Top 10 Tips For a Trek to Everest Base Camp

We have been running trips to Everest Base Camp for over a decade!  Through the years, we have perfected our itinerary to give our clients the best chance at successfully reaching Base Camp.  We have the right team on the ground in the Himalayas, itinerary and information for your trek.  Ian has climbed Mount Everest to the top and led over 35 treks to Base Camp.  We have the information you need and are available 5 days a week to make sure you get it! GET IN TOUCH today if you are interested in joining one of our treks.

We have 99% success rate on our Everest Base Camp treks this is because we have added days to aid in your acclimatization process.  We spend 3 days acclimatizing at 3,440m/ 11,300 feet, which is the critical acclimatization height.  This is to help our clients make a safer and more successful journey to Mount Everest. We are also available to help set up training plans to help you be successful. We run approximately 30 treks to Mount Everest each year.  CONTACT US and sign up today. Check out our UPCOMING TRIPS here.

Your goal should be to have a more enjoyable experience in the Everest region. Watch our Food & Accommodation video to see what the food will be like on our trips. When you are done here check out our TOP 50 TIPS for your trek to Everest Base Camp.

Below Chhomrong near Annapurna Base Camp

1). Train Before you Go

The trek to Everest Base Camp is not a technical climb.  You do not need to have any previous technical climbing experience or even any altitude experience to complete the trek.  However, you do need to be physically fit and have excellent strength, conditioning and endurance to be able to complete the trek and to fully enjoy the journey.  If you have not trained your body to withstand the pressures of the constant strain at high altitude, you will find it a very difficult task to complete the trek.  This will put yourself, our team, and the others around you at risk.

We recommend that you spend at least four or five days a week, doing some sort of intense physical exerciseThis should be done for approximately six to eight months prior to your start date of your trek.  We recommend spending at least four days a week either walking up hill on a treadmill or on a stair-master (stair master is best) for one to two hours a day.  You will also want to build up to carrying 10-12 kilos (22 – 25 lbs) in a backpack on your back.  Doing this type of daily training sessions, along with one longer day a week out in the hills, is ideal. In your longer session in the hills, you will want to walk from 4 – 7 hours, going up and down hills with the weighted pack on. I cannot stress enough how important this is to your training.

If you do this type of training, building strength and endurance, you will be ready for the trip. If you do not have access to mountains or hills to train on, you can always add extra weight to your backpack and just do longer walks on the stair master in the gym. CONTACT US and we will help you prepare and train for this amazing adventure.

Views from Namche Bazaar

2). Mentally Prepare

Depending on your level of comfort with the outdoors, you may need to prepare yourself for life in the mountains. Hopefully if you are signing up to a trip like this, you are a lover of the outdoors and very comfortable with the mountain living!  The trip may include camping, bugs, dirt, baby wipe showers, and going to the toilet outdoors! If you are not used to rugged conditions, you will want to prepare yourself for what is to come.  All accommodation on our trek to Everest Base Camp is in small tea houses, run by the local Sherpa people.  You will have a bed to sleep in (albeit not the most comfortable bed in the world, but a bed to say the least), in a twin-shared room.  The only time you will not be indoors to sleep is if you are on one of our Sleeping in Base Camp Itineraries.  Then you would have one night in a tent!
There are options for showers lower down on the trail, if you decide to use them.  In some of the tea houses we use, you will actually have a shower and toilet in your room!  However, many days on the trail, you will keep clean by using baby wipes and a bowl of warm water.  The toilet situations can be difficult at times, and not to the standard you may be used to at home.  More and more you are seeing western style toilets, but sometimes you will have a more basic, hole in the ground system. You will also need to use the great outdoors at times when you are on the trail and need to go. Making sure you are ready and prepared for these conditions is going to be extremely important to your comfort on the trek.
View of Lukla and the runway

3). Have the Right Gear

Having the right gear is essential for your trek into Everest Base Camp.  We are not going to go through every piece of gear you need for the trip here. However, if you sign up to one of our trips, we will send you a complete kit list with examples of each item.  You can also view our packing video.  Here are some items that we feel need to be highlighted. First of all, your feet are one of the most important parts of the body to take care of when trekking.  Never skimp on footwear when you are going to be walking multiple hours a day, for twelve to thirteen days in a row.  Buy a sturdy and waterproof pair of trekking boots and make sure that you break them in before you leave for Nepal.

