So you’ve bitten the bullet and signed up for a trek to Everest Base Camp? Let me help you plan how you are going to make your trip a truly amazing adventure by sharing with you the highs and lows that only come from personal experience. In this Everest Base Camp guide I share all the tips, tricks and information you’ll need to survive, thrive and conquer your own Everest expedition.
1) HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A TREK TO BASE CAMP
To prepare for a trek to Everest Base Camp you’ll need to train for at least 3 months. Make sure you lose those excess pounds – you’ll be thankful you have less to move when the going gets tough. Do cardio training for 1 hour, 3 times a week – get out of breath as often as you can. Run up hills and lots of them. Get in the gym and use the Stairmaster with a loaded backpack of 4kg. Plan weekends where you can trek for 8 hours a day, preferably as steep as possible. If you do all these things, you will be body ready and fit for a hike to Everest.
2) GET THE RIGHT KIT
Invest in great quality kit or you will suffer! I’ve seen firsthand the consequences of buying poor kit, for example a coat that isn’t sufficiently waterproof leading to immense suffering during the cold. You can buy or hire great authentic kit in Kathmandu from North Face, who have their own shop there. Buy cheap copies at your peril!
3) WHAT TO BRING
Here is a list of items that you should include in your Everest base camp kit over and above what your tour company will tell you that you need. These items helped me survive my lowest moments and my toughest physical times:
- Boiled sweets for when you feel so sick you can’t eat.
- Your favourite chocolate bars for energy.
- Waterproof North Face down slippers.
- Dry shampoo as beyond Namche you won’t want to shower as its freezing cold and hot water is not available for washing.
- Wet wipes, wet wipes and more wet wipes.
- Biodegradable loo roll as you won’t find any above Namche.
- Do not take a mirror! Trust me you won’t want to look at the state of yourself!
Finally, Namche Bazaar will be your last port of call to buy any last minute essentials. After Namche there is nowhere ahead to buy anything else!
4) WHAT TO EXPECT HIKING TO BASE CAMP
You’ll be walking for around 8 hours a day. You’ll start off in 25C heat and end up at around minus 6 at Base Camp (can be colder!) You will suffer with altitude headaches and breathlessness, but don’t be disheartened as I found this happens to most people. Imagine trying to breathe through a straw while trekking uphill! You will eat very bland carb loaded vegetarian meals from Lukla onwards (we had cabbage sandwiches for dinner one night).
Ensure you eat everything, whether it’s disgusting or not to keep your strength up. If you’re staying in tea houses expect filthy conditions the higher up you trek, there aren’t any 5 star tea houses on Everest! The toilets are cesspits; a hole in the floor is all you will get. Lukla airport has been voted one the world’s most dangerous airports in the world – be prepared for a scary flight. Take a look at this video and see for yourself.
5) WHATS EVEREST BASE CAMP ACTUALLY LIKE
It’s like nothing on earth you have ever seen before. You’ll experience euphoria like never before. The brightness of the snow and the landscape will dazzle you. You’ll get to meet the true mountaineers that are acclimatizing to attempt the summit. It’s a truly magical place that will stay in your mind forever. No words from me will do it justice until you experience the journey for yourself.
6) ITS EASY GOING DOWN RIGHT?
Definitely not! I found the descent harder as it’s painful on your already tired knees and hips; always use your walking poles to ease this strain. Your mind is in a different place as you’ve achieved your goal and the adrenaline has dissipated. It takes lot more mental strength to go down than to go up. I was practically on my knees in the final few steps back, but I soon forgot all about the pain when we reached the end point at Lukla.
FINAL THOUGHTS – JUST DO IT!
It’s one of the hardest but most rewarding things I have done in my life. I am never scared to try new things now. Confidence in my own ability and belief in myself has never been higher because of my trip to Everest. There aren’t many experiences in the world which can make you go from feeling like you can’t take one more step to dancing through the night with fellow trekkers celebrating your achievement.
I survived, I thrived and I conquered Everest Base Camp!
Have you been to Everest Base Camp? Are you planning to? Please share you own tips or questions in the comments below!