Things You Should Know about Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Things you might not know about Kathmandu, trekking to EBC and Nepal in general.

If someone says that they are trekking to Everest Base Camp it doesn’t mean they have to sleep in a tent or are intending to climb Mount Everest.

Tents of the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp

Tents of the 2015 Ultra Marathon Runners at Everest Base Camp

Accommodation is simple on the trail there is not a lot of up market accommodation.

There are no roads into Lukla the start of the Everest Base Camp Trek. Generally  people fly into Lukla. The nearest road is at Jiri and you can walk from there. Most people start trekking from Lukla . The nearest road is at Jiri and you can walk from there. The airport was built in 1964. People still walk in from Jiri. Jennifer from Jennifer’s Journeys did it.

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Some villages along the track have wifi but it doesn’t always work. Great places for wifi are Namche Bazaar, Dingboche and maybe Pangboche and Lobuche. It is a combination of the place but also the lodge.

The early part of the trail is not that remote and you will see children going to school along the trail.

Children running home from school EBC trek trail Nepal

You need to research the season and the months you are traveling well. There advantages for the different seasons.

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December -cold but beautiful dry sunny days

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Late September two years later. Warmer days when the cloud lifts.

Going there you are helping the local economy.

Stick to vegetables on the trail. Refrigeration is not brilliant.

Neplese food on the EBC trek

It is not normal walking and Diamox is key. Make sure you have it an I would tend to follow the trekking guides recommendation. A slow trek is key to getting there without be sick. Altitude headaches can be really horrible. I’ve heard and read.

There is a thing called a Go Girl. Practice is advised,

Kathmandu has lots of places to see including Durbar Square where you can see lots of pigeons.

Durbar Square and pigeons Kathmandu

Having a massage after a trek is a very good idea. I didn’t do this and boy did I feel it a few weeks later. I felt like my body was seizing up. Next time I will have a massage.

The lower part of Nepal is quite tropical almost and you can even go on a jungle safari. We went to Chitwan. Buses are very scary and the journeys are incredibly slow.

You can fly into Lukla for a day and take flights up over Everest.

You don’t have to go to EBC you can take a shorter trek and just go as far as Tengboche.

 

 

Step Training ? Affirmative.

Three Months Until your Trek? Get Training

 

Main Everest Base Camp Trail between Namche Bazaar and Tengboche treacherous steps but a great view.

There’s the man with the vision and the all the plans. Trek to Everest Base Camp, Nepal. He had been to trek the Annapurna circuit in the 80s and he knew there is a lot of uneven ground so he insisted on finding uneven hills to train on and lots of stairs too.

And stairs there were in abundance …..

Between Lukla and Phakding

Eveerest Base CAmp trek trail

Aproach to bridge at Jorsale

trekking Phakding to Monjo Everest Base Camp Trek September 2015

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Donkeys making their way down these stairs – wait for them to pass.

Everest Base Camp trek

Kids an their way home from school running down the stairs. October 2015

Outside Monjo towards Namche Bazaar

An eighty plus year old woman with 40 kilos plus of cabbages, beating me down these stairs. November 2013

Everest Base Bamp Trek

Base Camp Marathon runners after Tengboche heading to Namche Bazaar. October 2015

So you are planning a trek on the Annapurna circuit or to Everest Base Camp and you will be there in three or months you need to start in earnest on your incline training, or hill training. Find some good hills close to home to start doing walking them twice a week with a more intense session on the weekend.  All you need is one good hill with some uneven ground. Go up the hill turn around and go back up. Turn around and do it again and again. Ad nauseum.

Find Some Stairs to Train on

We did stair training for the last two and half months once a week and twice a week for the last six weeks. We started off at ten or twenty minutes building up to 45 minutes to an hour. Up four flights , down four flights. You get the picture.

Track back no person

Namche to Tengboche

Everest Base Camp Trek

November 2013

Oh course you will be rewarded by fabulous views at the top … before you go down hill to go up again…

Practice with your boots and all your gear. Buy trekking poles they will help your knees, especially going down hill.

The photos of me with the orange pack are our 2013 trek without a porter. The shots with the small purple pack were taken on the 2015 trek when we took a porter guide, which we would recommend.

