Hello, Namaste and welcome to another episode of Far East Adventure Travel-The Podcast-audio only edition brought to you by Far East Adventure Travel Magazine, the latest issue free and now available on the iTunes Newstand. To get your copy of Sunrise Spectacle Over Himalaya Giants-Trekking India’s Singalila Ridge go to the iTunes App Store-search Far East Adventure Travel,download the app, then download the latest edition of the magazine on your iPhone or iPad-free!
I recently completed my longest trip through Nepal to date at 6 weeks and I have been starting to review alot of my photo and video files. Over the next few weeks will be sharing with you on this podcast, Facebook and the magazine on the iTunes Newstand.
In this podcast a discussion on building an itinerary for a trek through The Khumbu Valley and for some-the ultimate destination, Everest Base Camp.
When most people think of Nepal the first thing that comes to mind is of course the Himalaya and the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. For most climbing the mountain is either not possible due to physical, time or money constraints, or simply no desire. Many though would love to get up close-and this is very achievable for most.
As far as one of the so called bucket list things to do it certainly comes in on the low end for cost-ranging anywhere from $1100USD or more depending on how many days you want to trek, the size of your group, and if porters are required. As far as physical requirements you don’t need to be an athlete but being fit is recommended if you want to enjoy your trek and get the most out of it.
I learned alot on the trails of the Khumbu Valley speaking with many people from different countries and all walks of life. This was my third trek in Nepal and I experienced by far the busiest trails and met the most people. An obvious by product of a desire to get up close to the highest mountain in the world.
I did discover that many people were not prepared for the cold, the strenuous work at high altitude and general overall conditions of sleeping in guesthouses. I find overall that most Westerners are used to being comfortable most times with heat, hot water and other amenities, including proper flush toilets. This is something to definitely consider when planning your trek. Are you ready for the cold, lack of hot water at times, using a squat toilet that requires a bucket of water you scoop out of a container in order to flush?
So besides preparing yourself for some of these conditions here are a few other things I recommend.
1.Don’t leave home without a sleeping bag that is rated at least -20 celsius. Nothing else will work. Some guesthouses provide extra blankets. I took my -20 bag with me and never needed them. As you get higher up they are harder to get and this is where you need the extra warmth the most. You shouldn’t with a -20 bag.
2.Make sure you make an appointment with your local travel clinic and get advice on medicine for high altitude trekking. Diamox is the brand of Acetazolamide that can help adjust to high altitude. If you happen to be in the Gokyo Valley the volunteer hospital in Machermo has a free lecture usually given by a doctor every afternoon at 3pm on dealing with high altitude.
3.If you are feeling ill on the trek it’s always good to check in with the closest clinic on the trail. Depending on the size of the village they may have a doctor who can give you proper advice and possible even check your blood/oxygen saturation levels. I’m not a medical professional but I did meet a couple of people that were ready to cut their trip short because they thought they had signs of mountain sickness but were really just suffering a little from the cold and possible the onset of a flu or cold.
Whatever advice you get from a professional-listen to them. The alternative to most definitely be fatal.
4.If this is your first high altitude trek try to pick a comfortable route. I met people that were attempting the 3 pass trail which is one of the most challenging routes in the valley for trekking and should really only be attempted by people with some experience and the proper time to acclimate. It’s great to have a challenge-just make sure it’s within your experience level.
In my opinion for many the 11-12 day itinerary that most trekking companies organize for Everest Base Camp is not long enough. I know these are popular because many people have difficulty getting enough time away from work to do anything much longer. I believe that I saw the most people get sick on this plan. Not big numbers but more so than for treks that were 14 days or longer.
So allow yourself enough time for 14 days of trekking at least if at all possible. I believe the odds of reaching your final destination will increase as well as having shorter hiking days to help with acclimation.
Many people I met did complete their 11 or 12 day trek and were fine. I was surprised though at how many skipped trekking up Kala Patthar, the trekking peak or hill that takes roughly an hour and a half to hike up in order to get one of the best views of Mt. Everest in Nepal. I believe they were just too tired because of the tight schedule they were on only having enough energy to make it to Everest Base Camp and back to the base of Gorakshep before starting their descent of the valley.
5.Finally this is a serious trip, trekking at high altitude. People do lose their lives trekking. Helicopters are continuously flying up and down the Khumbu Valley on emergency runs. Make sure you follow a good training or fitness program months before your trek.
6.Refrain from drinking alcohol at least on the ascent.
7.I strongly recommend the hiring of a guide through a trekking company. Your trip will cost more but the added safety and security of having someone who knows the trails, has been trained to identity the signs of mountain sickness and speaks the language are priceless.
I pass on this bit of knowledge because some of my best days in Asia and in my life have been spent trekking in Nepal and the Himalaya. The feeling of being so close to one of the greatest mountain ranges in the world has filled me so many times with pure joy, love, passion, and spirituality. The charm of the local people and culture, -on this trip the Sherpa of the Khumbu Valley forever affects my outlook and appreciation of life. A simple conversation with a hard-working senior porter on a short break becomes a lesson in humility and gratitude.
I pass on this little bit of advice in hopes that you will be safe, healthy and share some of the same experiences I’ve had. Who knows maybe like me it will change your life…..
That’s it for this weeks episode of Far East Adventure Travel-The Podcast brought to you by Far East Adventure Travel Magazine. “Sunrise Spectacle Over Himalayan Giants” trekking India’s Singalila Ridge the latest issue is FREE and now on the iTunes Newstand. To get your copy simply search Far East Adventure Travel, download the app then download your copy of Far East Adventure Travel Magazine.
Thanks so much for listening, until next time this is John Saboe, safe travels and Namaste!
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