These are literally the words that I wrote down in my personal diary the day I made it to Everest Base Camp. Ok, they are slightly over-dramatic, but you get the point right?
14 days, 160km covered, 2615km ascended, 5365m altitude reached, 50% oxygen levels withstood, temperatures down to -15°c endured.
This is the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek.
But don’t be put off. With the right equipment (details to follow), the knowledge of an experienced guide at your side and with an adventure-seeking spirit, anyone can complete this spectacular trek to the base of the Earth’s tallest peak.
Nestled amongst the vast Himalayan mountain range, straddling the borders of Nepal and Tibet stands the mighty Mount Everest. The holy grail for many mountaineers, climbers and bucket-list enthusiasts. The privilege of getting up close and personal with this wonder of nature was once reserved for an elite few of experienced and wealthy adventurers. Not anymore. Nowadays, reaching EBC is not only achievable physically but with a multitude of travel companies offering deals to get you to EBC, its affordable too.
Booking your trek
Booking way in advance is not necessary. For the more laid back traveller, booking your trek after arriving in Kathmandu shouldn’t be a problem. For those who like the peace of mind of knowing that everything is sorted before arrival, like I did, then a quick search on Google will provide you with plenty of choice.
I picked a few local companies and sent out e-mails. After a few exchanges with a couple of companies I settled with Green Valley Nepal Treks. Their EBC package took care of everything on the 14 day trek and included a pick up and drop off at Kathmandu Airport and 3 nights’ accommodation in Thamel, the tourist hub of Kathmandu, at the price of $1047 USD or 70,000 rupees. I had the chance to meet my guide Gopi, a lovely and highly experienced local Nepalese man, a couple of days before my trek started which was great as the thought of spending 14 days with a complete stranger made me a little bit nervous!
Best time to visit
It's possible to complete the trek all-year around however there is an off peak season (November – January and June-August) and a peak season (February – May and September – October). I started my trek at the end of October, a great time to trek.
The equipment you’ll need
You need to come well-prepared. The weather conditions and the terrain on the EBC trek can be challenging so having appropriate equipment is a must. A pair of strong, comfortable and preferably water-proof walking boots is essential. A comfy day-pack (25-35L is good), a light, water-proof jacket, a fleece, 3 dry-fit t-shirts, 2 warm base layers, 2 pairs of trousers (one water-proof and one thermal-lined), a few pairs of thick socks, a warm hat and gloves, a balaclava that covers your nose and mouth as it can be very dusty, sunglasses to prevent sun or snow blindness and factor 30+ sun cream. You may also want to bring a couple of packs of baby wipes as toilet paper is a luxury on the trek and they also come in handy to freshen up when you don’t quite fancy a freezing shower in sub-zero temperatures!