The key to completing the Everest Base Camp Trek (and any trek at high elevations) is to ascend slowly. Altitude sickness is no laughing matter and can affect both inexperienced and experienced hikers/climbers/trekkers if not given due consideration. Risk of altitude sickness generally starts from 2500m.
Lukla is 2800m, so we started taking altitude sickness presentation tablets a day prior. We picked these up from our travel doctor before we left home, as well as getting our travel injections. We took them twice a day, after breakfast and dinner. Worked an absolute treat. No altitude sickness to speak of. We met many others along the way who hadn’t taken them and suffered horribly. Headaches, nausea, blood noses, vomiting etc.
TAKE THEM EVERY DAY OF THE ASCENT.
If you only take them once you start to feel symptoms, they will do nothing. And nothing will make it go away until you start to descend. One guy we met went to base camp, but couldn’t summit Kala Patthar because he felt like crap. Don’t leave home without them!
Most trekking tours allow for ascending slowly and include acclimatisation days (notably at Namche Bazaar). The constant walking 4-8 hours everyday can be draining, especially if the sun is shining strong. The uphill approach to Namche Bazaar is particularly steep.
But alas, we met trekkers from all over the world of all ages. Just go at your own pace, and enjoy the views. They are spectacular!
TREK SO FAR:
Day 1: Flight to Lukla. Trek Lukla to Phakding (2640m)
Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440m)
Day 3: Acclimatisation Day in Namche Bazaar
Day 4: Namche Bazaar to Dole (4190m)
Day 5: Dole to Machhermo (4470m)
Visited 8th to 11th November 2013.