I did the Trek in 2008 with another firm. Had way too many trekkers (27) in the group. By the time you add the porters it was nearly 70 in the group. It was too big. If I went again I would choose a company with smaller groups.I was 51 when I did the trek – had no problems.
I took two poles with me – they had trekking baskets on teh bottom to stop the poles from sinking into the mud too far. They went well – didn't have any issue with them. My porter made me a carved stick to bring home, but it got cracked in the luggage on the plane. I now have it mounted on my wall.