Early last year I set out to accomplish one of the hardest treks in the world to the base camp of Mount Everest. Little did I know, I would achieve my end goal without prior trekking experience or being on a mountain before. I simply turned up to Nepal with my rucksack and trekking boots in hand.
You’re probably reading this article with one of two things in mind. Firstly, you may be considering doing the trek yourself. If so, well done! You’re on the right path towards greatness. Secondly, you’re probably reading in awe thinking you don’t have the capability for this challenge. Well, all I can say is that if I can do it, anyone can! What you’ll be pleased to know is that I’ve witnessed a range of people trek this from young to old and some with disabilities.
Not convinced just yet? Please let me attempt to persuade you further by listing the 13 reasons why you must trek to Mount Everest Base Camp.
1) ADRENALINE RUSH
To get to the base of the trek you will first fly domestically in a small 30 capacity plane from Kathmandu to Lukla. If you’re lucky, you will see out the cockpit looking onto the pilot’s view. The 40-minute flight journey itself is a very intimate experience. Witnessing the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas on either side of the plane.
Upon the end of your flight, you descend down to the world’s most dangerous airport at height of 2,860 metres above sea level. The reason why it’s so dangerous is that the runway is only 1729 feet in length, running off a cliff. While it may be named the world’s dangerous airport, I and other fellow trekkers I know did not experience any problems. Don’t worry!
Plus, what’s the fun of travel if you don’t take a risk, right?
Moreover, depending on the weather you will encounter some tough conditions on the trek itself. Those conditions will put your mind to the test, hiking through powerful winds or serious cold temperatures. When I trekked the lowest temperature I experienced was -20 degrees. This induced fear and nerves which I could feel tingling in my stomach. It makes you realise it’s only yourself who is going to get through this!
The teahouses are where you will be putting your head to rest every night and eating your three square daily meals. In my opinion, the food is a reason in itself just to embark on the trek to Mount Everest Base Camp. A range of continental cuisine alongside many varieties of tea are served. I’m talking from spaghetti bolognese to Dal Bhat (rice and lentils) to burgers. Heaven on earth for us foodies!
Teahouses also sell comfort foods you can source back home such as crisps, chocolate bars, soda and alcohol. It’s like a home away from home, just in the Himalayas. Inside a teahouse is a big communal area where the trekkers can sit, eat and socialise together. In the middle, there is a stove which is powered by Yak stool. I mean, how often do you hang out playing cards around burning yak stool?
3) ANIMALS NEAR MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP
During this trek, you will encounter a range of animals which could potentially be yaks, donkeys, danfes (Nepal’s national bird), snow leopards, Himalayan wolves, bharal, red pandas, rabbits, horses and Himalayan bears. Personally, I only came into contact with yaks, donkeys and danfes, however I did witness snow leopard footprints.
4) NAMCHE BAZAAR
The Namache Bazaar is a quaint little town you encounter just after the beginning of your trek, which is 3,500 metres above sea level. It’s not like the average town you’d expect in the Himalayas. It has a bakery, cinema, pharmacy, world’s highest Irish bar, more bars, a market, trekking shops selling and a sherpa museum.
Never did I think, I’d be in the middle of the Himalayas having a chocolate brownie sipping on a latte watching a documentary on Everest. Most businesses or tea houses also have wifi. It’s a great place to connect with family and friends back home.
I will also never forget sipping hot rum punch playing pool listening to rock music in The Irish Pub at 3,500 metres. Am I selling it to you yet? Wait, there’s more!
5) MENTAL DETOX
In a way, trekking is like a form of meditation. Ever thought about escaping reality and hiding away from everything? This trek is perfect for this. It removes you from the hectic hustle and bustle of life. How? Well, for starters you are actively on the go for anything ranging from 4-11 hours. When you do get a chance to check in to your phone, good luck! The further you climb there is less cell reception and the wifi is limited.
The trek to Mount Everest Base Camp forces you to find satisfaction and enjoyment of the old school way, without technology. It’s just you at one nature, pure tranquillity. Giving you healthy space to ingest your thoughts without others interfering. Yes, that’s right, you time.
