Whichever expedition you are joining, remember you are in China/Nepal/Pakistan and high in the Himalaya, this is not Disney World. Please be considerate to all officials, your fellow climbers and all the climbers and crew on the mountain; treat them as you wish to be treated.
The fitter you have been over the past several years, the better your chances so train hard. Fitness at sea level only sometimes translates into altitude fitness, be aware of this. It is useful to have good aerobic fitness and perhaps also some extra upper body muscle to lose. If you are of a lean build you might want to put on a few extra pounds, if you are already heavy then consider carefully whether to put on extra weight, you lose muscle but not fat at altitude, and 10 pounds (4.5kgs) on the gut is equivalent to an extra 10 pounds in the pack. Some people lose a staggering amount of weight on a big climb, but at least some of this can be avoided with protein and energy bars, and simply eating plenty while on expedition.
You don't need malaria prophylaxis for our expeditions. Please discuss if you are travelling thru a malarial region prior to arriving in Kathmandu. Please read our page on staying healthy and consider that some of the suggested vaccinations are simply a good precaution for life at home as well. Plan well ahead.
Normally it takes several weeks before you really feel OK or good at high altitude, and never expect to feel perfect. We discuss this in detail on our expeditions.
How to stay healthy while trekking-climbing? Read here.
Read our visa and permits page.
Lasik surgery does not preclude climbing Everest. Four climbers with the surgery reached the summit of Everest. Note that some climbers experienced frozen corneas or something similar; we will discuss this.
There are dozens of gear shops in Kathmandu but they mostly sell locally made gear, even if the gear has a "North Face" label. There are a few better quality shops though, with a selection of (Korean) North face, Mountain Hardwear, Millet, Black Diamond, Vaude and other brands.
You can find good new and secondhand Millet boots, cheap thick down jackets, cheap down pants, sleeping bags, and all sorts of fleece gear. There is less selection for thermals or the very latest soft shells.
Closed cell foam mattresses are easy to buy, and this saves packing space while flying.
In general, if you live near a REI or MEC for similar large outdoor shop, you should buy most of your gear from there (and suffer the taxes); it is a few don't have access to the gear shop that should consider buying in Kathmandu.
If you know your sizing, this can work but it really is best to try gear on first, there is considerable difference in the cut between different manufacturers and even with their own gear. The technical features are more apparent too.
Australians can buy gear and get it shipped and pay no tax on orders of under $1000 in value - so break shipments up. Backcountry.com seems to work well for this.
We provide 3 substantial meals at BC and ABC, and afternoon tea but you will still want plenty of snacks for in between times, especially while climbing in between camps. Variety helps when you don't feel like eating. Protein bars, as well as energy bars can be very useful. Count on sharing a few with the sherpas too.
Do bring a digital camera, and the charger. We recommend an extra battery or two on all our expeditions, regardless of whether we have a charging system on board or not. Some copy batteries do well but to be sure of good performance do use the original manufacturer's. For best performance buy in advance and use three times, charging and discharging them fully, and this will push the Lithium Ion battery to give the longest life on subsequent uses. It is not necessary or useful to discharge them fully after this, just charge when the opportunity arises.
Do bring plenty of memory, a couple of big cards. You will take 500 to 2000+ pictures probably, and do shoot at the highest resolution, highest image quality.
We have 3G connections at BC and always carry a Thuraya sat phone too.
Your mobile will probably work in most cities in India, Nepal and Tibet, and so is worth bringing. Texting/SMS's/WhatsApp are a good way to stay in touch with family. There is little or no mobile coverage while trekking, apart from in the Everest region.
At Everest Base Camp, Tibet, there is 3G coverage from the top of minor hills at Base Camp.
While travelling in Tibet you have coverage that also includes data, Alan Arnette checked his email while we drove to BC, it worked EVERYWHERE! This means you can use your phone and your home account, just be aware of the charges, they will be high. Or you can get a Chinese sim card and put it in your unlocked mobile phone. most phones from the USA-Canada are locked and unlocking them can mess up your service back home. So you can by a cheap phone in Kathmandu (where they speak English) or China (where they don't).
In theory mobiles also work from Camp 2 and higher but line quality is poor, if you can connect at all. Don't rely on this service.
A mobile operator, Ncell, now covers Everest Base Camp-Gorak Shep as well as most of the trekking route to EBC! There is internet and mobile data in Namche, Tengboche, Dingboche, Gokyo and more.
We have at least one satellite phone with us, you can use for US$2 per minute to developed countries. However if you are going to be a heavy user we suggest you buy your own Thuraya sim and then simply put in our phone. The eco cards do work in Nepal and India but not in China, you will need a standard card. See Human Edge Tech for more info.
Europeans can also put a normal mobile sim in a Thuraya and it just works, but the charges are high.
Do note that the satellite service is not 100% guaranteed, Thuraya has occasional service issues.
At Everest BC, Tibet, we provide internet through the mobile network, and at ABC we provide email without pictures free during the expedition. You may have to pay to send photos. This email is thru an expedition account and we use Outlook to send and receive and write. this is a far better solution than accessing your own yahoo etc email, which will cost around $10-50 a time.
If you think you will be a heavy user or are bringing your own laptop then consider getting your own sim card. Talk with us.
It is better if you can bring all your personal gear with you, this avoids customs charges etc, but if you have to send then ask for details. Do advise us prior to sending.