Travel story contributor: Rutavi Mehta
Have you thought of trekking to Everest Base Camp ever? Have you felt being a moderate trekker will you be able to do this arduous trek ? Well I did it. For me the idea of walking in the footsteps of legendary mountaineers and adventurers like George Mallory, Jon KraKauer ,Ian Woodall and Francys Arsentiev sounded incredible. And so began my 15-day trek to the heaven on Earth…an experience that’s to stay for life!
I have trekked in the Sahyadris only and so it became important for me to go up north and prepare for the EBC trek. Here’s my preparation story that will certainly help you tackle basic hurdles that you may face during this trek.
Pre-training for Trek
If you are someone who treks regularly some extra training on endurance should help. But, by and large, being physically fit is necessary to complete the trek and to enjoy the journey . You would risk your lives and other’s safety if you haven’t trained your body for high technical climbs and to withstand the pressures of constant strain at high altitude. Personal advice would be that you train for 3 to 4 months doing intense physical exercise.
Proper gears play an important role in the trek since braving minus temperature can be grueling and chances of falling sick increase. Since you would be walking twelve hours in a day, I should say that good, sturdy, waterproof trekking boots are extremely important. During the day time, since it can get warm and sweaty I wore light-colored long-sleeved t-shirt, carried a scarf to protect myself from harsh wind and sun, wore UV shades as the snow can reflect and certainly affect your eye. Evening I would layer up with fleece, windproof jacket and gloves. The best thing which was my best friend was good down jacket for -20 . Certain things, you can buy from Decathlon in your city, rest walk to Thamel which is paradise for mountaineers. You can even rent your walking sticks, sleeping bag & jacket from there.
Keep yourself hydrated
The best tip anyone can give you for this trek is drink water enough and eat well. At higher altitude , your body dehydrates much faster than sea level. Since you don’t even seat enough , you wouldn’t realize the water level in your body. Every evening fill your Naglene bottle with hot boiling water, keep the bottle in your sleeping bag to warm your feet and body , wake up and drink the whole water before the trek starts. Many people at altitude find the food tasteless, including me. Since you burn a lot of calories during the climb, it becomes important to replenish these calories.
Take plenty of snacks with you such as protein bars, chocolate, favorite food items to give you that extra kick when you loose hope of walking. So treat yourself with good food while you done climbing the hardest part. I made home made chiki (walnut bar) to keep myself excited also it is high on protein. I rejoiced when I reached Namche Bazaar.
I was amazed to see that it was a city in itself at such high altitude. I had cheesecake, amazing Tibetan cuisine, Italian, great lavassa coffee! Usually you will get black dal, non-spicy vegetable mix, boiled vegetables, noodles, rice as meals. The most interesting part for me was, hot mango juice that Id’ never had in my life!
Avoid Altitude Sickness
This trek or any trek to high altitude areas is never a race. The key to completing this particular trek is going slow. Do not be intimated by others strengths or feel the need to “keep up”. Even the biggest of athlete has been beaten to altitude. Altitude gives you severe headache and may worsen if you don’t recognize its symptoms. To avoid altiude sickness, drink enough water else you may suffer from severe headache like I did while I was climbing towards Namche Bazaar, mainly because there was a drop in the temperature at 11,000 ft. The only thing I did to reduce it was by walking slowly and drinking tang water. Quite others in the group threw up because of altitude sickness. Since you have to reach before evening , few halts are planned and they become a motivation to finish the hardest stretch.
These are just few tips for the elusive mountain experience. Mt.Everest Base Camp trek will be a lifetime experience that you can share your stories with everyone you meet with these tips. And, by the way, I’m not sure how many of you do this, but I like to carry a few special gifts for local children I may meet along the way! Those smiles give me power to achieve the height.