A life saver at 86 grams: I ordered one of these for my upcoming Everest Base Camp trek. It will keep my nose (& face) warm, a plus as this is one of the things that most bothers me about camping out in winter. More importantly though is that it warms incoming air by more than 20C and keeps it humid. This really protects the sinuses and linings of the lungs. The air up there is so really dry you need to drink at least 4 litres of fluid a day to keep up with moisture loss from your lungs, so it is no surprise if your lungs take a punishing. At Gorek Shep (EBC) it will be -14C! In the Everest region it is not all that uncommon to succumb to ‘Khumbu Cough’ which can be so racking that you can break ribs! Definitely don’t want that. Worse though is that it reduces lung function. This Cold Avenger face mask has been independently tested to show that it improves lung function by very significant amounts eg particularly in asthmatics who would suffer more in winter conditions such as I am planning for. I am thinking that some of the effects of altitude sickness are no doubt brought on by reduced lung function which could be prevented with one of these. These little gadgets weigh less than 100 grams (4 ounces) and cost around US$60: http://coldavenger.com/ I am thinking that the face mask will get lots of future use sleeping out during winter deer hunting expeditions in Victoria. I will also be carrying one of these: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/survival-shelter/
Below is a map of our intended route. We plan to do the ‘Three Passes’ walk in conjunction with the Everest Base Camp walk which will get us away from the crowds. We are carrying all our own gear. We are walking anti-clockwise. I fly into Lukla from Kathmandu and begin walking after an ‘acclimatisation day’. It is important that you add in these extra days every 500 metres of altitude so that you don’t succumb to altitude sickness. We will be at Everest Base Camp 9 days later and back to Lukla on the evening of the 6th day after that. I have a few days in reserve. More details to follow.