The famed Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. It used to be called Peak XV until 1865 when it was finally given its English name. The people of Tibet called it Chomolungma. The mountain’s peak rises up to 8,848 meters above sea level. Its entire land mass covers Nuptse and Changtse.
Every year, the mountain draws trekkers and climbers to its slopes and peak, and these visits from tourists contribute to Nepal’s economy. Each climber is required to secure a permit, and this permit is not cheap. It costs US$25,000 per person.
As of 2010, the summit had been climbed 5,104 times by 3,142 persons. Out of all these, there had been 219 fatalities. Mt. Everest is not considered to be a dangerous climb. The challenges that climbers face on this mountain are altitude sickness and the weather. The death zone, which refers to altitudes of 8,000 meters and more, presents the most difficult conditions for the climbers and has claimed many lives.
Not all people who climb the mountain go to the peak. Some take treks at lower elevations. The most famous of these is the Everest Base Camp trek. It starts at upper Phakding and continues to Dudh Kosi valley. The route then ascends to Namche where trekkers can go around and explore the bazaar. This place is a well known stopover for climbers because this is where they acclimatize and buy their supplies.
From Namche, the Everest Base Camp trekking route goes to Thyangboche Monastery, which lies at an elevation of 3,867 meters above sea level. The views from the monastery are amazing especially in the morning. From here, the trek goes down to Imja Khola then proceeds to Pangboche village and Pheriche village.
The route then goes to Khumbu Glacier. Trekkers follow the route going to Lobuche and Taweche and then proceed to Gorak Shep. The route ascends to Kala Pattar, which is at 5,554 meters above sea level, and trekkers are treated to great views of Everest’s southwest face before going back down to Khumbu ice fall and finally to Lukla. The trek takes about 16 days to complete. The route is described as moderate to challenging.
If you plan to do some trekking at Mt. Everest, take note of the things you need to bring. Water disinfection drops are a necessity so you can treat the water you collect along the route and make it safe for drinking. Bring a lightweight sleeping bag so it does not add a lot of weight to your bag. Those that can protect you from temperatures of –10°C are perfect. You should also consider bringing light, soft shoes that you can use when you stop in the villages for the night. Your feet could use a break from the heavy hiking boots you wear while trekking.
For some people, Mt. Everest presents a challenge that they want to conquer. To others, the tallest mountain in the world is simply a picture of majestic beauty. One thing is sure: the great mountain will continue to attract people from all over the world.