All Things Yak on the EBC Track

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Meeting Yaks on the Track

On the Everest Base Camp trek you might see mountain goats, magnificent eagles and other beautiful birds but the yaks were my favourite along the trail.

These hardworking animals are the delivery vans on the EBC trail. There are no roads. Everything goes up and down on the back of a donkey, yak or a porter.

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Yaks between Shomare adn Digboche

The First Rule of the Track – Stand Aside for Yaks

I loved the sound of the yak bells as they approached. Hearing the bells is a signal to find somewhere safe to stand on the mountain side and wait while they pass. The first rule of the track. If you are caught standing on the outside of the path you risk being knocked off the side of the mountain. The baby yak in the video had his own plans about which path he would take.

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The walled sections of grassland above are yak pastures between Shomare and Dingboche. Not only do these wonderful animals carry packs and food up the trail they also provide fuel. The woman was collecting dung from the yak pasture to dry to use for cooking and heat.

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A young girl resting with her basket full of yak dung behind her.

Shop front Everest Base Camp Trail

Yaks, well really the naks which are the females, provide milk which in turn is made into cheese which you probably will find on top of your pizzas on the trek.

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This guy just would not move. I really think he wanted his photo taken. Say Yak Cheese!

Many travel experiences provide possibilities of  interactions with animals, wild ones if you are lucky.

Some animal travel memories of mine are seals on Kangaroo Island when I was a child, monkeys in Bali, passaperos (dog walkers) and their packs of dogs in Buenos Aires, llamas in Argentina and a day spent riding camels in the desert in Rajasthan. But hundreds of dolphins in the mouth of the Gambia River was probably my most magic wildlife experience. It took us totally by surprise and was amazing. Do you have any special memories of animal encounters while you traveled?

Other I things I loved on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Unbelievably most of the photos and the video show yaks without loads! Which means they were on return journeys. The photos were taken in 2015 when the season was extremely slow after the earthquakes. I’ll have to get a good full load photo next time.

 

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Simple Not Basic

A Post About Food on the EBC Trek Becomes More. Or Is it Less?

There is a difference between basic and simple. Especially when you are traveling.

Recently I posted about accommodation on the EBC trek being basic. A comment from a fellow blogger (thanks Miriam) made me rethink how I had labelled  the accommodation. It is the very fact the Everest Base Camp Trek is basic, makes it so good. Basic can be seen as a negative.  So simple, not basic, is a better word to use. Because it is the simplicity of the EBC trek that makes it so special.

Gorak Shep the end of the Everest Base Camp trek

Walking into Gorak Shep the end of the Everest Base Camp Trek

The simplicity of the accommodation, the simple food, the every day simple routine. The early to bed, early to rise. Get up, get dressed, eat,  leave. Which way to go? Up or down. Maps to consult? No, not really, there is one path. Just like a pilgrimage, you know where you are going and why. The people you meet, the common quest, the simplicity of the destination but the challenge of getting there make it special. A quest so well rewarded.

No phone calls, television, emails and internet access is limited. All put into perspective in the big landscape or simple path you are on. Up or down.

And yes,  simple meals too. This simple meal below in  simple surroundings is one I remember well. A bowl of hot simple potato soup made with the broth and grated potatoes. A well earned bowl of soup after a hard steep walk out of Namche Bazaar and a 600 metre trek down hill to the river to Phunki Tenga.  Three hours plus of a hard work, it was a meal well earned.  A simple meal, simple surroundings the roar of the river, the sound of the yak bells as the yaks pass. Simple stunning beauty all around.

Potato soup at Phunki Tenga at 3250metres EBC Trek trail

So back to the food, yes the food is simple. But it is good. It is organically grown along the track and cooked in a simple kitchen.

Vegetables growing in the Khumbu

Food in a Namche Bazaar lodge

A meal in Namche Bazaar above.

Potato Soup Nepal

This bowl of potato soup was al fresco at Debouche on the trail down. In a stunning landscape. How much simpler and more beautiful can you get?

December 2013

The umbrellas above,  weren’t the norm. The Sherpa stew was.

