A number of trekkers, who have already walked the mountains of Nepal do not fail to agree that the Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most difficult treks in the world, as various aspects challenge trekkers, right from the beginning till they reach the base camp.
The very first aspect that will challenge you on the Everest base camp trek is, ‘the altitude’. It’s the base camp of Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world! Therefore, interested trekkers simply should not take it as a joke. This trek takes you to the altitude of 5,364m, taking you above the altitude of 3000m in just 2 days. What’s more distressing is; the view of the Mt. Everest, which is totally obstructed by other mountains from the base camp. You will definitely not prefer to go back without a glimpse of it, after all the efforts made in past few days. Well, if you are up to it, you can still enjoy the finest, unobstructed view of Mt. Everest and this again demands altitude higher than the base camp, which means you need to climb up to Kala Patthar (5,545m). Moreover, if you are planning to include the three high passes, Renjo La, Cho La and Kongma La, on the way to the base camp, then get ready to walk the altitude of the altitude of 5,338m, 5,380m, and 5,535m respectively. All these altitudes require a lot of physical and mental determination.
By the way, how does the altitude become a challenge? Well, in a number of ways!
As we ascend towards the base camp, the density of the air decreases and so does the amount of oxygen in the air. This in turn causes altitude sickness and affects both mental and physical functioning. Most trekkers suffer from shortness of breath, headache, nausea, vomiting and fever, which gets worst with the increment in altitude. Due to this, some trekkers have also lost their lives while attempting the Everest base camp trek. Also, most of the trekkers get affected with high altitude cough caused by humidity, high altitude and moisture in your lungs. This type of cough is very dry and horrible, which might even continue throughout the trek.
Weather and Temperature:
Another everest base camp trek difficulty caused by the altitude is the uncertain weather and extreme temperature. The weather totally depends upon the regular northern hemisphere seasonal pattern and cannot really be predicted in this part of the country. Moreover, depending on the weather and altitude, the temperature can sharply drop down at the night, which even gets below the freezing level in winter. During winter the trekkers can experience -17 degree C as the average temperature of the base camp, which is accompanied by heavy snowfalls and high chilling winds. During other seasons, the evenings are usually chilly with temperature dropping below zero degrees.
Moreover, the altitude challenges the budget as well. The cost of both food and accommodation, as well as other facilities increase with altitude. It not just doubles, but things actually triple in price. Therefore, its always good to carry some extra money in case you want to buy any extra stuffs.
Another thing that challenges most of the Everest base camp trekkers is, ‘the trail’. Most part of the trail is a lot of up and down for the trekkers and some of these ups and downs are very steep. The path is either rough, rocky or gravel strewn and contains lots of loose rock that show no sign of sympathy to your feet or its icy and slippery. Sometimes the trail is also occupied by the herds of yak, where one needs to be very careful, as these yaks don’t mind pushing trekkers off the edge. The trail passes through the cliffs, high passes and suspension bridge constructed high above the river, which might be hard for people suffering from Vertigo and Acrophobia. Nevertheless, some days of the trek require 8-9 hour of walking per day, which might sound moderate for a regular hiker, but for someone who has never walked any longer distance than the distance of their driveway, the trek will definitely bring them to the point of giving up before reaching the destination.
Despite these difficulties, this place on earth is able to attract thousands and thousands of adventure trekkers every year. Why? The answer is very obvious. The sweetest pleasure is pain. Once you make up to the top, the view gives you all the reasons to smile, forget the pain and be proud of the achievement.