Trekking to the high-mountain trails of Everest is a dream to thousands of backpackers and travelers around the world. However, lack of planning and preparation while heading off to the high terrains of Khumbu can spoil your experience in the Himalayas. It is significant to put a necessary forethought and training for a successful trek. Here’s our list of 15 important tips which will make your Everest Base Camp trek successful.
Everest Base Camp is a moderate walk in the foothills of the Himalayas that does not demand technical skills of mountaineering. However, physical fitness is crucial for a successful trek as it involves long hours of walking at high altitudes.
Regular exercise helps to build your stamina and strength needed to walk in the mountains. It is advisable to engage in cardio-oriented activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling at least 4 to 5 days a week. If you’re considering developing your strength in the gym, focus on your legs and core in particular. The best ways to train for EBC trek is to go hiking on the local trails for 5 to 6 hours with minimal break.
Your attitude and mental endurance in the mountains is equally as important as your physical fitness. This adventure takes you to the remote villages of Khumbu, distantly away from your luxurious lifestyle. Before making a commitment to Everest trek, it is essential to mentally prepare yourself to live outdoors in the Himalayas. Also, make sure you’re well aware of the conditions of the teahouses, available food choices, and the trails you’ll be walking on.
Please browse this article for some training tips if you are preparing to embark on this journey.
A good pair of trekking shoes should be the first thing you need to consider before heading off to the Everest Base Camp. It is better to bring trekking shoes you’ve previously hiked with to avoid the blisters. As the temperature goes down quickly, it is advisable to bring warm clothes like a down jacket, fleece, and base layers. We suggest you pack raincoat and windcheater to stay protected from the harsh weather.
If you already have stuff like a sleeping bag and down jacket, it is highly recommended to bring your own as they would be more comfortable and convenient. However, if you miss out on a few things, you can buy or rent high-quality trekking gears in Kathmandu at an affordable price.
It is crucial to maintain your pace and get acclimated to the higher altitude while taking on the challenge of Everest Base Camp trek. Walking slow and steady will keep your body well-acclimatized and reduces chances of high altitude sickness. Remember, this is not a race! Rushing your pace might get you tired or even sick as your body doesn’t get sufficient time to adapt to the lower oxygen level at increasing altitudes. Walk at a most comfortable pace and make sure you have occasional acclimatization days to prepare your body well.
If you’re considering to do the Everest trek with a tight schedule, we highly recommend you to reconsider your plans. While it is possible to trek in a lesser number of days, many factors might disrupt your adventure holidays if you try to rush your itinerary. If you are still tight with your time, you may want to consider this itinerary, which allows you to return via helicopter.
Our 15-days Everest Base Camp Trek is designed thoughtfully with proper acclimatization days to prevent the altitude sickness.
While trekking to the high altitudes, you’re constantly in a threat of suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This mountain condition can upset anyone who ascends to higher elevations rapidly without proper acclimatization.
The consequences of altitude sickness can get from mild headaches to life-threatening conditions very quickly if immediate actions are not taken. While trekking to the EBC, you should always be aware of the initials symptoms of the AMS. They include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. In case of any symptoms, take all the necessary precautions to avoid your condition getting worse as soon as possible. Please refer to this link for the treatment and better understanding of AMS recommended by National Center for Biotechnology Information, USA.
Make sure you consume plenty of fluids and water on the trail. Since you’ll be walking for 5 to 7 hours a day on the trek, your body will dehydrate quickly and deplete a massive amount of electrolytes.
It is always convenient to pre-hydrate your body and fill-up your bottles every morning. Drinking enough water can reduce the possibility of altitude sickness at a higher elevation. On average, an adult should drink 4-5 liters of water per day while in the mountains.
Another crucial thing you need to consider while trekking in the Everest region is that the water you are drinking is safe. Since most of the water sources in the Himalayas are the local streams, it may not always be safe. Both the mineral water and boiled water are available in the teahouses in the Everest region.
