Mount Everest is the epitome that every adventurous trekker around the world hopes to reach. The highest mountain on earth makes one wonder – how does the world look from that incredible roof? But reaching the summit is a herculean task; you require an arduous amount of mental and physical strength in order to reach that lofty height. Trekking to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp, however, is doable, and is an incredible adventure in itself , although you will still have to fight to reach a soaring height of 17,600 ft. To prepare you better to make the climb, here are some tips that will allow you to reach the Foothills of the Highest Mountain in the World.

1) Buy your equipment in Kathmandu

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Trekking poles, gloves, socks, hats etc., all these gears come at rock-bottom prices when bought locally from Kathmandu. The market is a one-stop-destination for every mountaineer who comes to Nepal to trekking up to the Everest Base Camp(EBC). If by chance you need something or have forgotten it, the market in Kathmandu has it all.

2) Bring candies, quick snacks and protein bars

While trekking in the mountain you lose a great amount of energy as you will be walking daily for around 6-7 hours. So, to give your body a shoot up of instant energy, protein bars and chocolates do wonders. These quick snacks are also available on the trek, but you have to spend a lot of money every time you have hunger pangs.

3) Pack Tang

To avoid high altitude sickness, you need to be hydrated and require at least 2-litres of water every day. To be honest, it gets boring after a while, so mixing Tang in your water will help you drink more water and it will also not taste bad or boring.

4) Get purification tablets

Help your pocket and the environment by getting water purification tablets, or you can carry SteriPens as well. Simply fill your bottle for free from anywhere and add the purification tablets. SteriPens also work great, using ultraviolet light to purify water in 30 seconds.

5) Pack a book

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Trekking to EBC takes a lot of time and sometimes it gets pretty boring when you are relaxing at the campsite. You can indulge in some good read to pass time and trust you will love reading midst the high mountains. Tip: You can buy books at Namche Bazar or Kathmandu as well.

6) Get handi-wipes

You won’t be showering for good 15-20 days, as in -10 degree Celsius it gets quite daunting to take a bath. So wet-wipes come to your rescue and shoo away the bad body odor. Carry sanitizers too as you will be trekking in dirt going up and down, on bumpy paths, so sanitizers are the best way to keep your hands clean. Also, do not litter around the used wipes, please carry portable dustbin. Keep the Himalayas clean and green.

7) Give Yaks and Sherpa’s way at all time

While trekking, if you see yaks or Sherpas coming your way, stand aside and give them way. You don’t want to be thrown down from a cliff. Also, the Sherpas and the porters work very hard to supply food and other stuff to the every base camp. Do your bit by helping them in making the route clear and free from obstacles as they carry loads of kilograms on their back.

8) Keep batteries close to your body

Whenever, you are trekking keep the batteries close to your body. Keep it in the inner pocket or wherever you feel safe because at high altitude the batteries drain faster and you don’t want to come back with no pictures at all. You can charge your batteries at some halt points, but you will have to pay loads of money (Rs 350 approx.) per hour to do so. Also, remember to keep your batteries in your sleeping bags as the temperature dips very quickly at night. Carry extra batteries if you want to be on safe side.

9) The best views comes at early morning

Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

Try to wake up early in the morning to get the perfect views of the lofty mountains. At noon, the clouds comes as an obstacle to your view. You can see Mt. Everest at very few points, Namche Bazaar and Tengboche gives the best views of the mighty mountain. Take photos to make it a memory for a lifetime.

10) It is not a race, take your time

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Get acclimatize to the altitude, take extra day if you need, walk slow and drink plenty of water. Nobody will ask you how long you took to reach EBC. They are going to be happy and amazed that you reached the base. Walk at your own pace, enjoy each moment because this adventure will be the best of all.

11) Carry a good first-aid kit

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We always recommend that our trekkers carry their personal first-aid box, containing any medicines they might require, because there is no guarantee that you will get the right kind of medicine in an emergency. Make sure to have pain relievers, lip balm and sunscreen. Diamox is another necessary medicine for avoiding high-mountain sickness. Many people take it before the trek, but we don’t recommend it unless the trek leader or the doctor on site advice it.

12) Pack well but less in weight

Keep it light!
Keep it light!

It is necessary for you to pack well that leads in less kilograms. Pack only those things that are really required on the trek. Try packing a few times before your trek and make sure the weight do not exceed to more than 15 kg. It will be great if you pack till 10 kg, because it is only you who will have to carry it all to the base camp. Porters are there to carry your other belongings. Tips: You can climb upstairs with your 10-15 kg backpack a few times to let your body adjust to the weight.

