Mount Everest, the highest and most famous mountain on the face of the earth has been the nemesis of many, but it’s the select few of the undaunted tribe that has conquered its pristine white peaks. At 29,029 ft, this Himalayan delight, christened thus by the Royal Geographical Society, remains an enigma for mountaineers.
What is it about the Everest that draws the adventurous even in the face of climbing challenges, natural hazards and dangers?
The answer lies in the fact that it is one of the most accessible mountains via two routes, the preferred one in Nepal and the other in Tibet. In fact, even as you read this, thousands are making their way to the base camp as the route to the summit opens in May for a few weeks.
So, can the Everest be tamed by practically anyone? Well, the feat is not meant for the faint of heart and requires nerves of steel in addition to adequate preparation.
The temperatures always hover below zero degrees with an average of -19 degrees in the summer window. The harsh terrain combined with treacherous weather conditions and high wind speeds have claimed many lives. As on date, over 200 bodies lie scattered along the various climbing routes.
Sumitting the Everest is on the wish list of every adventure loving mountaineer.
As expensive as that is, in recent times the Everest Base camp trek has attracted people from all walks of life as a more achievable alternative. Many adventure companies cater to this niche audience. Keep this ready reckoner if you plan to tick the Everest base camp off your bucket list.
Things you need to know:
1. The base camp trek is usually between 12 to 15 days and is an arduous journey to the foothills of the mighty Everest.
2. You need to be physically fit and mentally prepared to take this challenge head-on.
3. Daily trek distances will involve around 2 to 5 hours of walking with adequate rest breaks. Training before undertaking this trek is a must.
4. Acclimatization to the altitude may take a toll on your health. Be prepared to rough it out.
5. A typical trek route begins at Lukla in the south to the EBC further east.
6. Stay hydrated always and carry enough supply of water for along the way.
7. Accommodation tends to be in small Sherpa tea houses and may lack basic facilities like showers and toilets.
8. A light knapsack that can house your personal belongings like clothes, toiletries, nutrition-bars, camera and perhaps a sleeping bag is a good option. Carry additional batteries and medications
9. Warm clothes, sun block, sunglasses and trekking equipment especially a good pair of trekking boots are a must
10. Since you will be carrying your backpack, it is essential that you invest in lightweight microfiber gear that wicks moisture away from the body. Merino wool hiking gear is ideal for fluctuating temperatures
11. Cash is the only feasible option of money exchange. Nepalese currency is preferred
12. A TIMS card is not required for the Everest Base Camp trek. However, a local permit costing approximately Rs 2000/- can be purchased in Lukla. Find more details here
13. The adventure travel company will have a detailed itinerary and would cost anywhere an upward of Rs 50,000 plus taxes. Invest in a good EBC trek guide for a hassle-free experience.
14. The locals are friendly and ever ready to help. Treat them with kindness and respect. If you have space, carry little things for the local kids like books, pens, and pencils and experience the joy of giving
15. At an altitude of approximately 17500 ft, you will be treated to picturesque landscapes passing through delightful hamlets surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
16. Be a responsible traveler, don’t litter and keep your carbon footprint to the minimum.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. So, if you ever get the chance to undertake this fantastic journey, make sure you make the most of it. Take in the sights. Don’t be in a hurry to reach the next destination. Enjoy the here, and now at the Himalayan pace. After all, taming the Everest deserves a well-earned acknowledgement. God Speed.
Till next time, it is adios, amigos!