TOP FIVE TIPS: Everest Base Camp with Elly Stanton
Friend of VALA @ellygrams completed the epic challenge of hiking to Everest Base Camp in 2017 and since then I have been obsessed with finding out more about her trip. She has very kindly written us a guest post to share any tips and useful insights for anyone else that has their sights set on reaching EBC in the future. Peep Elly’s advice below, which is continued in the comments - because there was far too much goodness to edit out.
Tea Houses are the bread and butter of the EBC trek and unless you decide to camp, they’ll be where you eat, go to the loo and rest up. Standards in the tea houses vary and they get more basic the higher up you go. The killing of animals is not allowed in Sagarmartha National Park so the food in the tea houses is mainly vegetarian and they all serve the same thing - Dal Baht, a Nepalese lentil soup with boiled rice (delicious), pizza made with Yak cheese and traditional dumplings called Momo. Everyone eats together in the dining room which usually has a Yak dung fire in the middle - a great place to huddle and meet other hikers.
ALTITUDE IS NO JOKE
EBC is one of the highest places on Earth at 5,380m (17,600ft). If you have never experienced high altitudes before, it’s difficult to know how your body will react, as it’s mainly determined by your genetic make up. I trained hard for the trek but started to feel the debilitating effects of altitude sickness at around 3,500m. The higher we went it got progressively worse - persistent cough, nausea, shortness of breath, disorientation (not good when you are a few feet away from a
crevasse!) and nosebleeds were among the worst symptoms I experienced. Although I made it to EBC I was evacuated to Kathmandu the following day by a medical helicopter - an experience in itself
TAKE THE RIGHT KIT
A camel back and walking poles are an absolute must. As is a solar powered battery cell or charger. Some of the tea houses only have solar powered generators, and they all charge a fee for plugging in devices and charging your phone or camera batteries. You will also need a down sleeping bag to keep you toasty at night and lots of layers.
To start the trek, you have to fly into the most dangerous airport on Earth. Tenzing Hillary airport at Lukla is statistically the most dangerous airport in the world AND consists of a short runway which ends abruptly with a brick wall, perched on little more than a mountain shelf. I was really nervous about the flight before going to Nepal but it was one of my favourite parts of the entire trip. We took off from Kathmandu in a TINY aircraft holding only 16 passengers, two pilots and an air hostess, one of the pilots was reading the paper the entire time.
IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT
The trek itself isn't too taxing. If you can cope with the altitude and not taking a shower for two weeks you will have one of the most profound experiences of your life. The Himalayas are staggeringly beautiful, the local guides are kind and fantastic and you'll be standing at the bottom of the world's tallest mountain... Go! Go! Go!