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agatap
3rd February 2008, 03:18 AM
Hello
I am planning an EBC trek with my 2 kids in March. As the day gets closer, and we actually soon have to start packing (my plane leaves 17.02!) I find myself facing a couple of questions unanswered by the guide books.

I am planning to trek from Jiri -> Namche -> EBC -> Lukla, the itinerary is for 22 days ... I am going with my own guide and porter, the trek is arranged by a nepali trekking agency, uniquetreks.com. The kids are used to travelling and trekking, on previous trips we used to comfortably cover 15/20 km/day, 500 heigh m. But this is going to be himalayas, and another level of altitudes ...

I know that it can be cold - especially above Namche - but how cold is cold?
How much warmth clothing should we bring for the trek?
From home we have good walking boots, trekking pants, warm sports underwear, fleece, jackets, mittens, hats and rain gear, down sleeping bags. Is it sufficient - or should we rent down jackets in Kathmandu?
Usually I try to travel lightly ...

I have heard some women complain about their male guides behaving improperly - should I opt for a female guide - or have some people just been unlucky?

For a net-afficionado like me - where is the last chance of an internet connection?

I have heard that you can not use credit cards past Namche - but carrying a lot of money around doesn't make me feel esp. safe. What do you guys do?

Has anybody on this forum trekked to EBC with kids - could you share your experiences?

Best regards,
Agata

kolobar
3rd February 2008, 06:00 AM
It might sound strange but Jiri to Lukla section is more strenous than Lukla to EBC. There are many steep ascents/descends on the way and without proper motivation (which might be the case with kids) one might find annoying to descend 1.000 meters or more just after a long steep climb.
I would recommend you to bring down jackets to warm up on higher altitude after you reach your destination. It is common to heat dining rooms in lodges with stove in the evening (or late afternoon) but if you arrive early down jacket is very useful to keep you warm. You can rent down jackets in KTM. I recommend Shona Rentals on Jaytha road in Thamel. You will get good quality stuff for fair price plus lots of useful advices if you ask...
To avoid conflict with your staff bring with you mobile and office telephone numbers of the agency owner or manager. There is a phone connection in every lodge and if for any reason you are unhappy with your staff, call him straight away and let him settle things. If you arrange your trek with a reputable agency you should not have any problem and your guide will make a trek as smooth as possible. Problems occur with ad hoc "guides" who hunt for clients (and most probably dont have a lycence) while lycenced guides hired by good agencies act like real professionals.
There is internet connection in Lukla, Namche and Tengboche. It is a satellite connection and the price is 20x the price in KTM.
You can not use credit card on the trek at all. I suppose you are on a package tour including food and accomodation therefore you dont need that much cash. Even if you do, Khumbu area is a safe place, just keep the money with you all the time. Indeed there were few violent attacks on female trekkers who trekked alone but since you have guide&porter this will diminish any danger of being robbed.

agatap
5th February 2008, 06:30 AM
Thanks for your reply, Kolobar.
Sounds like a very good idea to bring important phone numbers ...
Thank you for the adress of the rental shop, will pop in there - and can thus avoid dragging winter jackets trough India.

I realize there is a lot of ups and downs just by looking at the height charts on the trek from Jiri to Namche - but I believe its the only sensible option if I want to avoid exposing my kids to the worst perils of AMS?

I would really love to hear from parents who trekked this (or similar) route with their kids. Any experiences you would like to share?

Best,
Agata

James
5th February 2008, 04:28 PM
Agata,

You didn't give your kid's ages but our kids were 13 and 15 when we trekked to EBC this past Nov./Dec. The family had a wonderful time and all want to go back again. In our planning we decided against the walk in from Jiri. EBC is a long enough trek for teens, much less adding a week of painful hills (not to mention missing the super cool flight into Lukla). We allowed enough time to do EBC, Cho La, Gokyo, but we left ourselves complete flexibility and we used it - we made four changes in our itinerary mostly to accommodate the visit of the stomach bug. We judged the first night at Phakding a safe elevation to start from and from there we took it slow and safe. Our "as trekked" itinerary was:

1. Bangkok to Kathmandu
2. Organize/Tour Kathmandu

3. Fly to Lukla - Phakding (2800m)
4. Phakding - Namche Bazar (3440m)
5. Namche Bazar (3440m) Rest Day
6. Namche Bazar (3440m) Rest Day
7. Namche Bazar - Tengboche (3867m)
8. Tengboche - Pangboche (3985m)
9. Pangboche - Dingboche (4343m)
10. Dingboche Rest Day
11. Dingboche - Tughla/Dughla (4930m)
12. Tughla/Dughla - Lobuche (4930m)
13. Lobuche Gorakshep 5364m (afternoon trek to EBC)
14. Gorakshep - Kala Pattar - Lobuche
15. Lobuche Pangbuche (3990 m)
16. Pangbuche - Tengboche
17. Tengboche (Sick Day)
18. Tengboche - Namche Bazar (3440m)
19 Namche Bazar - Benkar
20. Benkar - to Lukla
21. Lukla flight to Kathmandu
22. Kathmandu Sightseeing

23. Kathmandu Sightseeing (transferred to Yak and Yeti :)
24. Shopping
25. Depart for Home

We added the Third night in Namche (in lieu of Khumjung) when my youngest had a slight headache on our second morning in Namche. The night at Pangbuche was planned and night at Tughla was added after having to assist a young women with very serious AMS in Dingboche. We assisted in one other case in Gorakshep and witnessed another on our way down in Lobuche. So the risks of AMS/HACE/HAPE is real, but avoiding it is equally simple go slow.

