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Everest Base Camp Trek

628 bytes added, 09:16, 11 January 2013
Understand
Famous for its spectacular mountain peaks and the loyalty and friendliness of its inhabitants (the Sherpas), the Everest region (Khumbu) is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Nepal. While many of the routes through the mountains are arduous, there are ample places to rest and enjoy a meal along the way. Furthermore, don't worry about getting lost. Just ask a local the way to the next village on your route, and they will direct you. Most Sherpas under the age of fifty can at least understand basic English, and many speak it fluently.
While trekking is possible in this area the whole year round, the best times to visit are from the beginning of March to mid May and from the beginning of September to mid November. The winters are very cold and snow may make it difficult to travel higher than Tengboche, and also lodges may be closed above this altitude. Summers, on the other hand, are wet, and the spectacular peaks are often lost in the clouds. April and early May is a good time to see the hedgerows and trees bursting into bloom, with Rhododendrons, in particular, adding a spectacular splash of color colour to the landscape. However, dust from the plains of India during the spring routinely provide less than ideal conditions for clear mountain views. The views are much better after the summer monsoons have cleared the atmosphere of dust, but the days are shorter and cooler.
Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) is compulsory to visit Khumbu region, this was until 2010 issued free of charge but now costs 20USD or equivalent in Nepalese Rupees.
Water Disinfection drops. A 60ml bottle can be found in Kathmandu for around 10-30 Rs. This will let you treat your own water, saving you from buying new bottles. 1L of water at Namche is 100 Rs, past Namche its anywhere from 200-350 Rs.
 
A variety of clothing is necessary for the Mt Everest Base Camp trek. The emphasis on equipment necessary follows two simple aspects: Lightweight and Functional. The items you choose to take should be lightweight, dependable, and adaptable to a variety of extreme weather conditions. The quality of the trekking equipment you choose has a lot to do with how warm, dry, and safe you will remain> For this reason you have to be critical of quality and the proper fit of clothing.
 
You will need clothing for around Kathmandu, trekking in the humidity and heat, and to protect you from the cooler temperatures in the mountains.
* '''A good pair of hiking boots''' (well broken in) - You will be spending five to six hours a day on the trail. Your boots are an important part of your gear. The boots can be light to medium, high or low. If you plan to go in the months when snow can fall, the high boots are better for hiking in the snow.
Guides are definitely not necessary if you are traveling no higher that Tengboche or Pangboche. Above that, you might consider hiring one. Not only can they guide you on the right path and explain local sights, but can be invaluable should you fall ill. Guides speak English (and often other languages - specify your choice when hiring) and need an official license to operate. They command a much higher rate than porters (negotiate), and carrying your bags is '''not''' part of their service. Like porters, they will find their own accommodation and meals unless you invite them.
In general, guides are local Sherpas,And or Tamangs which and are usually maned named Lama while ; porters are Rai or belong to ethnic groups from other areas.
Guides and porters can be hired for a fee through trekking agencies in Kathmandu or you can inquire at lodges in Lukla or Namche. At Lukla airport, there are always hopeful porters milling around the exit, but it is better to use a lodge owner as an intermediary. They can help you negotiate a good deal and translate your specific needs. '''Eco Paradise''', Lukla or '''Namche Hotel''', Namche are convenient and good places to do this.
'''Days three and four''' - '''Namche Bazaar''' (3440m): It is recommended to take an altitude acclimatization rest day in '''Namche'''. Although no more than a village, the Sherpa capital has two museums, several internet cafes, and, at last count, two pizza houses and three cafes (locally known as bakeries), so there is much to keep you occupied during your stay here. '''Namche''' also has two official money changers, so it is a good place to stock up on local currency for the days ahead (NB: Lodges and restaurants in Khumbu only accept Nepali Rupees). There is also a reasonable selection of English books, though the prices are higher than in '''Kathmandu'''.
