If you’re thinking of trekking to Mount Everest’s base camp then read this guide.
Everest and onwards
Before you embark on the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek, you’ll probably assume that the world’s biggest rock star – shared jointly by Nepal and Tibet – is the greatest, the most beautiful, the most … everything. But it isn’t.
Expect to see mountains with more charisma, more enigma and more heartbreaking splendour – especially the graceful, double-headed Mt Ama Dablam, most trekkers’ favourite. Everest, by contrast, is a big, bald, black monster.
Do it yourself
Although your back and the local economy will thank you for them, you don’t need guides or porters to do the EBC trek. Both are ubiquitous and affordable – do your research to ensure you get quality, though – but with a guidebook and a map it’s simple enough without hired help. You can’t get seriously lost; you’re just following a valley.
Accommodation on the trail
Begin the trek in Lukla, a half-hour flight (or a seven-day hike) from Kathmandu. Villages and welcoming teahouses dot the trail at regular intervals, offering small twin-bed rooms, meals and socialising around yak dung fires at night. A bed, a mountainous plate of traditional dal bhat (rice, vegetables and soup) brekkie and a flask of hot chocolate costs less than £10 a night.
In Tengboche you’ll get a million dollar bedroom views of Mt Everest for about £2.
Take it slow
Unless you’re worried about yetis – most locals don’t believe in them but my map marked the site of a 1974 ‘yeti attack’ – the biggest challenge is altitude. Base Camp itself is at 5200m and it takes 14-16 days to complete the walk safely, allowing for full acclimatisation. The mantra is, ‘don’t go too high too fast’.
Trekking Everest – essential information
WHEN TO GO: Spring (March-April) and autumn (October-November) are best for trekking.
GETTING THERE: Fly direct from London Heathrow to Kathmandu from around £514. Jet Airways (jetairways.com) is usually cheapest.
GETTING AROUND: Nepal has a cheap and regular bus service but there are bad roads and frequent strikes. Leave a few days free, especially around your flights.
VISAS: All visitors need a visa; available on arrival in Nepal – bring two photos and US$30 for a 30-day visa. Extensions are available.
CURRENCY: Nepal Rupees (NPR). 1 GBP = 107 NPR.
LANGUAGE: Nepalese, but most people working in the tourist industry speak English.
GOING OUT: A beer is about 150 rupees.
ACCOMMODATION: A basic room with a shared bathroom is 300-600 rupees a night. It’s about 200 rupees for a room in a teahouse.
GET MORE INFORMATION AT: welcomenepal.com
Tags: Mount Everest trek, trekking guielines, trekking advice, Mount Everest hike, Mount Everest climb