What sort of experience do I need in order to do the Everest Base Camp Trek?
The trek can be completed by anyone in reasonably good shape who is capable of walking 5-6 hours a day. It requires no ropes, harnesses, helmets or other specialized equipment or climbing skills. Previous hiking experience is handy but not necessary. We’ll stick to the well-established system of trails that serve as the main transportation routes between villages in the Everest region.
What’s the weather going to be like in December? Won’t it be cold?
December is a great time to trek in the Khumbu region of Nepal! It’s typically the driest month of the year, so chances are excellent that we’ll be rewarded with crystal clear, sunny mountain views the entire way.
During the day, temperatures can be quite comfortable. It’s not unusual for the afternoons to reach the low-50′s. Once the sun goes down, however, things cool off very quickly. Our tea house guest rooms will not be heated, but – with four solid walls, a bed and extra blankets – they’re much more comfortable than tents. Quite often, the communal dining room will be warmed by a stove. We’ll spend our evenings there, sipping hot beverages and chatting with other trekkers before retiring early to the warmth of our sleeping bags.
Take a look at the way the people are dressed in the photo that’s on the Gear List page. That picture (along with all the others on this site) was taken during a December trek up to base camp. Keep in mind though that, although December is usually calm and clear, we will be in an alpine environment where snow is possible at any time during the year. It’s essential to pack with this in mind.
Will I get altitude sickness?
We’ll spend almost two full weeks between 8500 and 18,000 ft. At that elevation, nearly everyone exhibits some symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). These are usually mild (e.g. headache, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, etc.) and typically dissipate relatively quickly as one acclimatizes to the altitude. With a gradual ascent and built-in rest days, our itinerary has been carefully designed to aid this process. But there’s plenty you can do to help ensure that your adjustment is as smooth as possible:
- Drink a lot of water. Consuming 4-5 liters a day will keep you hydrated and happy.
- As tempting as it may be to unwind with a beer at the end of day on the trail, lay off alcohol entirely until the hike back down.
- Go to bed early and get lots of rest.
- Dress warmly.
- Eat a diet high in carbohydrates. Interestingly, garlic also seems to speed acclimatization. For this reason, Nepalese trekking guides are renowned for their propensity to push garlic soup on their clients at mealtimes.
In consultation with your doctor, you may also consider a prophylactic course of Diamox (acetazolamide), a drug that aids acclimatization by stimulating respiration and increasing oxygen in the blood stream. Because Diamox is a diuretic (and therefore makes a person even more prone to dehydration), and also has a few innocuous but unpleasant side effects, such as tingling in the fingers and an altered sense of taste, many people choose to just carry it with them in their personal medical kit to have on hand in case they do start to experience stronger AMS symptoms. Diamox is available in the US by prescription only, but is readily obtainable over the counter in Kathmandu.
Acute Mountain Sickness symptoms that don’t go away, or worsen, can be signs of more serious conditions such as pulmonary edema or cerebral edema. Our guides have medical training and will keep a close eye on the trekkers under their care. They will immediately descend to a lower elevation with anyone who is having difficulty adjusting to the altitude.
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