Everest Base Camp or Bust
Tusker’s trek to Everest Base Camp (17,585 feet) features a 10,000 foot elevation gain that will take you through Asia’s most iconic landscapes and villages. Plan to be on your feet for nearly 70 hours during 14 days of trekking. While less taxing than trying to summit Mt. Everest (over 29,000 ft.) it is far from a walk in the park. You have to get muscles ready for some tough hiking.
Here are six quick tips to get you mentally, physically and culturally prepared.
Avoiding Delhi Belly—Giardia is as much a threat to making it to EBC as the high altitude in sanitation-challenged Nepal. For that reason Tusker has its own cooking staff prepare all your meals, and they also boil drinking water religiously. Tusker takes no chances and wants clients to come well supplied with Purell hand sanitizer gel to ward off microbes.
Squatty Potty—Bathroom breaks on the trek can be challenging as toilets are basic, often a porcelain lined hole that requires squatting. Work on your quads to perfect the squat.
Journey vs Destination—Unlike Everest summiteers who spend months and over $60,000 to bag the peak, the EBC trip is more about the journey than the destination. Breathe in the trail’s beauty by taking your time exchanging “Namastes” with the monks and children you will meet. You may remember these encounters more than the moment you reach Everest Base Camp so slow down and interact with both nature and the locals.
Get culturally fit—Do some homework so you have a basic understanding of Buddhism and Sherpa culture. When you visit Monasteries and hang with sherpas at a tea house you won’t feel culturally adrift if you’ve done your homework. This trip is not just a trek through beautiful mountains, but a walk through a venerable and deeply spiritual culture. You want to ask the right questions and not be a boorish tourist in this ego-restrained place. Read both vintage texts by Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hillary and more recent books like “The Everest Files,” and “The Everest Effect.”
Get physically fit—Peak physical condition is necessary to deal with trail conditions that include steep ups/downs, stairs, rocks, sand, mud and sometimes snow. Mix up your training to hit different muscles. Jog, walk, hike, swim, bike and weightlift to achieve the best shape you’ve been in since you made the varsity in college.
Get mentally fit—Accept the idea that this is going to be hard – and not a stroll up to Everest’s base for a photo op. You must be mentally tough for the Everest Base Camp trek where you gain elevation every day. Even on the descent there are sections where you go up. If you are mentally prepared for the physical challenge there will be no surprises and you will be up for the challenge that is hiking to Everest Base Camp.