A complete guide on Mount Everest Trekking
Mount Everest needs no introduction when it comes to mountaineering. Truly considered the most magnificent mountain in the world, it’s a dream for most trekking enthusiasts.
It attracts a lot of climbers, from amateur to experienced mountaineers. It is also one of the most challenging climbs, posing a real threat to health and life.
At 60 million years old, Mount Everest holds a mesmerizing history. Although many people know about its majestic, only a handful know about the courage, patience, and persistence required to scale this mountain. We will share with you; a complete guide on trekking Mount Everest.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: History
Everest was born 60 million years ago. George Mallory and Guy Ballock carried the first unsuccessful trip to Everest in 1921. Eventually, two humans got a real taste of success when they climbed Everest in 1953. Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, a Nepali who was a Sherpa on the expedition team, were the two brave alpinists.
- Chomolungma (Tibetan word for Everest) means the holy matter of the universe.
- Mountaineers need about 10,000 to 20,000 calories each day, and the quantity only increases when you go higher towards the summit.
- The youngest person ever to scale Everest was an American named Jordan Romero. He was only 13 years old when he achieved this amazing feat.
- There are only a few mountaineers who have traversed Everest from one side to the other. The number of people who have accomplished this daunting task is 14.
- The oldest person to scale Everest was Miura Yuichiro. He scaled Everest when he was 80 years old.
- The first woman to scale Everest was Junko Tabei. She was a Japanese mountaineer as well.
- The temperature can drop as low as -62-degree centigrade.
- A lot of movies have been made surrounding the challenges faced by the climbers of Everest. In 2015, stars like Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal came forward. They worked together to document the movie titled Everest.
The summit of Everest is 8848.3 meters above the sea-level. It has been described as the size of a dining-room table. The layers that make up the summit include rock, ice, and snow exclusively in that order. While the rock and the ice layer’s size remains almost the same, the layer of snow varies every year. The south summit is the closest to the summit of Everest.
If you reach the south summit, you can see the rare glimpse of the planet’s highest point, only a few clicks away. However, there is one more obstacle you have to overcome. The knife ridge is a narrow and steep ridge that will scare you.
Somewhere along the knife ridge is the Hillary step. The Hillary Step is considered by many to be the last challenging climb between the south summit and the true summit. Named after the brave alpinist Sir Edmund Hillary, it is the most technically difficult part of the ascent.
While there is the usual danger of dropping from this height (3000 meters on the right and 2000 meters on the left), it is also classified as a class 4 rock climb. This part of the trek is trickier and could be good, bad, or worse according to changing circumstances.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Training
The ascent to the tallest peak in the world requires hard commitment on the part of the climber. The alpinist needs to be comfortable while also being extremely careful. This requires a lot of mental and physical coordination.
Before going on the wildest adventure of your life, you need to be in command of your physical and mental self.
First, you need to be highly motivated. You must have practice staying inside the tent for hours without losing your composure.
The most important aspect you should consider while training your body is to prepare it for the strong and unpredictable weather.
Your reserve could be weakened, and it might render you sick. You should also be prepared for the situation where your climbing partners get sick.
Despite all the hindrances, you might still want to reach the top. This requires mental fortitude and the capability to adjust to changing circumstances. The training required for scaling Everest cannot be attained at once. You will build up by scaling mountains and learning from these experiences. You should train based on your expectations and ambitions.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Endurance
Lhakpa Sherpa is a Nepalese alpinist who has climbed Everest seven times. She is the record holder as a female for this feat. She even scaled Everest when she was two months pregnant and eight months after her child’s birth.
She explains that strong mental strength is the key to success. Having not received any formal training in mountaineering, she puts a huge faith in her endurance.
She says that endurance should exist on both the mental and physical levels. A significant amount of people gear up for this deadly expedition every year, but only 1 out of those four come back alive. While more and more people are getting involved neither modern technology nor expert advice can eliminate the Everest expedition’s inherent threats.
The greatest skill-set you should polish is your endurance, which can help you gain a safe trek.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Gear List
- Crampons: Regular mountaineering crampons will be the best choice. Crampons are better suited to the icy mountains because they create tractions. Obviously, a 12 point crampon will create more traction than the 10 point crampons. Steel crampons are also superior to aluminum crampons as they stand up to the rigors of walking on the icy rocks.
