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Travel Advice

Here are a few tips for those headed trekking up to Everest Base Camp or the surrounds via Lukla.

Get as fit as you can or you just won’t enjoy it as much, and if you get sick (as many do) you will find it all the harder. As is, it’s a very hard, multi-day, non-stop haul on which you will see some folks who look like they’ve done no training and really show it. They say the best training for hills is hills, so train on hills and wear the boots and pack you will be taking and get out there training harder and longer than you think you need to as when things like altitude, fatigue and possible sickness bite at least you will be more ready than not. Train with a bit more weight than you may take so your body and foot movement in your boots is all attuned to being there.

Arrival info
Fly to Kathmandu. You get your visa on arrival for most countries and will need some cash up front (don’t stash it all in your checked luggage) and if you don’t have a photo you can get one taken on the spot at immigration.

Arrangements with/without a trekking company
You can do the Everest trek completely solo if you really are the adventurous type but with a trekking company arranging it all so at least you will have someone more knowledgeable. It is worthwhile for more than the money extra it cost than doing it solo. If I get sick or injured or lost your way route or had issues along the way you’ll have a back up. You also give locals folks a job if you take both a porter and a guide if doing it solo.

Lukla flights
The flight up takes about 45 minutes. All flights are early.

There are so many lodges and hotels all the way up to Gokyo and Gorak Shep. They provide good accommodation and restaurant services. You can do, if wish to camp with tents.

Get your good stuff from home from decent outfitters.

Water quality/availability
Don’t spend money on water purifier tablets and expensive filtering things unless you will use them elsewhere with serious remote dirty water. Just buy bottled water instead from your teahouse each day.

Medical kit
You can buy all your drugs in Kathmandu. They are all legitimate quality so no worries there apparently. Get Moleskin and other blister tape and best use it before you get the blister, or soon after. Get some antiseptic cream in case one gets infected.
For head medication get some heavy duty headache tablets, some antibacterial throat lozenges, some throat gargle for sore throats and the infamous Khumbu cough, some pain relief pills in case you are sick or hurt something, something for a badly clogged nose and some Diamox for altitude sickness in case you need it and some tablets for diahorrea.

Hats and Head coverings
Bring wool skull cap which is easy to have in pocket and to also use through cold nights sleeping. We recommend you to bring a baseball cap to use it during the day.

Regular sunglasses are fine for the lower altitudes. If you are going into EBC and will be there for a few days you might think about something for the more serious retina zapping glare.

Get one they’re great. They are a stretchy neck warmer that you can also use as a head band, dusty mouth protector, beanie and in a bunch of other ways.

Trekking Poles
We strongly recommend them. It turns you into a much more efficient 4 legged beast than a 2 legged one. Get some and use them beforehand to tune in your triceps, your knees will thank you!

Guides and Porters
There’s essentially 4 ways you can do the trek: 1) fly solo and carry everything yourself which some do but this is the hard option, harder still if you succumb to fatigue or sickness far from anywhere. 2) Arrange a single Guide/Porter who will lug about 20kgs of your stuff and you carry the rest. He’ll show you the way but his English (or other) language skills will be basic and the spoken conversation between you limited. 3) Arrange for a Porter to lump your things and he’ll take up to about 40kgs, which could be 2 packs if you have a partner. He’ll be strong as an ox, walk fast, say little and just meet you at the end of each day where you agree to stay. And 4) You could also hire a Guide with one of the options above who will likely be from the Sherpa people, knowledgeable in the area and it’s folklore and have good language skills. He may or may-not have climbing experience but if he is a Climbing Guide you’ll be impressed with the stories he will tell you along the way. Probably the best way to go, and what you’ll get if you do an arranged tour trek, is 4) to have a Porter and a Guide (more of each if it’s a larger group). That way for the little more it costs you, you employ two local blokes, learn more about all things Nepali, maybe meet a new friend or two and have someone on-hand should you get sick or need something sorted out enroute or at night. Importantly, you only then need to carry a much lighter daypack with the essentials.

Boots and other footwear
You need decent high-cut boots, not trainers as some suggest. You are so far from regular civilisation the thought and hassle is just not worth it. Get boots that support your ankles and wear them enough at home to ensure they are broken in to wear in most of the tight spots and rubbing points. Most boots for some reason come with terrible innersoles so you should ditch these for Superfeet inserts or your own proper foot moulded orthotics. And check your laces at home for wear to lessen the chance of breaking one on the trail (pack some spares though, they don’t weigh much and you could use them for string or give to someone else if need be). You could buy spares along the way but not in the middle of nowhere. Take some Crocs or sandals to wear about the place once you arrive in at night.

Socks and liners
Trial different socks (thickness and material type) and liners long before you leave home, and listen to your feet while walking to feel what you need for the perfect fit (which may be slightly different for each different foot). Trial these with your pack on, as mentioned, as your boots and feet will respond different when you have weight on your back and are working up or downhill for long periods of time.

The daily grind of trekking and ‘days off’, typical and suggestions
What makes this a long, tough trek is that you don’t really have any proper days off. Even what’s listed as a Rest Day just actually means you stay for two nights in the same place but are generally doing a necessary day hike up a steep hill for the altitude benefit, not sleeping in and lounging around. Most days start about 6am, you pack up and get breakfast about 7 or so, then are out the door and trekking by about 8.30am. Stops get made along the trail when you come across something interesting or a village shop or some such. Lunch is about midday where you can take a longer break if you are making okay time. You normally get in to the night’s accommodation between 2pm and 4pm. It depends on your speed, if you are solo or if you are staying as a group. It’s not a race though so just remember to go at your own comfortable speed, stop when it suits and remember to have your camera on hand for snaps on the go. In fact going slower is one of the safest things you can do and it tends to be the young fit bucks that go too far too fast and they are the ones who over do it and consequently have altitude issues.

Helicopters cost, benefits, use
The only motorised vehicles you’re likely to see beyond Lukla is a helicopter heading up or back the Valley/Everest Base Camp. It will be carrying sick or injured trekkers or maybe locals, and their gear or expedition folks from Everest You can also take an unforgettable sightseeing chopper flight experience. You can get it arranged from one of the villages. A chopper on stand-by in Lukla will come up.


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