Welcome to Everest Base Camp Trek or simply EBC!
You don’t have to be a professional athlete or mountaineer to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek? On the other hand, it doesn’t also mean that the EBC trek is as simple as walking or running in a park. A certain level of fitness and training needs to be maintained if you wish to complete Everest Base Camp Trek without any issue. Therefore, we are here with independent advice and information to prepare you should you consider taking up this trek.
Most of my customer inquiries ‘how difficult are Everest Base Camp Trek’? Do we have to trek somewhere before going for a hike to Everest Base Camp?
In this article, I would like to highlight my experience with EBC trek difficulties and the necessary preparations you may need before embarking on this great trail. I suggest you read this article until the end of the causes and effect and how can you put yourself on the list of a successful EBC trekker.
Approximately 130km (80miles) round to and fro from Lukla, including two days acclimatizing side trips at Namche and Dingboche. That is roughly 65km (40 miles) one way to reach Everest Base Camp in 8 to 9 days walk-in and 3 to 4 days walkout, which is roughly 10-11km (6-7 miles) walking distance each day.
For those who take the domestic flight, the trek starts from Lukla, located at 2,860m (9,383ft), with an adequate oxygen level of about 14.8%. Higher the altitude lower the Oxygen level, a mantra that people are coming to the Himalayas from low land should always remember, irrespective of your fitness or muscular capacity. That means you shouldn’t assume 10 Km a day is easy as running in the park. You should prepare yourself at least 6-8 hours of walking roughly 400-500m of elevation gain every day in a state where your body denies its regular oxygen demand.
Elevation and Acclimatisation
A majority of trekkers are from lowland or sea level, whereas Kathmandu itself is already at 1,300m, Lukla airport at 2,850m, and your final destination Kalapather at 5,550m (18,208ft). Throughout the treks, you will gain 500m to 700m (6 to 8 hours) of elevation per day. If you have not experienced any high altitude trek in your life, it could be challenging to reach specific heights in just a couple of days. For example, the trail to EBC requires a change of 1500m in only one day alone! The flight from Kathmandu to takes you 1,300m to 2,860m just in 30 minutes! For someone who is not used to this kind of change, your body may not adapt quickly. Therefore, the best way to put yourself fit at this elevation is to have some extra days for acclimatization.
Weather & Temperature
The temperature at the Base Camp or in the high passes can drop to -12°C (10°F) in Mid-November 2016 the temperatures of the Basecamp was measured maximum 15°C (59°F) and minimum -12°C (10°F) and the wind speed around 5 to 6 mph. However, during the same time of the year at Lukla, the temperature was a minimum 8°C (46°F) to Maximum 20 °C (68°F).
Death and Casualty
Accidents and unfortunate news from Everest Trekking are often and reach globally. However, most of those incidents pertain to the expedition and not trekking. An avalanche claimed the lives of 19 climbers in camp II in 2015. The cause of most of the death is by the flood; the trail to base camp is safe from any avalanche. There is no actual static available online about how many people die in Everest Base Camp trek? A rough estimate we heard from the news is about 3-5 people die each year on the EBC out of roughly 30,000 people. This is a death rate of about 0.01%, mainly due to the high altitude sickness.
How to prevent
Everest Base Camp trek is NOT DIFFICULT in general if you follow some advice. Acute mountain sickness due to high altitude is the main problem if they are no adequate acclimation. Since people from around the world trek this trail, it has significant medical to rescue by helicopter facilities, which can be mobilized immediately.
Choose the right Gear
As every sport is played with the right gear, it is essential that multi-days trekking should not be compromised. A lot of my customer who plans Base Camp trek for the first time thinks EBC trek is like climbing a high mountain?. The following items could equip you with basic requirements:
– No climbing Ropes needed
– No Ice ax needed
– No Goretex needed
– No climbing shoe or crampon needed (Ground is not paved – rough, rocky and gravel-strewn)
What you need are:
– Hiking boot (high ankle boot recommended)
– Sleeping bag (not necessary but recommended to have one)
– Down Jacket
– Pair of the thermal sweater to keep you warm inside
– A couple of comfortable dry hiking pants
– Hiking socks (thick and it should give warm enough)
– Hiking bag (minimum 50l+10)
Additionally, you could consider taking, warm hat/ head cover, scarf, sunglass, lip guard, sun cream, trekking pole, headlamp, windproof gloves, water bottle, water purification drop, camera accessory, first aid kit, etc.
