Trekking is one of the healthiest hobbies in the world. If you are one of the people who loves trying new things in your life, then it’s time to take a leaf out of Dr. Helen’s book. The Mount Everest base camp trek and the trek on Kilimanjaro are just a couple of gems in her treasure chest! Trek on to be inspired by the feats undertaken by her.
By PROFESSOR DR HELEN B LASIMBANG
Picture this: clean air, adrenaline coursing through your body. You are away from all the crowd and the bustle of the city and experiencing solitude like never before. A profound sense of peace is descending on you. No, It is not an experience post-meditation, it is an experience you feel every time you trek to the top of a mountain, small or big. Dr. Helen is giving us a few snippets of her trekking adventures and experiences to motivate us to become the fitter self of ourselves and feel what we have never experienced before!
”The trek to Everest Base Camp is called a “trek” not
a ‘hike’.Trekking tends to be a more rigorous and
challenging activity and it tests one’s ability,
endurance, and psychological capacity.”
The Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest base camp is one of the biggest dreams that every trekker has. As the highest base camp trek of the world, Everest Base camp is in the lap of world highest mountain Mount Everest (Sagarmatha in Nepali and Chomolungma in Tibetan 8848 m).
Before you give a big sigh that this is not your cup of tea and move on, hold on for a moment. This article is precisely for you! You might think that Dr. Helen is a professional hiker and has all the time in the world to do it. No, She is as busy as everyone with her duties as a doctor in one of the busiest hospitals on Earth. It’s always about the priority in life. By pursuing your passion it helps improve your quality of life, a better relationship with others, better work performance and much more. So every now and then take one step backward, do some reflection on your priority in life and follow your passions because It boosts up your confidence and makes you feel special. Now please read on!
There is 50% less oxygen at Everest base camp than
at sea level, so it is important to have a
good itinerary, ascend slowly, rest frequently,
eat well, and drink plenty of fluids.
One definitely needs to train before attempting the EBC. EBC is at 5,364m above sea level. Most of the trekking is uphill and every day you need to trek between 4 to 8 hours meaning you are upright for that duration of time. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the trek, and less likely you have injuries.
The trek was 16 days, the actual trekking from Lukla to EBC and back to Lukla was 11 days. The other 5 days were for flight and ‘buffer’ days in case the flight from Lukla to Kathmandu is postponed due to bad weather or any other reason. The whole route was beautiful; each has its character and different experience.
The training will be at least 3 times a week, with a lot of uphill and downhill, between 1-4 hours a day. The training will follow the general rule of good shoes, increasing your distance less than 20% of your last long distance. So basically the amount of training you need depends on your level of fitness when you first start to train.
Dealing with the weather that changes every hour
The weather changes have generally been well documented so we prepare for that. If it’s dusty, you have your mask, if it rain, you have your raincoat, if it’s too cold you have your extra clothing, if you are sick, you have your basic medication. When you are doing the trekking follow what your guide says. Take it easy, enjoy the scenery!!
Altitude sickness is one of the things that we need to deal with. Altitude sickness basically is the lack of oxygen in our body. The more severe form is difficulty in breathing. The first thing to do to help prevent altitude sickness is to stay hydrated. Also, make sure you eat well and avoid alcoholic beverages.
“Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing
mountain, Uhuru peak is at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet).
It lies 205 miles from the Equator.
When early explorers reported seeing glaciers
on the top of Kilimanjaro, people did not
believe them as they thought it was impossible
for ice to form so close to the equatorial sun.”
There are 7 different routes to hike Kilimanjaro. We did the Lemosho route on 13th Sept to 21st Sept 2014. This route because it was described as beautiful, not crowded, relatively longer trekking days so better acclimatization and a better chance of success. All the routes have their own character and all will be enjoyable so it is hard to say which one is the best.
We slept in tents, in 2014 the only route that offers hut accommodation was the Marangu route. We have a dining tent, a sleeping tent, and even a portable toilet tent. It was my first-time experience of seeing a portable toilet tent. There were four of us doing this trek and we had about 20 crew following us.
All of us were truly amazed at the African government’s commitment towards the care of the aspect of the park; the environment, workers and tourist. There was no single rubbish, no plastic was allowed. The porters were also given a maximum load limit. They were not allowed to carry more than 20kg.