Life At Base Camp: What’s It Like?
"Everest Base Camp" © 2008 ilkerender, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license
For those who set out on an Everest Base Camp trekking adventure with Mountain Kingdoms, Base Camp is a fascinating destination at which to spend a day, or even, on some of our treks, stay the night. But how is it built? Base Camp is among the most unique settlements in the world - a temporary city that springs up every year in some of the planet's harshest conditions, and a testament to human innovation and tenacity. Here we take a look at how it's constructed, and offer a glimpse as to what life is like for its residents.
Despite the fact that it is located on a flowing glacier and must be rebuilt every year, the history of the camp stretches back to long before the days in which Everest treks began bringing thousands to the Khumbu region every year. Early Everest climbers had to establish their own base camps, but in doing so set the precedent for today's lively tent community.
Now, instead of a mountaineering team battling the elements to establish a camp, there are plenty of hands to help - although setting up is still a considerable task. Sherpas will often arrive at the site at the very beginning of the trekking season in order to create a 'foundation' of rocks and boulders, upon which the tents and other structures can be built. Today's expedition teams camping at Base Camp also have facilities such as electricity, showers and the internet.
Once the trekking season is underway, Base Camp really comes to life. Its 'citizens' are a diverse group, including not just Sherpa and international mountaineers, but also scientists, who can take advantage of the camp's conditions to conduct research that would be hard to do elsewhere, and religious leaders offering blessings to climbing teams. The community spirit that exists even at this altitude is part of what makes the camp so special.