Top Tips for Trekking Everest Base Camp – By Adventure Travel Bloggers
There’s a lot to prepare for when undertaking the Everest Basecamp trekking – both before and during this incredible once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Whether you are an avid trekker or a curious outdoors novice, there’s more to it than just booking a guide and setting off on a long, arduous hike. The terrain gets tougher with elevation, the temperatures can drop dramatically, the altitude shift can de deadly and everyday resources become limited. This trek is extremely taxing on the body, where diligent pre-preparation is essential in getting your body ready and strong enough to take on the challenges. You will also need to be fully prepared and stocked up on all essential items needed for the 12 days, both for survival and to ensure to enjoy your time and can capture the best memories.
Four adventure travel bloggers, who themselves have attempted or completed Everest Base Camp, provide their top tops on how to prepare properly before you go, what to look out for as you go along and how to utilise local knowledge, What to pack for EBC trek and dealing with altitude sicknees while trekking in Nepal.
1. Hiking Preparation Before the Everest base camp Trek
By:Laurel Robbins - Monkeys and Mountains
If you're a regular hiker, you're already off to a great start, if you're not, it's time to become one.
I was amazed on my EBC trek to find several women that had never trekked before, not even one hike! In addition to not knowing whether they were fit enough, they didn't even know if they enjoyed hiking. It turns out that one of them didn't, and was miserable for most of the trip. The other two struggled with the distances and the elevation gains.
Start hiking at least several months in advance.
You'll be hiking anywhere between four to eight hours a day when trekking to EBC, with elevation gains up to 1000 metres. By ensuring you can do this before your trip, you're increasing your chances of making it to EBC. Not everyone makes it, or enjoys it while doing so. Bonus points if you can hike multiple days in a row, since this is what you will be doing during EBC.
Incorporate additional cardio workouts.
Do this two to three times a week, ideally involving stairs, walking on the tread mill set at an incline, or running. I found this made a big difference to my endurance.
Do strength training two to three times a week.
I only carried a daypack and a porter carried the rest of my gear, so I focused mainly on my legs. Strong legs make a huge difference to both your hiking, and how you feel afterwards.
If you're a regular hiker, you won't find the terrain, distances or elevation gains particularly challenging, but what makes it difficult is the altitude.
Speak with your doctor about taking altitude sickness medication to discuss any possible complications with existing medication or health issues. I didn't do this, and instead bought it in Nepal, this was a huge mistake. I took it while trekking EBC and while it helped my headaches, it made me feel really weak. It turns out that it can lower your blood pressure and shouldn't be taken if you already have low blood pressure, which I do. You really don't want complications while trekking to EBC, so check with your doctor before you go.
2. On Altitude Sickness during EBC Trek
By: Tammy Lowe – Tammy & Chris on the Move
When we attempted the Everest Base Camp trek, I felt motivated and fit enough to complete the 12-day adventure. Unfortunately I didn't factor in that high altitude could ruin this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The altitude didn't affect me for the first eight days, but once we reached about 5,000m above sea level things changed and I started to feel the first signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) – in my case a splitting headache and nausea.
It was during a steep ascent, one day away from reaching Base Camp, when things started to go wrong. Due to the lack of oxygen I was walking very slowly, having to stop frequently to catch my breath. Unfortunately this ascent coincided with a severe snowstorm, and my frequent breaks caused my body to get colder and colder by the minute. Once I reached the top of the ascent, I was so cold, dizzy, and exhausted that I started seeing black dots and couldn't focus at all. I was shivering so severely that I had to get warm quickly in order to avoid hypothermia, and had to be covered in layers of blankets to get warm again. After a few hours of sleep I felt better again, but if it hadn't been for my guide's knowledge on AMS, things could have turned very ugly indeed. However, on the advice of my Nepalese mountain guide and with a heavy heart I decided to turn around, as descending is the only cure for altitude sickness.
Don’t succumb to ‘Summit Fever’the irrational urge to carry on.
However dangerous it may be, it can be deadly. As heartbreaking as it is not to reach your goal, your life is more important. As soon as you feel signs of AMS, listen to your body and make your guide aware. Either take significant time to rest so your body can acclimatise better to the high altitude, or if things are serious descend to lower altitude immediately.
When Chris finally made it to EBC he said the final stop-off point looked more like an accident and emergency ward with many hikers being semi-conscious, vomiting, and at least two having to be evacuated by helicopters.
I would highly recommend using a guide for such a trek
Having had an experienced local guide by my side literally saved my life.
3. Hire a Local Guide while trekking in Nepal
By: Becki Enright – Borders of Adventure
No one knows the terrain better than a local guide.
Even if you are a die-hard trekker who likes nothing more than getting off-track and out in the wild, Everest Base Camp isn’t the place to risk getting lost or extremely sick without assistance. While some go it alone, the region is not without its stories of people going missing and even dying. Hiring a guide ensures you have someone who knows the exact route, the right pathways and knows the best places to stop and recuperate.
A guide knows the signs of sickness and struggle more than you do.
It’s easy to dismiss symptoms while wrapped up in your own determination to complete EBC, but a guide can spot the warning signs in people immediately. Their job is to not only lead you to the end destination, but also look out for your health and wellbeing. It’s part of the package. While I assumed I was experiencing normal trekking fatigue, It was my guide who noticed how my body was breaking down, how I was getting teary and weak and who told me exactly when it would be a good time to start taking altitude tablets – in my case, two days before we reached EBC and two days following on the way down.
Not only do you have assistance, but also hiring a local guide and accompanying porters, provides income to locals whose livelihoods today mostly depends on tourism. It’s sustainable survival.
4. Packing Photography Equipment for EBC Trek
By:Dave and Deb – The Planet D
Bring several batteries.
For a trek to Everest Base Camp, make sure to bring several extra batteries for your camera. You can charge in the teahouses, but there is a fee and space is limited.
Choose a camera that charges by USB.
That way you can bring along portable power banks to charge your electronics and you won’t have to fight for a spot at the charging station.
Keep your cameras batteries close to your body.
The cold drains batteries, so when not using batteries, I always keep them in a pocket inside my coat.
Also, we suggest bringing two camera bodies.
This is a trip of a lifetime. You want to be prepared should anything go wrong with a camera. When trekking to Everest Base Camp, light gear is a must. There are great mirrorless cameras out there right now and they are much lighter than a DSLR. But the quality is just as good.
What camera lenses to bring?
I suggest using a mirrorless camera over a heavy DSLR with heavy lenses. As far as lenses I would bring a 16 – 35 mm lens and a 24 – 70 mm lens. These two lenses will capture everything you need.
5. Packing Clothing and Essentials for EBC Trekking
Packing for a multi-day trek can be a struggle, but we’ve made it easy for you to know exactly what to bring with our comprehensive packing list guide.
Preparation is key to getting the most out of your Everest Base Camp trek, and is a main component to the overall experience. With wellbeing as important as being well equipped, it’s time to start prepping on all levels for an adventure you won’t forget.
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