13) Useful tips for women

Girls, please make sure you tie your hair, do not leave it open. You will be trekking in dirt and you also won’t be able to take a bath. So if you leave your hair open, by the end of the trek you will have dreadlocks and you might have to cut your hair. So make a braid or tie it in a pony or a bun, choose whatever you feel comfortable in. Same goes for men if they have long hair.

Another tip for Women – please carry period pain tablets, and make sure you carry biodegradable pads or tampons if you are not comfortable using menstrual cups. At high-altitudes, you may get periods prior to your date. Also, make sure you discard the used pads in dustbin, if not, the biodegradable pads are preferable due to unavailability of dustbin at some locations.

14) Best views of Everest on the flight to Lukla

Lukla

Make sure you book your seat either at the front or back of the plane on the left-hand side to get amazing views of the highest mountain in the world. You can glimpse Mount Everest even before your trek, and the views from the plane will get you charged up for the upcoming adventure.

15) Relish each moment

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You are one of the few lucky people in the world that gets to experience this, enjoy every moment and appreciate every moment you can. You might suffer, you might get tired but the rewarding views at Everest Base Camp is just worthy for each of your effort.

When it comes to trekking, nothing could be more enthralling than the Markha Valley trek in Ladakh. It is also known as ‘Tea House Trek’. An awesome 8-day trek amid cold desert develops both thrill and excitement in the land encompassing exotic flora and fauna, high passes, deep and shaved gorges, and fluttering colourful Buddhist flags. While embarking on the trek, passing the little hamlets constructed in conventional style is a unique experience in itself as it provides a closer view of Ladakh’s lifestyle and culture. A sight of the vibrant rock figures against white dancing clouds and majestic mountains like Kang Yissay, Stok and Zanskar are always of interest for the trekkers.

Trail on the Markha Valley Trek
Trail on the Markha Valley Trek

Despite being a tricky trek that includes long hours walk, brook crossings, sharp ascents and descents, it is a must-try for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers!

Altitude: 5130 m
Trekking Distance: 75 km
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Nearest Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Base Camp: Spituk
Best Time to Trek: Mid June to September

Long story short: Markha Valley Trek Explained
The trek offers astounding views of Markha Valley and several other peaks. Initial two days will be spent becoming accustomed to the cold place where temperature even falls below 0 degrees. Also, travellers can explore Leh Palace, forts, museums, Buddhist monasteries and local markets. Next day, following the way to Ganda La (4800 m), reach stunning Markha Village where the night will be spent in a camp.

Next day, drive to the village of Spituk and then hike towards Zingchen to reach a green dale named Yurutse. On day 4, after ascending for 4 hours, reach Siku passing Ganda La. From Siku, come back to Markha village, following the route along with River Markha. On day 6, move towards Thachungtse for an overnight stay. Go after a gradual descent and reach Nimaling. Shang Sumdo will be the last trekking destination, from here, a trekker will move towards Leh.

Trekking Gear Essentials for Markha Valley Trek

  • Trekking shoes and trekking pole
  • Warm clothes/Mosquito repellent
  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Extra pair of woolen socks/ Raincoat/Gloves
  • Sunscreen Lotion/ Sunglasses/Lip balm
  • Water Bottles/Energy drink and bars
  • Emergency Medical Kit

Itinerary Breakdown: My Meeting with Mountains and Dancing Clouds
Being an adventure enthusiast and a firm believer of Buddhism for years, I feel Ladakh is more than just a tourist destination. A blend of colorful monasteries, dome-shaped stupas and a serene barren landscape offer an ideal glimpse of Buddhist culture. So this time, when I visited Ladakh with my friends, we planned to hit the Markha Valley referred as ‘The Land Of The Passes’. The trek gave us a chance to explore the Hemis National Park and meet our nomadic brethren.

Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa

Day 1: We boarded our flights to Leh at 7 am. A flight to Leh is always a feast for the eyes as it offers the mesmerizing views of snow-capped mountains. Moreover, landing is an adventure in itself as the airport strip is flanked by the mountains on both sides. Our tour representative was waiting for us outside the airport, when we met him, he greeted us with flowery headband saying “O-Jullay!”(You’re welcome). He took us to our pre-booked hotel and later briefed us about the trek itinerary.