- Ice Ax: The ice ax is an important and versatile tool in mountaineering. A general mountaineering ax will suffice, but you need an ax that best suits your needs. The length of the ax can be anywhere between 50 cm to 70 cm. The 50 cm ax is best for relatively short people, while the taller people feel comfortable using the 70 cm ax.
- Accessory Cord: Accessory cords can be used for a couple of reasons, like climbing rigging and pressing. We should use the standard 40 feet of 6 mm accessory cords.
- Carabiner System: Two large oval wire gate carabiners, two small wire gate carabiners, one large pear-shaped locking wire gate carabiners, and one large locking carabiner will be enough for a safe expedition.
- Alpine climbing harness: The newer models of the alpine climbing harness are equipped with belay loop features and require no doubling back your waist-back models. Also, buy a harness that fits you and suits your needs.
- Belay Device: You would be better off using the modern-tube style belay device.
- Trekking Poles: You should use the collapsible trekking/skiing poles.
- Ascender: The ascender must be in excellent condition for the period of your climb.
- Footwear: For your feet, buy some pair of wool socks and thin liner socks to wear underneath your woolen socks. You can wear different shoes according to the situation. While sleeping in your tent, wear insulated camp booties. You want to use light hiking boots when passing across a dry trail. All these can be made obsolete using high-altitude all-in-one boots. However, you might want to take all of these for your comfort.
- Technical clothing: At the base layer, you should wear lightweight pants, long-sleeved shirts, and short-sleeved shirts. Use non-cotton fabrics, and even better if you use woolen fabrics. You should also buy the heavy expedition-weight base layer bottoms that can be used in icy conditions. You should also buy a midweight, form-fitting fleece layer for use over base layers. Hoods are also good for the expedition. Also, buy 1-2 pairs of lightweight nylon trekking pants. We recommend simple models made with synthetic fabrics and offer pockets for convenience. Zip-off models are not required but are preferred by some.
- Handwear: You should buy a pair of lightweight liner gloves and a pair of insulated shell gloves. Also, get a climbing helmet that perfectly fits your head. You should also get a ski hat, facemask, and glacier glasses. High-quality ski goggles provide protection over the hot sun and the stormy snow. While noseguards are optional, make sure you pack a modern outdoor LED headlamp. While buying an internal frame climbing/trekking pack, make sure that it is light and comfortable on your back. You should carry a spoon, bowl, knife, and a pee bottle with you as well. Also, you must bring your medicines with you if you are prescribed something. Carry a first-aid kit box involving painkillers, Moleskin, bandages, and antiseptic wipes.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Group or Solo
Novice alpinists are quite confused while deciding on this issue. There are both pros and cons of climbing Everest alone and climbing it in a group.
The people who climbed the Everest solo presented the following arguments:
a. You have far more control over the itinerary. You can choose to spend an extra day at a place that you find fascinating.
b. You can plan to add an extra day to your schedule, which will help you enjoy the journey to a fuller extent.
The people who climbed it in a group presented the following arguments:
a. You can save more money if you spend it carefully while traveling in a group.
b. Company of other people instills a feeling of confidence and encouragement in your heart. They believe that it would be nice to be awestruck with the people experiencing the same thing for the first time.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Cost
The cost of scaling the tallest mountain in the world depends on which side you are scaling it from. While scaling from the North (Tibet) is less expensive than scaling it from the south (Nepal), you need to understand it is relatively easier to climb Everest from Nepal than Tibet. The cost of a standard supported climb ranges from $28,000 to $85,000. A fully custom climb will cost over $115,000, and if you want to skimp on and take risks, it could cost less than $20,000. Everest’s guided climb is like any competitive marketplace, i.e., driven by supply and demand. The demand is huge right now, and the market is equally crowded now.
