If you’re headed to central Asia, you should most definitely consider an excursion to Everest. You may not get the chance to climb to the top, but you would own bragging rights to being one of the relatively few people on earth to actually see and experience Mt. Everest, up close and personal.
Widely considered the tallest mountain on earth, Mt. Everest has been the ultimate destination for mountain-climbing enthusiasts and armchair mountaineers who dream of one day scaling the 29,000-foot peak. Luckily, there are loads of eco-tourism and adventure travel programs scattered throughout Nepal, as well as Tibet, which provider adventure seekers with the opportunity to take their own stab at climbing the highest peak in the world.
Before you even consider taking on an excursion anywhere near Mt. Everest, you should first prepare yourself to do it! Here are a few things you should know about conquering Mount Everest before you set your heart on tackling the highest peak in the world:
'Tis the Season
The best time to climb or trek Mt. Everest is between April and June. Early September to late October is fine, as long as you keep a close eye on changing weather conditions.
Monasteries & Villages Abound
Travel the scenic route to the Mt. Everest Base Camp. The route through the Himalayas, between Lhasa in Tibet and Kathmandu in Nepal, is full of Buddhist monasteries in Sherpa villages. Make the most of your trip to Mt. Everest by learning about the mysterious mountain from the locals.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Sunblock for a cold place? Yes, definitely. Harmful ultraviolet radiation is stronger at higher altitudes, and the snow and ice reflects most of the light and radiation, doubling the sun's burning effect. So pack some high-SPF sunscreen and don your best protective sunglasses before ever facing Everest.
Mouth. So. Dry.
Dehydration is also an issue at higher altitudes. Of course the sun contributes to this, but not as much as the dry environment. Have lip balm with SPF handy at all times, and bring even more water than you think you’ll need. Trust us, the climb is much longer than you think!
Humpty Dumpty Turn Back Now
Don’t pack eggs in your mess kit when preparing for a trek to Mt. Everest. When eggs freeze, the shells can crack and allow air into the egg. Eating bad eggs can lead to food poisoning, and the wilds of Everest is no place for a debilitating (and preventable) illness like that. Remember, there are no proper bathroom facilities halfway to the top either!
Your Eyes May Appreciate the View More Than the Rest of Your Body
Acute Mountain Sickness can strike even the fittest, healthiest people. Gradually acclimate yourself to the altitude for a few days before fully exerting yourself on the mountain. Become familiar with the symptoms of altitude sickness and how to deal with it, should you succumb to it at any point during your trip.
You Don't Need That
Trekking or climbing Everest is not a leisure trip. Leave non-essentials in a secure location; ask your hotel, hostel, or guest house if you can rent a locker or storage space while you’re on your trek. One non-essential that keeps appearing in the packs of Everest visitors is a laptop or computer tablet like an iPad. Altitude and extreme cold can wreak havoc on your devices, so store them before you go. There is also no room for makeup or other grooming tools or products either, these will only weigh you down.
Visiting Mt. Everest is an ultimate bucket-list feat for any adventurer, and a little bit of preparation can make the difference between a cautionary tale and an amazing adventure story.