Manage episode 213471036 series 1207151
Everest Base Camp Trek Tips
The Everest Base Camp Trek: could you do it? Could you conquer it, on your own, independently and with two kids? That's what Ronnie and Any Jones have done. When most people attempt the Everest Base Camp hike, they buy loads of equipment and/or hire a tour company and guides to help them make it happen. Not the Jones family. In this episode, we talk to them about how they managed to do the Everest Base Camp Trek on their own, without porters or a travel agency.
If you've ever dreamed of Everest Base Camp hike, then listen in. It's not for the faint of heart, but they loved it so much they've made new plan to hike the Himalayas again.
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The Everest Base Camp Trek - Independently & With Kids
The Everest Base Camp Trek. AKA the "EBC." Many try it. Many fail. Hiking the Himalayas is a challenge for anyone. Hiking the Himalayas as a suburban family with no prior experience? That's another thing entirely. But that's what Ronnie and Any Jones decided to do. It was one of the most meaningful experiences their family's had thus far in their adventures.
The Everest Base Camp Trek (a.k.a. the EBC) is no small feat, but once they decided to take on the challenge, they found a way to make it work. In this episode, I talk to Ronnie and Any about how they planned their Everest Base Camp Hike. We discuss why they chose to do the Everest Base Camp hike independently rather than going through a large and expensive travel agency.
Looking for Backpacks & Other Travel Gear?
IN THIS EPISODE
- 03:07 The Family RV that started it all
- 07:11 Arriving in Nepal & illness
- 12:20 The Most Dangerous Airport in the World
- 14:41 Altitude Sickness when hiking in the Himalayas
- 21:06 Planning & Resources for Hiking in the Himalayas
- 23:46 Training for the Everest Base Camp trek
- 26:39 Money & Hiking the EBC Independently
- 43:00 Things to You Need to Hike the EBC
- 53:12 The Positives of Doing the Everest Base Camp Hike together
- Names: Ronnie and Amy Jones, and their two sons
- Hold passports from: USA
- Type of travel: RV Travel, Trekking, and Long-term Travel
- A few places they've been: US National Parks, Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Nepal, and others
IN THEIR BAGS
- Buff Headwear for sun protection
- Bentonite Clay Capsules and Dr. Schulze's Products for digestive issues
LINKS & RESOURCES
- They used this blog post a lot while planning
- The highly suggest Shona's Alpine Kathmandu for outfitting yourself (no website). He describes it in more detail in the podcast.
FIND THEM ON
Hiking The Himalayas with Kids
Meet the Jones family. Less than a year ago, they were living in the United States (St. Louis, MO.) with only a Canadian Stamp in their passport. Fast-forward to the present, and they've been on the road, traveling in Asia for nearly nine months. Most of that time was spent traveling in Southeast Asia, but they had one crazy idea: walk the Everest Base Camp Trek. Unlike many who do the Everest Base Camp Trek, they decided to do it on their own. They arranged flights, acquired gear and stayed in Nepalese tea houses along the way.
They planned their Everest Base Camp hike as they traveled so that by the time they reached Nepal, they were ready. Here's how it went down.
Before the Everest Base Camp Trek — a Prelude
Long before the Everest Base Camp hike became a dream, the Jones family was living in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States. Yet they had aspirations to see more of the world. Their first step was to sell their stuff, buy an RV and travel around the US, visiting National Parks. As they traveled, hiking and trekking became something their family loved to do.
As travel in Southeast Asia became their focus, Ronnie looked online for potential places to hike. Of course, the mother of all treks appeared: the Everest Base Camp Trek. That's when Ronnie knew he wanted his family to see "The Big Guy." Mount Everest itself.
They started their Southeast Asian travels in Bali, moving on to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other exotic locales. And as they traveled, they planned their Everest Base Camp hike from afar. They had around eight months to prepare for the climb to Everest Base Camp.
Our Destinations Page Has Travel Tips for Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, & More
Why Attempt the Everest Base Camp Trek Independently?
I ask Ronnie and Amy about why they chose to do the Everest Base Camp hike on their own. Why not hire guides? Why not go through a travel company. Ronnie says that he is not discouraging people who plan their Everest Base Camp Trek with professionals. Indeed, there are many benefits to going with them. For example, if you walk the Everest Base Camp Trek with a tour company, all your flights and accommodation are taken care of by them.
In addition, you get porters, local sherpas who will carry your heaviest bags up the trail for you. According to Ronnie, there were many times along the EBC that they wished they had those porters. After all, the family has a Youtube channel to run. That means Ronnie was carrying a laptop, cameras and other electronics.
Another benefit of doing the Everest Base Camp hike with a tour group is that most things are already paid for. Since they hiked the EBC independently, they had to carry lost of cash on them.
When to Plan an Everest Base Camp Trek
According to Ronnie, there are two main Himalaya hiking seasons. Most people do the Everest Base Camp hike between May and June or during a window in November. That way, you avoid hiking the Himalayas during the rainy season or in the coldest part of the year. Their entire trip needed to fit into one of these windows.
