Jun 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm #1291176
Patrick OhBPL Member
My friend and I are heading to Mumbai, India then Kathmandu, Nepal and hoping to do Everest Base Camp (EBC) this July.
Since it will be "Monsoon season" it has been hard to find information on this hike during these times, everyone recommends traveling during different times but we can't!
If anyone has any information on this trip it would be great.
A few questions:
How is the weather? Rain, snow, puddles? This greatly determines what type of footwear I bring. Hiking through the snow needs gore while puddles/rain is fine with hiking shoes and gaiters.
I will be renting a sleeping bag and most of the gear in Kathmandu, anything in particular you recommend?
Water sanitation? I was going to bring a Steri-pen.
Thanks in advance!Jun 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm #1888399
I was there near the tail end of spring and caught just the tiniest edge of monsoon season. I'm afraid I don't have much to add except that in addition to the predictable amount of rain in the lowlands, the other inconvenience is leeches.
I only encountered one but in contrast to the stereotypical American leech, the one I saw in Nepal was quite active, relatively far from a water source, and looked something like a small, energetic inchworm. I was told that they can stretch themselves to be quite narrow and can infiltrate boot eyelets. I was also warned that if refilling from a stream or creek to filter/strain/examine the water before drinking as there is a small but rather inconvenient chance that you could end up a nasal leech infestation.
You may want to do your own research regarding the latter two observations and consider a clothing/footwear system that is leech resistant.
It's definitely possible to rent/buy most of your gear in Kathmandu with the understanding that it will be cheaper and lesser quality. There is a thriving trade in black market versions of outdoor gear. Some of it quite imaginative. In fact, I wish I had picked up a version of a Patagonia down sweater which had a tuck away nylon hood sewn into the collar. I thought Kathmandu had some half decent down products. And lots of ok generic nylon trekking clothes (shirts, pants, hats, etc).
However, I wouldn't buy any goretex or membrane based waterproof jackets with any expectations of there being an actual membrane. There was also a dearth of quick drying underwear and other performance baselayers for sale.
Hope that helps. Let me know if there are any other questions I may be able to answer. Otherwise, have a great trip!
ps. Besides the wet, the other reason people tend to avoid the monsoon season is that it tends to be rather hazy, obscuring the views.
edit: to add note about haze.Jun 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm #1888431
stephan qBPL Member
Bonus points for a Monsoon trip. You'll have the place to your self, bring an umbrella, be prepared to be out any time the weather clears, and get some reading done. We've only gone in the fall, but if I had time on my hands, would do a summer trip for the solitude and flowers, Rhododendrons, ect. We used Aqua Mira Drops, and carried a small cookset, with tea and noodles from KTM for dayhikes w/lunch.
PS. This is at the Sagarmatha NP gate. Entrance to the Khumbu.Jun 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm #1888458
Susan DBPL Member
I recommend bringing a sleeping bag and as much gear as you can, or finding the best rentals available. A few years ago, two of us rented most of our gear for the Annapurna Circuit in Kathmandu. The sleeping bag weighed about eight pounds, and for all the warmth it provided, might have been stuffed with chicken feathers. The third member of the group hauled his gear and carried it around India for six weeks prior to the trek. He was toasty warm each night, while we shook with the cold. Granted, this was February, but still… All the gear we rented was very heavy and not good quality. Like Nicholas, I didn't notice baselayers available (I did bring these, though).
I luggged a filter around and never used it. You can get boiled water in just about all guesthouses. I used iodine as a backup for a few days, then just drank the water. None of us had any problems (with the water).
Whatever you do, secure your backpack/luggage in Indian trains (or use it as a pillow when you are sleeping). I know a lot of people who lost everything on an overnight train (myself included).
Have fun.Jun 20, 2012 at 2:01 am #1888543
Are you going solo or hiring a guide company? A guide comapny may help with permits, security of gear or even rentals for better quality options.
There is plenty of outer layer clothing and sleeping bags available in kathmandu for rent or sale, but as others have said, it tends to be lower quallity knock-offs and very heavey. So you may want to bring your own if you don't mind carrying it while you're not on your hiking trip.
+1 on the theft problem. You should never leave your gear out of your sight in India, Nepal or Tibet, especially on trains or buses. And you may even bring a cable and travel lock to secure things left in any hotel rooms. Extra weight, but better than being relieved of all your stuff.
I've only been in the area outside the monsoon season or on the shoulder season, but weather still changes rapidly no matter when you go. But a trekking umbrella may not be a bad idea if you're willing to carry it.
Footwear I think is a personal choice. Steripen is fine, but if you're with a guide or staying in or near guesthouses, boiled water will be avaialble. I did drink the water in Nepal in the mountains without any trouble, but you may carry some chemical tablets just in case if you want a lighter option than the steripen, which would actually be more useful in town stops where the water is actually sketchier, especially in India. I traveled around the world for 18 months and the one and only place I got sick was in Delhi.
have fun!Jun 20, 2012 at 9:07 am #1888630
Robert KellyBPL Member
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
With Aqua Mira and SteriPen was a good combo for us. Cannot comment on monsoon season specifically. Was there in October.Jun 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm #1889031
Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
We were also there in the fall oct/nov season…traveled without a group/guide but did end up hiring a porter a few days into our trek. This was primarily for help negotiating with tea houses and such…he only carried a little bit of our stuff. I would HIGHLY recommend that – he added so much to our trip in terms of cultural immersion, comraderie, etc. And he was able to show us a few off the beaten path places that we never would have found without him. We even had dinner at his house one evening…very very cool part of the trip.
We stayed in tea houses the whole way – it was a few years ago but the beds and meals were DIRT cheap. It also added quite a bit to our enjoyment of the place. All you need then is a sleeping bag and your own clothes/toiletries. I brought a filter but rarely used it…just drank their boiled water.
Of course, not sure how many of the tea houses will be open in July…Jun 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm #1889090
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
On my first trip to EBC, we were supposed to be starting about a month after the end of monsoon season. However, the rains stayed late that year, and we were getting rained on every day for the first 8-9 days. I put plastic bags on between my liner socks and the heavier socks, and that was effective at stopping leaches from full entry.
Remember that the river water there has a lot of glacial silt in it, so filters can plug up faster than you would expect. Also realize that human waste pollution in the river water is to be expected.
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