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Mental and Physica preparation for Everest Base Camp Trek is crucial for its successful completion. They make the challenging adventure more comfortable and less demanding. 

The EBC Trek allures thousands of trekkers and mountaineers to Nepal. For many, a trek to Everest Base Camp (5364 meters) is the ultimate dream journey to watch the world’s highest mountain, Everest, up close and personal. Similarly, the trekking trails go through remote Sherpa settlements of the Everest region, offering a glimpse at its rich cultural diversity. 

Everest view from Everest view hotel
Mt. Everest from Everest View hotel

En route to the base camp, you will traverse sparkling rivers, cascading waterfalls, picturesque valleys, deep gorges, and stunning glaciers. The trail also enters Sagarmatha National Park, home to thousands of Himalayan flora and fauna. You will trek from dense subtropical verdant to highland meadows. 

The Everest Base Camp Trek is moderately demanding and requires good physical fitness. The trail includes ascending and descending on steep slopes and varied terrains. As you move to higher altitudes, the climb becomes more arduous, and many trekkers succumb to altitude sickness. The unpredictable weather and remoteness of the trail also mentally stress many trekkers. 

Hence, all trekkers aiming for EBC must make proper preparations. This article will explain what kind of preparation you need for the trek and how you can do it. Without further delay, let us dive into it.      

Physical Preparation

The Everest Base Camp Trek duration is usually 12 to 14 days. You will cover approximately 130 km in a round trip. You must prepare to long walk 5 to 6 hours on varied terrains of the Everest region with a daypack on your back. Therefore, the trek requires a lot of strength, stamina, and endurance. 

You must prepare your body for the physical challenges of the EBC Trek. The best way to do this is to exercise or train for at least 8 to 12 weeks before the trek. You can practice hiking uphill once a week with a backpack of 10-20 pounds. Focus on the hike duration rather than distance, so start an uphill hike for 3 to 5 hours. 

Training programs can also help boost your strength, stamina, and endurance. You can join a gym and seek help from fitness trainers. Take their advice and focus on cardiovascular, strength, and endurance-building training. Likewise, you can also take aerobic classes, yoga, and hiking-specific training for the trek.  

However, you can train at home on the treadmill if you cannot hit the gym. Like hiking, you should focus on the duration while training on the treadmill. You can also practice by taking staircases instead of lifts, which helps strengthen your thigh muscles. Prepare a daily workout training plan and intake healthy diets. Due to the physically demanding nature of the trek, you will be burning more calories. Therefore, you need to consume more calories.      

Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular training helps improve your heart rate and increase lung capacity. We strongly advise you to do these exercises two to three times per week before the trek. It also helps boost your stamina, withstand thin air, and minimize the risk of altitude sickness. 

Some of the cardiovascular and aerobic training programme that you can take are:

  • Running and jogging
  • Cycling
  • Rope jumping
  • Swimming
  • Stair climbing
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jumping squats
  • Zumba 
  • Burpees

You should take at least 3 to 4 training sessions, each lasting 30 minutes at a moderate intensity. Additionally, you can include a high-altitude fitness plan in your cardiovascular training to mimic the Everest Base Camp Trek. 

Strength Training

Strength training helps build resistance and muscle strength. Additionally, it helps improve one’s metabolism. The training involves activities like lifting, pushing, and pulling. It is well-rounded fitness training that helps increase muscle strength and size. During the EBC Trek, the training makes it easier to walk with your daypack while using trekking poles.  

Some of the strength training you can do are: 

  • Free Weight Exercises (dumbbell curls, kettlebell swings, barbell squats)
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Planks
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Isolation Exercises (Biceps curls, tricep extensions, leg extensions, etc.)

It is best to do full-body strength training at least 1 to 2 times a week. You can exercise at the gym or in the comfort of your home. Note that using the correct technique for the training is extremely important. Initially, you can start with 10 to 12 repetitions per exercise and gradually increase the weight and repetition. 

Endurance Building

Endurance-building training is crucial for the EBC Trek. It improves your body’s ability to withstand prolonged physical activity. The training targets the enhancement of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It is similar to cardio training and involves aerobic exercises, which increase the heart and breathing rate. It improves your ability to breathe in thin air. 

The endurance building exercise includes similar workouts to cardiovascular training. It consists of the following: 

  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Stair climbing
  • Brisk walking 

Like strength training, you can gradually increase the intensity and frequency of endurance-building training. It is best to do it 3 to 5 times a week. Be consistent with your training. 