During your '''acclimatization rest day''', you might like to visit neighboring villages. [[Khumjung]] (3790m) is over the hill directly behind '''Namche''', and takes about one and a half to two hours to reach. There are several sights in the village (See listings below) and a few lodges and eateries. '''Khunde''' is a short walk from [[Khumjung]]. Getting there: Take the Tengboche trail, then at the top of the hill above '''Namche''', near the huge mani stone and just past the bank, head straight up the mountain - the wider path to the right goes to [[Tengboche]]. After a steep climb, you will arrive at an airstrip. Cross this and rejoin the path at the other side. After a short distance you'll pass a stupa. From there, take the paved path down the hill. Soon you will see the playground and school buildings of Khumjung Hillary School. [[Thame]] (3750m) is a more traditional village that is about a two and a half hour to three hour walk from '''Namche'''. Getting there: Leave '''Namche''' on the path that passes the ochre colored coloured Namche Monastery (Namche Gompa). From here, it is a relatively flat walk that takes in some very pleasant scenery. The first hamlet on the route is 'Phurte,' identified by the forest nursery, and then 'Tesho.' The water that runs through 'Tesho' comes directly from 'Mount Khumbi Yui Lha' - the most sacred mountain to the Sherpas - so there are several retreat huts built into the niches here. '''Thame''' is the next village on the trail, and a good place to take lunch. '''Thame''' has a few lodges and is home to one of Khumbu's oldest monasteries. This trail is also the traditional route to Tibet, so don't be surprised to encounter caravans of yaks led by long-haired Tibetan merchants on your walk.
'''Day five''' - '''Namche''' to '''Tengboche''' (3870m/12696ft): After a short but steep climb out of Namche Bazaar, then walk on a fairly level trail to the villages of '''Kenjuma''' and '''Sanasa'''. Here there are extensive displays of souvenirs to tempt you and food and drinks. The Ama Dablam Lodge in Kanjuma has some good food and the sitting area out front offers uninhibited views of Ama Dablam. In addition, the lodge reputedly has the best selection of jewelry jewellery for sale in the whole of Khumbu, so if you don't plan to return this way, pick out a few light souvenirs - they will forever remind you of this sun-blessed place and the sparkling snow capped peak of Ama Dablam. After a short while, the trail descends to the level of the Dudh Koshi River, and you will pass a few hamlets and cross several bridges. Then at the hamlet of '''Phunki Thanga''' (marked by its water driven prayer wheels), the trail ascends steeply. There are no tea houses or lodges on this stretch, so take some refreshment in Phunki Thanga and stock up on water for the one and a half to two hour climb to '''Tengboche'''. NB: Take it easy going up here. The air is thinner than you are aware! You want to avoid mountain sickness.
'''Day six''': For those heading for '''Everest''', the trail passes through the villages of '''Deboche''' (here, there is a small nunnery on the left - definitely worth a visit), [[Pangboche]] (3860m/12664ft), [[Dingboche]] and finally [[Periche]] (4240m/13910ft). All these villages offer food and lodgings. '''Pangboche''' (especially Upper-Pangboche, where the local monastery is located) is, however, probably the the most pleasant as it is surrounded by trees. So, if you decide to take the journey slowly, this is the best place to rest and relax. For those heading for [[Island Peak Trek]] and/or the '''Lhotse Glacier''', your final destination will be [[Chukhung]]. As this is further than '''Periche''', you will definitely need to stop the night in '''Pangboche''' or '''Dingboche'''.
===Mount Everest===
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Its height is 8,848 meters metres (29,028 ft). Its alternate names are Qomolangma, Sagarmatha, and Chomolungma. Mount Everest lies on the border of Nepal and China, with about half of the mountain lying on each side of the border. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first climbed it in 1953, with Hillary taking the famous photograph of Tenzing Norgay in the summit.
There are several bodies still lying on the upper portions of the mountain above the South Col on the Nepal side and the North East ridge on the Tibetan side. The Governments of Nepal and China requires all prospective climbers to purchase a permit. The fees depend on the route and season of the climb. A standard Nepali permit is $USD 50,000 for 7 climbers. There are also additional bonds to ensure garbage is removed from the mountain.
