Unfortunately, each time we are on the Everest Base Camp trail, we notice more and more changes. These changes are not necessarily related to the region or the tea houses or the Sherpa people. However, these are related to the people trekking on the trail. More and more, basic safety concerns are being completely ignored. As more and more people decide that they want to trek to Everest Base Camp, it seems to be opening the doors to people who should NOT be there.
People are showing up without the proper gear, training or preparations. It is very unfortunate to see how visitors are perceiving the trek. Likewise, it is unfortunate to see how many of the local guides are handling these clients. The pace of the trip, managing of clients and being aware of risky areas on the trail are all parts of the trip that guides should be keeping an eye on. However, this is not happening by many of the local guides.
Rock Slide Areas
The trek to Everest Base Camp is not a technical trail. Therefore, you do not need any previous climbing experience in order to complete the trek. What you do need however, is common sense in the wilderness, great physical conditioning and strength and the ability to listen to those in charge. We have trained our guides to manage the pace of the trip and manage the safety of our clients. The guides should always be educating clients of potential dangers or when they are going through risky areas. However, this policy is not adhered to by all companies.
Unfortunately, when we were on the trail recently, we came across a team, led by a local guide, standing in one of the most dangerous areas for rock slides on the entire trail. They were there for about three to five minutes, in a very dangerous spot! Their guide did not try and move them on or educate them on the dangers of the spot they were in. Here is a picture of the situation as we saw it:
UPDATE 2017: Since writing this post, the route pictured above has changed. A new bridge was constructed to bypass this area. Unfortunately, it took a few serious accidents before changes were implemented. We always send in pictures and reports from our trips into the local government to voice our concerns on how the trails and risks need to be managed better.
Some Unfortunate Questions
We have been running trips to Everest Base Camp an in the region for over 15 years. There have been many changes over those 15 years, including the ‘typical trekker’ who is taking on the trail. Years ago, it would have been more hardened trekkers making the journey to Everest Base Camp. They would have had a lot of trekking experience and physically ready for the journey ahead. In recent times, the hardened trekker has turned more into a tourist with a nice camera!
We want to make sure that anyone going on the trek understand what they are getting in to. These are some of the unfortunate questions that we have heard from other groups while recently on the Everest Base Camp trek:
They need chairlifts, any plans to put them in?
When will this path end, my legs are sore? (They were on day 3)
Why not one day in Namche Bazaar? I don’t have time for this hanging around.
I didn’t know I would have to walk so much, how much further to Namche?
Understand the Journey Ahead
Hearing many of the comments that we have heard above show us that people are not getting the right information on the trek. We want to change that. Even if people are not on our trips, we want to get more correct information out there, so that more people are coming educated on the trail. So many people show up wearing cotton clothing, knee braces and are over weight, with little or no preparation. This is dangerous, not responsible and down right stupid on this rugged, high altitude trek in the Himalayas.
In recent years, the amount of people evacuated from the region is obscene. These evacuations are completely avoidable if people take the time to understand the trip and do the necessary training. When on the trail, we are seeing accidents happen that should not be happening. We have seen teams standing on the cliff side of the mountain, letting animals and people pass them. This is an accident waiting to happen. You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. We have four guides for a group of ten trekkers to manage the safety and well being of our clients.
You Could Have All Seasons in One Day
During a trek to Everest Base Camp you could experience all four seasons in any given day. We have seen treks during the warmer months on the trail (May or September) have snow storms or freezing temperatures. We have seen the sun shine and worn t-shirts during the colder months of March or November. Basically, on any one trek, you could see sunshine, heat, torrential rains, freezing temperatures, lightening or snow! You need to be prepared for whatever is thrown at you on the trek. Not only do you have to be ready for walking 5 – 9 hours a day on rugged terrain, but you also have to be ready for all weather conditions. Make sure you are bringing the RIGHT gear for your trek.
Do the Right Training
You need to be fit, active and have put in the hours and hours training. In order to be able to walk up and down hills for 13 days in a row, on uneven trails, you have to be physically prepared. Don’t think that you can just show up on a trek like this and not put in the hard work first. Let us help you prepare. Don’t be a liability to yourself, others in your group and the local people. Train and prepare properly for this adventure of a lifetime. You want you to enjoy it all while experiencing the best of the region.
UPDATE 2017: Since the picture above was taken, this entire section of the trail is gone. The terrain and trail are ever changing in parts, so you need to be able to move quickly through dangerous areas. This is not easy to do at altitude, so make sure you are coming fully prepared and trained!
Trek with the Experts
We can help you get in shape and have a clear understanding of what is involved in making the journey to Everest Base Camp. Safety is being ignored on the trail and this is very unfortunate. This is not good for the region, the locals or the trekkers. Make sure that when you arrive in Nepal, that you look after yourself and the others around you. Read some REVIEWS from our trips.
Get in touch today and we can help you prepare for your journey to Everest.