Everest Trekking and Mount Everest, the mother of all mountains, the ultimate pinnacle, is every aspiring mountaineers and mountain enthusiast’s dream to conquer or just get close to this magnificent spectacle that stands 8,848m above the ground.
Everest lies in the Khumbu region of Nepal whose unparalleled beauty attracts many every year and its array of well-maintained trails and mountain lodges helps that popularity. The trekking routes in this region begin at a high altitude and remain at a high height, higher than anywhere in the world and Nepal actually. Because of the height, trekkers in this region experience the most beautiful panoramic views of the Himalayas.
The alpine landscape of the region filled with glacier-fed rivers, ancient Buddhist monasteries, and the great snow-clad peaks make the place heaven on earth. The region is also home to some of the most endangered creatures in the world like the snow leopard.
October and November or Autumn is the best time of the year to visit the Everest region. The skies are crystal clear, and the temperatures are comfortable. March and April or Spring is another worthwhile season, but there can be occasional clouds and rain, which gradually become more and more frequent as the monsoon gets closer in May.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp in the winter or off-season is very much possible. The nights can be very cold, but daytimes are comfortable. It is a lot less crowded too. But it’s recommended that you do some quick research on local weather condition to look out for snow.
The rugged terrain and high altitude is home to decent places to stay. Being a popular trekking destination, the trekking routes are filled with good accommodation facilities like teahouses that offer Wi-Fi, western style toilets, and good food.
For medical services, there is the Khunde Hospital located north of Namche Bazaar. The hospital was built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1965. There is also a health post run by the Himalayan Rescue Association in Pheriche village just above Namche Bazaar. The health post offers emergency treatment along with consultation, Gamow bags and bottled oxygen for treatments. Chartered helicopters also rescue the sick or injured.
Even though the region is situated at a very high altitude you will not struggle to find good food. You will mostly find bread, porridge, pancakes, fries, rice, dumplings, pasta, beans etc. in most teahouses and lodges. But, don’t expect to find fresh or any fish items.
The region is not only known for the natural beauty it holds but also the cultural richness that the place has held for hundreds of years. Home to some of the most exotic monasteries and festivals, the region is a great getaway to escape the chaotic world of today back to a simpler way of living.
Such a festival is the Gyalpo Lohsar or the Tibetan New Year. The Gyalpo Lohsar falls in late February or early March. People wear masks and dance and perform the Tibetan opera.
The Dumje festival is another big festival in the region celebrated on the occasion of the birth of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), the Himalayan saint who brought Buddhism to Tibet. The festival lasts for six days of rituals and feasting in the fifth Tibetan lunar month, normally in June or July.
Another major festival in the region is the Mani Rimdu which falls in October or November. It is a festival celebrated by the Sherpa people. It is a fiesta that goes on for three days sprinkled with various ritualistic dances. The festival is celebrated to embrace the coming of the Buddhist religion to replace the ancient animistic religions of the mountains. And speaking of Buddhism, you guessed it, the ultimate festival in the region is the birth of Gautam Buddha. The day is known as Buddha Jayanti usually falls in May. It specifically lies on the full moon of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar.
Lukla is the gateway to Everest. It lies in the Solukhumbu district. In the past, people had to walk all the way to Lukla to enter the Everest region but nowadays you can get a twenty-five-minute flight from Kathmandu straight to the Tenzing-Hillary airport at Lukla. It’s a pleasant and a scenic flight giving you more than a glimpse of what is in store for you ahead. The region has a varied climatic condition better look out for unexpected delays in flights, especially during the monsoon and winter. There are other ways to reach Lukla as well. You can drive from Kathmandu to Salleri and then trek for 4 days to reach Lukla.
If you are a foreigner you will need to obtain a Municipality Entrance tax in order trek in the region. You will also have to get a Sagarmatha National Park entry permit and as the region lies under the Sagarmatha National Park.
The permit fee for foreigners is 3,390 NPR (Approx. US $34) including VAT whereas the permit fee for SAARC nationals: 1,500 NPR for Sagarmatha National Park entry
Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality now charges Rs 2,000 (approximately $20) as of October 1, 2018, removing the TIMS card.
Your trekking agency will take care of arranging all the permits.
Here’s a list of things you will need when you embark on a journey into the Everest region
It can be very cold at night and if you want a good sleep after a long day of walking you will need a good sleeping bag. The best option is to hire a four-seasons, – 20-degree sleeping bag in Kathmandu.
A down jacket is very essential when you are in the region. You have the option of hiring a down jacket from stores in Kathmandu but it is recommended to get your own personal jacket.
Getting the right boots and socks is very important. Get yourself the right boots when you start training before the journey into the Everest region. It is essential to get used to the feel and weight of the boots. Also, get some extra socks and slippers to wear in the teahouses at night.
Thermal base layers like long sleeved tops and leggings are essential to keep you warm.
Get yourself a good trekking day back, most daypacks are around 35litres, but if you are packing lighter a 25litre pack if you are packing a little lighter.
The first two or three days of the trek can be dusty. Get yourself a Buff headband to use to cover your mouth when it gets dusty. They can be used as a sweat towel as well.
The sun shines just as bright even at one of the highest places on earth, so get yourself some good sunglasses.
Good trekking trousers to wear over your base layers is a much-needed investment.
Get at least four t-shirts and two long-sleeved breathable tops. You don’t need to pack one for each day just rotate the items for multi-use when you layer one t-shirt over another.
A waterproof windproof jacket is essential when you don’t need your down and when approaching the monsoon season. Also get yourselves a microfleece ideal for layering over thermals, long-sleeved tops, and t-shirts, and also get a pair of gloves, hat, scarf. A water bottle along with a water purifier would be a good thing to take along with you. Get a head torch and spare batteries. A head torch comes in very handy as power cuts are frequent. Along with these packing in some extra battery cameras and your camera would be great. Portable charger pack for your phone is also a must.
You can get all the medical supply you need in Kathmandu. A mini First Aid Kit contains all the essentials for emergencies, including plasters, bandages, and needles and doesn’t take up much space as well. Don’t forget to pack in sunscreen, toilet paper, deodorant energy, protein bars, nuts and dried fruit snacks and baby wipes.
Now, with all the packing done you are ready to embark on your incredible journey. Good luck!