This is day 3 of my Everest Base Camp Trek Adventure. For the full series click here.
If you plan to hike Everest or any large peak, its important that you take time on your trek to properly acclimatize – get your body used to the higher altitudes. Otherwise you put yourself at risk for altitude sickness, a series ailment which can result in death. Signs of altitude sickness include headaches, dizziness, disorientation and lack of appetite.
To stay healthy, its important to not ascend more than 500 meters in one day. It’s also wise to spend at least one or two day acclimatizing with each significant increase in altitude. Everest expeditions will actually spend weeks hiking up and down the “lower” parts of the Everest Mountain as they prepare their bodies for the altitudes. If at any point during the acclimatization, your body begins showing signs of altitude sickness, you should descend to a lower point and monitor for improvements. If things stay the same or get worse, you should head down further.
Since Namche Bazar is at a somewhat considerable altitude (3,400 m) it’s a good place for an acclimatization day. While its fine (and actually a good idea) to climb to hight altitudes during this time, you should spend the night at your original altitude so your body has time to adjust and recuperate.
Lucky for us, there is a short uphill hike from Namche that provides excellent views of Everest and the surrounding mountain range. The hike was more difficult than I would have preferred for our “day of rest” but the view was absolutely worth it. I’m not a person who usually marvels at the beauty a mountains scape, but I found myself totally giddy as the peaks came into eyesight.
We spent an hour lying in the sunny grass and admiring the Himalayas. Despite the fact that from this distance Everest is dwarfed by nearer mountains, there is something about coming face to face with the world’s highest peak that thrills people. For the first time, I almost understood the drive that pulls hundred of people up to the snowy death trap each year.
Yesterday had been demoralizing – I felt cold, tired and doubtful that i was going to be able to complete this journey I had set out on. Our first glimpse of Everest turned out to be just the pick me up we needed to move forward. Everest has been inspiring people for years and today (on a much smaller scale) the giant mountain inspired me.
After our hike, we returned to our favorite coffee shop which we had discovered the day before – Cafe 8848. With comfortable chairs, warm apple pie and an ever changing choice of evening Everest- themed movies, it was a great place to get back in touch with a little slice of civilization.