Suggested preparations for the trek 

The word "trekking" first started to be applied to hiking trips in Nepal in the 1960s. To go on a trek in Nepal generally implies going on a multi-day journey by foot, on trails traditionally used for communications and trade. Trekking is not mountaineering and no special skills are required. Only an adequate level of physical fitness, along with a positive and appreciative attitude are all that are needed.  Before flights to Lukla became the main way to access the Khumbu Valley, trekkers had to take a bus from Kathmandu to Jiri and spent an additional 7 days trekking up and down the Himalayan foothills to reach Lukla. Today some visitors still prefer this approach.

A typical day's walk lasts from 5 to 7 hours at a reasonable pace, and involves a number of ascents and descents. You rarely to spend much time at one altitude!  Normally, you rise early (before 7am), prepare your baggage for the porters, who prefer to load up and set off before you do, and have breakfast. During the trek, you will likely stop for brunch (late morning) or lunch, as well as have one or two tea breaks. You can calculate getting to your destination around 3 or 4 p.m. Don't be discouraged if your porters do not arrive with your gear when you do. They often take their time, stopping and resting in between stints of sustained exertion.

Researchers on their way to the Pyramid are often accompanied by Italian Mountain Guides ("Guide Alpine"), who help keep an appropriate pace to ensure that acclimatization is successful. They will also help you to respect your limits as you trek up into the higher altitudes, reminding you to stop and rest, to drink plenty of fluids and to eat (altitude can lead to loss of appetite). It sounds like basic advice, but many people who get altitude sickness do so because they break simple rules such as these! The Mountain Guides will also help you adjust to certain rules of hygiene necessary for a healthy trip in the high Himalayas, for example, paying attention to organic pollutant factors which can influence water quality.

Today , the Khumbu Valley is partially connected to the local Nepal phone system by satellite hook-ups at a few lodges in Lukla, Namche and Tengboche.  There are also "Internet Cafés" in Lukla, Namche and Tengboche, where you can use e-mail, Internet and web-phone services like Skype.  Normal long distance calls may also be made at satellite rates. Some trekkers prefer to purchase or rent a Thuraya satellite cell phone to have on hand at all times.
Cultural context

The Khumbu valley is rich in manifestations of the Sherpa culture, such as devotion to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Trailside Buddhist monuments, called stupas or (chortens in Sherpa) are common along the entire trekking route.  They act as memorials and often contain offerings or relics. Mani walls can also be frequently seen on the trail. These are made up of piles of carved Mani stones displaying a combination of the stonecutter's art and the elegant calligraphic style of Tibetan script.  The most common Tibetan mantra (chant or prayer) inscribed on the stones, "Om Mani Padme Hum"(or Om Mani Peme Hung), is said to contain all the teachings of Buddha (literally translated it means "hail the jewel in the lotus").

Very common are also the Mani wheels, rotating cylinders decorated with inscriptions of Buddhist mantra, which can be turned by hand or by water current (big wheels are often located along rivers) and prayer flags. According to the local belief, the spinning wheels leave and waving flags continually renew prayers and spiritual offerings.

It is tradition that trekkers should pass to the left of all religious objects.

Back to top

  • Visit the English version of this page
  • Visualizza questa pagina in italiano