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A trekker's guide to Everest Base Camp

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A trekker's guide to Everest Base Camp

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Thinking of conquering Everest Base Camp? Here are 20 quick things you should know before you go. From the most important to the least important, but all important nevertheless. 

  1. Don’t get caught short at the long drop without a tissue in your pocket.
  2. Your porter carries your heavy gear and he walks ahead. Pack exactly what you need in your day bag (hello waterproofs!) unless you want to chase him later. FYI, you don’t.
  3. Five things you always want to-hand: water, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, lip balm and sun cream.
  4. Find what motivates you and take it for the 2-3 solid hours of uphill climbing. Music​'s a winner.
  5. Weather, like NZ, can resemble four seasons in one day. Including sun, wind, snow, rain, anything goes. Expect them all and dress accordingly.
  6. Layer, layer, layer. It gets cold, seriously cold. And one uphill stretch later – hot, seriously hot.
  7. Have separate hiking apparel to evening apparel. There’s no better feeling than changing into non-sweaty clothes when you arrive at a new lodge. More-so if you’ve been walking in rain for three hours.
  8. Keep the back of your neck protected from the biting Himalayan wind. Sure you’re hot, you’re sweating, but in reality it’s bitterly cold.
  9. Take a Kindle. Evenings are long. Even longer if the altitude prevents you from sleeping.
  10. Buddhists walk clockwise around Buddhist stupors. Your guide isn’t taking the long route. Well he is, but there’s a good reason for it.
  11. The only cash machines are in Namche Bazaar and they rarely work. Change your money in Kathmandu.
  12. $30NZ per day should be plenty and tips are usually in the $100-200NZ region; per porter and guide.
  13. Provisions such as water, power, showers and food get more expensive the higher you go.
  14. Laundry can be attempted in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche. At a push! You’ll likely have two nights in these places so if it’s sunny, get scrubbing.
  15. Take a needle and antiseptic for popping blisters. Or Moleskin to help aid prevention.
  16. Pack two pairs of sunglasses. You will lose a pair – everyone does.
  17. Don’t expect a daily shower. Do expect to go through multiple packs of wet wipes.
  18. Download a flashlight app for your phone. For midnight toilet runs and for hopping back to bed once you’ve turned the light off (you’re already in ​your sleeping bag).
  19. If you’re a porridge person, take your own maple syrup. Everything starts to taste like refined white sugar after day three.  
  20. The pepper is often salt, and the salt is often pepper. One hole or multiple holes – means nothing in Nepal. Shake at your own risk!
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