Everest Base Camp Trek

Kathmandu | Nepal
  From  USD 581  | From 9 Days

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All You Need to Know About the Everest Base Camp Trek

Nestled within the Nepalese Himalayan range, Mount Everest attracts thousands of travellers, adventure enthusiasts, and hikers throughout the year for the flurry of adventures it offers. One of the most engaging experiences, the Everest Base Camp Trek, will take you to the base camp of the mightiest mountain in the world. A panoramic view of Everest and the surrounding natural beauty will fill your senses and make you feel elevated.

So, let’s shed some light on everything that is remotely associated with the EBC Trek.

How difficult is the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Trek to Everest Base Camp is not immensely difficult. So, if you are confident, well-equipped, have basic trekking skills, and appreciable fitness level, you can go ahead!

The hike is moderately challenging as you will continue to gain and lose elevation each day. On some days, you will find the ascents and the descents to be too drastic. A gradual rise is practically non-existent. The trails above Lukla are well-maintained. On the other hand, those below Lukla and on the way to Phaplu are rocky, treacherous, and badly damaged.

While some people find the uphill climbs to be exhausting, for others, the downhill climbs might strain the limbs. Namche Bazaar to Tengboche is one of the most demanding and most extended uphill sections. On the other hand, some trekkers claim that the path across the Khumbu glacial moraine, while traveling from Gorak Shep to the EBC, is one of the most challenging. You have to navigate yourself across treacherous dips and weaves above an altitude of 5,000 meters, increasing the level of difficulty.

All in all, the trek is not extremely hazardous as it can be attempted by the elderly as well as teenagers. The key is to walk slow to acclimatize well. Or else you will end up being a victim of altitude sickness. Walking with a porter and a guide will make this trek easier, as they will continuously throw the words of advice at you regarding hiking up these altitudes.

Best time to visit the Everest Base Camp

The best time for the Everest trek to base camp is on either side of the monsoon season. You can either take a shot from late February to early May or gear up for the EBC Trek from late September to early November. October and April are undoubtedly the best months for this trek.

But since these months are favourable with clear, blue skies and pleasant weather enriched with marvellous views, many people around the world hike to the Everest Base Camp during this period. So, it could get immensely crowded during these peak seasons.

Gear guide and checklist for the trek to Everest Base Camp

You need to prepare yourself well and pack every essential to avoid any mishap during your trek to the Everest Base Camp. So, let’s spring to action about anything and everything that you need to pack before you embark on this journey of a lifetime.

The clothing list is exhaustive. You need to carry trekking shirts, trekking trousers and shorts for the daytime. Trekking gets really tiring and a sweaty affair during spring and autumn. Moisture-wicking underwear and sports bras are also a must-have during these trekking expeditions.

Apart from these light clothes, you need to prepare yourself for the frigid temperatures, unpredictable weather changes, sudden bursts of rain, etc. Thus, you need inner woollen thermals, preferably made of merino wool. You also need a light fleece insulation jacket and a heavy, warm, waterproof jacket for the outermost layer. Your headgear should consist of wide-brimmed hats, woollen beanies, and neck gaiters. Sunglasses are one of the mandatory accessories. Inner gloves and outer, well-insulated gloves are also some of the most crucial trekking essentials.

Footwear must have is a pair of well-made trekking shoes for hiking across rugged terrain. You should pair them with merino wool socks to prevent insects and leeches from attacking your unguarded legs. You should also be mindful in carrying a pair of light, comfortable shoes or sandals for your time in the tea-houses.

Backpacks, rucksacks, and daypacks are essential for carrying all your luggage and trekking equipment. The material and the capacity can vary according to your preferences, but you should try to pick waterproof ones only. A good-quality sleeping bag is also a vital piece of your trekking gear, because you can never be sure about the quality of blankets you get from the tea-houses. You can carry an insulated mat as well.

Trekking poles are an absolute necessity, not just when you are doing the Everest trek to base camp, but for every Himalayan expedition. Water bottles or hydration bladders are a must-have, as the plastic water bottles have a negative environmental impact and are immensely pricey when you are trekking to the higher altitudes.

You should also carry water purification tablets, medicines for altitude sickness and usual bacterial and viral infections, biodegradable soaps, toiletries, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, tissues, and basic first aid kits. Apart from these, you must carry cards, cash, extra photographs and some photocopies of your passport for emergencies and permits.

Everest Base Camp Trek itinerary

Let’s do a breakdown of the EBC Trek itinerary.

It is a 13 to a 14-day affair, starting from Kathmandu for the Everest Base Camp and back to Kathmandu. A typical itinerary looks like as outlined below. However, there are many variations, shorter and longer and some with certain detours to cover the Gokyo Lakes (Gokyo Lakes Trek) and certain higher mountain passes (Everest Three Passes Trek).

