everest base camp 2002

3 messages
02/01/2001 at 17:53
I have reserved a place on the Trail/ Everest Base Camp Trip for 2002, having not done much 'trekking' before although keeping fit for London Marathon etc, does anyone have advice/ tips before I pay the deposit? My main concerns are; altitude, what to expect from the cultural perspective and required fitness levels.
02/01/2001 at 19:56
I trekked to Everest Base Camp last year - oops, no, the year before last - independently. I'm a walker / climber and reasonably hill fit, through walking, running and mountain biking, but anyone with average fitness should be well capable of doing the trek, particularly as you'll be carrying a light day pack rather than full backpacking gear.

The days are relatively short because there are limits on how much ascent you can undertake in one day without risking altitude sickness. Altitude's a weird thing and has absolutely nothing to do with fitness. A well designed itinerary should provide plenty of time for your body to adapt to the lack of oxygen and you can help yourself by taking things relatively gently at first, not drinking alcohol, which is diuretic and will give you the mother of all hangovers at altitude as well... If you take a look at our links section on the site, there are several altitude-related web sites, which have more detailed information and will help you to understand what's going on with your physiology. You might also consider using Diamox, a drug developed to treat Glaucoma, which has proven benefits in improving acclimatisation. I don't particularly like using it - side effects include tingling of the extremeties, messing with your sense of taste and frequent urination as it's a diueretic, but I'm lucky and seem to acclimatise well. Others swear by it. A sensible approach would be to take some along and use it if you feel you're having trouble acclimatising.

There's a lot of excellent background information in the Trailblazer Guide to Trekking in the Everest Region by Jamie McGuinness. There's a link to the Trailblazer site in the books section of the links directory. The best guide to the area, in my opinion anyway.

Culturally, I thought Nepal was wonderful. I'd do some background reading so you understand something of the culture, but the Everest route is so well used that there are no obvious barriers to overcome. You shouldn't go around topless or in short shorts or take photographs of people without asking first. The more contact you have with Nepalese people, the more you'll get out of the trip.

I don't know how committed you are to going with an organised group by the way, but it's very, very straightforward to fly to Kathmandu and make your own arrangements on the ground and a lot cheaper. The route to Everest is lined with 'tea houses', cheap, clean but basic lodges where you can eat and sleep so all you need carry is a sleeping bag, food and a few other basics. You can get by easily with English, so there's no language barrier and the lodge 'social scene' will throw you into contact with a wider variety of people than you'll meet travelling in a guided group and camping. Warmer too...

Sorry to go on, but you could write a book just answering your question. I wrote an article on the Everest Base Camp trek for Adventure Travel magazine and if you drop me an e-mail, I can send you a copy. Hope that's some help.

Fitness? Like I said, you don't have to be super fit, but you'll enjoy it more if you're in decent nick. If you can walk up a 3000 foot mountain without trouble in a day, you'll be fine.

Jon

OutdoorsMagic Editor | jon@outdoorsmagic.com 

03/01/2001 at 11:45
I think if you're fit enough to do the London Marathon, you should have no problems with the EBC trek. But it's worth noting that, although the individual days are relatively short, doing 10 or so in succession may leave you a little wiped out by the end. Especially if you have the old 'tummy trouble' or initial difficulties sleeping, both of which are quite common. So it's well worth taking Imodium and earplugs.

The people you'll meet on the EBC route are used to trekkers' strange ways, and teahouses and trek cooks provide western-style food. So if you spend a day or two in Kathmandu to begin with, the culture shock is minimised. You can get away with photographing people if you do it from a distance, using a large zoom on your camera (also helpful for those distant mountain shots).

I recommend 'Trekking in Nepal' by Stephen Bezrucha for more cultural info. And http://www.YETIZONE.COM is a useful website, though more angled towards the Annapurna region.
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