Thinking about it is one thing, the preparation, quite another. I think I’m starting to panic.
I’m really on this whole challenging myself thing right now. I’m feeling like embracing my health and clarity of mind. Wanting to push my boundaries and reach for things I once thought were beyond my capabilities.
Because, there’s no time like the present. And, because, we can do anything if put our minds to it.
In 2015 I visited Nepal and instantly fell in love with the country, it’s customs, it’s people and raw natural beauty. I saw Everest out of a plane window and stared starry eyed at it, glistening high up along the Himalayan mountain range. I never dreamt I’d be doing this 3 years later. You can read more about my first visit to Nepal here.
It’s fair to say that I’m beyond excited, and extremely nervous to be climbing to within touching distance of this magnificent mountain.
I definitely decided on a whim to take on Everest Base Camp. I’m beginning to wonder if I thought it through properly.
The plan is to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, and start the ascent there. Maybe I’m being optimistic. A 5,380-metre ascent is pretty tough going. My main concern is the altitude. They say that you can start to feel the effects of altitude at about 2,500 metres and quite frankly, there’s not much you can do about it.
We’re planning several elevation stops on our trek. The purpose of the elevation stops are to try and get our bodies to reacclimatise to the altitude in hope that it fends off any symptoms that might creep up on us, or at least make us more comfortable.
I’ve never hiked at altitude before, so this is a big risk for me. I also suffer from migraines, another big risk. The aim is to walk slowly, breathe well, utilise elevation stops, stay well hydrated and if the symptoms start, there is some medication that can help. I’m hoping I won’t need it. Apparently common symptoms of altitude sickness are fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and headaches.
All sounds pretty uncomfortable!
I’ve been researching and planning what I will carry and pack for the hike. May is one of the better times to take on Everest Base Camp and I expect we will start off at temperatures around the mid-twenties (Celsius), but by the time we hit Base Camp, we will be enduring well below freezing temperatures. Temperatures will naturally plummet the higher we get so layers are vital. Thermal under layers, hat, gloves, comfy walking boots (well broken in!), down coat to keep me warm, fleece, thick socks. Layers are key to accommodate the fluctuations in temperature, so I’ve heard. I’ve also been purchasing some vital, highly recommended equipment including a Camel Pak so I can keep hydrated and hopefully fend off the altitude sickness. It’s recommended to drink between 3-5 litres of water a day whilst hiking to Everest Base Camp. It’s easier to become dehydrated at altitude and this is one of the main causes of headaches and altitude sickness. I’m pretty sure one of the most highly regarded tips for such a trek is breaking in your walking boots appropriately. I’ve certainly done this with plenty of hiking in them as preparation.
I seem to have spent hours reading countless blogs and stories from people who have already done Everest Base Camp.
Many people have had an array of different experiences. I’m trying to keep myself fit and push myself to run further and faster than usual, although I’m not totally sure how beneficial that will be. Something else recommended to me was a bit of strength training and stair climbers in the gym. It seems debateable how you can actually train for trekking at altitude, but certainly being at an optimum fitness is extremely beneficial and increases your chances of actually making it to Basecamp and reducing fatigue from all the uphill climbs.
It’s fair to say that I’m probably better mentally prepared than physically. I feel positive and confident that I can make it to Basecamp. My mind feels focused and prepared for the task ahead and I can’t wait to challenge myself just that little bit more in a country that I hold close to my heart.
Here’s hoping I make it, and if not, at least I tried! ❤