The various cost factors are included below:
a. Travel: The travel will cost anywhere between $500 and $10,125—the traveling expense, including the flight cost to Nepal and then a flight cost to Lukla. Of course, you can save a little money by traveling on foot to Lukla. From Lukla, you can reach the base camp in about a week in a relaxed manner. The food and lodging in this route could cost anywhere between $400-$10,000. The travel to base camp includes transporting your gear too, which would be pretty heavy. Therefore you will have to hire a porter who can cost about $1,000 for the entirety.
b. Permits and Insurance: The government of Nepal has standardized the permit rate at $11,000 per climber. You must use a local company to organize a permit, which costs about $2,500 for a team. You must also pay a refundable trash deposit, which costs about $4,000, and a liaison officer costs $3,000. Add this $9,500 to the $11,000 permit fee, and you are already required a budget of at least $20,000 to get started. Almost every guide company requires evacuation insurance and medical coverage. One of the best features of traveling via Nepal is the trip- cancellation policy. You will be refunded 100% if, for some reason, your climb is canceled.
c. Supplies and Gears: The supplies and gear cost could cost anywhere between $800 to $29,500. You will have to spend on supplemental oxygen, which 97% of all Everest alpinists use. People often choose a Sherpa to cook their food, which can easily cost around $5,000 for a team. The supplemental oxygen can cost around $550 a bottle, totaling $2,750, which does not include the additional oxygen cost for your porter. At last, you also have to spend on your climbing gear, which can cost around $7,000.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Choosing the right guide
There are two ways by which you can choose a guide for your Everest journey. You can get a guide via your travel agency, or you can get an independent guide. Choosing a guide is the most important aspect of your Everest journey. You will spend a lot of time with this person. Therefore you need to be perfectly sure that this time would be a qualitative and fruitful one. The few things you need to keep in your mind while choosing your guide are listed below:
a. Make sure s/he is licensed and permitted. The guides are required to get registered with a local authority. You also have to make sure that their license hasn’t expired.
b. The experience of your guide is of utmost concern while scaling Everest. You should hire a confident guide with the trail, direction, distances, and, most importantly, safety. Besides confidence, connections with other people are of importance too. The connection of your guide can help make your trek smooth.
c. Communication with the guide is also key to success on your journey. Guides share their experience and knowledge of the terrain, which you need to understand for a smooth trek. So besides making sure that the guide is fluent in English, you need to learn some local language.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Culture/Ethnicity
Sherpas make up for the bulk of people living in the vicinity of Mount Everest. Their current population is around 45,000-50,000. They live in the Khumbu and the Solukhumbu region, which lies south of Mount Everest. They speak Sherpa, which is a Tibetan dialect. The most common folklore people hear when they are about to climb Everest is of the Yeti. Known as the abominable snowman, these mythological creatures have been described by the Sherpas as strong creatures that used to terrorize the villages. However, the villagers now believe that the decline in their number has forced them to stay at a high altitude. The sherpas follow Buddhism and celebrate holidays like the Lhosar, Dumje, and Mani Rimbdu.
Mount Everest Trekking Guide: Flora and Fauna
The Everest also holds sanctuary to a much secluded national park known as the Sagarmatha National Park. This park includes three peaks taller than 8,000 meters, including Everest. Unlike other parks in the plain zones, this park is divided into four different climate zones. It is because the climate changes with every increase in altitude. These climatic zones are the forested lower zone, alpine scrub zone, upper alpine zone, and the arctic zone. In the lower forested zones, floras like birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo, and rhododendron grow.
The only floras that grow in the higher altitudes are the dwarfs or shrubs. Also, the arctic zone contains no vegetation at all. The beauty of the park is most distinct in the summer season. After the monsoon, different plants grow rapidly, and the hillside becomes filled with colorful flowers.
This park is host to a huge amount of endangered animals. Due to the presence of many insects, birds from all around are attracted to this park. Today about 118 species of birds and 24 species of butterfly live in this park and stay here till summer is over. The endangered animals hosted by this park include the musk deer, wild yak, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, langur, mountain wolves, hares, and martens. However, their number is immensely low, so you might not be able to spot them.
Mount Everest is an exciting, dynamic, and one of the most dangerous trekking routes globally. Therefore while enjoying the trek, you should really put safety as your priority.
Many people have shared their Everest journey as a life-changing experience. Also, this trek could be a powerful way of getting out of your comfort zone. Therefore we think that you should definitely try to scale Everest once while embracing safety concerns.