Number two, invest in a good down jacket.  Remember, a good down jacket needs more down in it to make it warm.  Every brand and style is different and if you are questioning your down coat, make sure to ask the advice of a professional. Having a warm down jacket is going to be essential to your comfort levels on the trip. You will wear this jacket in the mornings and evenings throughout the trip.  The jacket is also essential to you being able to go up Kala Patthar for some of the best views in the region!

Number three, having both a water bladder (like a Camelbak) and a Nalgene style plastic bottle is very important.  Drinking water is essential in the mountains (See Tip #4) and having a bladder will help you to drink the amount of water you need.  If you have to constantly stop to get a bottle out of your bag, you will not be drinking enough. Having a Nalgene style bottle on the trip as well is very important.  You can use this during cold nights to have it filled with boiling water to help heat your sleeping bag.  The Nalgene bottle will also be used going up Kala Patthar where your bladder would freeze.

Now those few tips are obviously not the only gear you will need on the trip, but these are some of the essentials that you should focus on.  Kathmandu is full of trekking shops that you can purchase forgotten items before the trek.  However, we do not recommend arriving to Kathmandu without the majority of the gear you need!  Never wait until the last minute to purchase gear and make sure you have tested it out before traveling to Nepal!

Looking towards Pheriche from Dingbouche

4). Hydration is Key

Drink, Drink, Drink! Water is your best friend at altitude! Keeping yourself hydrated at altitude is extremely important.  Your body dehydrates much quicker at altitude. Therefore, you need to replenish your fluids and drink a lot more water than you may do back home. We recommend drinking anywhere from 4 to 5 liters a day when at altitude. If your follow this rule, you will combat altitude sickness and keep yourself feeling good throughout the trip!

Try and drink one liter of water before each day before you start trekking.  This will help to get the process started early in the day.  Then if you carry two liters of water in your pack with you and drink that before lunch.  You will be able to refill your bladder at lunch with two more liters and if you can drink that through the rest of the day, you have achieved your 5 liters!  This process of drinking five liters of water a day can be daunting to many, but it is essential to people’s success in the mountains.

Looking out from Shangbouche Hill

5). Don’t be Afraid of a Little Headache

Going to altitude can be difficult for many people.  It is almost inevitable that you will get some sort of headache at some stage on the trip.  Learning how to manage these headaches, without letting them get worse, or ruining your trip, is very important. One of the best ways to combat these headaches is by listening to the advice of Tip 4.  Always drink plenty of water while in the mountains.  One of the greatest causes of headaches in the mountains is due to dehydration, so drinking water can greatly help to eliminate or lessen your headaches.

Another way to combat the dreaded headache at altitude is by taking ibuprofen.  Ibuprofen is the proven medication to use at altitude as it is an anti-inflamatory.  It releases swelling and pressure which is main reason for headaches. These headaches are completely normal to experience at high altitude and they are not something to be too afraid of.  However, if your headaches become extreme and are accompanied by another sign of altitude sickness, you may need to descend to lower altitudes for them to be relieved.

The trail to Everest Base Camp

6). Acclimatization is Key

When taking on a multi-day trek, like Everest Base Camp, you have to remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Acclimatization to the low levels of oxygen in the mountains requires you to take your time, to slowly get your body used to lack of oxygen. All the research on high altitude suggests that spending more time at the critical acclimatization point of 3,500m/ 11,500 feet is critical. On the Everest Base Camp trek, this height is in the town of Namche Bazaar.  All of our treks to Everest include 3 nights acclimatizing in Namche Bazaar. This is absolutely key to your success in the mountains.

Make sure that you pick an itinerary that includes more time acclimatizing, not less.  If you want to have a safe and successful trip to altitude, taking the time to acclimatize is essential.  You do not want to be on a trip that is trying to rush you up the trail quickly as this is number one reason why people are not successful.

Beautiful views from the above Dingbouche

7). Keeping a Slow and Steady Pace

The pace you are walking at when on the trip is extremely important!  Your goal when going to high altitude is trying to get from point A to point B, doing as little as possible.  Therefore, you want to keep a slow and steady pace throughout the trek.  We have four guides for every group of ten trekkers.  This is because your safety is the most important thing on the trip.  One of our guides will be at the front of the line, one at the back, and the others spread out in the middle.  They are setting the pace and you will not go faster than they are.

