List Words : Insider Secrets | 12 February

5 tips for tackling Everest Base Camp

May 2013 marks 60 years since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Mount Everest. If you're looking to make it to Base Camp this year follow these five simple tips, says Steve Wroe

1. Fitness preparation

You don't need to train 20 hours a week but a few months of training will make it easier and you'll feel more confident about your trek. Three months out is a good idea to begin aerobic exercise such as running, cycling or those funny-sounding power blast gym conditioning sessions. Core strength such as yoga really helps as well and stair walking is one of the best and most convenient training methods.

2. Hiking preparation

In the lead-up to your climb, it’s important to do a few hill walks on undulating terrain that last several hours. Not only will this build confidence but it’s a good way to test out your gear, particularly your hiking boots and day pack.

3. Take your time

While trekking, the key to avoiding AMS (acute mountain sickness) is to take your time while walking and not to push yourself too hard. Walk at a pace where you can still talk and aren't huffing and puffing. This greatly reduces the risk of getting altitude sickness and you'll actually have time to enjoy the views which is kind of the point of being there in the first place. Make sure you drink plenty of water as it's easy to dehydrate at altitude and remember to relax and enjoy yourself – you'll be fine – but stay off the booze.

4. Love your feet

Employ the 'double sock trick' and wear two pairs of socks; a thin sock liner on the inside and proper hiking socks on the outside will decrease any friction between your feet and boots, lowering the chance of getting blisters. Blisters are no fun when you’re into day 10 of your trek, believe me.

5. Choose the right company

The reason that the British climbing expedition to Everest was successful in 1953 was not just because Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were fit and strong. The behind-the-scenes logistical preparation, quality equipment and timing were all key considerations in getting the team to the top.

The same applies for today’s trekkers. For most people, hiking to Everest Base Camp is a once in a lifetime dream and therefore the most important consideration is to make sure your itinerary has enough days. We’d suggest as a minimum a 16 day tour (Lukla to Lukla 14 days) as there’s no point training for months and spending loads of money on good gear and your holiday, if you don't have enough time for proper acclimatisation. 

Our first Peregrine Adventures tour in 1977 began in the Annapurna Mountains in Nepal and more than 35 years later our local Himalayan guides are still sharing their passion and insight into this destination with travellers, so we really do know what we’re talking about!

Steve Wroe is India and Nepal Destination Manager for Peregrine Adventures, who specialise in small-group guided adventure tours and holidays worldwide.