It is also essential to carry chlorine or iodine tablets to purify your water as boiled water may not always be available. Make sure you bring oral rehydration salts as they’ll be handy to improve the taste of the treated water and also can replenish the electrolytes.
Since you’ll be losing a lot of calories while walking on the trails to the Everest Base Camp, replenishing those calories with healthy meals is essential. It is quite reasonable to lose your appetite while in the mountains, but maintaining a healthy diet is very important.
Dal Bhat is the everyday food in the Himalayas. It is the traditional Nepali cuisine that consists of rice, lentils, vegetables, and pickle. Majority of teahouses in the trails serve Nepali as well as most of the international cuisines in their menus. However, the quality and quantity of these varieties in the mountains may differ from that in the city.
It is better to avoid meat items on the trek and stick to vegetarian options. Since animal slaughter is illegal in Sagarmatha National Park, the porters and mules carry the meats from Lukla to other parts of the Everest, increasing chances of making them stale and unhygienic.
It is better to pack some of your favorite treats in your backpack. Mountain foods are not always tempting, and losing your appetite can cause severe problems during the trek. Having some familiar foods and snack might help you get through the tough days. Carry some of your favorite snack bars, chocolates, and protein bars so you can balance your nutrition and enjoy some treats on the trek.
This trek is quite demanding and physically strenuous, mainly if you’re not used to long hikes in the Himalayas. It is essential to get good night sleeps and proper rest at the high altitudes.
After walking for 5 to 7 hours in the mountains trails, your body is certain to urge for a proper rest. Sound sleep helps to repair the tissues and muscles in your body and helps to restore energy to improve your performance for the next day. It also helps to set the positive state of mind to acquire the psychological rewards to enjoy your time in the Himalayas. Make sure you bring warm thermals and sleeping bag to beat the cold at nights and enjoy the quality sleep.
The sun at the higher elevation can be brutal with a lower level of UV protection. Sunburn and pesky wrinkles can be quite common while trekking to Everest Base Camp. Staying protected from the sun is essential not only to minimize the sunburn but also to reduce the risk of dehydration and dreaded headaches. Sun hat, sunglass, sunscreen, and full sleeve shirts are must-haves to stay protected from the sun.
Since the trails also get windy, especially during the afternoon, it is vital to stay protected from the winds as well. Keep a windcheater handy to stay protected from the cold wind. Protecting yourself from the wind can help you avoid Khumbu cough (dry cough), common cold, headaches, and even fever.
In the arid and dry paths, too much wind can lift the clouds of dust, making the trails completely unbreathable. Therefore, it is better to wear buff scarves and sunglasses all the time to avoid the dust during the trek.
Even in the warmest months, the teahouses in Everest can get very cold during the night. It is better to prepare yourself and carry the necessary things to stay warm. Protecting yourself from the cold at the high altitudes can help you avoid altitude sickness, health issues, and other serious problems.
Make sure to pack warm and layered clothes like a down jacket, fleece jacket, base layers, hat, gloves, and a comfortable sleeping bag. Also, carry a hot water bag and place it inside your sleeping bag to stay warm during the night.
The weather in the high altitude is fickle and likely to change swiftly. Even on a sunny day, the weather can get harsh and wet in an instance. It is wise to adjust your gear list to prepare for the wet climates. Waterproof hiking boots work well in the damp and cold conditions, keeping your feet dry and warm. Pack a hard shell jacket and pants, rain covers, and gaiters for full waterproof protection in case of rain or snowstorm.
Although it is possible to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek on your own, hiring an experienced local guide and porter is highly recommended. Having a guide to accompany you in your adventure can boost your morale and mentality in succeeding your trek.
Licensed and experienced guides can speak English well and therefore can communicate efficiently with you, they are also trained to provide First Aid, basic care for AMS, and mountain rescue as necessary.
The trails to Everest can be quite tricky at times, so having a guide to assist you with the itinerary, routes, food, and accommodation will make your trek much more convenient. Guides will also give you valuable insights about the trails, mountains, culture, and lifestyle of Khumbu, adding more values to your trip.
