Nestled within the Himalaya Mountain Range between the two stunning countries of Tibet and Nepal, is the tallest mountain in the world – Mount Everest. This iconic adventurer’s dream has become famous over the 70 years of so since two mountaineers decided to trek to the insanely high peak of this majestic mountain. Since then, Mount Everest has held a place among the tops of Bucket-lists all over the world.
The hike up this glorious mountain is revered for its natural scenic beauty and the experience of authentic Nepalese and Tibetan culture. Although many safety additions have been added to this dramatic hike, such as tour groups, professional guides, and a set trail, the sheer bodily challenge of high altitude hasn’t changed and still makes this hike one of the most famous in the world.
What you need to know about Mount Everest
Mount Everest’s peak reaches an astonishing 8,849 meters tall, making it the highest point in the world. This mountain has been the center of many Tibet and Nepal legends and has been recorded for centuries. The most prominent tribe that resides in the valley of the mountain are the Sherpa people who have long been guiding mountaineers and explorers up their hometown landscape.
The Mount Everest Base Camp is located at around 5,545 meters, while the second base camp is located at about 5,364 meters altitude. Although the altitude is significantly lower than the height of the peak, the high altitude and low oxygen levels can still seriously affect you if you don’t properly acclimatize.
What is the Everest Base Camp Trek?
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a 12–14-day hike that takes you along the mountain paths at a slight incline until you reach the Camp settlement at the base of Mount Everest. This camp is popular among travelers as it requires a lot less experience and physical ability than trying to scale to the top of Mount Everest.
The trail leading to Everest Base Camp is significantly easier than any trail past base camp, but the high altitude makes even the easiest walk much more difficult. You must prepare yourself by training in the months ahead, researching and expanding your knowledge, as well as making the right travel preparations before your trek.
Should I go Solo or with a Guide?
It is generally recommended that you don’t hike by yourself, especially if you’re new to trekking. Hiring a guide is worth the price as they bring vast amounts of knowledge about the culture, the hike itself, and medical aid. Hiring a guide is beneficial in countless ways as they’ll not only guide you through the sometimes-treacherous trail, but they’ll also guide your experience by sharing tidbits of culture, stories, and taking your experience to the next level.
Another great asset to hire is a porter. They’ll carry the bulk of your baggage, leaving you only with your light daypack. This leaves you free from the weight so you can enjoy the Mount Everest Base Camp Hike a lot more thoroughly. Plus, by hiring a guide and a porter, you are giving back to the community you are visiting and are allowing them to share their beautiful culture and country with you.
Getting Prepared for Your Everest Base Camp Hike
However, the trek itself isn’t one to be taken lightly. The best practice is that you actively train for the Everest Base Camp Trek in the months leading up to your departure date. Training includes high-intensity cardio, such as running, hiking, and stair climbing, cross-trained with breathing-focused exercises such as yoga and swimming. It’s also good to throw in strength training for the packs you may be carrying up the steep slopes.
You’ll also need to do some medical preparation as well such as vaccinations, pulse oximeter, and different medication you may need like diarrhea medication and antibiotics. This type of first aid equipment is necessary as your body isn’t used to high altitudes and can react badly to low-oxygen environments.
What is the Actual Mount Everest Base Camp Trail Like?
Pristine trails, expansive blue skies, and of course breathtaking sights surround you as you make the 12–14-day hike. Your days are spent walking, sometimes through difficult terrain and metal bridges hanging above large canyons, but dispersed among the trail are quaint mountain teahouses, colorful Tibetan prayer flags, and plenty of warm food and chai tea.
Although the high altitude makes it more difficult on the body, the actual trail itself is more of a trek than a climb. You’ll pass herds of cattle as you pass along the mountain trail which remains relatively flat or at a slight incline. There are moments where you’re perched on a cliff, or zigzagging up steep hill inclines, but for the most part, the trail is doable for anyone reasonably fit.
Things to Note About the Mount Everest Base Camp Trail
Generally, it is better to go with a guide and a porter to make your time safer. Beware of altitude sickness and symptoms such as severe headaches, dizziness, and sleeplessness, and if your symptoms don’t go away, it’s time to start your descent.
While on the trail, a porter may pass you. As a sign of respect, always move to the side and allow them to move past you. It’s better to bring water tablets or a filtration system with you rather than the teahouse water bottles – as this reduces general waste in the area. And as always, leave the trail better than you found it, which means not littering and instead of picking up trash if you should see it. Mount Everest is an important religious site for many of the surrounding tribes, and you want to be sure that you show the utmost respect to them while you’re there.
If you make sure that you’re properly educated and prepared before you make the ascent to this bucket-list destination, then you should be able to get on with little trouble. As popular as this area is, don’t let that fool you; Mount Everest is still a dangerous and difficult place that demands respect. Once you make it to the Base Camp at Mount Everest, be proud, and be humbled by the sights as you have completed a truly astonishing, once-in-a-lifetime feat.