Keeping a manageable heart rate throughout the trek will be very important.  You do not want to use valuable energy when you do not need to.  Many times we will see people passing us on the trail.  They will be walking at a very fast pace, and therefore breathing very heavily.  Usually, after about 15 – 20 minutes, our team will meet those people who passed us before again, and they are sitting down, trying to catch their breath.  This is not the way to work at altitude.  You want to manage your breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Learning this is critical to successfully and safely reaching your goal.

The Journey from Dingbouche to Lobuche

8). Protect Yourself from the Sun

The higher you go up in altitude, the lower the levels of UV Protection you are getting. Some days on the trail, the sun can be brutal, giving you solar radiation from its powerful rays.  Staying out of the sun is not only good for minimizing those pesky wrinkles and avoiding skin cancer, but it can also improve your chance of being successful on the trek. When you get sunburned you become dehydrated.  As we have said before, dehydration at altitude is one of the main reasons people are not successful in the mountains.  Of course, when you are walking during the day, there may be no cover from those potent rays, but you need to take as much care as possible to minimize those harsh emissions.

Wearing factor 50 sunblock, and reapplying it throughout the day is essential!  The mountains are not the place to top up that holiday tan you are hoping to bring back home! Also, wearing a sun hat and long pants and sleeves will help you protect yourself from the sun. Get yourself a light weight, brimmed sunhat to wear on days when the sun is shining and you will save yourself from some of the dreaded headaches you so adamantly want to avoid.

The top of the Thukla Pass

9). If you have Extra Space, Bring Treats for Local Children 

One of our favorite parts of the trek to Everest Base Camp is the fact that you are walking through local villages where people live.  Although the weight limits on the trek are strict, whenever you have extra space/weight, we recommend bringing treats for the local children! Some suggestions on things to bring crayons, colored pencils, books, markers, pads of paper, coloring books, or small toys.  The children will always be extremely grateful for any small gifts you bring.  We do not recommend bringing chocolates or sweets for the children and try and focus on learning materials instead.  This small gesture will surely make some very memorable moments on the trek!

The stunning Ama Dablam

10). Remember, you are on Holidays…Enjoy Yourself! 

The most important thing to remember is that you are on the journey of a lifetime! Relax, have an open mind, and enjoy yourself! There is always a lot of spare time when on a trekking trip like Everest Base Camp.  You generally walk anywhere from 4-6 hours a day, with the exception of a few longer days, and therefore have plenty of time when you arrive in the tea houses to relax, rest, and have a laugh with your fellow trekkers.  It is important to have this time throughout your journey as they help to keep you positive and relaxed, instead of nervous and tense.

You also have to keep in mind that you are entering a very different environment than you may be used to when going to Nepal. Things may not be done in the same manner as you may be used to at home. By no means does this imply that things are done wrong there, however they are just different. You must always keep an open mind and remember that there will be cultural differences along the way. These things are what make the journey special!

The Khumbu Ice Fall in Everest Base Camp

Join our Award Winning Team in Nepal

If you are interested in trekking to Everest Base Camp and Kala Phattar, why not join our Award Winning Team!  Have a look at our upcoming trips HERE.  If you sign up to one of our trips, we will send you a 40+ page dossier on the trip.  This will outline all the information you will need on your journey to the base of the World’s highest peak!  We are here to assist you 5 days a week to answer your questions!  GET IN TOUCH TODAY!   CLICK HERE for our Top 10 Tips when you are on the Everest Base Camp Trail.

Ian Taylor Trekking have put over 2,500 people in Everest Base Camp over the last 12 years. We are currently sending 200 per year into the Everest Region and we have a range of itineraries. All our treks include 3 nights in Namche Bazaar to aid in the acclimatization process. The two keys to elements to success are excellent acclimatization and excellent physical conditioning. Apply these 2 key elements to any high altitude trek and you will enjoy it and be successful. NOW SIGN UP TODAY!

All you Need to Know About Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Our Top 50 Tips for Your Everest Base Camp Trek
5 things you must do in Namche Bazaar