Vegetables growing on the EBC Trail

Simple, but addictive. Everest Base Camp Trek too simple to say no.

Need more convincing?  25 Reasons to Trek To Everest Base Camp

Trekking to Everest Base Camp ? Are you up to it?

 

Stupa at Khumjung

Two photos of a Stupa in Khumjung taken from different directions and two years apart. Photos taken in December 2013 taken end of September 2015, two earthquakes later.

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There is a beautiful mani wall along the walk in from Namche Bazaar.

Stupa at Khumjung in the Khumbu region of Nepal

I assume the cracks are from the second earthquake on May 12 2015. The small boy in the photo has his back pack on and had just come out from the Edmund Hillary School, the biggest school in the Khumjum.

April 25 earthquake magnitude 7.8

May 12 earthquake magnitude 7.3

Two Earthquakes and Two Films – another of my posts

Worth a look earthquake 2015 – Great Himalyas Trail website

Drying Hair and Potatoes in the Khumbu: Behind the Scenes EBC Trek

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Drying potatoes in the sun in Pangboche Nepal

Pangboche, Everest Base Camp Trail, December 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Things I Liked List

Boxes of ancient papers Khumjung Manastery Nepal

  1. momos
  2. the first day walking to Phakding
  3. walking everyday
  4. talking with Dawa in Lukla
  5. hearing the rush of the river
  6. hearing the yak bells
  7. the vista in Dingboche
  8. the feeling having climbed to the top of Kala Patthar
  9. seeing eagles soaring high above
  10. the boxes of papers in the monastery at Khumjung
  11. the hot shower in Dingboche
  12. hearing the stone masons and the noise of the town above Namche
  13. the donkey trains
  14. sitting at our meals at the end of the day with a sense of achievement
  15. water
  16. black tea
  17. everything yak

with inspiration from this lovely blog  https://listsofthingswelike.com/

via Daily Prompt: Minimal

Todd Samson and How Not to Trek in the Himalayas

Todd Samson’s Salute to Sherpas and Climbing Lobuche

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What Todd Samson has been getting up to lately is far from tame. Todd Samson is an Australian Canadian television celebrity is currently in a show called Body Hack.

Each episode looks at a different group of people who are involved in extreme activity and how the body copes with it. Taking it one step further Todd Samson walks in their shoes for some time. The Nepalese episode looked at the life of the Sherpa people who work as porters along the Everest Base Camp Trail. Continue reading

Fashion on the Track

Striding Through Pheriche in the Khumbu

Periche

Here I am walking through Periche looking like the Michelin Man. There are lots of terrible shots of me on the trek with hat hair, up way too close etc. Showers are a rare thing on the track, so is clean hair and there are no mirrors. Complete with the hat and given today is the first Tuesday in November, the day of the nation stopping Melbourne Cup (horse race) I decided on a twist the Fashion on the Track theme. Tongue in cheek of course. However my ensemble does show off some accessories that you shouldn’t leave home for Everest Base Camp without. Continue reading

Weather Forecast at EBC

Believe It or Not

Everest Base Camp Trail Weather Pyramid

Italian Weather Pyramid out of Lobuche in the direction of Gorak Shep

The Weather Cam at Everest Base Camp or thereabouts. The Trainer walked there by himself. I decided to stay in the lodge and rest up for the next to big days. Built by the Italians he joked he was in search of a short black coffee …

Climbing to Namche, Up Down Up, Down Down, Down Up Up Up, Up Up Up

Day Two Phakding to Monjo 2013  and Phakding to Namche Bazaar 2015

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Above is the suspension bridge at Upper Phakding. We stayed at the lodge just above the end of the bridge in the photo on the way back down from our 2013 trek. The bridge is the site of my donkey video.

PLANNING THE TREK BY THE SEASONS

When planning our trek for late September we expected some rain. Continue reading

Heading Out from Lukla for Everest Base Camp – Day One to Phakding

Walking out of Lukla

trek n.1. a long difficult journey, esp. on foot 2. SA journey or stage, esp by ox wagon            3. make a trek  – trekker 

Saying Goodbye in Melbourne

In September 2015 my husband and I flew to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp. At the departure hall at Melbourne Airport saying goodbyes to our adult daughters,  the eldest hugged her father and said

                          “Dad, go easy on Mum remember it’s her holiday too.”  She turned                                      to me and said “Mum, ….man up.”

