Often people ask this big question, “How good and effective the rescue services are in the Everest region when we are trekking for Everest Base Camp ? “. There are two types of rescue 1: Helicopter Rescue and 2: Rescue by Pony.
I personally believe Helicopter rescue in Everest zone is really good. It is a normal Helicopter rescue from the trekking zone, where Helicopter will land and take you back to Lukla or Kathmandu. Almost everywhere in the trekking zone you can call for a rescue by Helicopter. Every place have their own Helipad for landing like Namche, Dingboche, Periche, Lobuche, Gorakshep and many more. You can even ask for rescue from Kala Patthar as there is a Helipad on Kala Patthar. However you can not call for a rescue from Everest Base Camp as Helicopters can’t land there and most of the operators are not providing rope rescue service. If you need a Helicopter rescue around Everest Base Camp then you can use a pony or carry service to reach around Gorakhshep and then take the Helicopter.
If you are in emergency and need a Helicopter rescue then you just need to make a phone call for a Helicopter Rescue and within 30-40 minutes you will be rescued anywhere from the trekking zone.
Now the big question arrives, how much do I need to pay for a Helicopter rescue? Usually helicopter operators are charging 1500USD for a rescue which can accommodate up to 3 persons. You can either pay 1500USD and fly back to Lukla alone or just divide with 3 people depending on your group. Sometimes the small Helicopter refuses to rescue 3 people from higher altitude places like Gorakhshep, Kalapatthar, Lobuche Etc. In this situation they usually take 2 people and land them in Pheriche and then fly back to Gorakshep to pick the 3rd person and land back in Pheriche. Then all there can fly down to Lukla together from Pheriche however for each landing they charge NPR 3000 around 25-30 USD. Alternatively you can consider a big Helicopter which can rescue 4-5 people from high altitude places but these Helicopter cost will 1700USD(per rescue, for 3 people). Both these pieces of 1500USD and 1700USD are valid for a pick up from any places in the trekking zone to Lukla only. If you want to fly down to Kathmandu then it will cost you 3800USD to 4200USD per rescue.
You can call Fishtail Air ((+977 1) 4112217, 4112230, 4112463/64/65/66/67) or Air Dynasty ((+977-1) 497418, 4477560, 4477561, 4477562) for rescue.
Rescue by Pony:
If you are not that much serious and can’t afford a Helicopter rescue then you can think of a Pony rescue. Almost everywhere in the trekking zone locals are providing Pony service. The cost of the Pony will depend on where you want to go like Lobuche to Namche cost will be different than what it is for Pheriche to Namche Bazaar. Usually the pony rescue will cost USD 250 to USD 650 from Gorakshep to Namche Bazaar and Namche Bazaar to Lukla it will cost USD 200 to 400 .
Please note that the rescue by Pony will be very uncomfortable in this terrain. You may get used to the uncomfortable feeling after the initial 4 or 5 kilometers. Please remember one thing, when you need a Pony rescue anywhere in the trekking zone; do a proper bargain with Pony provider as they usually ask for a higher price.
At times people get scared in Everest zone as they perceive normal headache to be an altitude sickness and think about Helicopter rescue. It is always better to consult with the locals or your guide or porters as they very well know the symptoms of high altitude and can differentiate the normal head ache.
It is very important that you never hurry in Everest zone. You will have good experience and complete the trek if are going slowly, taking proper rest for acclimatization and drinking enough water.