Everest base camp is a one-of-a-kind trek that takes you through some of the wildest and most remote areas of the world. Along the trek you interact with the locals, learn all about the people that call the Sagarmatha National Park home, and get closer to nature. Watch in amazement as the pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes turn into barren rocky outcrops and mountainous landscapes as you get closer to the base camp.
You will see firsthand how tourists and mass tourism affect the environment in the park and on Everest. In the villages along the track, many landfills are full of plastic and other trucker waste that is difficult or impossible to decompose at such a high altitude. On Everest itself, there is an estimated 12,000 lbs of trash. Although clean-up efforts and litter bins along the trek, the local population is still overwhelmed by trash.
Here are some tips to help you minimize your impact and have a more sustainable trek to Everest base camp.
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Hire a local trekking company
Hiring a local trekking company is one of the best things you can do before your trek. Not only does it funnel money directly back into the local economy, but it also provides jobs to guides and porters. It gives you the best possible experience along the way. (Scenic Nepal Treks) Everest base camp tour does just that by ensuring you are taken care of from the moment you land until the moment you leave.
There is no right or wrong way to trek to base camp, but the right tour company can elevate your experience through their knowledge and expertise in the area
Eat the local food
The local Nepalese food ( Dalbhat) is delicious and abundant in the tea houses along the treks. By buying local meals in your tea house, you are helping to support that family-run business. Of course, it is wise to bring high-protein snacks, but your main meals should be eaten in the tea house.
Bring a water filter
Bottled water is safe and sold in many places along the trek, but it is one of the most significant contributors to the trash problem along the trek. You can minimize your impact by bringing a water filtration system like the sawyer water filter or a UV sterilization pen. Simply ask your guide to fill up your water bottle or filter and squeeze all the freshwater you need. This, in addition to a reusable water bottle from home, will significantly cut the amount of trash you produce.
Use biodegradable soaps
Showers can be difficult as hot water gets more scarce and expensive as you get close to base camp. Still, for the showers and laundry, it’s best to use quality biodegradable soaps that won’t pollute the local water source and environment.
Leave no trace
As mentioned above, showering can become increasingly difficult to get as you gain altitude and many trekkers resort to baby wipe showers. In addition, there also might be trash from snack packages, broken gear, or items bought along the way. You can minimize your impact by bringing a trash bag and keeping your trash with you until you leave the mountains.
Rent some of your gear
For those new to trekking and who don’t have all the necessary gear, you can rent specific items in Kathmandu before embarking on your trek. Things like sleeping bags, microspikes, packs, puffer jackets, and more can be rented instead of bought if you only plan on using them for this trek.
Shop locally along the way
Shopping locally on the way back down from EBC can help funnel money back into the local economy and support local business efforts. One of the most famous places to shop along the trek is Namche Bazaar. Local shops sell everything from baked goods and souvenirs to oil paintings and yak wool products.
Don’t hike off-trail
To preserve the local flora and fauna, it is best to stay on the trail during the trek. The paths are usually wide enough for people to pass each other, and there is no reason to venture off the trail.
Following these tips and best practices will help minimize your impact while visiting the Everest region and help preserve it for generations to come!
I, Dipendra is an Adventure Specialist and founder of Scenic Nepal Treks and working in Mountain Travel and Tourism for more than a decade.
I have been leading different Hiking groups from all around the World to the Himalayas including Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, and many more. Follow me for my adventure on Facebook and Instagram