The Benefits of Doing Everest Base Camp Hike Alone
If you can hike the Himalayas with someone carrying your stuff, why wouldn't you? Well, money is one thing. Ronnie explains that it's cheaper to do the EBC on your own. The Everest Base Camp cost isn't as high as you might think it is, and we discuss how they prepared for that as well.
That said, the real benefit of independent trekking was time. Most tours that do the Everest Base Camp hike are in and out very quickly. Ronnie and Amy wanted to give their kids — and themselves — enough time to adjust to the altitude. They wanted to be physically ready to do the EBC on their own schedule. That turned out to be the right solution for them.
Altitude Sickness (& Other Obstacles) During an Everest Base Camp Trek
Hiking in the Himalayas brings you to great heights. This is a potential hazard. One of the most dangerous aspects of hiking the Everest Base Camp trek is altitude sickness. It could come in the form of intense headaches. Or it could manifest itself as nausea. It could be both, or worse. For some, if they're not careful, hiking the Himalayas can be deadly.
Ronnie and Amy wanted to make sure they had enough time to arrive acclimate before hitting the trail. "Our secret weapon was time," he says.
This turned out to be true, as they needed that time. Perhaps it was partly due to altitude sickness, but there were other health problems as well. Murphy's Law struck. Amy and the boys both fell ill in the days and weeks leading up to their Everest Base Camp hike. They had just traveled through Thailand, Vietnam, and India with almost no health issues. Now they faced strep throat, an eye infection and digestive issues. Right as their dream of the hiking the Himalayas becomes reality.
As a consequence, they postponed their hike to EBC for a week. But they had time. Therefore, they were able to rest and recover in Kathmandu and push back the EBC trek until everyone was feeling better.
Kathmandu: The Gateway to the Everest Base Camp Trek
While in Kathmandu, the Jones family bought or rented everything they needed for the Everest Base Camp hike. They had just been traveling in Southeast Asia. Of course, they didn't want to be lugging around boots, sleeping bags, and parkas. Instead, they found everything they needed in Thamel, an area of Kathmandu that Ronnie calls "the trekking supply capital of the world." Here they rented sleeping bags, backpacks and down coats. Everything else they bought. The total cost of gear for the Everest Base Camp hike? Less than USD $1,000, and that's for a family of four.
According to Ronnie, it's completely possible to hire your own guides and porters from here. There were plenty of capable, certified guides and porters for hire. Just makes sure they're certified, he says.
The Most Dangerous Airport in the World
Ronnie describes flying into Lukla, which is often known as "the most dangerous airport in the world. There's a mountain on one side of the runway. There's a cliff on the other. Flying in on small prop-planes, the pilots have to get it right. It didn't help that there were still some rough bellies on the flight, but they made it.
Training for the Everest Base Camp Trek
Hiking the Himalayas requires strength and endurance. So how did this family from St Louis prepare to walk the EBC while on the road? Part of their training, Ronnie says, is simply finding as many hikes and treks as they traveled. Another crucial component was Insanity Max 30. The family did this high-intensity workout program every day for the two months leading up to flying to Nepal.
Gear: What They Needed for the EBC (and What They Didn't)
I asked Ronnie and Amy about specific hiking gear or other things that were essential to their Everest Base Camp Hike. Aside from boots and clothing, what did you need? And what didn't you need to hike the Himalayas?
One of the most important items in their bags were supplements that they refer to as "stoppers" and "goers." And when I say "stoppers" and "goers," this is all about the toilet. Sometimes you need to go. Then there were other times where your body wants to go, but you're hiking the EBC and need to stop that urge quickly. When you're eating a steady diet of Dal Baht (lentils and rice), that can affect people differently. They used bentonite clay and supplements from Dr. Schulze's line to control this on the hike.
Sunscreen and water were other essential items for hiking the Himalayas and other high-altitude places. The sun along the Everest Base Camp hike will scorch any exposed skin. By the same token, the thin, dry air can dehydrate someone much faster than they think. This goes double if you're hiking uphill for hours and hours each day.
Another sun protector they mentioned is a buff. Somewhere between a scarf and a neck-warmer, a buff makes it easy to cover your neck, ears, and face when needed.
Surprisingly, one thing Ronnie says he didn't need was a big, nice flashlight. The extra weight was a burden and they ended up using the light on their phones at night anyway. Go figure!
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What's Next After Hiking the EBC?
The Jones family is already planning their next big Himalaya hike. This time, they're going to K2 in Pakistan. And they're not going alone. Fellow family travel blogger (and friend of the show) Alyson Long and her family will be joining them.
Would you like to hike K2 with them? If so, they're looking for a third family to round out their team. If your family is interested and up to the task, get in touch. This is no walk in the park, so serious applicants only!
Have You Been to Everest Base Camp? Would You Want To?
This is a serious question. To be honest, hiking the Himalayas is not at the top of my list. Keiko and I hate cold weather, and you would just have to enjoy winter to hike the Everest Base Camp trek. Then there's the Everest Base Camp cost. For that money, I'd rather be sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere.
How about you? Are you up for hiking the Himalayas? Do you want to know how to go to Everest Base Camp? Tell us in the comments!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a hotel using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help hiking the Himalayas. Is hiking the Himalayas on your bucket list? Have you hiked in the Himalayas before? Let us know in the comments.
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