I’ve been bitten by the Mount Everest bug – just the very idea of it – for a number of years. I worked on a sherpa-inspired work project a many, many years ago and that got me initially interested in the notion of an ascent. Knowing full well that my athletic years have passed me by, my last shot at something would be something like a base camp trek.
Everest base camp sits at 5,364m/17,589ft above sea level. Kala Putter sits at 5,550m/18,208ft above sea level. No small feet – if you pardon the pun. There is 50% of the oxygen at base camp as there is at sea level. Extra oxygen makes you warmer, so 30ºF at sea level is going to feel far colder at altitude.
I’ve found an excellent resource (Everest FAQ) online that documents actually Everest summiting and gear, but much of that should apply to a base camp trek – especially for someone like me who knows absolutely squat about any of it. In fact, it’s a little daft to do such a thing. But I’m not getting older, and the window to physical stuff like this becomes more remote with each calendar year.
I’ve discovered that REI offers a trek as well as Mountain Ram Adventures. Mountain Ram is shorter by about 7 days and thus it’s far cheaper and also probably more accommodating in regards to available calendar. REI is 19 days long, MRA is 12 days long. I wonder if that means MRA is more grueling in terms of acclimatization and miles covered per day.
Another one is ActiveAdventures. They offer a base camp trek too – 19 days and $4,000 per person.
Here is the REI itinerary:
- Day 2: Explore Swayambunath Temple, Boudhanath Temple, Durbar Square, and more.
- Day 3: Fly to Lukla and hike through colorful villages to Phakding.
- Day 4: Hike through fields and villages from Phakding to Namche Bazaar.
- Day 5: Day hike for our first views of Everest, then return to Namche Bazaar.
- Day 6: Ascend to the village of Phortse Tenga through rhododendron forest.
- Day 7: Half-day ascent to visit Pangboche’s impressive monastery.
- Day 8: Hike to Dingboche, the highest permanent Sherpa village in the Khumbu.
- Day 9: Day hike to remote monastic caves and views of Makalu.
- Day 10: Traverse the Pheriche Valley and ascend past the Khumbu glacier.
- Day 11: Depending on weather, climb Kala Patar or hike to Everest Base Camp.
- Day 12: Depending on our previous day, climb Kala Patar or hike to Base Camp.
- Day 13: Cross Pheriche Pass before arriving at Tengboche Monastery.
- Day 14: Trek to Namche Bazaar, with views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam.
- Day 15: Leave Namche Bazaar and descend to Phakding Village.
- Day 16: Hike to Lukla and enjoy a final night in a comfortable lodge.
- Day 17: Return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, weather permitting.
- Day 18: Free day to explore more highlights of the Kathmandu Valley.
- Days 19: Our Everest Base Camp trekking adventure ends today in Kathmandu.
And the MRA itinerary:
- Day 01: Early morning fly to Lukla and then trek to Phakding.
- Day 02: Phakding to Namche (3450 m)
- Day 03: Namche rest for acclimatization.
- Day 04: Namche to Tengbuche (4 to 5 hours)
- Day 05: Tengbuche to Dingbuche (5 to 6 hours)
- Day 06: Rest at Dingboche for further acclimatization
- Day 07: Dingbuche to Lobuche (4 to 5 hours)
- Day 08: Lobuche to Gorakshep – EBC- Gorakshep. (5 to 10 hours)
- Day 09: Gorakshep to Kalapatther and down to Pheriche 6 hours trek.
- Day 10: Pheriche to Namche (6 hours of walking down)
- Day 11: Namche to Lukla (7 hours of walking down)
- Day 12: Lukla to Kathmandu (early morning flight, 30 minutes)
The highlights of the 19 days AA:
- Trek to Everest Base Camp
- Explore the colourful and vibrant city of Kathmandu
- Visit Namche Bazaar Hike through Sherpa villages
- View Mt Everest from Kala Patthar
- Visit Swayambhunath “Monkey” Temple
Here is a lovely video documentary made recently (MRA).R
Here is a slideshow of images from the REI (I believe).
And finally one from active adventures
So begins the thought progress of all of this.