And with that sage advice… Continue reading

At the Top of Kala Patthar

Video

Recharging in Nepal

Resting Spots Along the Trail to Everest Base Camp

A post about the porters on my Everest Base Camp Trek blog is long overdue. The Daily Post Daily Prompt Recharge has given me a perfect launching point.

Trekking through the Khumbu you see resting points for porters to unload, rest and recharge. These resting spots are at a height so the porters can easily unload and reload onto their backs without having to lift their load from the ground. Porters loads at a resting point on the EBC TrekThe photo shows the typical oversized baskets called a doko used by porters. The T-shaped wooden walking stick at the bottom left of the screen is called a tokma. Continue reading

What, No Mirror ?

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Yes I agree this is not a brilliant photo. But it is the only one from our Everest Base Camp trek with a reflection. Our, being me and The Trainer. And there were no mirrors either and I could have done with one of those.

Photos of reflections in water are rare on the EBC trek . The rivers are running too fast Continue reading

Mani Stones

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Quiet contemplation … Om Mani Padme Hum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Om_mani_padme_hum

Our Porter Guide

He met us at the baggage collection at Lukla airport. After a cup of tea and sorting our packs at the Paradise Lodge we were ready. He tied our bags together with his ropes, positioned the load on his head and led us out of Lukla, stopping every now and then to check we were following.

Consulting the map

Consulting the map

At first from his lack of response to our questions and attempts at conversation I thought he had limited English. But as he tuned in to our English and accents and we started to get to know each other, he spoke more.

On the second day he seemed a bit more relaxed and he started to teach us some Nepalese words. Jum jum, let’s go and appropriately on the hard climb to Namche bistari bistari, slowly slowly. Jokingly he taught us quickly quickly. When we climbed to Khumjung the thick cloud forced my focus to my feet and the spider webs covered in dewdrops, he told me the words for spider and spider webs too.

Alpine flower Solukhumbu
Dew on spider webs

Familiar with the trail, he pointed out things I would never have seen without him. He pointed out birds and bee hives hanging in the crevices of rocks on the other side of the river. Sometimes he sang his Nepali songs. We watched fascinated by his animated conversations with others along the track and picked up his sense of humour and friendly nature.

At the end of the day when I wrote in my small diary, he reminded me of the things we had seen on the trail. He spelt out the Nepalese words I had learnt during the day and I helped him with some new English words in our guide books.

In Dingboche, surrounded by magnificent mountains he taught me their names. He helped while I practiced naming them in order, like a child reciting their abc, learning the Himalayan range spread before me.

Many times we waited together for donkeys and yaks to pass. Once I was caught in a tight spot and I turned away when I shouldn’t have. Fortunately Basanta was watching. I turned around in time to see him pushing a donkey away from me. If he hadn’t of done this the donkey’s side load would have pushed me over the small wall.

He pulled me up the huge black boulders to reach the top of Kala Pattar. Took photos of us together and celebrated with us at Everest Base Camp.

At Everest Base Camp

He called me Louise, sometimes jokingly Mom and sometimes Didi – Big Sister.

Sometimes he led. Sometimes he followed. And sometimes we walked side by side.

Khumjung Village Everest Base Camp TrekSometimes he lead
Porters climbing up to the bridge to Namche Bazaarsometimes he followed
Dingboche to Dughla Everest Base Camp Trekand sometimes we walked side by side

On the last day, walking back to Lukla a woman coming the other way silently pointed at the porter right behind me as if she thought I needed to move aside and let him pass. Yes I know, I thought, he is my porter and he has been close by for sixteen days. He has carried our load making our trek to Base Camp easier. He guided, pointed things out and watched out for us. He was our companion, Nepalese friend and shared his country with us. Thank you Basanta.

 

The porter guide and me
Saying goodbye at the Paradise Lodge in Lukla

 

 

Life Is Great in Retrospect

Why the Trainer and I turned back before Everest Base Camp in 2013.We trained more than when we made it in 2015 . We were fit enough. So why didn’t we make it ?

