The rolling hills, the crisp mountain chill, the ethereal scenery, and the highest peak on this planet. Is this description enough to quicken your heartbeats with a bout of wanderlust? Imagine yourself trekking through the path once trodden by the first conquerors of Mt. Everest, picture yourself facing the same hardships as they did, feel the thrill that they must've felt when they laid eyes on the majestic Everest for the first time.
The trek to the Everest base camp at Kala Patthar is one of the most breathtaking journeys, the trek which starts at Lukla gives the adventure junkies the adrenaline rush they seek while also providing spectacular views of the Himalayas. The hike from Lukula spans 62km bypassing the lower Himalayas through hamlets like Namche, Dingboche, Kyangjuma, etc. During the trek you will get a chance to soak yourself in the local Sherpa culture and their genteel hospitality.
Think this trek is only for the sturdy ones? Well think again as anyone can undertake this trek as long as they are healthy. Don't be afraid of altitude sickness as even the fittest of the fit have problems acclimatizing.
Since the trek encompasses very high altitudes the temperatures are naturally very low and the climate is always uncertain.
The most suitable time to make this trek is during the spring from March-May, before the monsoons and after the monsoons from September -December. While the sun is very harsh in May, the temperatures plunge to sub-zero in December.
A guide is recommended by the Nepalese government whether you are in a group or a lone ranger. The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) provides guides for your trekking exploits, most Sherpa guides below 40 years of age are well versed with basic of English.
The Everest base camp at Gorak Shep is at a height of 5545m above sea level. This altitude is enough to cause problems even for people in the prime of their health. So before setting off on the trek prepare your body for more exertion. Cycle, swim and walk everyday at least for a month before starting the trek. These exercises help increase the cardiovascular strength of your body. This will help your heart to pump extra blood with more vigour at the time of need.
To acclimatize your body it is recommended that you make pit stops at Namche for a day and another at Dingboche. Meanwhile, savour the simple delicacies of the Sherpas and feast your eyes on the local culture. Watch Buddhist monks deep into meditation, take your time and drink in the beautiful surroundings as your body prepares itself for the higher altitudes.
We would like to recommend a vegetarian diet for the duration of your trip. There is a no slaughter policy in the Sagarmatha National Park, so all the sumptuous looking yak steak or buff patties are actually carried up by porters from below Lukula. So you can imagine it's freshness.
Even though porters are available you should still be considerate about them and carry only very necessary items. A fleece jacket, a down jacket, thermal underwear are the most essential clothing items required to protect you from the cold as it gets very cold after crossing the 3000m altitude mark. Carry long pants to cover your skin to protect it against the cold as well as the harsh sun. Carry synthetic t-shirts to wick away sweat as a wet cotton shirt can lead to pneumonia.
Other necessary items include boots, trekking socks, sneakers. It is also advised to carry a raincoat especially in May as there are high chances of rainfall. Gloves, woollen hat, sunhat, polarised glasses are some of the other items you can carry. A sleeping bag with a rating of -20 degrees C/0 degrees F can be very useful during your trek.
Toiletries should be travel based i.e. small and can include a good sunscreen of high SPF value, a lip balm, baby wipes for a dry bath, etc. A first aid kit is also a must for this journey where chemists are not readily available. Carry every medication that you are prescribed and some. Diarrhoea, antibiotics, bandages, water purification tablets are a few drugs that should be present in your kit.
Further, to combat serious bouts of mountain sickness carry Diamox or a similar drug.