Expert Advice on the Everest Base Camp Trek
I spoke to Kirsty at Mountain Kingdoms on Thursday. She cleared up a few worries I had about going out to Nepal. She gave me tonnes of great advice, so I'll only post the highlights right now:
We talked a bit about altitude sickness. She explained about the necessary built-in rest days set in the Everest Base Camp Trek itinerary so that our bodies can acclimatise to the high altitude and decreased oxygen in the air. In these rest days we will either rest in the place we've stopped in, or we'll have the opportunity to do a small walk up the mountain nearby and then come down to let our bodies adapt to the high altitude.
The Weather in Nepal
We also discussed the weather. We'll be going to Nepal just before the monsoon period and so Kirsty told me not to expect clear blue skies every day; sometimes it maybe grey and drizzly. Generally, in the day the temperature will be very warm - in the mid-late 20s however, as soon as the sun goes down the temperature drops rapidly and it becomes very chilly. The best thing to prepare for the weather and temperature changes is to layer up and always have your waterproofs handy!
As we get higher the air gets thinner so the sun gets stronger therefore it's important to have good sunglasses - I've got some ones I use for skiing which are fine, it's also essential to carry a very high factor sun cream and lip protection.
Kit for the Base Camp Trek
Kirsty said that I should have a snack supply before setting off on the trek, although food supplies are sold in the tea houses we'll be stopping in. The sort of snacks to bring are anything with a high energy content, that's not bulky and will keep for the whole time. Nuts, raisings, biscuits, Kendal mint cake, sweets and flapjacks are all good. Chocolate will melt! It's also good to bring boiled sweets/cough sweets as the air will be very dry and it's common to get a sore throat.
I also found out that there will be electricity most of the way up the mountain which I fantastic and means that my camera won't run out of battery.
Altitude sickness usually brings on symptoms such as - headaches, loss of appetite, nausea and restless sleep and most people will get it to some degree. To prevent it as much as possible, I have to take full advantage of the rest days and drink lots of water and the black tea which all the Sherpas drink. Normal painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin are fine to take. It's also important that I don't hide it if I'm feeling unwell.
We also discussed kit apparently what I have is very good and appropriate for the trek, but I need to get some T-shirts and a sun hat as I've not really prepared for any warm weather. I should also get a duvet/down jacket for the days when we're closer to base camp, but they'e pretty expensive in England and you can buy them much cheaper in Kathmandu so I'll have a look once we're out there.