As Leh is encompassed by three Himalayan ranges – Ladakh, Karakoram and Zanskar, there was nothing to wait for! We kept the luggage in a storeroom and went out to explore the valley that boasts several wonderful attractions including Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, Shanti Stupa and Stok Monastery. After visiting some places, we came back to the hotel around 5 pm. In the late evening, we took a stroll to Moti Market near Leh Bus Stand, from where I bought two jackets and we all had the yummiest momos ever! The night was spent in the hotel.

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

Day 2: As told by our tour representative, we had to stay at Leh today as well, in order to acclimatize to the cold weather, height and declining oxygen levels. After having Ladhaki butter tea and sandwiches, we thought to explore more of Leh before Markha Valley trek begins. On our way, we witnessed the beauty of the Ladakh plateau. Our driver took us to the Thiksey Monastery, located around 22 km from Leh. It was the most striking monastery complexes that I have ever seen, though, it reminded me of Potala Palace in Lhasa. We consumed lip-smacking authentic Tibetan food in its restaurant.

Shey Palace
Later, we visited Shey Place too, which was located on a hillock in Shey. We returned to the hotel by evening for another overnight stay.

Spituk

Day 3: Next morning, we woke up to a stunning view of sunrise amidst the hill and lush green fields. After having breakfast, we put our rucksack on and met our tour guide who was waiting for us in a car, just outside the hotel. The trek began with a drive and gradually we crossed Zinchen Gorge, which is an extended desolate desert.

Within next two hours, we reached Spituk Village where we had a cup of coffee. Afterwards, we hiked to an easy slope and arrived at Zingchen in next 1 hour. It was a lush-green valley, amid rocky and sandy hilly landscape, and Zingchen is the place where the River Rumbak surges into the River Indus. From here, we trekked through green barley fields and beautiful streams. On reaching Yurutse, we saw that beautiful campsite was arranged by our guide. We stayed there overnight.

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Western Flank, Stok Kangri

Day 4: On this day, we explored the beauty of Hemis National Park and we were fortunate enough that we got to see a rare sight of Ladhaki Ural (mountain goat) and argali (a Tibetan Sheep). Also, the park is home to snow leopard, blue sheep, wolf and red fox. We continued walking alongside the bed of wild roses and through a valley embellished with colorful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the cool breeze.

It took us around 2 hours to reach Ganda La,  situated at the height of 4900 m. We stayed here for a while and I also captured some beautiful views in my DSLR. Later, we descended to Skiu, we realised that the sight of terrain is turning rough and rocky. In around 4 hours, we reached to Skiu, which is situated at the confluence of rivers Markha and Shgri Nala. We paid a visit to Skiu Monastery after which we enjoyed a beautiful sight of a sunset from the top of the valley. Magnificent views of Stok Kangri and Stok range dazzled us.

Day 5: It was quite an easy day trek, along with the banks of the Markha River. Enroute, there were several green willow thickets and barren cliffs. We visited religious shrines at Lhatos and saw a wide range of stone inscriptions at Mani Walls. We crossed River Markha and reached to a beautiful village, Markha. There were 15-20 houses, a monastery and fort. 

Later, we were told that about 3 km above, there is a Dhaba run by the Women’s Association of Ladakh, where one can get buck-thorn juice and traditionally made wheat biscuits. We tried to talk to the locals with the help of our guide as no one knows how to speak Hindi or English there. We stayed in village quarters.

Day 6: Next day, we followed the trail that took us to Markha Valley. We captured several pictures of ancient monasteries including Techa and ruined castles. We reached Umlung in two hours. Gradually, we crossed Kang Yaste and Hangskar which is the last village in the valley. Here, we had a cup of tea and snacks. From here, we walked through a steep and rocky ascent that brought us to Thachungtse campsite.

Day 7: Today, we had to walk around 6 km. We woke up early today and after breakfast, we headed toward a stunning plateau of Nimaling. After 2 hours of climbing, we reached to a pond where we filled our empty water bottles. Following a grassy pastureland, we reached Nimaling. There were eye-catching streams on my left and to the right, it was the grand Kang Yatse peak. I also clicked pictures with herders who brought their cattle for grazing. Here, we enjoyed a bonfire night at the campsite and Ladakhi delicacies such as Thupka, Tigmo, Skyu and Khambir.

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Day 8: We were quite sad today as it was going to be the last day of trekking. But as rightly said, one journey has to end to begin another, we moved downward towards Shang Valley. We stayed there for 15 minutes. Later, we crossed Kongmaru La, which was the highest pass on the Markha Valley trek. This peak offers impressive views of Ladakh Range and Indus Valley. In next 2 hours, we reached Shang Valley and a course from here took us to the last trekking spot, Shang Sumdo. In a taxi, we came back to Leh and spent the night in the hotel.