6) THE PEOPLE
You meet a wide range of people on your trek to Everest Base Camp from walking and inside the teahouses. The mixture of nationalities in one room is phenomenal. Also don’t forget the natives, the teahouse workers and the amazing sherpa’s!
If you don’t know already, like Indians the Nepalese have a caste system. A person caste is determined the day they are born and indicates their class in society. Nowadays, it’s not a big deal in comparison to how it used to be. Back then different castes underwent different rituals and lived slightly different ways of life.
You will come across a range of locals from different castes who have different inspiring stories which you don’t hear on your average day at the office.
You will pass beautiful monasteries with young Buddhist monks in training. These are so detailed and intimate it’s a special experience visiting. The most spectacular is Tengboche monastery as it’s right in front of Mount Amadablam. Monks and people arrive from all over the world just to visit here. They also lead tours in the afternoon allowing you to see inside!
As if nature was not enough? This is another place you can visit to experience your inner zen and be at one with yourself.
8) VIEWS FROM MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP
Ok, this one is pretty self-explanatory. During the course of the trek to Mount Everest Base Camp, the scenery changed drastically causing each day to be very unique to the one previous. As you begin from Lukla up to Namche there is lots of greenery, rivers and most likely you’ll see the sun.
Slowly after Namche, it will get cloudy, foggy and then eventually you’ll run into more rocky terrain. Depending on the season you trek, you may experience snow! The whole time during those different weather conditions the views were breathtaking. Not to forget the views of Everest you get along the way and finally at base camp!
9) SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
I’ve accomplished many things in life yet I can assure the feeling of pride you gain once you reach Mount Everest Base Camp is another level. Certain parts to the trek may get to you such as altitude, tiredness and the cold pushing your mind to the extreme.
That end goal is an emotional one which will fill not just you but your loved ones with honour. As well on the way back down you get a certificate to prove you’ve completed the trek. Once you do this trek, I assure you, you feel ready to take on anything!
10) SUSPENSION BRIDGES
These bridges were originally aimed for locals to reach from one part of the region to the other. They are famous all over Nepal but found a few times on the Mount Everest trek. Unfortunately, to ascend you have to climb these. They are ridiculously high and very shaky to walk on.
On the contrary, they are also beautiful offering breathtaking views as well as a great place for the ‘gram’. There are prayer flags attached to the side of the bridge put there by locals or trekkers. Each colour has a different significance to an element. I wish I knew this prior to my trek, so I could have purchased my own to tie onto the bridge.
11) KNOWLEDGE GAINED
Throughout the trek, you will be learning about mountains in you see in the distance. You may see likes of Lhotse, Amadablam, Kala Patthar and Makalu. Likewise, if you choose to have a guide or socialise with others in teahouses you will be sharing numerous facts and stories across each day. Similarly, if you wish to speak to those who operate in the teahouses they may teach you a thing or two about their culture.
12) FITNESS GETTING TO MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP
You’re ascending to great heights eventually reaching 5380 metres at Mount Everest Base Camp. As you face different altitudes your body learns to cope and adjust to less oxygen. So, your endurance becomes better and when faced with full oxygen back in the city you’ll find you can last for longer periods of exercise.
Moreover, you’re trekking at least 4 hours a day which causes you to increase your muscular strength! It’s a great total body workout.
13) BECAUSE YOU’RE A WOMAN
Us women are strong. You don’t have to be that physically strong to do this but innately we women have willpower. It’s better to have a stronger desire to succeed than a fitness level. To conquer this trek, it’s all in the mind, as well as multitasking. This is something us women are naturally good at. Breaking boundaries and proving to the world we are amazing beings.
As a twenty-something, I try to live in the moment by not reflecting on the past or looking into the future. However, one thing for sure is this trek to Mount Everest Base Camp has been one of my greatest achievements I can’t help but reflect on my accomplishment. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those experiences in which you’ve set a bar you’re trying to find hard to beat. This trek teaches you things about yourself you never knew giving you life skills to use in all areas!
Go on, we are all capable of this. After all, we are women.
We hope that this article has helped inspire you to trek Mount Everest Base Camp. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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