From Camp IV, mountaineers will start their summit push from 8 pm to 2 am with the hope of reaching the summit (still another 1,000 metres above) within 10 to 12 hours. Climbers will first reach "The Balcony" at 8,400 m (27,700 ft), a small platform where they can rest and gaze at peaks to the south and east in the early dawn light. Continuing up the ridge, climbers are then faced with a series of impressive rock steps which usually forces them to the east into waist deep snow, a grave sudden large amount hazard. At 8,750 m (28,700 ft), a small table-sized arena of ice and snow marks the South Summit.
From the South Peak, mountaineer mountaineers go after the knife-edge southeast ridge along which is known as the "Cornice traverse" where snow griping to irregular rock. This is the most bare part of the climb as a misstep to the left would send one 2,400 m (8,000 ft) down the southwest face while to the immediate right is the 3,050 m (10,000 ft) Kangshung face. At the end of this traverse is an imposing 12 m (40 ft) rock wall called the "Hillary Step" at 8,760 m (28,750 ft).
Tenzing and Hillary were the first mountaineers to rise this step and they did it with prehistoric ice climbing equipment and without fixed ropes. Now, climbers will ascend this step using fixed ropes previously set up by Sherpas. Once above the step, it is a comparatively easy climb to the top on fairly angled snow slopes - though the exposure on the ridge is extreme especially while traversing very large cornices of snow. After the Hillary Step, climbers also must traverse a very loose and rocky section that has a very large entanglement of fixed ropes that can be troublesome in bad weather. Climbers will typically spend less than a half-hour on "top of the world" as they realize the need to descend to Camp IV before darkness sets in, afternoon weather becomes a serious problem, or supplemental oxygen tanks run out.
Don't drink the water no matter how pristine it appears. Use iodine tablets as a purifier or purchase boiled water. Exceptions: Namche and Phortse have clean water supplies that the locals drink directly from the faucet. However, this may not be a good idea for outsiders lacking immunity to local bacteria, but certainly it should be ok for brushing teeth.
There is an '''emergency rescue centercentre''' based in Namgyal’s lodge in the village of '''Machhermo''' in the Gokyo Valley manned by two volunteer doctors. Note: This is purely an emergency rescue centercentre, and the doctors will not treat common ailments.
== Stay healthy ==
'''Western medicine''' - Kunde Clinic, in Kunde Village (above Namche) has Western trained doctors and is a surprisingly well equipped facility - they even have a decompression chamber for those suffering with severe altitude sickness. On your return journey, you might like to donate your unused medicines to Kunde Clinic, though ensure that they are clearly labeled in English - even the most valuable medicine is useless if there are no instructions on how to use it.
The Himalayan Rescue Association operates a clinic staffed by western physicians in Pheriche. They give a daily lecture on taking care of your health in the Khumbu region, and, for Rs. 100, check your blood oxygen content and pulse rate. This is a good place to stop at even if you are not experiencing any health problems. Check out their t-shirts, scarfs and hats, the proceeds of which go towards operating the clinic.
'''Tibetan medicine''' - the Healing Center Centre [http://www.sacredland.net/medintro.htm] in Namche offers treatments using natural formulas. It is located next to the '''Camp de Base''' hotel, but entered from the path in front of the library. This clinic provides free treatment for porters and other patients on low income. In order to continue this service, donations are greatly appreciated.
Along the trail, you will also see small medical stations. These stations generally have very rudimentary facilities and can only realistically offer treatment for very minor ailments, such as cuts and bruises and (non-altitude sickness related) headaches etc.
International '''phone calls''' can be made in Namche and many of the other villages in the region, however this is very expensive compared to [[Kathmandu]]. The cheapest place is the one-phone government telephone office, on the second floor of the nondescript wooden building behind Hotel Buddha, identified with an official yellow sign in Nepalese with a faded paper sign in English stuck on to it. Expect a lengthy queue on Saturdays (market day).
Namche also has several '''Internet''' cafes. A good one with well working keyboards and photoshop is Namche Cyber Cafe next to Everest Bakery. They also have WIFIWi-Fi. 100rs per half hour, 200 an hour.
Tengboche has a internet cafe, its 20 rs per min.
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