The Background Story

The Sports Teacher at work took an interest in my EBC training. One Monday morning he asked how it was going. I replied well but pulled up my trouser leg to show him the rash on both my ankles. He told me to go to the hospital immediately.

The colleague I share an office  with came to look at the rash. Unbelievably his wife had had the same rash, had spent time in hospital and could have died. I made an doctor’s appointment for the afternoon.

The doctor  looked at the rash on both my ankles said it wasn’t Cellulitis and agreed it was probably caused by my trekking socks. My bamboo socks. He told me if the rash changed in any way to come straight back.

The rash cleared up and some months later and the trainer and I left for Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. With the same bamboo socks. I didn’t really think about not taking them. They hadn’t caused anymore problems. Life is great in retrospect.

Day  Five Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

On the trek to Tengboche the rash returned with vengeance caused no doubt by the eight hour walk that day and the dusty trail. And the socks. However it was a lot  was redder than it had been back home and coming up over the the sock line. I was a bit panicky.

It had been a unexpectedly hard day’s climb. It was freezing cold and late in the afternoon when we arrived in Tengboche. A lot of the lodges were closed as it was getting late in a quiet season. We weren’t that thrilled with the accommodation and the shared toilet arrangement which we had managed to avoid until then. It was turning out to being not such a great day.

Tengboche Everest Base Camp Trek

Tengboche from the monastery looking cold and dark with sun setting

Sunset on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Shadows and the sun setting on the Lhotse – Nuptse ridge from Tengboche

Day Six Tengboche to Pangboche

The next morning after breakfast I showed my rash to a woman in the lodge we had met the day before. She had told me she was carrying a lot of medicine and as I suspected she was a nurse. She agreed with me the rash looked like it was caused by my socks and told me if it got worse or started to feel hot to start taking the broad spectrum antibiotics and ring for a helicopter.

I was a bit panicked at this comment given we were trekking without a guide or porter. The Trainer tried to calm me down. We walked to Pangboche a lovely walk and found a lodge fairly early. I spent some time trying to find out how we would call a helicopter without much luck. We had showers which made the day seem a bit better. During the night I started the antibiotics because my leg felt hot.

Pangboche, Everest Base Camp Trek

The next morning the Trainer suggested we walk to Shomare have a coffee and then decide whether to go on or not. And yes, we had that drink and decided to turn back.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Shomare. Our last stop before turning back

Life is great in retrospect I should not have taken the bamboo socks to Nepal, bought some topical cream, investigated the rash more on coming home but I didn’t.

Lessons Learnt

When we returned home I heard a lot about bamboo socks not being good for trekking . They retained moisture instead of wicking the moisture away. The socks were banished from my sock drawer forever. I had actually had been recommended the socks in a camping store. In retrospect don’t buy hiking gear in a camping gear shop. I recommend finding a hiking gear shop that employs staff with lots of trekking experience.

I bought woollen socks for our second trip. Trained with them and packed more pairs.

Ironically I got the rash again on the second trek. And on the first day. Just a tiny bit at first and with woollen socks. I applied the cream I brought and raised my legs. By the end of the trek the rash was being annoying.

Rash on ankle

The rash back in Kathmandu after the second trek in 2015.

The type of socks you wear trekking are really important. I was very excited to find a post devoted entirely to socks in my travels around the blogosphere. Here it is

Links to related posts

Don’t be put off Tengboche. It is a hard days trek and being mentally prepared will help.

We trekked back through Tengboche on our way back from Everest Base Camp. It seemed like a much nicer place in the middle of the day with the sun shining. We spent some time there, watching marathon runners coming through and taking photographs. We still haven’t seen inside the temple to we might just have to go back.

Tengboche Monastery

Tengboche Monastery

 

Anyone else have a frustrating medical “emergency” on holidays ?

My You Tube of Walking to Tengboche.

More photos of the walk from Namche to Tengboche (2013)  

Other posts that may interest you

Acclimatisation Days

What to pack

25 Reasons to Trek to Nepal  

How hard is it to trek to Everest Base Camp ?

Our trek itineraries in 2013 and in 2015

Our Experience on Diamox

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