Top 7 tips for hiking the Everest Base Camp Trek

everest-trek-to-base-campThe Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the ultimate treks in Nepal, offering hikers the chance to stand at the foot of the world’s tallest mountain.

The scenery, people and culture that hikers witness is quite simply second to none and anyone who makes the journey will remember the experience for the rest of their lives.

So, to help you get the most out of the trek, we have listed my top 7 tips for hiking the Everest Base Camp Trek.

1. Sit on the left side of the plane on your flight into Lukla:

The flight into Lukla is a truly exhilarating experience and you’ll be amazed (and worried) but how short the landing strip is! However, make sure you sit on the left side of the plane if you can to get the incredible views of Mount Everest as you fly in!

2. Purchase/rent gear in Kathmandu:

Purchasing your trekking gear in Kathmandu can save you a lot of money. Trekking gear is not cheap and there are a while host of outdoor shops in Kathmandu that have a wide range of bargains!

3. Bring some snacks

There are teahouse dotted along your route. However these places only provide meals and you’ll need some sustenance to keep your energy levels up on the trail. So bring some energy bars to snack on during the day!

4. Keep your batteries close to your body:

Taking pictures and videos of your experience is a must! However, because of the cold your batteries will loose charge very quickly. It is therefore advised to keep them close to your body to so they stay as warm as possible.

5. Bring a book:

The long hiking days will often leave you exhausted and you’ll just want to crash in your bed and read for a few hours. We always advise bringing a mountaineering book or two such as Touching the Void or Into Thin Air.

6. Take your time:

Altitude sickness is a real risk on the Everest Base Camp Trek. There is no cure and you will have to ascend very slowly to avoid getting it. Remember to descend quickly if symptoms appear.

7. Yaks and Sherpas have right of way:

You’ll most likely come across yak trains and sherpas carrying heavy gear. When you do, step off the path and give them a good deal of space as you don’t want to be kicked off a cliff!

We hope these tips have helped you. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself on the trail!

For a full website on trekking to Everest Base Camp see this guide.

Good luck!

Climbing Island Peak was the toughest thing I have done in years!

island-peak-climbApril was a crazy month for me. I was in Nepal trekking with our team via the standard routes to Goyko and Everest Base Camp (where we spent an amazing night with an expedition team), when we got the crazy idea to climb Island Peak.

Now I am very much a trekker, I have little mountaineering experience, and although I am well versed in the ins and outs of the sport from an ‘academic’ perspective, I am very much a armchair enthusiast.

I knew a lot about Island Peak so was quietly confident that I could do it. I wasn’t concerned about the altitude – which at 6,200m is high – but not nuts! And by this point we were already well acclimatised having been trekking for two weeks about 4,600m with three big 5,500m passes under our belts!

We spent a few days with our really experienced team doing some basic technical training – self arrest, jumar ascending, rappelling etc – and then set of for Island Peak high camp, a really inhospitable place!

Things were going well until we got to the crampon point, which I must say freaked me out a little. Since last years Earthquake there has been a lot of movement on the glacier that leads up to Island Peak’s ice wall. The movement has resulted in two crevasses opening up, which now require a ladder crossing. A character building experience to say the least!

Once you get across the ladders things are pretty straightforward up to the headwall, where again things get a little hairy. The 150m ice wall is heavily jagged and not the easiest thing to ascend. From the summit ridge there is a traverse to the tiny summit with 1000 foot drops on either side. It’s scary but with the help of are incredible climbing team we were able to make it.

The experience on Island Peak was by far the most challenging I have ever had in the Nepal, but all and all I loved it and am now looking at my next peak, climbing Aconcagua!!

We used Kandoo Adventures – find out more about their Island Peak climb here. You can also read about Island Peak here.

Great trek options in Nepal

trekking-options-nepal

Tourism is a huge factor in the Nepalese economy and it’s easy to see why. With many of the tallest mountains in the world, thousands of hikers travel to Nepal each year to get their boots worn and muddy on the some of the most dramatic trekking routes on earth. Within Nepal there are two famous trekking regions – Everest and Annapurna, both of which offer unique possibilities as this article will look at.

