BASE CAMP! Dream Destination of a Thousand Trekkers! Starting Point for Climbing Teams

Base Camp lies at about 5,400 metres, high enough for it to be a serious challenge for trekkers. The terrain is rugged and unforgiving, and the air is so thin that every step can feel like a big effort. Most trekkers come for just an hour or so, take some photos at the ceremonial cairn and then turn around for their trek back to Kathmandu. 
 
Many leave their names on the rocks, hoping to have created a more permanent souvenir!
 
For the climbers that remain, Base Camp is now their home. They set up tents, dig toilets, build little ice caves to store meat and other perishables. Satellite communications are installed. Internet links set up. Dining tents are erected. Stores arrive by porter and by yak every single day.
 
In total, Everest climbers may spend up to six weeks in this place so they might as well make themselves comfortable! 
Effectively Base Camp functions like a small town. Teams share information about the mountain and there is a well-equipped medical centre run by the Himalayan Rescue Association. Climbers returning with frostbite or altitude sickness are quickly seen. The worst cases result in helicopter evacuations. There are dozens of helicopters coming in each week. 
 
Base Camp has a fantastic sense of energy. Sherpa high-altitude guides are busy taking gear through the ice fall. Western team members are training on the ice pinnacles that lie near the camps. There is the clatter of pans from the cooking tents. The buzz of walkie-talkies as leaders try to find out how their support teams are doing.
 
Gradually the high camps are erected on Everest and Base Camp begins to hum with a new and serious buzz ... the summit attempts are about to kick off! Soon the real drama will begin!
 
QUESTIONS FOR CLASS DISCUSSION:
1. Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier was the launching off point for the first successful ascent of Mt Everest. What year was that? Who were the first climbers to reach the top?
2. Last year (2015) an earthquake shook the mountains around Base Camp and a deadly avalanche was caused. Can you find out more about this by researching online? Did the 2015 climbing season continue?  
3. Do some research into the costs of climbing Mt Everest. How much does a climbing permit cost? And how much do expedition companies charge for their services?  In total how much will a climber spend, including his personal equipment?

Me at the special cairn which marks Base Camp. This is the destination of thousands of trekkers and climbers each year! © Matt Dickinson

Many trekkers are so proud to make it to Base Camp that they inscribe their names on the rocks! © Matt Dickinson

There are thirty or forty teams coming to Everest each year. They all set up their own camp on the ice of the Khumbu Glacier. © Matt Dickinson

This is our camp site at Base Camp. To create this flat area for the tents took many backbreaking hours for our Sherpa team. © Matt Dickinson

As soon as teams arrive at Base Camp they start to sort through their gear. Most teams have many tons of equipment. © Matt Dickinson

Enlarging this picture will show the many hundreds of tiny yellow specks dotted all along the glacier. Base Camp stretches for more than two kilometres! © Matt Dickinson

Matt's video blogs from Jagged Globe's Everest expedition are now available on YouTube and Vimeo