The Mount Everest Base Camp trek is located in Nepal at an altitude of 17,598 ft. (5,364 meters). The Beginning and ending in Kathmandu is the classic Everest Base Camp trek and is nestled between plains and mountains. You can explore villages spotted with flapping prayer flags while becoming familiar with the vibrant Buddhist and Hindu traditions.
The campsites are undeveloped on Mount Everest and used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent to acclimatize themselves before climbing via the southeast ridge. It takes approximately 8-10 days to get to Mount Everest Base Camp at 17,598 feet. You must take it slow going up, so your body can prepare for the lower atmospheric pressure conditions. You should be able to walk 6-9 miles in a day and be able to walk up intense inclines for at least an hour. Your itinerary will vary depending on your speed and your guide.
Depending on your travel plans, you want to consider all options including where you want to start and end on a Mount Everest Base Camp trek. Although you may like to have your plans written in stone, Mother Nature does not always agree. Depending on your route, the Mount Everest Base Camp trek takes about 20 days. You will want to allot yourself between 2-4 bumper days before and after the trek. This is in case you get sick or the plane cannot fly because of visibility. If you do not use your days before you reach Mount Everest Base Camp, you can arrange for some to take some side expeditions.
There is a big difference in buying common travel insurance and buying Mount Everest Base Camp trek insurance and it all has to do with altitude. At the highest point of the trek, you will be standing at 17,598 ft. (5,364 meters) above sea level. You will be in one of the remotest parts of the world and any injury can prove to be quite costly. In many regions, there is no road access, so a helicopter evacuation may be your only option, which can become very costly.
In order to prevent altitude sickness from happening in the first place is to take a slow and steady pace that doesn’t expend much energy. You can also take Diamox tablets prior during your climbing Everest Base Camp to prevent altitude sickness. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness such as a throbbing headache, no appetite and breathing too fast. It will take a couple of bumper days to rest enough to go onward.
ATMs are rare and the banks and moneychangers charge a high percentage for their services. You can find a few of the more expensive lodges that will take Visa and MasterCard, however; they will charge a higher rate. The best recommendation is to carry all your currency with you. Remember that you will need currency to tip the guides and porters after your Mount Everest Base Camp trek.
Guide, Porter, or Porter-Guide
The Everest Base Camp trek is generally well marked, so you don’t necessarily need a guide to reach the base camp, however; it is much more enjoyable when visibility is obscured in midwinter or monsoon seasons. It is also safer to make the trek with a guide that understands the local languages and understands the local history and culture.
The guides will normally set everything up for you in terms of flights, accommodations, food and water. You can also choose to use the services of a porter or a porter-guide depending on the type of services you need for your Mount Everest Base Camp trek. You can contribute to the Nepal economy by employing the services of guides, porters and porter-guides. If you are strong physically, then a porter is probably not necessary. If you do hire a porter, remember to keep all valuables with you.
When going on a Mount Everest Base Camp trek, you will want to apply the method of layering to your clothes. Be sure to include thermals, cotton, waterproof and windproof clothing to your hiking kit. You will also want to be sure to pack a good pair of hiking boots, socks, gloves, trekking poles and a -20°C sleeping bag. All of these supplies can be procured in Kathmandu. Showers will be limited, so take one every chance you get.
Nepal has two ideal “weather windows”, the latter half of March until the first part of May when the temperatures are relatively warm, 10° to 15° warmer than in the fall. The mornings are bright and clear as the air slowly becomes hazier as the day wears on. However, this time of year tends to have more rain showers and muddy trails causing flight delays. During the fall season, the days are normally clear and sunny with moderate temperature and are the best time for mountain views.
You will have limited internet access due to coverage during your Mount Everest Base Camp trek. Download offline maps via Google Maps prior to your trek or print out the map and directions ahead of time. Internet access will cost you anywhere from $3 to $10 to use Wi-Fi at the guesthouses. You will need to pay anywhere from $2 to $8 for electricity to charge your cameras, power cells and phones.