Everest base-camp trekking for photographers

Total Budget : Around $2200 from Dubai.

Activities : Trekking

Rating : 8/10

Difficulty : Shaolin Monk

 

EverestBorn and raised in the UAE its hot and humid climate that reaches up to 60C in summer and minimum 12C in winter. Taking a decision to go to Everest base-camp alone was not simple. I read stories about the risk and the trekkers who got missing…etc. But that made me more eager to do it. Telling my pears and friends about it sounded like a joke, till the day i was posting photos from Nepal.

I needed to get my fitness back in shape before indulging into this trek. I starting hitting the gym daily on the treadmill with increasing inclines. Ended up to go on a trek in Oman (nearly 2,000m elevation trek) in a moderate hike one week before my trip to Everest with a trekking group called trekkup.

Most of the nationalities gain visa on arrival in Nepal, but me as Palestinian was excluded from this. So i had to take the visa before going to Nepal from the Nepali embassy in Abu Dhabi. The process was very easy though and i got it in a couple of hours. Nevertheless, it was good for me. i advice to take it before you go to Nepal. The on-arrival visa queue in Kathmandu Airport was really long, and I was the first one to get out of the airport.

I carried for my trip very few things, just a back-bag and a small handbag. Mostly trekking gears, protein bars, oats, books, power pack and mp3 player. Winter cloths were a must, but what i brought with me was no match with reality. I realized later, you can buy all these winter and trekking gear from Kathmandu or Namche Bazaar later in low prices. So I will share my experience in what you need to get with you (as a photographer) to start this trek.

I went to this trek with my guide only Pasang Dendi Sherpa which I highly recommend ( he is funny, honest, good in English and a life saver) . I think it would be more enjoyable if you have some friends with you to share the time, as the time slowly passes. The day feels like a week. and the cost of this trip was not high (almost $2,000 overall including the flights). Beside, this trek could be dangerous and accidents do happen (as it happened to me) and a helping hand could mean life.

My trip started 27/March/2015 till 10/April/2015 . Almost 14 days in total. ( 2 weeks before the devastating earthquake). I had the fun, in the way up it was winter and in the way down it was spring. So i highly recommend this time though the weather is really treacherous there.

Here are the things I learned the hard way. I modified the common list found on the web with extra notes based on the season i stated earlier (end of winter, start of spring) :

The Trekking Equipment & Packing List (for photographers)

 

Photography :

  • Wide angle lens (for mountain scapes, you will love it)
  • Normal lens ( the normal one you like to use for outdoor photography)
  • Lens protection bag (extra lens you wont use you need to keep them safe, and most probably got carried by a porter. don’t underestimate the weight of these extra lens when you trek there)
  • UV filters , or/and polarized filters
  • Water proof gear for the camera (it can rain or snow suddenly)
  • Camera gloves ( it can be really cold that you can’t remove your gloves to take a shot)
  • Extra batteries (2 or 3)
  • Extra memory cards
  • Small tripod that can fit in the bag ( you will need it at night if you do night photography )
  • Shoulder strap camera belt ( you can’t use the neck strap for this long trek, it will be painful)
  • Camera cleaning toolkit

Videography:

  • Action camera (GoPro or AEE) preferably 4k
  • Chest holder or shoulder holder or head (preferably with anti shock support, but if you can’t find then no probs)
  • Extra battery and power pack
  • Extra memory cards (its 14 days without civilization, be sure not to be out)

 

Smartphone :

  • I used it to take selfies, and short mobile videos. Enable the GPS and keep the location stamp on the photos you take. Useful to upload on google photos and get a story done on the maps.
  • Also, you can make use of some apps to record the trail, distance how many calories you are burning.

Chargers:

  • Take all your chargers with you, you can charge in the lodges on the way. there is electricity but you will need to pay for it.

 

Trekking Gear

Head:

  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • Sunglasses with UV protection (get extra one just incase)

 

Upper Body:

  • T-shirts
  • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket
  • Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
  • Waterproof shell jacket
  • Down vest or jacket
  • Windstopper jacket (optional)

 

Lower Body:

  • Under Garments
  • Lightweight cotton long pants
  • Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
  • Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
  • Waterproof shell pants (optional)

 

Feet:

  • Thin, lightweight inner socks
  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Hiking boots with spare laces (preferable with ankle support and water proof)
  • Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals) (good to move around in the camp/lodges)
  • Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp (optional)
  • Anti-slip Ice Cleats

 

Hands:

  • Lightweight gloves ( preferable one to use for clicking photos )
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer

 

Accessories:

  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Plastic bags – for keeping items dry inside trek bag and trekking back water proof cover
  • Day pack (about 2500 to 3000 cubic inches) (optional)
  • Trekking Poles (optional)
  • Knee support (optional)
  • Camel bag to keep you dehydrated (1 liter at least) and electrolytes (powder or tablets)
  • Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc, these is very precious, carry extra)
  • Ear Plug (who knows, some people on group are snoring, and the lodges are really noisy)
  • Lip guard ( 75% protection or more , i got lips dry and bleeding i used 50%)
  • Passport copies
  • Pocket knives
  • Flash light (optional, you can use your headlight instead)
  • water proof waist bag to keep your important papers/passport ( very important specially when accidents happen, like falling in the river)

 

Toiletries:

  • 1 medium-sized quick drying towel
  • Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable, you will use it to wash your cloths and hands)
  • washing rubber gloves (to use it when you wash your cloths)
  • Deodorants ( taking showers could be really a big challenge)
  • Nail clippers (optional)
  • Face and body moisturizer (optional)

 

Personal Hygiene:

  • Wet wipes (baby wipes, very important, carry extra one)
  • Tissue /toilet roll (very important carry extra)
  • Anti bacterial hands wash (a must)

Extras for time pass (time is very slow up there, unless you plan to meditate get these):

  • Books
  • Journal & Pen
  • MP3 player with your fav songs/audio
  • Pencils and small notebooks

Good luck, and send to me if you have any questions or inquiries.

My Everest base-camp story is coming soon ( Everest 2 weeks before the Earthquake )

nepal_kid

Nepali Kid 2

Fog

Above the clouds


Also published on Medium.