Mental Preparation 

Trekking is all about finding comfort in the uncomfortable. Hence, mental preparation is also crucial for the Everest Base Camp Trek. The trek requires mental strength and resilience, as trekkers face more than physical challenges. You must prepare your body and mind for the journey ahead. 

The remote trails, lack of infrastructure, disconnection, altitude sickness, unpredictable weather, and unforeseen events can trigger stress for trekkers and mentally weigh them down. Therefore, mental fortitude is a must while trekking in the Himalayas. You must practice the right mindset and build mental strength strategies. 

The step towards mental preparation is to set realistic small goals. For example, while on the trek, focus on reaching the day’s destination and concentrate your energy on it. This will keep you motivated for the rest of the journey. Similarly, you must have a positive mindset and visualize your success.  

We suggest you research and familiarize yourself with the trek’s challenges. You should also learn about altitude sickness and its symptoms. If you begin to experience the symptoms, you should stay calm and seek medical assistance. Mental resilience is the key to facing and overcoming challenges during the EBC Trek.    

Gear and Equipment

Aside from physical and mental preparation, gear and equipment are crucial for Everest Base Camp Trek preparation. The weather and temperature of higher regions vary significantly from those of the lower areas. As you ascend to higher altitudes, the weather becomes more unpredictable. Therefore, trekkers must have adequate and proper equipment for all kinds of weather. 

Clothing

Trekking and long-sleeved shirts, lightweight trousers and shorts, waterproof jacket and trousers, base layer, insulating layer, outer layer, undergarment, hat (sunhat and beanie), gaiter, gloves, and scarves. 

Footwear

Moisture-wicking socks, comfortable hiking boots, and sandals. 

Backpack and packing essentials

Backpack (50 to 60 liters), duffle bag, daypack, rain cover, sleeping bag, adjustable trekking poles, flashlight, water bottle, altitude sickness medication, and toiletries. 

Other Essential Gear

Power bank, sunglasses, camera, adapter, ear plugs, snacks, books, journal, and playing card.

Altitude Acclimatization

You must take acclimatization days during high-altitude treks like the Everest Base Camp. This allows your body to adapt to the changing altitude, temperature, and humidity. It reduces the risk of altitude sickness. Some of the things that you must understand while altitude acclimatization are as follows:

Understanding altitude sickness

It is common for trekkers to fall prey to altitude sickness as they ascend to higher elevations. The oxygen level in the air gets thinner above 2500 meters. The symptoms of altitude sickness can range from mild to severe. The different types of altitude sickness and their symptoms are as follows: 

Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a mild form of altitude sickness whose symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath.

High-altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is more severe than AMS. It occurs when the body’s lack of oxygen accumulates fluid in the lungs. Symptoms include rapid breathing, shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, extreme fatigue, chest tightness, and blue or gray lips or fingernails. 

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is also a severe altitude sickness. It occurs when a lack of oxygen in the body accumulates fluid in the brain, and the brain swells. Its symptoms include severe headache, difficulty speaking, hallucination, loss of coordination, loss of consciousness, nausea, and vomiting. 

Acclimatization is crucial for avoiding severe symptoms. However, seek immediate medical assistance if you begin to experience the symptoms. Take medications and watch your body. If the symptoms persist, descend to the lower altitudes immediately. Altitude sickness can be fatal if not treated properly.  

Acclimatization Schedule

Now that we know what altitude sickness is, let’s discuss the acclimatization schedule. Most trekkers take two acclimatization stops before ascending to the base camp during the Everest Base Camp Trek. The first stop is Namche Bazaar (3440 meters), and the second is Dingboche (4350 meters)

Namche Bazaar is a crucial spot for acclimatization, as research suggests that your body will require more time to acclimate at 3500 meters. You will struggle to ascend further if you fail to acclimatize at this elevation. The next acclimatization stop is Dingoche, which will help you climb further. 

After Dingboche, most trekkers stop at Lobuche, 4900 meters above sea level. We will follow the “Climb High, Sleep Low” practice during the acclimatization day. We will keep our bodies active and take short hikes to higher altitudes. Staying hydrated is also crucial. 

A proper acclimatization schedule is crucial for your safety and completing your Everest Base Camp Trek. It aids your body to maintain strength and stamina while adjusting to the decreasing oxygen level in the air. 