We had no problems with AMS, but we did get more then our share of the stomach bug. We skipped Cho La and Gokyo when my youngest got sick on the way back down from Gorakshep with a new plan of taking a trip to Chitwan. However, unplanned overnights in Tengbouche (two nights) and Benkar (on the way back to Lukla) sunk the Chitwan plan.

Despite all our hand gels, treated/boiled water we all got sick. You have to laugh at the hand gel and water treatments when you watch the lodges washing the plates, silverware and cups with water from a hose and leaving them on the ground to dry. I will leave it to others to address how to avoid getting sick.

While I focused on the AMS and the stomach bug above to help w/ your planing, trust me when I tell you that they EBC is an incredible trek. The family still talks about it every day. You will have a great time.

James

Lars
5th February 2008, 06:09 PM
I think it is a very good idea to trek in all the way from Jiri. It is a very nice
area with many lovely villages and not that many trekkers. You will have
ample time to get to know others, and you will be in good shape by the
time you reach Namche.

As for down jackets, I always have one and have found it nice to wear in
the evenings. But you don't have to carry them all the way from Jiri. You
can rent jackets in Namche too. At least if your kids are big enough to wear
adult size.

Don't forget to bring sandals. The type that lets you wear wholly socks,
and of course bring wholly socks. You can get nice ones for a couple of
Euros in Kathmandu. It is very nice not to have to wear your trekking
shoes all evening, not to mention when you are having a shower.

I have never trekked with kids myself. But never the less would suggest
that your kids bring some pictures of their life at home. They will no
doubt attract attention from Nepali kids of similar age, who will be
interested in how foreign kids live.

kolobar
5th February 2008, 07:10 PM
As much as I agree with Lars about the experience of Jiri to Lukla section I also understand why this part might not be very attractive for children as James suggests.
Imagine you are standing on the ridge looking down seeing a bridge 1.000m below. On the opposite slope you see a village at approx. same altitude as where you are. You have to descend, cross the bridge and reach a village on the opposite side (probably the next day). What would be a reaction from your children: "great" or "oh, not again" - and plan accordingly. Many people (not necessarily children) consider their ascent as "gaining" altitude and descend as "loosing" it. In general we dont like "loosing" especially something we have "gained" with much effort (there are quite some long steep ascents on the way), You have to cope with much "loosing" between Jiri and Lukla. It helps if you dont think about it as a gaining/loosing matter but as just following a trail wherever it goes be it up or down.
Regarding AMS: most of Jiri to Lukla is on lower altitudes therefore regarding acclimatization you will not gain much. You can easily substitute it between Lukla and Namche and in Namche itself. James suggestions about acclimatization are essential for safe ascent above Lukla regardless if you start from Jiri or Lukla.

Oli
5th February 2008, 10:59 PM
The last time I was trekking in the Khumbu we met a couple with a young child, maybe only a couple of years old(?). They were doing fine, despite the fact that they had to carry the youngster most of the time but they were expecting that. They were being very cautious about their acclimatisation, allowing extra days beyond the recommended schedule. I heard later that they turned back when they got to Tengboche, but it was one of the adults who was feeling unwell rather than the kiddie. And the little lad was getting an awful lot of attention. :)

One thing to consider regarding the age of your children - how well are they able to articulate their health issues? If they are too young to reliably tell you if/when they are feeling unwell then the job of watching over them is that bit more difficult.

Anja_li
6th February 2008, 09:55 PM
I did the Jiri-Namche portion of the trek and still encountered mild AMS at Lukla. There is no rule if you get it or not. It can happen even with going slow. Just listen to your body and don't go higher when you have more than one symptome. It took 8 days to get to Namche and there aren't many great views. I still loved the slow approach as it is less crowded and the people are happy to accomodate the few trekkers. With kids I wouldn't do it though. They probably get bored and it is very hard to go up and down all the time. You don't want to have them loose interest before you even get into higher altitude with the great views.
I recommend taking layers of warm cloths and a very good sleeping bags. I was in Gorakshep in Dec and we had -1 centigrade in the room at night.
EBC trek is fantastic though and the views are the best!!! Have fun.

agatap
8th February 2008, 04:33 AM
Thanks for all the great advice.
Sorry for not mentioning the age of my kids: they are 9 and 12 years.

Every summer, since they were babies, we have been trekking around various mountains in Europe for a couple of weeks. So I hope that the Jiri trek with a lot of discouraging descents will be just a part of the mountain experience ... hopefully village life will make up for that ?

I understand that I still have to be cautios for symptoms of AMS, even if trekking in from Jiri. Ouch - stomach bugs - kind of hoped it was avoidable by keeping a good hygiene ... tried to once to ascend with diarre - not funny.

I have arranged a 22 days trek, with everything included, but with a pretty open schedule. My husband is not a mountain affictionado, so it will just be me, the yak, the kids, the porter & the guide. It is first time EVER that I will have somebody to carry my backpack :)

As for the cool flight, we will fly OUT of Lukla!
Wow, only 30 days left before we arrive in Kathmandu ...

Best,
Agata