Preparing for Everest Climb
Robert Mack, August 30, 2012
Excited and ready for my new Nepalese adventure, I landed in Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmadu Nepal with optimism and eagerness to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. Knowing that you should never go with your first taxi or rikshaw driver, because they usually ask twice as much as you should pay, I got my fare down from 800 Nepalese Rupee (NPR) to 300NPR, after a bit of bargaining of course. I told the driver to take me to Kathmandu Guesthouse in Thamel (which is in the heart of where you want to be) and just like that I was off and on my way to the touristy town of Thamel to meet my good friends, Ryan and Kelli Priest. Thamel is a great place to start out if you are trekking in Nepal because it is where all the guides and trekkers hang out before their adventure. Also, if you haven’t purchased all of your supplies for your trek, you can get some great deals on down jackets, sub zero sleeping bags, boots, etc. With hostel rates running anywhere between 200NPR ($2.50) to 1000NPR ($11) per night the three of us spent three days here in Thamel, talking with trekkers, backpackers and guides about what we were getting ourselves into. We had already done a bunch of research and had known that the best time of year to trek Everest was in late September, early October before the weather began to get too harsh, but there were a few more things that we didn’t know about that were essential to our trip.
Knowing when we wanted to start and end our trip was important for buying our plane ticket from Kathmandu to Lukla. Lukla is the village that you will want to fly into if you do not want to do the three day trek from the very bottom. The ticket will cost you around $120 each way and can be booked at any local travel agency in Thamel. We gave ourselves eleven days to do the full trek all the way up to base camp and then back down. It ended up being seven days up and four days down for us and that included a day of altitude sickness, which I highly recommend picking up some Diamox for just in case you do get sick.
Purchasing trekking poles may have been the most beneficial buy we had done altogether. We didn’t have guides or porters to carry our packs, so distributing our own weight, plus the weight of our 45lb packs on our trekking poles, saved our legs from over exhaustion. No matter how strong you think you are, once you hit the higher elevations, you are going to regret not buying poles for this trek.
Camel Back’s or products like this are a great way to stay hydrated. It is much easier to remind yourself to keep drinking water with a tube right over your shoulder than to have to stop, take off your 45lb pack, pull out a bottle etc. With the vigorous trekking you are doing every day plus factoring in the high elevations you aren’t used to you, it is critical that your drink at least four liters of water a day. Buying a water filtration device is definitely worth the investment on this trek. Being able to go to any stream or water source and filter our own water was huge for us. It will save you money and give you peace of mind when you’re on the trail.
High carb snacks like muesli, granola and trail mix were another big saver on both our wallets and energy on the trail. You are burning a ton of calories on this hike and it is important to bring foods you know you are used to incase the food at the villages along the way don’t agree with you. There will be small stores along the way, but the higher you go, the more expensive items get. The only way goods get to these villages is by porter.
In Thamel I purchased a -10 degree sleeping bag for 2500NPR or about $28, a down vest for 500NPR ($6), poles for 300NPR ($4) and warm gloves for 200NPR ($2.50). Layering your clothing and buying quality socks is always a good rule of thumb on this trek. I was constantly taking off jackets and putting them back on as the weather fluctuated frequently on the trail. Of course a quality pair of shoes/boots that are already broken in are very important. Due to the amazing weather we had, I was able to get away with regular athletic, lightweight shoes, but I would recommend boots just in case.
With all of the research, networking and purchasing, we were finally ready for our trek, The next day at 7am we headed back to Tribhuvan International Airport to begin the adventure of a lifetime.