My latest book, Leaving Everest, is all about climbing Mount Everest. But you don’t have to be a mountaineer to explore the same amazing Himalaya region of Nepal; you can trek there, too.
(Trekking, for the uninitiated, basically means walking. Trekking is sometimes more like backpacking, but when you’re on a guided trek, the company will usually arrange for your luggage to be transported separately and all you need to carry is a small day pack.)
While I was editing Leaving Everest, Steve Tickle, trekking guide with Namaste Treks & Expeditions came here to San Diego to give a talk at a local outdoor retailer that I frequent. I lurked on afterward, eager to fact-check a few details about my manuscript. Steve was a great sport in answering my author questions, and it was pretty weird stuff like, “Have you ever seen anyone pet a yak?”
Anyway, the information in this post comes from my own research while writing Leaving Everest and from Steve’s presentation in San Diego.
Of the many gorgeous places to trek in the Nepal Himalayas, the most popular of these is the route to Everest Base Camp. While the total mileage can seem intimidating (40 miles one way), keep in mind that this distance is covered over at least nine days. The bigger challenge (and the reason it takes so long to walk that distance) is that your body needs time to acclimatize to the high-altitude air in the Himalayas, which has a much lower oxygen saturation than you are used to.
Furthermore, the air grows even thinner as you hike higher each day. By the time you reach Everest Base Camp, you will be at 17,500 feet, which is higher that the tallest mountain in the continental United States—Mount Whitney! Already being acclimatized at that point, it only takes about five days to hike the same distance on the return trip.
The weather is best for trekking in Nepal in the late spring and the early fall. With some expedition companies, you spend your nights in a tent, but with other companies, like Namaste Treks & Expeditions, you stay in Sherpa lodges and eat in the local teahouses.
In short, here’s how you can pull off your own bucket-list Himalayan trek:
- Save up money and vacation time (you’ll need nearly three weeks in all to complete the trip)
- Book with a trekking company
- Make sure you are in tip-top physical shape
- Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal
- Meet up with your trekking company at the airport
- Spend a day or two exploring Kathmandu with your guide company
- Take a short flight in a small airplane directly to the Himalayas to start your trek
I created a free, 60-page Leaving Everest bonus book that contains a full interview with Steve about the details of trekking in Nepal and photographs from recent trips he guided with Namaste Treks & Expeditions. Look for the link to the book in the back of Leaving Everest!
Namche bazaar: The Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar en route to Everest Base Camp (Photo: Namaste Treks & Expeditions)
Renjo17: The view from Renjo La Pass at 17,585 feet of altitude (Photo by Steve Tickle, Namaste Treks & Expeditions)
Megan and the yak: Megan Westfield with a yak calf
Don’t miss Megan’s new release, Leaving Everest!
Twenty-year-old Emily Winslowe has had an adventurous upbringing. Daughter of a Himalayan mountain guide, she has climbed Mount Everest and other peaks most Americans only dream of. But for all her mountaineering prowess, she’s lacking some key experiences. Namely, guys. Especially one guy in particular—Luke Norgay, her childhood best friend who she hasn’t seen since he left for college in the United States two years ago.
Luke unexpectedly reappears as a guide just in time for the Everest climbing season. He’s even more handsome than she remembers, and that something that had been building between them during their last season together is back in front of them, bigger than ever.
The problem is, there’s a detail about Emily’s past that Luke doesn’t know. It’s the reason she ended up in the Himalayas in the first place…and the reason she must make it to the summit of Mount Everest this year. It’s also the reason she would never consider following him back to Washington after the climbing season ends.
But first, they’ll have to survive the mountain.
Megan Westfield has dabbled in many hobbies and pastimes through the years, including an array of outdoor adventure sports. Eventually, she discovered the only way to do it all was though writing—her first and strongest passion. Megan grew up in Washington state, attended college in Oregon, and lived in Virginia, California, and Rhode Island during her five years as a navy officer. She is now a permanent resident of San Diego where she and her husband count family beach time with their two young kids as an adventure sport.