everest is the higest mountain in the world at 8,848 metres above sea level. If you are currently plannning an adventure, or have already booked a trip to Everest Base Camp check out some essential things to know before departing...
1. You will meet and bond with inspiring people from a different culture
You will spend a lot of time with and bond with your guides. Most guides are Sherpa people (which translates literally as ‘east people’), an ethnic group from the Nepalese Himalayan region. No one will be able to teach you about the area and the culture better than they can, and they have many interesting stories about their lives there. Many have also summited or attempted to summit Mount Everest.
2. You will achieve accelerated friendship with the group you trek with
Going through an experience such as this together will have that effect! A strong group dynamic you will get you up that hill on days where you just want to curl up in a ball and have your mum tuck you in. People will get ill, people will get homesick, but once you have ﬁnished the trek you will have new friends for life.
3. You will have to endure a ﬂight to the world’s most dangerous airport
If you aren’t the best ﬂyer, its probably best to keep your eyes shut for this one! Lukla airport is the starting and ﬁnishing point of the trek, and you will ﬂy in and out from Kathmandu. The run way is roughly carved into the mountain side, which gives the very pleasant impression that as you come into land you are about to crash into a wall of solid rock. Enjoy!
4. You will see an amazing part of the world only accessible by foot
The ﬁrst morning you spot Mount Everest in the distance is one to remember. And then there are the crashing rivers to cross, the homely hillside villages to stay in and the mighty Khumbu glacier to walk alongside. This is a seriously spectuacular landscape, and this view will keep you stomping up that mountain.
5. You don’t need to be the pinnacle of ﬁtness
But a reasonable level of ﬁtness won’t hurt. The trek can be taken at a slow pace, which really does make the 3 hour, very steep ascensions slightly more bearable. As you climb higher and the air thins, it becomes a lot harder to breath (the oxygen level at base camp is only 50% of that at sea level). But when you ﬁnish, your ﬁtness level will be much higher thanks to all that high altitude training, and you will have a very toned behind!
6. You will smell
You won’t care. There are showers but the price to use these rises as you do. The advice is to not bother until you are back at a reasonable altitude, as it is too cold and difﬁcult to get yourself warm again. It would just be a waste of your precious energy. 7 - You will drink about 100 different types of tea: Mint, green, darjeeling, camomile, spiced, strawberry, black tea of every variety, you name it. The high altitude land surrounding Mount Everest is a fantastic tea growing region. You will sample many different types and ﬂavours, which are a life saver after a hard few hours trekking. Stir in that sugar and get warmed up.
8. You might be affected by altitude sickness
This can range from a mild headache to a serious life threatening condition. It is advisable to have acclimatisation days, which involves ascending around 500m and then coming back down again. There is also certain medication that you can take, but let a guide decide if they think you should take any. They really take good care of you in relation to this so tell them if you feel ill. Many people successfully complete this trek so as long as you are careful and keep hydrated, there is no reason to worry.
9. You will eat a lot of carbs
And a daily dose of garlic soup. Garlic soup is much like marmite, you will either love it or hate it. Either way, it is supposed to help you acclimatise, so you will have to force it down. As for meals, expect potatoes, rice and pasta, sometimes all at once on the same plate. Meat is generally not advised due to the risk of it making you ill. Gourmet it is not. Bring chocolate and other high energy snacks with you.
10. You will feel like you have truly achieved something
It sounds difﬁcult because it is difﬁcult, it is a real physical challenge in a completely new environment. To stand in the shadow of the worlds roof, at 5364m high is no mean feat. The feeling is similar once you return to Lukla and you know the walking is ﬁnished! This will forever be a great talking point and it will look fantastic on your CV.
By Michelle Thompson