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Based on the feedback of past gay Everest explorers, here are the top ten things they wish they had known before hitting the Himalayas. 

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Rugged yet beautiful, Everest Base Camp sits over 5,300m/17,600f in altitude. Photo by Noel Catlett.

1. Everest Base Camp

Technically, there are two base camps, one in Nepal and another in Tibet. On our adventure, we hike to Nepal’s, sitting at an altitude of 5,364m/17,600f.

2. Altitude Sickness (AS) vs Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

While altitude sickness (shortness of breath, headaches, lethargy etc.) is more common than you think, acute mountain sickness is extremely uncommon. That said, a comprehensive first-aid kit is carried by our support crew during treks, and senior staff are trained to prevent, detect and – if necessary – deal with the latter.

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Hikers leave prayer flags all over the Himalayas as they ascend the Mother of the Universe. Photo by Noel Catlett.

3. Training isn’t as hard as you may think

Believe me; you’ll want to train. But so long as you’re reasonably fit, you won’t have to give up Crantinis, Dirty Bingo OR Sunday Drag Brunch in order to make space in your social calendar to prepare for this adventure. Here are 6 Tips to Tackle Everest Base Camp.

4. We’ll carry your bags for you

During our epic ascent, we’ll be accompanied by Sherpas — expert mountaineers and hikers. These life-long climbers will carry your gear and heavier items from accommodation to accommodation, ensuring you’re as comfortable as possible climbing Everest. All you’ll be carrying is your daypack with water, snacks, extra layers, and Jimmy Choos — for the photo shoots, Darling.

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The term Sherpa can refer to a major ethnic group throughout the Himalayas and a life-long mountaineer and guide. Photo by Noel Catlett.

5. There’s no Hyatt Everest

The higher you climb, the more rustic the Tea Houses. These simple accommodations all consist of a private room with a bed (or two). Depending on where we are along the journey, the Tea House may provide clean linens, private or shared washrooms, a hot shower, and hot water bottles to sleep with at night. At the height of our trek, there are only a few tea houses available, the best of which — and the one we use — only has small heaters in the common area and no running water. Remember: this is a real adventure, not an all-inclusive one in Mykonos. Pictured: Two Tea Houses we’ve used in the past.

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Photo courtesy of The Yeti Mountain Home.

6. Kathmandu

Almost all climbs begin and end in Kathmandu, the nation’s ancient capital. Marvel in the medieval temples, rickshaw the historic streets or trade stories in the backpacker district of Thamel. We’ve heard many exclaim this mesmerizing metropolis is the highlight of their journey.

Durbar Square in Kathmandu.

7. Good hiking boots are essential

Fortune favours the bold. And in the case of Everest: the well prepared. To do so, invest in high-quality hiking boots. Don’t know the difference between full- and split-grain leather? Use our Ultimate Guide to Buying Hiking Boots to ensure you get the best pair for your needs.

8. What goes up must come down

Huffing and puffing, you arrive at Base Camp. You breathe it in. Shake hands with your fellow climbers. Memorialize the moment in photos. And that’s it, right? Wrong. After giving everything you had to reach EBC, you still need to hike back. On our itinerary, expect a four-day descent after reaching EBC before you can congratulate yourself on a successful climb.

9. The air is cleaner but the wifi is worse.

We rarely go 15 minutes without checking our Grindr email, let alone a week. But on this trek, we highly recommend leaving the MacBook behind. At best, the wifi will be as slow as an episode of Downton Abbey. At worst, something will get broken. Don’t risk it! Unplug, and enjoy a data-free week.


10. You’ll be forever changed

Hiking to Everest Base Camp and breathing in the vast vantages of essentially the entire world will impact you in ways you never imagined. Take some time alone at EBC — even just 5 minutes of silence — to appreciate what you’ve accomplished and how that achievement will impact your life. Congratulations.

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Out Adventures’ 2017 gay Everest Base Camp adventure. Photo by Robert Sharp.

Ready to conquer The Mother of the Universe? Out Adventures hosts regular gay treks up Everest. Departure dates, itinerary, price and more can be found here.

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