  • Day 1: Arrive at Kathmandu (1400 m). Check-in a hotel. Do the local shopping and sightseeing.
  • Day 2: Take an early-morning flight from the Tribhuvan Airport to Lukla Airport. It will take you 30 minutes. Then you can trek from Lukla (2860 m) to Phakding, which will take you 4 to 5 hours. Since flights to Lukla are prone to getting delayed due to the unpredictable weather, you should keep a day or two for such unforeseen circumstances. While you are en-route, you will come across the Cheplung village, from where you can witness Mt. Khumbila.
  • Day 3: You start trekking from Phakding (2600 m) to reach Namche Bazaar (3450m). The trek distance is 10 km, and it takes more than 7 hours. There will be moderate to steep levels of ascent before you reach Namche Bazaar. The midpoint of this trek will take you to Monjo village. You can also view the Kongdori and Thamserku peaks and the Swiss suspension bridge on the Dudh-Kosi river.
  • Day 4: You will enter the Sagarmatha National Park- a UNESCO World Heritage site. It will be your acclimatization day. You can visit the nearby Sherpa Cultural museum to get a view of the Ama Dablam and Everest.
  • Day 5: You will start from Namche Bazaar to reach Tengboche (3860 m). The 8 km trek usually takes 5 to 6 hours. There is mixed ascent till Phunki Tenga, and then it becomes steeper from Phunki Tenga to Tengboche. It is the highest monastery in the region, where you can pray for your expedition’s safety.
  • Day 6: Trek from Tengboche to Dingboche (4350 m). The nine km-long trail takes 6 to 7 hours while you wade across lush birch and coniferous forests. You need to continue to Imja Valley, then descend to the Lobuche River before ascending to Dingboche.
  • Day 7: You can rest on this day at Dingboche. It will help you in acclimatization. A small hike from Dingboche will offer you stunning views of Cho Oyu, Makalu, and Lhotse. You can also walk to the Imja Khola Valley.
  • Day 8: You need to trek from Dingboche to Lobuche (4950 m) on this day. You will pass the Khumbu glacier. Hence, the trek is quite challenging as you make your way across the moraine and rocky terrain. While you are on this seven kilometre - long trail, you will come across the views of Mt. Nuptse.
  • Day 9: This day will mark the ascent from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5150 m). This six kilometre - long trek will take you approximately 5 to 6 hours. From Gorak Shep, it will be a steeper climb to the Everest Base Camp. From the EBC, you can witness stunning views of the Nuptse, Khumbutse, and Pumori mountains. You should keep in mind that most tourist groups and travellers cannot stay at the EBC. But you can do the overnight stay at Gorak Shep.
  • Day 10: From Gorak Shep, you need to hike up to Kala Patthar (5550 m). It will take you approximately 3 to 4 hours for this steep climb. But this hike is tremendously satisfying as you will get the most immersive views of Mt. Everest- the loftiest mountain in the world! From the Kala Patthar summit, you can also view other Himalayan beauties like South Col, Lhotse, Makalu, etc. From Kala Patthar, you need to gradually descend to Pheriche, a Nepalese village situated at 4300 m.
  • Day 11: You continue a moderate descent from Pheriche to Namche Bazaar. It is a 15 km long journey that takes roughly 8 hours.
  • Day 12: You need to start this day early from Namche Bazaar and make your way to Phakding and Lukla. The distance is 19 km, and it is a long day hike. You can stop for lunch at Phakding and stay overnight at Lukla.
  • Day 13: Fly back to Kathmandu from Lukla. From Kathmandu, you can take a flight back to your home.

Getting fit for the Everest Base Camp Trek

Getting fit for any mountainous expedition is imperative, but whether you need to put in rigorous hours at the training facility for the EBC Trek will depend on your current fitness levels. The trek is not really as difficult as it seems like, but you will have to walk 5 to 8 hours each day on average and gain a daily elevation of around 1000 meters. A few day-long practice hikes on hilly terrain will help you realize whether you need physical training or not.

If you have decided to train your body for the EBC Trek, you need to do the following.

  • Aerobic exercises
  • Elevation training
  • Strength and endurance training.

Since it is almost impossible to create a simulated training program that mimics the Everest Base Camp elevation, you can teach your body to acclimatize well with shortage of oxygen and train your muscles to handle the elevation gain effortlessly.

You don’t need to be a top athlete or a marathon runner to practice for the Everest Base Camp Trek. Still, you can introduce the following programs into your training schedules.

  • Practice hikes on hilly and uneven terrain at least twice each week
  • Build up to 5 to 6 hours with minimal rests
  • Wear your daypacks and slowly increase their weight over time.

You can also create a personalized gym session that includes the following:

  • Walk or slow jog setting in your treadmill for 45 mins to 1 hour
  • 10 minutes of practice on a stair-stepping machine with 30-45 steps per minute
  • 5 minutes of slow walk without an incline to catch your breath
  • Repeat the entire program twice to thrice each day
  • Include two to three such days in your training schedules.