Everest Base Camp
Resilience Is Key
Most ‘standard’ itineraries to Everest Base Camp (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.
Having been to EBC at least 12 times now (and facilitated countless others), 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 ‘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 not just a case of adding extra time either, it’s also where. Our job is to get this right, for you.
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.