Most people know that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Most people, however, do not decide they want to see Mount Everest in person. Yet, that is exactly what Bill, in his mountain obsessiveness, decided to set as a goal for himself/us.
About two years ago, he proposed the idea, and I was silly enough to say “Sure”. (It did help that the books I had for doing my research on the area had spectacular photos that grabbed my attention.) And so the planning began!
First came the decision of which side to attempt – Tibet or Nepal. We decided to go with Nepal. Sure it took 8 days of trekking to get there instead of 3, but the assurance that we could enter the country (had we chosen Tibet we could have run the risk that China would have banned foreign visitors for the time we were expected to travel), and the comfort of knowing we would have more time for acclimatization (starting at roughly 9,300 feet in Lukla instead of nearly 12,000 feet in Lhasa) were two very good reasons to go to Nepal.
When it came time to book our airfare, we had the unfortunate realization that Delta had changed their mileage redemption requirements and we would need 50,000 more miles than previously planned. (This change coming merely days before our planned dates would be open for booking.) None-the-less, we applied for a new credit card and replaced our furnace – something that was due to be required sooner than later anyway.
With our airfare booked, it was time to fill in the details, starting with choosing the start date for our trek. We were scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on September 25th and depart October 13th. To optimize our time, we chose to start trekking on September 26th. This would allow for extra time in case of flight delays to or from Lukla (which we knew happened often), and also provide flexibility during the trek – should we need to take more time to acclimate along the way. We then had to decide on which trekking company to hire. I narrowed it down to 4 or 5 companies and we ultimately chose Imperial Nepal.
Our package with Imperial Nepal included three nights accommodation in Kathmandu and guided tours of Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath Temple, and Boudhanath in Kathmandu. I added a day tour to Bugamati and Khokana, ending with a tour of Patan’s Durbar Square. We stayed overnight at the Boutique Heritage Home in Patan and then were picked up and taken to the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu to stay for the two remaining nights before heading home.
With the itinerary in place, it was time to be sure we owned and packed the proper gear and supplies. Some of the key items we took with us include:
Knowing we would be going multiple days without showers, we were sure to pack a substantial number of baby wipes. Thanks to a recommendation from one of our friends, we sought out the fresh smelling cucumber baby wipes from Target.
Not knowing exactly how cold the temperatures would be at any given time (thankfully they weren’t bad the majority of the time), we heeded all recommendations of clothing listed on sample packing lists for the region to help keep us warm. While we only used them a couple times, our balaclavas certainly came in handy. Living in the midwest, they will also be valuable for years to come. A scarf and hat in one – what more efficient way to keep your head and neck warm!
Meat, with the exception of canned tuna, was off limits after our first day of hiking. (The result of all meat in the region being carried in for days with no refrigeration.) The Kirkland Signature Premium Beef Steak Strips Jerky was the closest to meat we would get for 11 days.
Protection from the sun was at the top of my list of concerns. As a result, I put a BUFF UV Multifunctional Headband on my Christmas list and it was far more than just protection from the sun. It was a great ear and head covering, headband, and buffer (no pun intended) for breathing the cold air as well. It helped that it’s pretty cute, too.
Clif Bars – LOTS of Clif Bars
You could say we should have bought stock in Clif Bars before we left. I believe we took 20-30 Clif Bars between the two of us. After all, we needed to be prepared in case the food was not favorable to our taste buds or our stomachs. Our dominant flavors of choice: Chocolate Brownie, Cool Mint Chocolate, and Berry Pomegranate Chia.
Darn Tough socks
I cannot say enough about these socks. They are comfortable, durable, and light weight. They come in fun colors and fabrics, too! Read more in “Never buy socks again”.
An absolute necessity to hold the essentials (water, sunscreen, sun hat, snacks, toilet paper) you may need each day.
Deck of Cards
MUST HAVE! Used nearly every night. It was fun teaching others the games of my childhood. The two popular choices – Kings Corners and 31.
