Mt.Everest(29,035 ft), known as the world’s highest mountain, is never short of trekkers. Trip to Mt. Everest can be categorized as an expedition at an extreme elevation. Due to its distinct geographical features, Mt. Everest abounds with untamed valleys, highland glaciers, towering mountains, rare wildlife, etc. Trekking the most challenging peaks is grueling but the breathtakingly beautiful views make it immensely rewarding. It will be a pretty inspiring experience that you’ll never forget.
The Most Popular Trekking Route to Everest Region
Everest Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp Trek (6400m)
Highlights along the Route
Everest Base Camp is an area built for the protection of focal region of Mt. Everest. The camp, which is capable of accommodating thousands of people, has an altitude of 5170m and can be accessed by environmentally-friendly vehicles from Dza Rongphu Monastery. Its prime visiting season starts from April to October. Besides, BC is surrounded by plenty of Tibetan-run tea houses, offering accommodation, post and laundry services, etc. In 2007, China Mobile set up a permanent operation station in BC that allows mobile transmission and signal to cover the entire BC, and further to part of the upper mountaineering routes.
Tourists can pay a visit to Dza Rongphu Monastery, the highest monastery in the world and the prototype of the movie ‘2012’. Dza Rongphu Monastery is actually named after the Rongphu Valley and stepping inside the monastery, tourists can see the murals of Guru Rimpoche and numerous protectors of the Nyingmapa sect that adorn the wall.
BC to Intermediate Camp:(5800m)
Then trekkers are expected to pass the main Rongphu Glacier. During this process, trekkers will trek on the moraine and appreciate the floating glaciers and towering ice pinnacles and the Serac Highway at an elevation of 5800m. Theoretically, professional climbing gears like crampons, ice axe, and mountaineering boots are not a must.
Advanced Base Camp lies below the east of North Col (around 6400m-6500m), the limit the yaks caravan can reach. The majority camps of foreign mountaineering teams are placed here while China’s are at 6500m. Unfortunately, the peak of Mt. Everest is not visible for it is blocked by Mt. Changtse (7543m) and no mobile or radio communication is available at such altitude.
Suggested Itinerary (for ordinary trekkers)
D1 Trek from Everest BC (5170m) to C.1 (5500m)
D2 Trek from C.1(5500m) to intermediate camp(5800m)
D3 Trek from intermediate camp(5800m) to C.2
D4 Trek from C.2 to ABC and return to C.2
D5 Return to Everest BC
(Tips: To better acclimatize high altitude, the pace of trekking is designed to proceed slowly and steadily. The campsites along the trekking route are all below 6000m and trekkers have adequate time for acclimatization and rest in Intermediate Camp. Therefore, there is no need to worry about altitude sickness. The only imperfection of this trekking route is that trekkers are not arranged to spend the night at ABC. Yet, the little flaw pales in comparison with the entire journey. )
How to get to Mount Everest Base Camp (suggested 2 days road trip)
Lhasa—Shigatse—Lhatse(national highway 318) —Tingri—Tashi Zong—Dza Rongphu Monastery—Everest Base Camp
(Tips: Tourists may spend a night in Dza Rongphu Monastery and head for EBC next day which is 8 kilometers away from the monastery)
Necessary Training before Travel
You may plan your training programme ahead of time by increasing your hiking experiences in snow-capped mountains. Cycling, swimming and running are also practical ways to help you improve your fitness and retain the stamina needed for trekking at high elevation.
Prerequisite for Trekking at High Altitude
After you are physically qualified for high-land mountaineering and trekking, weather and oxygen are the two decisive factors to be considered.
Mountaineering and trekking at extreme altitude largely hinge on a favorable weather. The chilly days that dominate April gradually begin to stabilize and become milder.Traditionally,the ideal time for mountaineering and trekking starts from April to May, and its prime time would be from September to October. The fine weather pattern for trekking from April to May normally lasts for 3-5 days and the interval between two ideal weather is about one week or so.
