Travelogue of children making it into the Everest region. Written by Yuwei Liew and originally published in Nepali Times
One question that we get asked quite often is, “is it hard to trek the Everest Base Camp?” Not to give you a roundabout answer, but we will start by saying this; the trek is not a walk in the park for sure. This, however, should not be discouraging at all for a few key reasons. First, as we explain in detail in our Everest Base Camp trekking page, the daily treks are about 5-6 hours with ample rest times. Secondly, there are days that are designated strictly for acclimation so that your body can adjust to the terrain. Lastly, the increase in elevation as you trek is gradual so that not only will your body acclimate, but your legs won’t take an unbearable too.
Writer Yuwei Liew has narrated a beautiful story of two children Rosie and Freddie Mundell who at their young age can boast of meeting Everest and the mountains and cultures that surround her. With a due credit to the author and an utmost admiration for Rosie and Freddie Mundell along with her parents, hope you will enjoy the story.
Rosie and Freddie Mundell are among the youngest people in the world who can say they’ve been to both sides of Mt Everest. The young trekkers along with their parents had trekked to the northern Base Camp on the Tibetan side two years ago when they were just seven and five.
This month, the family returned to the base of world’s highest mountain from the Nepal side and even made it up to Camp I at 5,943m. Parents Neil and Polly Mundell say their goal was not to make or break any records.
“It was just the right time for us to make this trip,” said Polly. “Both of us have plenty of high-altitude experience, and we had a brilliant expedition team, which is why we felt safe bringing the kids up to Base Camp.”
A penchant for scaling heights certainly seems to run in the family. The couple met in Ecuador while climbing Mt Cotopaxi and although their attempt to summit it was unsuccessful, the pair hit it off from there. Rosie and Freddie are clearly following their parents’ footsteps when it comes to their love for the mountains.
From the children’s point of view, the hardest part of the journey wasn’t the physical demands or the altitude. “The scariest part was the flight to Lukla,” said Rosie. “The plane just kept shaking and shaking.”
The parents said their children handled the trek remarkably well, attributing their success to the preparation they had undergone. “We brought the kids up to Wales to do a lot of walking before we came over, and we made sure to teach them about earthquake safety,” said Neil. “The first night we were here, we simulated an earthquake drill and got them to go the corners of the room with strong structural support.”
Polly also stressed the importance of addressing the children’s fears beforehand.
“Because we had these conversations about earthquakes, they’re not going to be as scared as they would be if something happens that they don’t fully understand or expect.”
Polly and Neil also hope the trip would allay any concerns of their friends that Nepal was unsafe to visit after the earthquake, and know many who had cancelled their Nepal treks. They say trekking tourism is the best way to help Nepal recover.
While weighing the risks of visiting Nepal a year after the earthquake, Neil, a geologist, explained that there was actually a lower risk of a big earthquake occurring again so soon.
“Once the tectonic tension is released after a big earthquake, you’ll get aftershocks of smaller and smaller sizes. So the chances of having a second big earthquake are actually slimmer,” he explained. But the couple acknowledged that while life has its risks, they would not be stopped by their fear of the unknown.
“We were very conscious of the reality of an earthquake. With Nepal’s geological position, I think it’s inevitable,” said Polly. “But it’s like terrorism. You can’t let these things scare you or put you off.”
The idea of trekking can sound intimidating, let alone trekking the Everest region. If you however are active and in good health (preferably a non-smoker), Everest will happily accommodate your visit and we have no doubt that this will be one of the most rewarding trips of your lifetime as it has been for thousands who have been there before you.