It is shocking to see some climbers arriving at Everest Base Camp without proper preparation for climbing the highest summit on earth.
Without the knowledge, experience, and skill to climb Everest is like wasting money, effort, and time. One must also take seriously the danger of losing life or getting injured.
During one of my expeditions on Everest, I remember that one person did not even have a down-suit. Instead, he brought a regular down jacket and pants to climb Everest. Is this the company’s mistake that organized his Expedition by not providing proper guidelines, or his not getting the appropriate knowledge required for Everest?
Hence, based on my experience of climbing Everest 7 times, here are three valuable ways to prepare the best for Everest
CHOOSING THE RIGHT EXPEDITION COMPANY:
Why choose the company first?
Everest is your goal; therefore, you need a reliable, competent, experienced expedition organizer to achieve your goal.
First and foremost, you decide the year you think to venture for Everest. Then, once you confirm the year, research the companies offering the Everest packages. The best will be if you get a recommendation from someone.
There are hundreds of Everest organizing companies in the market; choosing a budget company might put your life more at risk. Indeed, most of the accidents on Everest occurred to those who paid a minimal price.
Once you are confident about the organizer, ask him specific questions to clear up your doubts, such as:
- Is the departure confirmed?
- The final amount of the trip and if extra, what happens?
- How many climbers in the team?
- How many climbing Sherpa per participant? Are they experienced? Does the climbing Sherpa know how to properly handle the oxygen and mask regulator? Does the Sherpa speak English or not? how many oxygen bottles Sherpa receives?
- What kind of oxygen and mask regulator is included in the price? How many bottles?
- What about weather forecasts?
- Any particular recommendation for participants according to Government norms?
After various questions, your doubts must have disappeared, and now it’s time to work on yourself. It brings us to our second phase of preparation, which is:
ANALYZING YOUR BODY IN THE ALTITUDE
The human body is mysterious. But, being the same species, how different we are genetical. Though I do not know much about biology, some points are clear regarding human adaptation to the environment. For example, being born at an altitude of 3600 meters, my body adapts perfectly well to such height. Similarly, it is not the same for people from a lower altitude.
But, somehow, someday, if I live in a humid and hot place, my body probably needs a good time to adapt to that environment, which my body is not meant for.
Likewise, you are venturing to the highest point of the world, but you are not born at 5000 meters. Therefore it is a plus point to test your body at altitude before your Everest Expedition.
But how to do it?
Take the example of bread; if you want to eat 700 grams of whole bread, you have to slice one at a time. In the same way for Everest, first, we start to hike at 4000 meters; climbing Mont Blanc could be an excellent introductory of altitude for your body. Focus intensely on how your body feels at that altitude. Did you have a headache? If yes, how intense? How was your breathing? After analyzing all this, it’s time to go higher if you feel comfortable.
There are a couple of choices for initial climbs, such as Kilimanjaro or Mount Elbrus. Still, I highly recommend doing a 6000-meter peak in Nepal, like Island Peak or Lobuche Peak. Because these summits are located close to Everest, scaling one gives you the first experience of Himalayan expeditions. Similarly, it also boosts your passion for Everest.
Above 6000 meters, you will pretty much understand how your body is reacting at altitude. However, some people are not at all built for high altitudes. So it will be a waste of time, effort, and money if you are one of them. For example, I highly recommend a climbing experience on Himlung or Manaslu before coming to Everest.
I have experienced in my long expedition career that people who have done some expeditions before Everest feel much more confident during the climb.
FITNESS, SKILL & RESEARCH
Besides avalanches, most of the accidents on Everest are due to exhaustion and high altitude sickness. And lack knowledge of handling oxygen and mask regulators. As the legend says, the fitter, the better on the mountain. Although I am not a fitness expert, through my experiences, I suggest doing regular fitness training six months before departing. Six months of physical exercise and your climbing experience in Nepal turn your summit chances much higher.
There are a couple of advantages for the fittest climbers on Everest.
- Your oxygen consumption and time spent on the mountain during the summit hours are less than others.
- You can overpass the slower climbers, so you are not stuck in the traffic.
- You are likely to reach the summit early to enjoy the sunrise.
- You might see the shadow of Everest, which one sees only a few minutes in the early morning.
- After the summit, you descend directly to Camp-II to avoid spending more hours at a higher altitude. When tired, it is risky to spend more hours at altitude.
- Also, you are not putting your Sherpa’s life at risk.
- You will be much more robust to cope with sudden unexpected bad weather.
- Chances of frostbite will be significantly less.
WHAT KIND OF FITNESS?
As I mentioned earlier, I am not an expert in physical training. However, I suggest doing cardio exercise, such as running, cycling, and swimming, regularly and at least six months before departing for your Expedition. And also, some specific muscle-building training. Long hikes, mainly uphill with a heavy backpack, are best for preparation.
Finally, I found that breathing exercise 5 minutes a day is also beneficial.
Last but not least, a 12-minute meditation a day to deal with stress and anxiety.
These days one of the trendings is Hypoxic training (also known as low oxygen training). It seems pretty effective for high-altitude mountaineering.
SKILLS & RESEARCH
You must have advanced mountaineering skills, that’s for sure. But ladder crossing with crampons is also an essential skill you need to learn.
Many parts of the climbing route are with jumar. Hence, knowledge of jumar technic, particularly with big gloves, can be an excellent learning skill. Especially you require it on the summit day.
More research on climbing Everest would benefit you, such as:
- research on the gears you need;
- research on how to prepare the best for Everest;
- research on first Aid Kits
You can find lots of articles, books, and youtube documentaries on these topics. One of my favorite documentaries on Everest is “SHERPAS: true Heroes of Mount Everest.” I highly recommend watching it. It gives you a glimpse of the camps, climbing Sherpas, and the Everest route, which may help you prepare mentally.
CONCLUSION: I emphasize that these three above points, Fitness, Skills, and Research, are essential for every Everest Expedition preparation.
Last but not least, it also plays a crucial role in other life goals. What do you think?
Overall, these are among the 3 ways to prepare the best for Everest, according to my experience. Proper preparation will boost your confidence at a higher level during your Everest expedition. Of course, people might forget things while preparing for big Expeditions; in the end, we are humans and make mistakes.
Training every day with discipline and learning the skills you require for Everest might be hard to do now, but your effort pays off at the end of the day.
Here is the link EVEREST EXPEDITION if you would like to know more about Everest expeditions history, package, or climbing route
What are your thoughts on these 3 ways to prepare for the Everest Expedition? Do you have any tips or advice that I didn’t mention in this post?