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The expedition to the base of Everest is a unique and thrilling experience. The journey demands a lot of planning to make it a worthwhile memory. Thousands of veteran trekkers always have a certain set of checklists before embarking on the quest to the lap of the tallest mountains in the world. Here are the most common pieces of advice:
1. Attain a level of physical fitness prior to the departure.
At Everest Base Camp, most people will benefit from aerobic exercise and strength training. Aerobic training will teach your body to work hard on less oxygen while strength training will strengthen your muscles to better handle the elevation gain. It shouldn’t be challenging to prepare physically and mentally for your expedition to EBC. You don’t have to be a great athlete to make the trip, but don’t undervalue it either.
Check our Everest Base Camp Trek training program article.
2. Follow the well-acclimatized itinerary: Don’t skip Namche and Dingboche acclimatization.
At altitudes over 3,000 meters, people are exposed to hypoxia, a condition in which the body is exposed to air with low levels of oxygen. To compensate for this deficit, the heart and breathing rates increase. Acclimatization is a biological process to create more red blood cells and increases the flow of oxygen in the blood. If a person chooses to trek to a high-altitude region, he or she will experience a change in elevation per day of trekking that is shorter than hours to weeks. Acclimatization is a preliminary concept for the body to adapt to change in surroundings.
Namche Bazaar is at a height of 3,440 meters above sea level and Dingboche is at an altitude of 4410 meters. Unless you are used to high-altitude regions these heights may pose huge risks and it is very important to acclimatize in these stops for a day or so.
3. Hike steadily and eat wisely.
Up one hill, then down another: before you know it, your pack is weighing a ton and you are breathless. A hike, however, does not have to be this strenuous. A steady pace saves energy by smoothing out all the ups and downs. Everyone has a natural pace in regard to physical build and fitness. You should focus on rhythmic breathing, swinging arms, and a consistent length to a step. You should shorten steps on steep portions of the trail. For downhill, a slight bend in the knees absorbs the shock to the feet and leg joints. Also, it is important to rest frequently but not too long.
It is essential to keep your body fueled for the grueling walks. A balanced diet with a good amount of carbs is recommended. The traditional Daal-Bhat of Nepal is a great meal in that regard. It is available everywhere in the trekking regions.
4. Keep yourself hydrated. Consume hot water and soups as much as you can.
Most of the human body is water, with an average of roughly 60%. Humans can survive for weeks without food, but only three to four days without water. On a hike, poor hydration can seriously impair the mood, as well as drastically lower performance and can even lead to serious concerns like Dehydration. When you’re at higher altitudes, there will be lower humidity and a greater risk of dehydration. Staying hydrated will assist you in maintaining your energy and making the most of your trek experience.
It is typically recommended to drink water as soon as you feel thirsty. Hot water is highly required in the freezing temperatures. Soups can help heat the body and make you feel warm in cold areas. Onion and ginger soups are very effective that can help to produce oxygen levels in your body.
5. Avoid smoking and alcoholic drinks.
During the treks in Everest Region, AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) can be a huge problem. Smoking impairs a person’s lungs. Every time a person inhales cigarette smoke, it increases tissue inflammation. This allows less oxygen to flow to the body and a few red cells are taken out of the oxygen transport system. Other muscles have to work harder to make up for that lack of red cells. A person will get lethargic as a result. In a place where oxygen is already low in amount, you are making your body less efficient in utilizing oxygen by smoking. This can have debilitating consequences. Hence, it’s very much recommended to not smoke while on a trek. Dehydration can also become a huge issue in trekking areas as a lot of water in our bodies is constantly released in some form. Alcohol dehydrates the body and the intoxication may also lead to fatal errors while traversing risky terrains. So, drinking alcohol while trekking is not a good idea.
6. Get the appropriate hiking equipment.
The unpredictable weather, harsh conditions and rough terrains are very common on the trail of Everest Base Camp. Newcomers as well as seasoned veterans require a comprehensive set of trekking gear and equipment. A good pair of broken-in hiking boots is a must in every trek. You will require a water-resistant hiking boot with excellent ankle support and an ideal fit. Also to keep yourself warm in the freezing temperatures, you should bring enough jackets and inner wears. A good trekking pole will support you throughout the grueling journey and take some stress off your legs. Being over-prepared is always preferable to being under-prepared.
7. Carry a portable power bank and extra batteries.
Let’s face it, if you use your phone constantly, the battery may not last the entire day. A portable battery power bank can be highly beneficial in this regard. We use our smartphones to click pictures, track our journey, search for information and call for someone when we need help. A dying battery will likely spoil the mood and the trip. If you are someone photogenic traveling with camera equipment, extra batteries are absolutely necessary for your trip. Also, a couple of batteries for the headlight and flashlight should be in your backpack.
8. Choose a reliable local tour operator and listen to your guide.
There is a sizable number of trekking businesses out there that make you a lot of promises. One of the biggest errors trekkers make is comparing solely the trek costs that various agencies have to offer. As a trekker, you want your trip to be one you’ll never forget; therefore finding the best agency to assist you should be one of your top priorities. A veteran guide with excellent communication skills and storytelling ability can make your trek unforgettable. Also, organization skills and a good sense of direction is a necessary character in a tour guide. A good agency with a veteran guide is essential to making your journey to the Himalayas exciting and worthwhile. You should always listen to your guide as they have a lot of experience.
9. Use water purification tablets or mineral bottled water.
The water in the EBC trail can be infested with bacteria. It is always recommended to drink boiled water in such areas but sometimes such an option may not be available. Boiled water gets pricier as you go up higher. Water purification tablets are one of the best methods of purifying water by killing all waterborne pathogens. There are two kinds of water purification tablets. Iodine-based tablets give a certain flavor to the purified water and chlorine-based tablets are normal ones without any taste. Mineral water bottles can also be used as they are already treated for pathogens.
10. Walk through the safe side.
The EBC trail is full of harsh terrains and steep slopes. You should never walk on the edges of the path as a majority of deaths that occur during a hike or trek happen due to falling. Also, a common trend in recent years is to click pictures on daring locations. A small error can lead to fatal consequences. So, it is always better to be safe than sorry. It is always better to stick to the routes commonly used. Always look out for warning signs.