Everest Base Camp

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The walk to Everest Base Camp is the trek in the Himalaya that most people want to do first – because they want to see Everest!

    However, we often receive reports of people trying to complete this demanding trail in too short a time - and suffering the consequences. To climb too high, too fast anywhere can result in altitude sickness: pulmonary edema, or cerebral edema – and climbing in the Khumbu region is no exception. In fact, there seem to be more incidents of altitude sickness on the Everest trail (the height gain is rapid and considerable) than anywhere else in the Himalaya. For this reason we always recommend a slow pace for everyone, and a minimum of 15 days walking.  

    I remember leading a group of girls from a high school in Johannesburg to Everest Base Camp in 2000. The team consisted of 16 girls, one teacher, and four or five parents. The youngest learner was a girl of 14, and to ensure that everyone coped with what was going the trail, with three of those days spent in a high lateral valley called the ‘Chhukung Valley’, for acclimatisation. Two rest days were also included in the itinerary.

    The trip was a great success. Everyone went the full distance, and no one suffered the ill effects of altitude: headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, et cetera. That experience taught me a lot.

    Now, when we send groups to ‘Everest’, we recommend an itinerary that allows 16 days on the trail. And we never leave out the Chhukung valley – one of the most beautiful places in the Himalaya! With this routine, feedback is always positive.          

    There are two trekking seasons for the Everest trail. The first is in spring (northern hemisphere) during the pre-monsoon period, which lasts from mid-March until the end of May. The second takes in the two months of October and November, and is in what is called the post-monsoon period.

    From June to the beginning of October heavy rains make trekking in the Himalaya impossible. September is still too early – the monsoon rains, with heavy falls of snow, often persist well into the second half of the year. December is too late - most of the lodge owners high up on the trails (certainly in the Everest region) have already closed their doors and gone down to spend the winter months with friends or family. Thus, the two trekking seasons for Everest are relatively short.

    In spring the high peaks can be shrouded in smog – the result of fire burning in the lowlands as far as way as India during the long winter. But the advantages of trekking in the pre-monsoon period are that fresh snow often falls on the high ground, and the flowers are beginning to appear. The rhododendrons are especially beautiful - particularly in the Annapurna region, where the forests are festooned in petals, ranging in hue from white to a delicate pink, to a dark red (the national flower of Nepal). An amazing sight!

    The peaks are sharpest in October and November when the skies have been washed clean by the monsoon rains. This is when the queen mother of the earth, Mount Everest, is seen at her best – especially at sunset, when the warm glow of the setting sun paints the summit pyramid (and surrounding peaks) in colours of richest gold. A sight not to be missed!

    Quite simply, we recommend March/April for the Annapurna region, and October/November for the Everest trail.

 

ClickBook a tour

 

No year would be complete without Summit Ventures offering at least one trip to Everest Base Camp, open for people to join.

For 2010 we have a trip up and running for October:

Dates: Wednesday, 13th October, to Tuesday, 2nd November 2010.
Group Leader: Nelis Potgieter (might change).
Cost: approximately R 27,000.00 (all inclusive) at ZAR 7.75 / US$ 1.
Flights: Qatar Airways (via Doha)

Note: Full details on Costing, and a Detailed Itinerary, are available on request.

Click on address to access e-mailEnquiries: summitventures@mweb.co.za

 

 

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