Since it is tough to carry your entire luggage on your own, we recommend you to hire a porter as well. A porter will help you to carry your luggage and belongings throughout the trek. Hiring a porter will reduce the extra weight from your shoulder and lower the chances of fatigue and exhaustion. Guides and porters can be employed in Kathmandu or in Lukla.
It is essential to add a few extra days on your holiday while heading to Everest Base Camp. Since flying to Lukla airport is the most popular option to commence the trek, it is better to prepare for the possible delays of the flights.
The weather conditions and visibility in Lukla change rapidly. Therefore, Lukla flights can be frequently delayed or even canceled. It is strongly recommended to add at least one or two extra days while trekking in the Everest region. Keep those additional days at the end of the trip so you can have the flexibility to change your itinerary in case of flights delays.
Make sure you carry enough cash on the trek, so you do not run out of it halfway through the journey. Since there are many ATMs in Kathmandu, withdrawing money before the trek is a far more comfortable, simpler, and safer option.
In the Everest area, ATMs are available at Lukla and at Namche Bazaar. However, the ATMs in the mountains can be unreliable, and they are often reported as out of order or out of cash.
Therefore, it is wise to make a necessary amount of cash withdrawal prior to the trek. If you feel uncomfortable to withdraw a large amount of money from the ATM, you can carry along as much cash as you are comfortable with, and exchange it into Nepali rupees on arrival.
We advise you to book your trip to Everest Base Camp with an authorized adventure company. Although traveling with a company may be slightly expensive, there are plenty of advantages that will make your experience gratifying.
It is essential to know that there are thousands of local adventure companies in Nepal. Some of those private companies are not registered to the Government of Nepal. While choosing a company, it is vital to verify their authenticity and reliability so that the company takes complete responsibilities for your excursion.
Booking the trek with an established company will add value to your adventure and help make the trip hassle-free. The agency will sort out the hurdles of permits, accommodations, food, transportation, and make your trip more relaxing and more comfortable.
Furthermore, a company will also provide you an experienced trekking guide. An expert companion in the mountains always ensures your safety and security. The guide will navigate you through the safe routes, suggest diets, takes care of your health, and assists you in case of any emergencies. Since the guides know the mountains, you’ll also get more profound insights and information about the region.
In the Everest region, you’ll occasionally walk past the mules, yaks, and porters who carry the supplies up and down the Himalayas. The trails are usually crowded, especially during the trekking seasons, and the meetups are quite frequent. If you ever see any of them approaching towards you, stay out of their way for your own safety.
Dodge off the pathway, climb to the safe mountainside and wait for them to pass before you make a move. Always stay away from the cliffs and ridges as they may accidentally push you off the cliffs.
Similarly, porters often carry wide and weighty loads on their back. In the narrow paths, if you’re not careful enough, you might accidentally bump into their loads and fall off the mountain. Therefore, it is wise to stay out of their way when you see yaks, mules, and porters approaching your way.
Trekking in a foreign country can be bewildering, and a lot of trekkers tend to miss their loved ones and family back home while on the trek. Staying connected with your family and loved ones while still relishing the journey of the Himalayas can help you retrieve the positive mentality and attitude.
Everest region is no longer a trekking destination that is far from modern technology. Wifi is available to access in most of the teahouses in Everest area with a certain charge. The wifi, however, tends to run quite slow and unreliable at some places as a massive number of trekkers use them.
Another option to use the internet is to buy a local sim card in Kathmandu and use the internet data to connect to your loved ones. But, mobile phone signals can be weak and inconsistent in the mountains.
The most effective way to remain in contact with your family while in the Everest area is to buy a wireless internet called `Everest Link.’ They offer multiple data packages to suit all kinds of trekkers and are relatively faster than other mediums. It is also much more convenient and affordable in comparison to wifi and mobile data.
Even though all these options are available, it is still best to keep expectations low and informed your loved one that you may not be able to stay in touch with them on a daily basis.