5 biggest MYTHS about Mt Everest basecamp trek
I need to be super fit for this basecamp trek
This is not true.
- All you need is to be able to walk up to 6 hours mostly and between 7 and 8 hours on couple of days. You need to walk on a rough surface and in varying weather condition as weather can become unpredictable at times in this region.
- You may think downhill walking is easy but not the case – it will be uncomfortable and can often hurt legs.
The trek is very difficult and needs lot of preparation
This is not true.
Don’t get me wrong, it is difficult but doable by any person with sound health and general level of fitness. This trek does not require prior experience either. Further, you will come to know in next point that your fitness has nothing to do with altitude sickness. Keeping these points in mind, we have developed itinerary that is geared towards novice trekkers ensuring enough extra days are incorporated where needed as you again altitude day by day.
The trail gains altitude gradually day by day. You will notice this if you look at a chart displaying altitude gain day by day. There will be times when you will need to walk nose rubbing steep uphills, but most of the time your walk is a gradual inclination. What you will find is that you will go up a hill and come back down on other side of it to get further towards the next hill behind it. Walking pass hills after hills, you will get closer and closer to the mountain. You will also get higher and higher and ultimately to the basecamp at 5380m above sea level.
Altitude sickness is related to your fitness level
This is not true.
Every person, regardless of how fit they are, will react differently to altitude, similar to blood alcohol level. You will see along the trail that a very fit person being rescued due to altitude sickness while less fit people or older people reaching the basecamp with minor headache. Not much you can change with regards to your body’s reaction to altitude, but you can do some preventative measures for altitude sickness.
At Sherpa Hike, we ensure our itinerary are robust for acclimatisation, and our Sherpa guides know how to acclimatise appropriately, read early signs & symptoms of AMS and are fully trained on how to respond to such situations.
The key to surviving high altitude is to be disciplined to walk slowly, slow down when early symptoms arise, adhere to acclimatization rules and most importantly listen to our highly experienced guides.
It is very expensive
Think again. It may not be as expensive as you think. Do your research diligently and develop ability to compare apple to apple. A fully inclusive premium package will cost somewhere upwards of only A$3,000 if you know where to find trusted company offering such deals – we are one of them by the way. Similar package, including 3-star hotel in the city and nice lodges on trek, but without meals on trek will cost only A$1,700. You can budget your meal to A$25 a day on trek if you really want to save but please understand that you will be surviving on cheapest meals on the menu.
A fully inclusive guided trekking package will start from somewhere A$ 1,400 upwards. The cost is relative term as we experience with anything else in our life. The less you pay the worse experience you get. You may find cheapest deal online at or under A$1,000 which you may think if it is from a legitimate company. We would even question anyone’s ability to operate a basecamp trek at less than A$1,170 without doing something dozy. You will understand this when you think of how much it cost as a minimum to operate this trek for one person – Lukla return flight at US$352, flight for guide, staff salary, food and accommodation for staff on trek, staff insurance (some may not consider this), accommodation for yourself in the city and on trek, land transfers, airport pick up and drop offs etc.
Minimum operating cost of fully inclusive (including meals on trek) Everest basecamp trek for the trekking agencies will be A$1,400. The things to note though are what level of service quality will be delivered at this cost – not much at all. If in wrong person’s hand, a trekker may find their life at risk in the remote mountains due to the company cutting corners everywhere possible.
Company underquoting the price below the minimum operational cost will be in enormous pressure to make a buck and hence will look for cutting corners. Everest trek is full of risks and this won’t be any reassuring of trekkers’ safety. Trekkers easily get trapped from the luring price found on internet. Trekkers check reviews and build trust with a company solely based on this. Reviews are often hard to trust these days.
Online readings are enough to understand risks related to this trek
Nepal is a beautiful country and people are very nice but the government regulations, and governance over the tourism industry are very poor. Widespread corruption makes it worse. No data, reports and findings are published by the government around number of complains, their nature, resolution, improvements from learnings etc.
Online information is skewed towards experiences and thoughts shared by travellers for whom getting there at bare minimum cost and being able to see the view is most important but not the level of service e.g. quality of guide, quality of hotel, food, and the Everest experience made up of cultural, spiritual and historical aspects. We encourage you to read books from veteran explorers or mountaineers and search for blogs from similar profiles overall understanding.
What is lacking online is the examples of how many trekking companies in Nepal are cutting corners and praying on vulnerability of trekkers. If you only read limited online blogs, you would easily be influenced to form an opinion that the cheapest or near to cheapest deal is the good to go with without realising how much that could be putting your life in risk or at least degrading your experience.
Only few people who book their tour with a premium company are posting their experiences online. You wouldn’t get to read so much about experiences made up of high quality of service, premium hotels and lodges on trek, nice and clean vehicles for all land transfers, guide being well-trained veteran trekking and climbing Sherpa (genuinely from Sherpa Tribe living in high altitude mountain areas and originally of Tibetan origin) sharing their culture including spirituality, practice to Buddhism, belief towards mountain Gods, practices of pray in Monasteries, and history along the trail from the days of trade between India and Tibet, etc.
If you look at stats on number of complains with Nepal Tourism authorities or Nepalese Ambassador in Australia, you will find that it has increased exponentially in last five years but limited control have been put in place.
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