Annapurna region

Annapurna Circuit trek

One of the most famous treks in the world, the Annapurna trek is a real gem and takes you through some stunning scenery. The trek begins in sub-tropical conditions and then ascends up into the mountains where you trek over the Thorung La pass. From which you get one of the most stunning vistas in the Himalaya! Your trek then ends by hiking down into the Mustang region where it becomes slightly more arid.

Annapurna Sanctuary trek

Another great option, this trek is slightly shorter than the Circuit trek. The Sanctuary trek begins by ascending to the summit of poon Hill where you are rewarded with amazing vistas of the surrounding area.  It then descends down into the ‘sanctuary’ – a deep valley walled on either side by huge mountains.

Poon Hill trek

The Poon Hill trek is ideal for novice hikers or hikers on a tight schedule. It is the shortest route available and takes the same route as the Sanctuary up to the top of Poon Hill to see the incredible views of the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchchre.

Everest region

Everest Base Camp trek

With thousands of hikers a year flocking to Everest, this is by far the most popular trek in Nepal. Following in the footsteps of all the great climbers that have come before you to conquer Everest, the trail follows the famous Khumbu Valley towards Base Camp. You’ll pass through beautiful Sherpa villages, steep rocky terrain and take breaks in some of the most authentic teahouses in the country.

Gokyo Lakes trek

If you have a bit more time on your hands then we would suggest taking the Gokyo Lakes trek to Everest Base Camp. This trail is a great way to avoid the crowds, get off the beaten track and see some incredible sights! After leaving the standard trek at Namche, you head towards the lake region where you come across three holy lakes of beautiful blue azure colour. You then trek over the Cho La pass and on towards Base Camp where you can see the Khumbu Icefall up close.

Packing List for Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit

ebc-packing-listWhen you ponder what to bring with you on an Annapurna Circuit trek or Everest Base Camp trek, you will be limited to 15kg – 33-and-a-third lbs – for the flight to Lukla or Pokhara (although buses have no limit), so it will be something you have thought of much. You will understand why there is such a low weight limit when you catch glimpse of the aeroplane and airport. Clothing is dealt with elsewhere.

For sure, you will see days from one shower to the next, and you are going to perspire. You will have to live with the fact that you are going to smell unwholesome, although it is less bad given that everybody else will smell the same. Toiletries you will require are toilet paper, and plenty of it, because there is precious little chance of finding any at a tea house; wet wipes since the water will be too cold for washing; SPF50 sun cream; deodorant; a razor, if you happen to be male; toothbrush and toothpaste; soap; shampoo; hand sanitiser; and a medical kit. The medical kit should contain surgical tape; plasters; neosporin; nail clippers; imodium; ifuprofen; and diamox. 12 diamox tablets, taken for altitude sickness, will cost around $4 in Kathmandu, much less than the price of a UK prescription. And to go with these, you will want a quick dry towel.

The electronics you will need are an iPad for the uploading of photographs; an iPhone that will even work from time to time; headphones; a camera; and chargers. Taking a solar-powered battery pack instead of a charger will save you money, as electricity must be paid for.

A Steripen purifies water and is a sound addition to your equipment, considering that water purification tablets normally require 30 minutes to take effect and taste none-too-good. You will take a small bag which your porter will carry and a daypack and cover you will carry yourself. There is a call for a pair of water bottles, one of the Nalgene variety for easy Steripen use and one that is Swix style and made of metal which can be used as a hot water bottle at night. Another very useful item is a Camelbak, which sits in your daypack and allows you to hydrate, hands-free. A silk sleep sheet or sleeping bag liner will prevent your bedding from stinking too much. You will feel the need for a headlamp when you visit the toilet in the dead of night or read after lights out. Nighttime toilet visits will be inevitable if you take diamox. You can use playing cards and a book to amuse yourself in the evenings. You are sure to wish to write about your activities, for which you should take a journal and pen.

Finally, energy, granola or chocolate bars will provide you with calories as you hike. Trekking poles are certain to be vital for steep ascents. And you will want a facemask for when the air gets very dusty, as it certainly will.

More information for each trek can be found here:

Here more information from Nepal’s Mountaineering Association.