If you love adventure and are up for a challenge, trekking to Mount Everest must be high on your bucket list. As you already know, it’s the highest mountain in the world and it will definitely be an achievement you’ll never forget. Not everyone can reach the top of Mount Everest but you would be surprised to learn that almost anyone can reach the Base Camp and many people tend to confuse these two things. It’s still important, however, to realize how much has to go into planning this trek through an area that’s considered a Mecca for mountain enthusiasts. It’s definitely not the safest challenge to take on but I think it’s easier than what you might think. With that in mind, here are some tips for Everest Base Camp Trek you should know before you decide to take this journey.
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You don’t need to be the fittest person
Many people believe that you need to be in a marathon shape in order to reach Base Camp. However, that’s not completely true. If you can walk 7-10 hours a day up and down a hill while carrying a backpack for 14 days in a row, you’ll be fine. And if carrying a backpack is too much, you can also hire a porter. Also, don’t forget you will be hiking in freezing conditions, so you need to be sure you’re able to spend long periods of time hiking in arctic temperatures.
However, one’s biggest concern should be acclimatizing to the high altitude and this isn’t really related to one’s level of fitness. In fact, the slower your pace is, the better the chances are that you’ll eventually get to the base camp. Since I started to talk about adjusting to the higher altitude, keep in mind that…
It’s OK to use Diamox
Many people use Diamox to help them adjust to the higher altitude. There are several side effects, including numbness, tingling sensation, ear ringing, and loss of appetite but it can also decrease your headaches, nausea, and dizziness, things you’ll certainly experience as you reach higher altitudes. Diamox decreases the number of hydrogen ions and bicarbonate in the body. This allows you to breathe deeper and faster while taking in more oxygen.
Now, you’ll meet a lot of “tough guys” that will tell you don’t need Diamox and that it isn’t really necessary. However, I saw a lot of people that were struggling to acclimatize and even fainted on the way. I suppose there’s no harm in carrying it with you. It’s better to be safe than sorry. With that being said, let me try to answer one of the most frequently asked questions…
How hard is it?
Many people often ask me how hard is the trek to Everest Base Camp. I’ve heard a lot of people advising others to climb Kilimanjaro first but honestly, climbing Kilimanjaro might be even tougher than the trek to the base camp. Let’s distinguish one thing. Reaching the base camp is a trek, not a climb. Of course, there are some steep sections but no one is rushing you. You can stop, rest, and take your own time. You don’t need any crampons, rope or other gear. After hearing this, you might be wondering…
How much does the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek cost?
If you did some research, you probably heard that the cost keeps increasing the higher you go. There’s no proper infrastructure and everything needs to be taken up by human power or by a helicopter from Kathmandu (if one can afford it). For example, you can pay as much as $10 for a packet of chips or a slice of cake in Gorak Shep (5164 meters above sea level).
You’ll find a lot of articles that will advise you to buy everything you need in Kathmandu. It’s true, everything will be cheaper there but you shouldn’t forget about the other circumstances. Personally, I didn’t buy sleeping bags and other gear I just rented everything because I was traveling on a budget. I think that’s a lot more feasible because you’ll only be in the mountains for two weeks. However, if you want to stay for a month or more, it might be better to buy your own rather than renting it.
You should save around $30 per day for food, at least $30 per day for a guide, around $100 for the visa and permits, another $100 for insurance, and around $1300 for a tour operator. If we add the transportation cost, the entire base camp trek would cost around $2500-$3000 per person. If you’re wondering which tour operator to choose, from my personal experience, I always recommend Glorious Himalaya.
But what about Wi-Fi?
Nowadays, most people expect to find Wi-Fi everywhere, including Mount Everest. Telecom companies in Nepal spotted this opportunity and decided to cash in on the luxury of enjoying internet in high altitudes. Every tea house you come across on the trek will have Wi-Fi signs, with the 250 Mb package getting more expensive the higher you go. This pack will cost around $5-$10, so keep that in mind when deciding whether it’s worth it.
I would recommend you to buy a Nepalese SIM card with a good data plan from Kathmandu before you go for the trek. Most operators have reception up to 4000 meters. Finally, note that you’ll also be charged for charging your phone and cameras, usually $3-$6, depending on the altitude. That’s why you should definitely bring a power bank. Talking about things to bring along, I think should also mention…
A couple of things about packing
The first and foremost tip when it comes to packing is do not pack more than 10 kg in your backpack, including the water. Packing is one of the hardest about the trek. Don’t underestimate the complexity of the decision what to bring and what to leave behind. Don’t pack last minute and give yourself some time to think about which are the things you will need the most. This is related to the…
Duration of the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
The trek usually takes 14 days. You should give yourself 4-5 days to adjust to the altitude and get over the jet lag. There are some other less frequented treks that take longer, such as the Jiri Trek, Tsum Valley Trek or Nar Phu Valley Trek. If you’re doing these trips, you can spend a few extra days in the beautiful mountain villages below Lukla and perhaps take a few detours to visit Gokyo Lakes or Chukung. If you decide to do this, the whole trip will last a lot more than two weeks. After reading all this information, you must be wondering…
Is the trek to the base camp dangerous?
There won’t be any hanging off ropes, exposed ridges etc. but the trek can get dangerous if you don’t have a good guide who will make a good itinerary that will leave you enough time for rest and acclimatization. If you booked your trip with a tour operator, the only thing you would have to worry about is the Yaks. They can oftentimes run pretty quick along the trails and sometimes even bump into people sending them flying.
When’s the best time to trek to Mount Everest base camp?
There are two main seasons for trekking to the base camp- before and after the monsoon season. The former one lasts from March to May and the latter one- in October and November. If you want to visit outside of these months but have the severe weather condition in mind.
Have You Done Your Research?
Before you decide you’re going to do this, make sure you’ve done as much research as you can. Look into the costs, the conditions and other people’s personal experiences to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be.
There will be lots of videos, blogs, and guides you can read in advance to ensure you know everything you need to before your adventure starts. If you’re really unsure, why not reach out to someone who has experienced it before?
A few more useful tips
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Have you ever considered climbing Mount Everest? What will you do to prepare? Did you find these tips for Everest Base Camp Trek helpful? Let me know in the comment section below.