Before I arrived in Nepal to take on our Everest Base Camp trek, I have to admit I was a little clueless about what to expect in the mountains. Would there be toilets? Would there be electricity? Heating? Fresh water? And so many more questions, so this post aims to address the key questions you may have before you leave. We have compiled information about 10 things you probably need to know about an Everest Base Camp Trek.
What do you need to know about an Everest Base Camp trek?
WiFi is widespread in the Himalayas. In the lower Himalayas, prior to Namche Bazaar, you will be able to obtain free WiFi at most restaurants and cafes. It is only quick enough for picking up emails and sending brief social media updates but it is better than nothing. Don’t try to upload your entire photo album for the day or you will likely die of boredom in the process!
After Namche Bazaar, you will need to pay for WiFi (although we did spot the occasional establishment offering free WiFi for spend over a certain amount). It is possible to buy an Everest Link pass for $20 which will last for two weeks or you can pay at each place (we saw WiFi advertised for 500 RP). Our group seemed pretty happy with the service but I opted for a digital detox and so have no personal experience.
Plug sockets are pretty much non-existent after Namche Bazaar. You can pay to charge devices and prices vary from 100 RP an hour in Cheplung to 300 RP in Lobuche. It is wise to bring either battery packs or solar charging panels with you to avoid this charge although note these can be heavy and will use up valuable weight allowance.
I highly recommend purchasing a solar charger from Amazon. We had beautiful weather during our trip and relied almost exclusively on these devices to charge our watches and phone cameras. We attached them to our daypacks and even used them to charge whilst trekking.
Of course, you may not be as fortunate with the weather. A back-up option therefore is an Anker Power Core which we also purchased from Amazon. We rarely used it simply because we relied primarily on our solar source but I was impressed at how well the power bank retained power even in cold environments.
Tip: when you roll up your sleeping bag in the morning, be sure to pop your battery packs in the middle to insulate them from the cold and preserve their charge.
Electricity also becomes more sparse as you ascend and was often unavailable during the night. It is wise therefore to bring a torch that you can use for nighttime toilet visits, especially when toilet facilities are rudimentary.
Again, our solar charger was excellent for this purpose, with a built in torch which you can see at the bottom of the photo above.
I honestly thought I would have to be getting my peachy white ass out on the mountain on a regular basis, however that wasn’t the case. Frequent toilet facilities exist with western-style loos and the standards were much better than I anticipated.
You will find squat toilets and long drops too but only a few toilets were really offensive. These tended to be at lunch and snack stops rather than overnight locations.
Other than in Namche Bazaar and possibly some of the teahouses in Lukla, most establishments do not provide toilet roll. Tissues and roll can be bought in every village but can be expensive, especially the higher up the mountain.
We bought Clinell Antibacterial Hand Wipes and a travel size antibacterial hand cleaner from Amazon. I am only sad that I didn’t take all 100 sachets with me as we quickly used these. They were useful for wiping toilet seats, cleaning our hands and cutlery. The travel size antibacterial hand cleaner also fit nicely into the small pockets on the waistband of my daypack.
Our Sherpas purified all our water and we simply filled our Degbit water bottles and Osprey Camelbak up at breakfast and lunch. There is no need to buy water on the mountain nor do you need to flavour your water.
We put daily Dioralyte sachets into our water simply because it was difficult to stay hydrated in the altitude and to replace lost salts from sweat. That said, I still managed to get sick so cannot be certain this had a positive effect (although I did recover quickly!)
You can buy snacks at the villages along the EBC trail but they are not the best type of snacks for prolonged activity. Think Mars Bars, Twix, and crisps (often out of date!). If you want sports snacks you will need to bring these with you as we could not find them anywhere. Note, snacks increase in cost with the altitude so you may wish to stock up lower down if you prefer not to carry them. I will definitely be taking my own snacks (something like these Maxi-Muscle snacks) on our next adventure to Mount Toubkal.
Teahouse bedrooms do not have heating. Communal spaces tend to be reasonably warm but once you are in your bedroom, you will need to snuggle into your sleeping bag for warmth.
Don’t hang clothes on the hooks provided in the rooms either as clothes get very cold and a little damp. Instead, put them in the bottom of your sleeping bag, under your bag or by your side. This way, they are on hand for for night time toilet visits but they also retain your body heat and won’t be as unpleasant to put on in the morning.
There are a number of places offering laundry services along the trail. For instance, teahouses in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche offered laundry facilities. In Dingboche, the cost was 200RP per item (around £1.50) but much less in Namche. This may mean that you can sacrifice some clothes in favour of energy snacks.
Boots or shoes
I toyed with bringing hiking shoes but with hindsight would say that hiking boots are essential. The terrain is often rocky and unstable and I really found the ankle support invaluable. That said, one person in our group did the entire trek in sandals (Yes, that would be you Robert!)
Mysteriously, our supply of paracetamol somehow went amiss between the UK and Lukla. We were however able to buy supplies of paracetomol in Dingboche along with other supplies. Tablets were expensive at around £3 a strip of 8 so ideally you should bring these with you. You can purchase these in bulk from Amazon as they are essential for altitude sickness headaches. Surprisingly, paracetamol works much better than ibuprofen for this purpose.
I recommend that you prepare supplies of any drugs you might need in a small waterproof pack for your day bag. You can then put them somewhere that is easy to locate. You can top up each evening or morning from a larger supply in your main bag but it is important to minimise weight in your day pack as this will use less energy. We used waterproof pouches for this purpose but you can just as easily use resealable freezer bags.
Have your say
Now perhaps you too have done an Everest Base Camp trek and have some additional tips for other readers. Don’t be shy now! I am sure they will benefit from your wisdom. I certainly wish I had known half of this stuff before I left.
And, if you are interested, here is our route.
Our Everest Base Camp route
If you would like to read more about our Everest Base Camp trip click here.