Another distinct feature of trekking in Mt. Everest region is that the weather pattern varies as trekkers ascend to areas with different altitudes. As a result , an accurate and comprehensive analysis of the weather pattern to trekking destination becomes so critical ahead of the departure.
To mountaineers and trekkers in regions as high as that of Mt. Everest, the timely and steady supply of oxygen, to a large extent, is travellers’ lifeline. Therefore, trekking teams shall have an adequate preparation of oxygen supply before departure. While trekking in mountainous regions, trekkers should properly place the oxygen mask or wind-proof goggles to a proper position, avoiding blocking one’s sight. And do ask trekking coordinators to remove the frost on the oxygen mask if it interferes with your travel.
Trekking gear needed for travelling in Mt. Everest regions should be far better than those used for less challenging trekking routes. Following equipment and brands are recommended:
Alpine Trekking Boots (such as Millet, La Sportiva)
Down Jacket ( such as Mountain Hardwear, The North Face and Marmot)
Hiking Poles and Crampons
Hiking poles are needed for travelling below the snowline (no more than 6600m) and LEKI is a good recommendation.
Sunglasses and gloves
Small things like sunglasses and gloves might be easily gotten lost or be worn as travellers are supposed to stay in many campsites in Everest regions. Therefore, bringing a couple of more these stuff are advisable. Sunglasses are used to shield yourself from high-altitude sunlight while anti-fog goggles with sound air permeability are required in extreme weather. Besides, gloves should be wind-proof, filled with down. Wool and pile are best.
Sleeping Bag and Moisture-proof Pad
Having a sound sleep is vital for a day’s trekking at high altitude. One should prepare at least no fewer than 2 of them. Exped is a nice choice.
Headlight and Battery
For better illumination and convenience while travelling at night, tourists are supposed to use the headlight.
A thermal flask is an indispensable equipment for any mountaineers. A flask that can carry 800ml-1000ml will be appropriate. Recommended brands are Thermos and Tiger.
One should prepare some personal medicines for altitude illness, diarrhea, and cold, and other medicines like painkillers, antibiotics, etc are also needed for precaution.
Mountain Guide, Coordination and Transportation and Communication
For mountaineering and trekking tourists, mountain guides and their coordination are the main source of help. And these professional guides mostly come from Nepalese Sherpas, Tibet Mountaineering School and Tibet Mountaineering Team. As trekking at extreme altitude requires sufficient logistics supply, yaks are widely used as major means of transportation, especially from BC to ABC. In terms of communication, people can use mobile phones and send text messages at BC and walkie-talkies are available in both BC and ABC. To make sure the connection with the outside world and prepare for any emergency that might happen, BC and ABC are also equipped with satellite phones.
It is mandatory for trekkers who are bound for regions above 6000m in Tibet to get a Trekking Permit. Trekkers have to apply for the trekking permit in China Tibet Mountaineering Association (TMA). Meanwhile, an attempt to mountaineer mountains below 6500m has to be organized and conducted by licensed travel agency with professional mountaineering qualifications. Besides, TMA will send professional mountaineering guides and coordination personnel to ensure the safety and smooth conduct of the entire travel.
Choose A Tibet Travel Agency with Professional Mountaineering Qualifications and Services
Trekking in mountains with extreme elevation has to be organized by travel agencies offering a series of professional services. And such services are only available in a handful of travel agencies in Tibet. To give a brief explanation, a qualified travel agency should provide the following services: a. Being able to provide seasoned mountain guides b. Providing hi-tech mountaineering devices, such as high elevation camping facilities, maritime satellite telephone c. Having rich rescue experience in high altitude trekking d. Above all, the agency itself must run efficiently and work out appropriate trekking itineraries and routes, making timely adjustment if it’s necessary. In addition to professional mountain guides, the travel agency should be equipped with mountain chefs as well as coordination personnel to facilitate the expedition.