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Listed prices and attraction details may have changed since our visit and initial publication. During our research for the trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, we had a hard time finding answers to questions we thought were of absolute importance. So rather than putting together comprehensive guides for the trek like our friends at The Planet D and Escape Artistes did, as we highly recommend them, we're looking to the more obscure. This F. Some of the questions included are a bit more common, too, but are important enough or asked enough that we felt we had to share our input as well.
It is also worth noting that our trek was done in the end of November when the temperatures were dropping but not incredibly cold the coldest night was C, but always warm-to-hot during the day. Likewise, some of these questions may be seasonal, and we can only offer our input keeping this in mind.
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The Mount Everest Base Camp elevation is 17, feet or 5,m. As shockingly impressive as this is, it is also worth noting that most people start their trek after flying into Lukla which is 9, feet or 2,m - a gain of over 8, feet in about eight days!
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For those who are even more adventurous, most trekkers have the opportunity to climb Kala Patthar for sunrise or sunset view and can go as high as 18, feet 5,m! In addition, it is also possible for you to arrange both a porter-guide and porter in Lukla after arriving as well as booking beforehand. First off, we thoroughly believe it is cheaper to have a private guide or porter-guide, or even just porter than it is to take a multi-person guided tour.
After speaking with two others who were on the same trek path as us who only booked a porter-guide in advance, I think the costs can be somewhat similar for a guide and porter as it is for a porter-guide if you take time to shop around for pricing. With a private guide you can arrange a setup where they'll do all the bookings for you, and your meals and accommodation will be included in their set rate. With a porter-guide they may or may not recommend places to stay, may not get you the best room, and paying for accommodation and food is on you at each place.
As mentioned above, depending on the company these may end up being a wash depending on how much food and drink you purchase, so a full guide may be worthwhile for most. In terms of booking before or in Lukla, it is likely you may only find a porter or, if you're lucky, a porter-guide after arriving. Lukla is a big village, relatively at least, and you'll probably find a travel agency who can make some calls for you, but depending on your arrival and flight delays may be more headache than it is worth. Even if you are only looking for a porter or porter-guide, emailing an independent guide beforehand could get an arrangement setup that is beneficial for all involved, including your wallet.
You'll likely pay a bit extra for their take, but you'll have online recommendations and a set booking to rely on. One final note on this topic — If you are not used to carrying your own bags on treks, don't consider it for this one.
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Every single person who carried their bag while trekking looked miserable on the way down, even those who do it all the time. As much as using a porter brings up a whole lot of other issues a few ethical ones with us even , it helps a lot.
Although this is a fairly common question, with nuts, granola bars, and chocolate being a common answer, we want to share our own snack list just to add to it a bit. We did not take any nuts or granola products as Angie has a tree nut allergy and we have to be extra careful in remote regions. All we can say is that when you tackle the big hill days Namche Hill, Tengboche Hill, Lobuche Hill , a good snack halfway through makes all the difference.
Just be sure to splurge on a Mars Roll in a tea house sometime as a deep-fried Mars bar does the trick in fixing just about anyone up, no matter the cost. Well, first off, ask to pay with a credit card even if they request cash.
But if you have to get cash out at an ATM, keep in mind these three drawbacks to give yourself ample time to get enough. Note: Keep in mind your ATM card may have a limit from your bank on a daily withdrawal limit. There are dozens of shops selling knock-off gear in Kathmandu, and even a few selling name brand goods at fixed prices.
You can barter at the knock-off places, but it becomes increasingly difficult when you need to buy items at once. Other shops will have the name brand gear on display, but will then pull a fake out from the back that is clearly different and try and sell it as the same. Since we had to buy all of our gear at once, we did not barter. Most shops will say they buy used gear on their signs, but be sure to clarify that when you buy and keep your receipt. The stuff they didn't buy? The used fleece clothes we bought in the rummage bins at to Rupees each.
First things first, keep in mind that the weather forecast in Lukla is almost never correct. We're not even sure there is a weather station there and if you search the major weather sites, each will say something different. We freaked out, and our guide was a bit unsure as to what we were talking about because he insisted it is never like that in November. True to his word, the day was crystal clear, and the entire day trek had very little clouds before 4pm each day. But for us, both the going and return flight were absolutely impeccable and one of the best flights we've ever had in terms of outside beauty sit on the left when facing forward towards the cockpit and turbulence.
Once you see the runway, all your fears drift away and are replaced with a flurry of picture taking. Note: Although October and November is supposed to be prime trekking season, bad weather can still occur. Our friend Katie Aune trekked in the same region about a month before us and had some weather delays that she elaborates more on in our comments section. The Himalayas have very unpredictable weather, so even in the best of times, you may have something pop-up.
The point we're trying to emphasize in this particular question is that the weather forecast in Lukla is hardly correct, so do not freak out about your flight if you see bad weather listed. In any case, it is important that your packing list covers you for the wide range of weather you may see, including rain and snow depending on the season.
No one in our group got altitude sickness over the entire day hike.
Smoking and Caffeine are big ones. We cut out all caffeine about 5 days before our trek to not have any crashing or withdrawal headaches that may be confused for AMS. We tried to stick to a rule of 2 liters before lunch which worked wonderfully. We called ourselves Team Turtle because of how slow we went, and it helped us get used to the altitude substantially. There is no point blasting up the trail because once you get to the lodge you're not doing anything the rest of the day most of the time.
Pace yourself, be sure to get in before the sun goes behind the mountain, and enjoy the scenery. We met several people who skipped a day and had to come down from AMS. On the flip side, we met several who skipped and also had a successful climb. In each try and do a day hike that takes you to a higher elevation than where you will sleep the next day to try and get used to the heights better. There are some who believe Diamox only masks the symptoms of altitude sickness, while others who argue that it helps. We are in the latter and believe that you should take it at the first hint of an altitude headache.
For Angie that was in Tengboche because of not drinking enough water, and I was on the way to Dingboche because we pushed ourselves rather hard. Do I think I could have done without the medicine?
Probably, but since Diamox can take time to kick in it is better to take it at the first signs before you absolutely need it when in real pain. Also note that you MUST continue Diamox until you return back to the place you started it, if not one village lower on the way down, to avoid a severe impact of altitude sickness that can be potentially fatal. So if you start in Tengboche on the way up, take it until you return back there on the way down, if not until Namche, and follow the same logic no matter where you start. I can't promise you that this will make sure you do not get AMS, but I can say it certainly doesn't hurt.
Gastrointestinal issues and a cold are common for just about everyone we met on our particular trekking dates although others may not see it at all. First off, you should purify all your drinking water with chlorine tablets to ensure that the biological components in the water cannot reproduce in your system.
SteriPen's are also a popular alternative and should work just fine for clean mountain water, but I am still not personally sold on them over the chemical alternative. Unfortunately, when you drink tea at the lodges you are likely not having chlorinated water , and there is no guarantee that the water was actually boiling for a sufficient period of time to kill the bacteria off in my opinion, probably not. Everyone we met had some sort of gastrointestinal issue during the trek, either gas up, gas down, and other common ailments that go with it.
I thoroughly believe it is due to the tea, but I have no proof of this.