Acclimatization & itinerary
Acclimatizing shall be on top of your list for a satisfying EBC trek. Depending on where you come from, plan an itinerary with enough days of acclimatization in between. EBC classical route can be done between 12 – 15 days.
I have experienced dealing with a lot of customers who are attempting EBC as their first high altitude trek with 98% success. It is vital to identify the right company who can advise and suggest you the best EBC trek itinerary according to your experience and level of fitness.
A certain degree of physical fitness is required for any trek, but that does not mean you need a professional trainer or unique mountain experience. From my experience, let me break down some of the necessary training you can do at home or the park nearby as part of the preparation.
- Running in the park: At least one month before the date of departure, a minimum of 5-8 miles a day. This will help breathing and blood circulation in addition to building up your thigh and torso muscles.
- Swimming: Holding your breath and swimming helps to store oxygen that will ease short breathing in the high altitude.
- Yoga or Aerobic: Give some time doing yoga, stretching your body, jogging to tone up your body and muscles, etc.
- Gym: If you plan hiking with a loaded backpack, we suggest extra exercise, mainly leg Squat, Leg press, Deadlift, Leg extension, Wall sits, Leg curl, etc.
- Test your gears: It is quite common that some trekkers cannot complete EBC trek due to blisters on their feet. This happens if you just bought a new pair of trekking boots and haven’t tested for size and adjustment with your feet. Always remember your hiking boots should have enough room for fingers. Generally, hiking boots for mountain trails should have at least 0.5 or 1 size bigger than your regular size. Equally important is proper hiking shocks as well. The hiking socks should be thick and be able to regulate temperature to keep your feet from getting sweaty. When you purchase trekking shocks, you should consider buying Woolen socks. Wool is naturally antimicrobial, so it tends to retain smells less than synthetic fabrics.
- Don’t be nervous, feel confident, and feel like an experienced hiker.
- Drink enough fluids and always remain hydrated, dehydration might cause symptoms of being sick as well.
- Postpone your physical relationship with your partner while you are at a high altitude.
- Always give enough space for oncoming Yaks, Nyak, Ghokpe, Mule on the way, and make sure you still lean upon the sidewall.
- Always drink purified water and bring some water purification drop/tablets with you.
- Be aware of uncooked food; keep yourself vegetarian as meat in the mountain is not fresh.
- Carry some extra calorie light food.
- Always make sure you will pack the right gear that fits for Everest Base Camp Trek
- Stay away from alcohol, smoking, or any drug in the high altitude.
- Bring your own basic first aid box you are comfortable with. Do not use any medicine that you are not sure about the brand.
- Do not sleep during the day at high altitudes. It is recommended to move around and keep yourself active.
- Don’t be scared or think that this might be the symptoms of Altitude sickness if you have a little headache or slight fever. It is normal to get these symptoms while adjusting to the varying altitude.
– Did you research the trek you have chosen following your fitness?
– Are you prepared physically and psychologically?
– Did you want a trekking company that is specialized and has a good track record or rating in every aspect of your safety?
– Did you plan a right itinerary that fits your level of fitness and desire?
– Did you book your trip at the best time of the year?
– Did you find an insurance company that includes emergency and medical or other associated expenses in case of evacuation on the trail?
Everest Base Camp trek is probably one of the well-established trekking trails in the world itself. Checkpoints along the way are provided for your safety. It has all the logistics and communication facilities available at designated places. Almost each guest house offers wifi, including base camp, to communicate with your family or friends. A little preparation before you start will raise your confidence and make your trek enjoyable till the Base Camp of the world’s highest mountain. Over 200 adventure travelers every year books trip with us. If you want to join with them, feel free to inquiries us. If you enjoy reading this article, share with your friends and family who’s been missing this exclusive information about EBC. We would also appreciate it if you rate us below.