Day 9: With a heavy heart and lots of memories, we drove to the Leh airport.

While you are at it, don’t forget to visit these cafes! 

  • Tibetan Kitchen
  • German Bakery
  • Dzomsa
  • Open Hand Cafe
  • Lala’s Cafe

It was truly a beautiful and culturally rich experience! Everyone should explore the hidden beauty of Ladakh. So, go ahead and give a chance to the serenity of the Markha Village to take away your stress and fears.

Great people have dubbed the hike to Everest as the “stairs to heaven,” and rightly so. Wrapped in wonderment and thin air, this monument of nature sees travelers from all around the globe, exploring the nearby monasteries and bazaars if not the base camp itself. Naturally, this beacon of glory only deserves the bravest of trekkers to even imagine what an experience it must be to even feel the mountain air that surrounds it, to scale the height and make a life-altering journey to the roof of the world. Here is a list of the most basic to slightly advanced requirements for deciding if you should even consider going on the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek. This should not be treated as a final word; it is advised that you speak to your doctor and a professional trekker before you decide on making this incredible hike.

everest-base-camp-trek_14397983871. Are You Experienced Enough?
For reasons very simple, more experience with high altitude – especially altitude that can be compared to EBC’s (29,028 ft) – will mean you are already mentally and physically equipped to deal with this to a significant extent. More experience reduces the chances of distress calls that you are most likely to face on a trek like this. With temperature that drops as low as -60 degree Celsius in the coldest month of the year, only trekkers of advanced calibre are advised to do this.

Everest Base Camp
A view of the mighty Everest from the Base Camp

2. Do you have the level of strength it takes to make it to EBC?
Recognize your strengths if you dream of climbing the highest mountain of the world:

a) You are generally fit with no life-threatening diseases that may or may not be elevated due to high altitude (eg. heart disease, lung disease).
b) You have a great skill in walking for long hours. You will be required to trek for 4-10 hours with sufficient breaks on the EBC trek. The key to surviving this is sustained effort.
c) You have a passion for trekking. It is very important to stay focused and inspired throughout this trek.
d) You appreciate team work. Know that taking on this journey with a few more interested people will inspire you and help you in crucial conditions that you are bound to face on this heck of a trek! 

EBC Trek

3. Have you recognized the areas you have to work on?
All humans are fallible and all of us have our faults. However, you need to start planning ahead immediately and  ramp up your physical fitness training regime at least 6 months prior to the trek.

 If you have a potential health risk from a heart or lung disease, unfortunately, you will not be allowed to undertake this journey. If you are a smoker or someone who regularly drinks, it will be considerably tougher for you to accomplish this feat as compared to other people who are in a better physical position to deal with the stress of high altitude trekking. Smoking will impair your breathing skills at high altitudes and drinking or influence of any other substance impairs judgement which is a potential health risk again.  

4. Do you understand how important acclimatization is?
Please note that Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a real health danger triggered by high altitude. High altitude, lower oxygen levels, and low air pressure coupled with exertion leads to AMS, generally felt after 8000 ft and above. The symptoms will include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Most instances of altitude sickness are mild and heal quickly. In rare cases, altitude sickness can become severe and cause complications with the lungs or brain.

Namche Bazaar
Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

To combat with all this, steady acclimatization to high altitude by spending one day or two at some areas before you begin trekking or while trekking is absolutely necessary. Pick itineraries that heed this advice and allow you enough time to acclimatize properly in order to avoid health problems. Generally, an EBC trek should take you 13-20 days to complete. 

5. Do you have all the essential trekking gear that you need to bring with you?

a. Sunglasses + Sunscreen

b. Clothing (Base=Thermal wear + First Layer=Warm Trekking T-shirt/Trousers + Second Layer=Fleece jacket + Third Layer= Waterproof Shell Jackets you need in case it is especially cold/rains)

c. Headwear (Hats and buffs to keep your head and face warm to avoid catching disease)

d. Gloves (Inner + Outer Insulated)

e. Footwear (2 pairs of thermal hiking socks + Hiking shoes. You can also get leg gaiters!)

f. Bags and Backpacks (Keep it waterproof!)

g. Sleeping Gear

h. Trekking Poles

i. Medications and Toiletries (A first aid box is necessary. You should also carry medicines for relieving any slight to serious AMS symptoms.)

