Top 4 Mistakes to Avoid when planning Mt Everest base camp trek
1 Shift focus away from how important is Tour Price vs quality of experience
When it comes to Everest basecamp trek, people often make a mistake to focus to much on finding the cheapest deal and forget that after all you get what you pay for. Cheapest or near to cheapest deal mostly ends up in disaster costing you more money at the end to cover for all band aids from the aftermath of the disaster.
Lot of people often focus on saving $200 and end up booking with a company that cuts corners. Sometimes, they feel a threat to their safety and lucky if not so, they experience nightmare. Following is a true experience reported by a traveller to authorities:
- The company I booked with said that they had a group travelling on the date I choose but turned out that there was only one more person
- The guide only spoke 10 sentences the whole day with me
- The guide did not explain anything about the place, culture or mountains, and when asked often gave wrong names to the mountains
- Porter was busy drinking early morning, or night before and failed to carry luggage. Couple of days afterwards tried to run away with the luggage and guide had to chase to grab the bag. After this event, the guide was left with no choice than to carry the luggage himself.
- Somehow a group member became sick, rather suspiciously, and the guide forced the member to get evacuated by helicopter. The guide then started to convince other members including me to abandon the trek and get air-lifted back to Kathmandu. The guide tried to convince not only the sick member but also to me to get evacuated for no good reason. The guide seemed lazy and not committed. He suggested that the remaining leg of the trek was extremely difficult and would be wiser to call the end and get evacuated together with the sick person. He tried to convince that the cost will be borne by my travel insurance cover from all papers he would prepare.
- I refused to quit and continued and since then the guide was grumpy and worst in his behaviour.
- When I arrived to Kathmandu I complained to the company manager and he kept going on and on in defending the guide and their decision instead of listening to what I had to say.
- Instead of any apologies or empathy, the manager insisted that I give him all 5-star rating on his TripAdvisor page using his computer right then in front of him. When I tried to justify that it would not be a good idea to rate him so high when he has not earned it, he then told to just forget about the whole thing.
These are true stories and in increasing number. A large number of such complains have been lodged with authorities in Nepal and Nepalese Embassy in Australia. Little did the trekkers knew that the guide and his company were trying for maximum number of airlifts was to then get a hefty commission from the helicopter company and to save operational cost from the remaining leg of the tour. Moreover, the guide was constantly focusing on finding ways to make one of the tour members sick so he could instigate air evacuation for easy earning to cover for most competitive price they have sold the tour for. Their attitude is that people wanted the cheapest price so should bear the pain to some extent. They would simply not understand the human feelings, not apply ethics and professionalism in business – it’s just a way of survival for so many unfortunately.
You won’t read about these things on internet so you would not know such things are happening in Nepal. Sadly, but honestly, we would like to make you aware of this so you can make an educated decision.
2 Not paying attention to the importance of understanding risks involved in Everest basecamp trek
Altitude related risk
The risks related to high altitude in Everest region is real and a serious one. It can very quickly turn fatal if not taken right steps and managed properly. There is always a real danger of mild to serious problems related to altitude. It needs to be managed so that the impact is low, and slowly disappears as body gets adjusted to the thin air.
Early symptoms of headache, nausea, shortness of breath are often ignored which leads to serious illness very soon. It is important to understand that you are affected to a greater or lesser extent when you ascend to altitudes over about 3000 meters. As you climb higher the atmospheric pressure falls and the amount of available oxygen also falls. The body will adjust to cope with this by altering the characteristics of your blood to utilize better the lower oxygen levels available to it. This process takes time and can vary from individual to individual.
The mechanics of acclimatization are not well understood but it has been proved that a number of factors have a positive effect. We have a good understanding of this and have developed best practice over the years by handling hundreds of trekkers from around the world.
With this confidence, we publish our above 90% success rate and feel proud of it. We also back it up with our Money Back Guarantee to provide clear evidence that we focus on getting people to the basecamp, not in evacuating. The hefty commission paid by helicopter companies is not a satisfaction for us but fulfilling your dream is.
The secret you need to know to acclimatise well is to walk in a slow pace, follow a proven itinerary, take enough rest, eat good food, sleep well, take long breaths and drink plenty of fluid. The rest we will take care for you.
Other health related risks are:
- Stomach upsets
- Coughs, cold, sore throats and chest infections
- Joint and muscle strains
- Foot problems
Talk to us to know how to avoid them.
Weather related risk
Travellers do not realise that weather can be unpredictable in the core of the Himalayas. Lack of awareness of this makes people take decision which do not prepare them for time when things go wrong.
Some travellers go to remote treks without a guide because they can, allowed in Nepal by regulations. Some take even higher risk of wondering in remote areas without permit. At times when disaster happens for example avalanche, records of whereabout of these travellers won’t be found anywhere. It just become disaster on top of disaster and a nightmare for their family members in trying to gather any piece of information. Nepalese government is very slow to act on such circumstances and will take long time to revise data and work out casualties, losses and whereabouts of travellers. In contrary, professional trekking agencies will keep proper record of your tour.
In a country like Nepal where laws are not enforced, business are not governed, and officials are corrupt, local connection works the best to make things happen. A team of right people make things happen in speed by leveraging on their connections and resources. Reliable company, with good connections and resources are the ones you may want to book your tour with.
3 Easily trusting online trekking companies who do not have an office or a registered agent based in your home country.
Unless someone has refereed you to a trusted company operating out of Nepal or you have travelled with them yourself previously, you will not have any other reliable source to assess the reliability of such company. Even reviews can’t be trusted these days. You would have noticed so many unethical practicesrd of controlling, influencing or even tweaking online reviews have become commonplace in last few years.
Think about this simple fact – You will need to provide your passport copy to your trekking agent prior to your departure to enable them to prepare trekking permits. Would you trust a company operating from overseas who do not have any representative in your home country and provide your personal information including your passport copy?
4 Not talking to trusted local Nepalese trekking experts based in your home country before making decisions.
If you think about the benefits of talking to a trusted local expert based in Australia, what would that be like? What difference can they make in your safety, your level of experience, in your preparation and in maximising value for your money?
If you do a due diligence in your research with an open mind, you will soon convince yourself that Australia based large companies are charging way higher price for same or worse experience provided compared to service from a boutique company based in Australia working directly with top Sherpa Teams in Nepal. If you take Sherpa Hike as an example, we provide personalised service to every member in the trekking group, mostly keep the group size to maximum 6, provide full onboarding support (help with all type of preparations), provide flexibility in choosing travel date, provide any added service at reasonable price, and provide flexibility at no extra cost for adjustment of itinerary and arrange dietary requirements to suit personal preferences.
If you do a little bit of research, you will find out that all Australian owned companies ultimately use local guides and staff in Nepal for all their operations.
By the way, Sherpa Tours provides you a dedicated tour manager right from the beginning to help you with all research, planning and preparation, and to carry out quality controls to ensure all amazing experiences included in your itinerary and tour package are delivered to your satisfaction and ultimately turning your experience from a tiring journey into a life-time memory.
We not only develop amazing itineraries for customised experience but also play a major role in monitoring and carrying out quality control over service delivered by our Nepal operations team.
We stay in contact with our Nepal operations team around the clock to ensure regular communication and update on each tour group and team members, and for quality control in trekking operation.
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