Logistics and Planning

While planning your EBC Trek, you must handle logistics, including travel arrangements, paperwork, accommodations, equipment, and travel insurance. As of April 2023, hiring a licensed guide for the trek has become mandatory. Likewise, hiring a porter will provide you with tremendous support. 

Begin by researching the trek route, altitude gain, and challenges. Then, you can plan your itinerary according to what best fits your basic fitness level. Also, you must have travel insurance that covers an altitude of 6000 meters, medical expenses, and emergency expenses, including helicopter rescue and evacuation. 

You must book an international flight to Nepal and a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla for your travel arrangements. We also suggest you book your accommodation in advance. To calculate the trek cost, include all the possible expenses during the trek. Careful logistics and planning are crucial for a safe and enriching trek experience.    

Choosing a trekking agency or guide

Many trekking agencies claim to be the best in the industry. However, they may not be adept at handling the challenges one may face during the trek. How can you choose the right trekking agency or guide for your ultimate Everest Base Camp Trek? 

First, check whether the agency has a proper certificate from tourism bodies such as the Trekking Agencies Association in Nepal (TAAN) or the Federation of Tour Operators’ Associations of Nepal (FTOAN)

A reputable company will have a proper license and certificate. Similarly, always hire a guide with an appropriate license and years of experience in the field. Check their customer review from authentic sites such as TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Facebook Groups, etc. 

You can also guess about the agency while communicating with them. A good agency will provide clear information and details to your queries. As English is their second language, there will be some inconsistencies. Compare different agencies, their itinerary, services, and costs before choosing the right one.    

Obtaining permits and visas

Foreign travelers, except those from India and China, must have a visa to travel to Nepal. You can get a visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. If you are traveling by land, you can get the visa at the land border. The cost of a visa is as follows:

  • USD 30 for 15 days
  • USD 50 for 30 days
  • USD 125 for 90 days

You will need two trekking permits for the Everest Base Camp. You will need a Khumbu Rural Municipality Permit, which costs NPR 2000 per person for the first four weeks and NPR 2500 per person after four weeks. The next permit is the Sagarmatha National Park Permit. It costs NPR 3000 per person for non-SAARC nationals and NPR 1500 per person for SAARC nationals. 

You can get the Khumbu Rural Municipality Permit at Lukla or Monjo at the Sagarmatha National Park Counter (traveling from Jiri).  Meanwhile, you can get the Sagarmatha National Park Permit at the Nepal Tourism Board Office, Kathmandu, or Monjo at the Sagarmatha National Park Counter. 

Note that most trek packages, including Nepal Alternative Trek’s Everest Base Camp package, include the permit.    

Planning the Itinerary

Before planning your itinerary, you must understand what Everest Base Camp Trek has in store for you. You must understand the daily trek distance, elevation gain, routes, and difficulties. Rapidly ascending to a higher elevation is risky, and we do not recommend it. 

You should also consider the season and weather conditions for a safe trekking experience. Likewise, your budget and time constraints are crucial in planning the itinerary. Consider all the above-mentioned factors while preparing your Everest Base Camp Trek itinerary.

Training and Preparation For Everest Base Camp Trek

With proper training and preparation, the Everest Base Camp Trek will be a more pleasant journey. You can focus more on enjoying the trek rather than the physical strain. You do not have to be an experienced trekker; anyone with basic fitness and training can do the trek. The trails are demanding, but they are well-conditioned. To best prepare for the EBC, start training and preparing two months before the trek. 

Conclusion 

Everest Base Camp Trek is a wonderful journey into the laps of world’s highest mountain. It is an adventure that many seek to accomplish during their lifetime. The trails to the base camp will push your physical and mental limits. But the effort will be worth it. 

Therefore, do not cut corners and make adequate preparation for Everest Base Camp Trek. It will help your body to adapt to the high elevations and endure challenges. Likewise, it will also impact your fitness and develop mental resilience.  

Tej Bahadur Gurung

With an experience of almost two decades, founder Mr. Tej Bahadur Gurung has established Nepal Alternative Treks as a widely recognized and reliable tourism operator. His degree in Tourism Studies and devotion to the sector has given him in-depth knowledge about trekking, climbing, cultural, and geological aspects of the country. He is a pioneer in introducing the concept of ‘off-beaten tracks’ and ‘alternative routes’ as well as treks and tour packages surrounding it.

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