What you need to bring
What you need to bring

6. Do you have a fair idea about nutrition on this trek?
Consider this very important. Nutrition is extremely important in order to complete the trek in a healthy condition. A proper diet needs to be followed while you are trekking to EBC.

Apart from the food that your sherpas/guides will provide you at the tea-houses you stay in and it is most likely going to be a light meal that is easily digestible, you will need the following to soothe your munchies:
Herbal tea
Electrolytes
Light snack bars and energy bars
Dried fruit
Digestive biscuits

7Have you started preparing already?
Prior to the trek, almost two to three months before the actual trek, you will have to devise an effective exercise regime that lets you build stamina for long treks over time.

a) You can try walking for 4 to 5 kms daily for 60 days before the trek.
b) You should do some shoulder exercises like planks.  
c) Practice a bit of yoga to help improve your breathing problems, if any, and build core strength.
d) You can swim/cycle once a week to build a bit of lean muscle.

Very many encomiums written and paeans of praises sung after it, naturally, Mt Everest remains to be one of the most popular mountains in the world; thousands of trekkers decide to undertake a trek to the Everest Base Camp each year. If you think you can handle the glory of being one of those lucky ones to have scaled the skies, good luck!

One has different shades of blue and snowy peaks to allure you and the other takes you close to the world’s highest peak. Still wondering which teahouse trek to go for first? Everest base camp is a dream for anyone who gets into the flavour of trekking, Everest being the world’s highest scalable mountain peak. Annapurna main of the mighty Annapurna range is the 10th highest peak in the world. Not many know that the toughest peak to scale is also The Annapurna main and not K2.

The Everest is undeniably majestic! The world’s highest mountain overlooks the world from an altitude of more than 29000 feet above sea level. This is the highest you can get without your feet leaving the ground. I have been fascinated by it, ever since I saw it first in my general knowledge book, when I was in school. At that time, I didn’t really know the true magnificence of the giant, but over the years, as I have learnt about Everest and the Everest region, I have become more and more intrigued by it.

Some people call it Sagarmatha, while others refer to it as Chomolungma. There was even a time when it was only called Peak XV, and not many people knew about it. However, today the story is altogether different. It is perhaps the most well-known geographical feature on earth. Yes, I am talking about the mighty Everest – the highest point on earth. The pride of Nepal, the mountain peak kisses the sky at 29029 feet. Even 10 Burj Khalifas placed one above the other can’t match that height. Mt. Everest is a part of the Himalayas which didn’t just emerge overnight. It took Mother Nature millions of years to carve the rocky marvel. I guess such spectacular things do take time to form. You’d be fascinated to know that the Himalayas are still rising steadily; about a few millimeters every year.

Aah, Nepal! A trekking paradise! A country, which is home to the world’s highest mountain, needs no introduction to hikers. The country, however, is not only about high peaks, but mountain passes and lakes as well. As a general notion, Ladakh is associated with high mountain passes, but Nepal does not lag behind. It is also home to some incredible mountain passes as well as lakes. What I hope to achieve with this blog is to not only tell you about Nepal’s mountains, but also open up more hiking opportunities for you. Below are some of the most significant high passes and lakes of Nepal that one should know about.

Nepal houses the highest peak in the world, and this is one of the reasons Nepal is always crowded with trekkers. Nepal opened its gate to the outside world in 1949 when a British climber, Bill Tilman got permission from the king to trek in regions like Kali Gandaki, Helambu, and Everest. Colonel Jimmy Roberts was the first person to introduce trekking, the way we know it today, to the world. And within 8 years, 10 of the 14 peaks had been climbed. The first peak to be climbed was Annapurna in 1950, followed by Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary, and the third was Nanga Parbat. Traditionally, Sherpas believed that some mountains were God’s abode and must not be intruded upon. And so for generations they never attempted to climb Mount Everest, until a steady stream of climbers from West made mountaineering a profitable enterprise. By now Sherpas had already established a reputation as an important part of trekking in the Nepal Himalayas.

With many peaks to climb, some of them get the reputation of being exceptionally beautiful and mystical. Everest and Annapurna Peaks have been on the top of the list of the most popular treks for many years but some other treks in Nepal are worth the effort! Not only will they mesmerise with their beauty, but also get you closer to the unique culture of Nepal. After the earthquake in April 2015, Nepal has opened its gate again for trekkers, and it has regained its tourism and now it is safe to go for a trek in the region.

It’s hard to choose a trekking destination in Nepal when you have so many to pick from. We have listed some of the most popular treks in Nepal which define the beauty of the Himalayas!