Fruit Snacks & Energy Chews
To have some variety in snacks, Bill took fruit snacks. I chose to take Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews for myself. My flavor of choice: Pomegranate Passion Fruit. I figured they would be healthier than fruit snacks, and they definitely did seem to give me a boost of energy during a few times when I was wiped out.
A much needed treat at the end of a long day of hiking! The chosen flavors: Orange and Glacier Freeze.
The gloves we chose were rated for cold weather, but did not do the job as well as we had hoped. If you plan to hike to Everest Base Camp, be sure to buy high quality gloves that are rated for cold weather and have good reviews if you can.
Although not frequently used, our Black Diamond Head Lamps were highly beneficial during the times when we had no power at the tea houses higher up.
While the locals are seen carrying refrigerators on their backs wearing sandals, I do not recommend doing the same. Bill and I both wore our KEEN Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots throughout the entire trek. And I know my feet were thanking me in the end!
Honey Stinger Energy Waffles
Having been on a flight in which they provided stroopwafels as a complimentary snack, I purchased a few of the Honey Stinger Energy Waffles for Bill as a Christmas gift (primarily to help meet the purchase limit to receive free shipping). He liked them so much he decided to buy more and take them as snacks for the trip. His flavors of choice: Chocolate and Honey.
Fast drying, non-cotton T-shirts, a variety of base layer pants and shirts, fleece tops, hiking pants, rain jackets, and insulated vests were the majority of what we packed for clothing.
Imperative for helping lips brave the cold and sun. Bill and I were first introduced to Eco Lips Sport SPF 30 on one of our trips to Grand Teton National Park. And it has been a favorite ever since.
Multi Plug Power Adaptor
Wanting to make the most of the limited power resources we knew would be available in the mountains, I searched for options that would help us keep our cameras, phones, and SteriPEN charged along the way. Lucky for us, we were watching videos to prepare for the trip and came across a video by Bearfoot Theory that included the Poweradd Travel Power Adapter Kit. Her recommendation seemed ideal – and it was! Having the ability to charge up to 5 things at one time was a life saver.
Patagonia Barely Bikini
Hiking 5-7 hours a day with uncomfortable underwear riding up all the time would have been miserable. Enter Patagonia Barely Bikini Briefs. Buy them now, thank me later.
A true life saver! Reference “A girl’s best friend” for more details.
In case we encountered extreme lack of electricity resources, we also purchase the BioLite SolarPanel 5+ to be sure we didn’t run out of battery power along the way.
After trying iodine tablets in our water bladders during our 2010 attempted summit of Grand Teton in Wyoming, and hating the bitter taste they left behind, we knew we had to find an alternative water filtering system. The SteriPEN Ultra USB Rechargeable Portable, Handheld UV Water Purifier was absolutely perfect! And the USB charging was far more convenient than needing to replace batteries. Although it never did fully lose its charge.
We expected the sun to be bright and were familiar with the term “snow blind”, but the reality of what that term means doesn’t set in until you experience it. The higher we went, the more intense it became. The brightness was so intense we couldn’t even lookout the windows of the tea houses without sunglasses on.
To shade our faces and eyes from the intense sun.
Being fair skinned I’m always mindful of wearing sunscreen when I know I will be outdoors for several hours. With the restriction of only being allowed to carry on liquid containers of 3 ounces or smaller, Bill and I opt to purchase larger bottles and fill travel sized containers to take with us.
We took two full rolls with us as well as two rolls of Packable Camp Toilet Tissue and came home with only a third of a travel roll remaining. We could have purchased toilet paper after we arrived, but preferred to have at least one comfort from home.
To ensure we had small, lightweight, quick drying towels, we ordered two medium-sized PackTowl Personal Towels. I now use mine at work as a hand towel to cut back on using paper towels every time I use the restroom.
A necessity for long hikes. Especially hikes that span 12 days and take 5-7 hours per day. Drinking out of a tube is not ideal, but much more convenient and less messy while walking.
We each brought a 32-Ounce Nalgene Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle for ease of filtering our water and filling our water bladders.
More posts from our trip coming soon!
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