Everest Base Camp
Resilience Is Key

Everest Base Camp
Resilience Is Key

Common sense will tell you that if you have no ‘fat‘ in the system, when things don’t go quite to plan, something has to give. When that applies to an Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek, it’s likely to be you reaching Base Camp safely that gives.

Most ‘standard‘ itineraries to EBC take 8 days to get there and a further 3-4 days to get back to Lukla.

In an ideal scenario it’s all you need – BUT the Everest region is far from ideal. Despite perceptions, getting to EBC is NOT a given.

You need to know what could go wrong, you need to know why, you need to be able to counter those; you need Resilience. 3 reasons NOT to shortcut EBC.

Having been to EBC into double figures (and facilitated countless others, read about us), you slowly learn the realities of what can happen and how best to deal with them or at least de-risk them as best you can.

All things being equal, there are 2 significant factors that will have a huge say in whether you reach EBC at all; the weather and the altitude. And the answer to both is Resilience because you can’t control either. If you have no ‘spare fat’ in the system (the itinerary) to call on when something happens that causes a delay (or you need to delay), it could ruin your whole trip and by that I mean not making Base Camp due to time constraints. It’s simple mathematics, you run out of days to get there and back in time to make your international flight home.

It’s not just a case of adding extra time either, it’s also where. Our job is to get this right, for you.

But what is the shortest time that you can ‘do’ Everest Base Camp?

Have a look at this profile of a standard itinerary against ours. Yes, ours is longer (more time) but the result is that we can withstand 3 whole days of delays/injury/illness time and still make Base Camp safely. Just 1 day out of a standard itinerary and you’re ‘stuffed’!

Delays to/from Lukla must be taken into account. Lukla is cited to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world. The pilots are very skilled and it’s all done using the eyeball, no automatic pilot landings here! If the cloud rolls in and the runway becomes obscured, they simply don’t land (or even take off from Kathmandu). But when they do, it’s like bees around a honeypot, busy, busy, busy, they can be on the ground from as little as 10 mins from unload to reload and gone.

Suffice to say that if the weather is unkind, the domestic flights to Lukla will be at least delayed if not cancelled for that day. For those unfortunate enough to experience a days delay, and on a tight itinerary with no resilience built in, it can mean you won’t make EBC in time to get back down again to meet your flight. You simply run out of time. And that’s not good given the time and money you have spent.

Medical records show that at least 1 extra day of acclimatisation significantly increases your chance of reaching any high altitude destination and EBC is no exception. Anyone who has spent any time at altitude will tell you this. Read more about high altitude trekking and acclimatisation on our Information webpage (High Altitude tab)

What about training for altitude? Read this and it tell you whether you can or not!

Maybe you’re thinking of Kilimanjaro Lemosho or Kilimanjaro Machame too? There’s no resilience there! A different kettle of fish – here’s why Kili is so tough.

More treks on our Home page.


About the Author:

Terry Crosby is the founder and co-owner of Travel and Trek Limited. He started the Company in 2005 after an long military career, which ultimately gave him the skills to set up, run, manage and develop what is now a global adventure travel company. He has extensive experience in all of the countries the company travel to and is an ex Mountain Leader and Arctic Survival Instructor.