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A Complete Guide to Everest Base Camp Trek
Planning a trek to Everest Base Camp? Great! There's no better time than nowto head to the mountains. We at Team Himalaya, have put our heads together and compiled some much-needed info we hope may help you out in planning your Everest Base Camp Trek.
Among the people who have chipped in to complete this travel guide are experienced trekking guides and seasoned trekkers who find themselves scrambling up the EBC trail every trekking season. So, without further ado here we present the Complete Guide to Everest Base Camp Trek For A Lifetime Experience. We sure do hope that you will find this EBC travel guide helpful.
1. About Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek is the holy grail of high-altitude Himalayan trekking. One of the most popular treks in Nepal Himalaya, Everest Base Camp Trek takes you right at the foot of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
The trail to Everest Base Camp lies in a mountainous region devoid of any roads or modern infrastructure. There's a small airport in Lukla, a busy Sherpa settlement, where most trekkers fly into to begin their EBC Trek. Starting from Lukla, trekkers cover a distance of roughly 130 kilometers to reach Everest Base Camp and walk back.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the epic walking journeys that lets you experience the dramatic Himalayan vistas as well as the rich culture and heritage of the mountain-dwelling Sherpas. This trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is recommended for all adventure lovers and hill walkers.
2. Everest Base Camp Trek Highlights
The highlights of Everest base Camp Trek include:
•Walking on one of the highest trekking trails in the world. The highest point of your trek is Kala Patthar at 5644 meters.
• Reaching the base camp of the world's highest mountain – Mount Everest. Not everybody gets to see the tallest mountain in the world up close, with their naked eyes. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
• A unique and authentic cultural experience. The Everest Base Camp trail meanders past the traditional villages of the Sherpas, a hardy mountain-dwelling community who are famous throughout the world for being skilled mountain guides.
• Instead of camping out in the wild battling extreme cold, you will be spending your nights at teahouses in Sherpa villages. You will have a roof over your head, a comfortable bed, and nutritious meals prepared by the Sherpa family that owns the teahouse.
• Opportunity to set eyes on some of the tallest peaks in the world – Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Kanchenjunga – and several 7000 and 6000-meter peaks
• Nature walk amidst stunning alpine scenery. The trekking route weaves across beautiful forests of tall conifers, rhododendron, and juniper. At the higher reaches, one can enjoy the stark and barren landscape studded with frozen peaks and icy glaciers.
• A thrilling flight to Lukla which is counted as one of the most extreme flying experiences in the world brings you to the trailhead of your trek.
3. Everest Base Camp Height
Everest Base Camp is situated at an elevation of 5,364 meters above sea level. There's a small rocky chorten with prayer flags strung across which marks the Trekkers Everest Base Camp. One can view the dramatic Khumbu Icefall, Mount Pumori, and Nuptse from this point. As Mount Everest is too gigantic it's not possible to view the summit of Mount Everest from the base camp.
4. Where is Everest Base Camp?
The final spot that the trekkers reach is known as the Trekkers' Base Camp. The actual Everest Base Camp where the Mount Everest expedition groups set up camp is located further away, about a hundred or so meters from the Trekkers' Base Camp.
5. How to reach Everest Base Camp?
You can reach Everest Base Camp by either taking the classic route used by the pioneering Mount Everest expedition groups or by flying directly into Lukla and trekking to EBC. The classic route starts from Jiri or Salleri and takes around 3 to 4 days more than the standard itinerary. Most trekkers choose the standard Everest Base Camp Trek itinerary, ie, flying into Lukla and proceeding towards EBC via Phakding, Namche, Tengboche/PhortseTenga, Dingboche, Lobuche, and GorakShep. En route, you cross several Sherpa villages, suspension bridges, river gorges, and the Khumbu Glacier.
6. Everest Base Camp Trek Permits .
To trek to Everest Base Camp you need to get the permits mentioned below:
• Khumbu Rural Municipality Permit:
As of 2022, the permit fee is NPR 2000/- for four weeks and NPR 2,500/- for more than four weeks on the trail. This permit applies to all foreigners trekking in Khumbu Region and is issued from the municipality office counter in Lukla
• Sagarmatha National Park Permit:
The national park permit can be obtained from the gate of the Sagarmatha National Park in Monjo. There are different rates for foreigners, SAARC nationals, and Nepalese citizens.
You won be needing a TIMS permit for the EBC Trek.
7. Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary
You can complete the Everest Base Camp Trek in 5 days, 7 days, 12 days, 14 days, 16 days, or 18 days.
Depending on your interest, physical condition, budget, and duration of your vacation you can choose the itinerary which best suits your needs.
The standard itinerary chosen by most trekkers is the 14-day EBC Trekking itinerary. It provides the trekker ample time to reach the base camp safely without missing out on mesmerizing views and cultural experiences.
Most Everest Base Camp trek itineraries start from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The trip begins with a mountain flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The real trekking starts from Lukla with trekkers choosing either Phakding or Monjo as their first day's stop. The destination for the second day is Namche, a bustling mountainside town with stunning views of Thamserku and other giants.
Known as the capital of the Sherpas, Namche is an economic hub and a favorite acclimatization stop. Namche is an important acclimatization stop, as it's crucial to let your body acclimatize to high altitude before venturing above 3000 meters. Trekkers spend an extra day here hiking to the famous Hotel Everest View or exploring the neighboring villages. Located right above Namche, the hotel offers panoramic views of Mount Everest, AmaDablam, and other mountains. The Sherpa villages of Khumjung and Kunde are also popular day hiking spots.
Trekkers choose either Debuche, Tengboche, or PhortseTenga as the fourth day's rest stop. Dingboche is next, followed by Lobuche. The hike from Lobuche to Everest Base Camp via GorakShep is the toughest day of your adventure as you have to complete an arduous walk in snow and ice and cross the Khumbu Glacier to reach EBC. After reaching the base camp you will have to make the return hike again to GorakShep, where you spend the night.
The next morning you can visit Kala Patthar, the highest point of your trek at 5644 meters. The descent is much quicker and you reach Lukla within two or three days. From Lukla, you catch your flight back to Kathmandu, where your trip ends.
For those who are strapped for time or just too exhausted to make the return trek, you can charter a helicopter from GorakShep and fly directly to Kathmandu or Lukla. This is an expensive option but works well for those who want to save a few days from their vacation and offer some TLC (tender loving care) for their weary muscles.
8. Everest Base Camp Trek Difficulty
This trek is graded as a moderately difficult trek. Although no technical climbing is needed, this is a high-altitude trek which makes the adventure tough. The foot trail is well-maintained and goes up and down a mountainous terrain.
You can expect some steep ascents and switchbacks on the way to Namche, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Kala Patthar. You will also have to cross several metal suspension bridges built over deep river gorges. If you suffer from vertigo or have a phobia of heights then you may find this trek challenging. The walk from Lobuche to Everest Base Camp will involve walking on snow and ice and glacial moraines.
9. Is Everest Base Camp Trek ideal for beginners?
Everest Base Camp Trek is a high-altitude trek that takes you to elevations of more than 5000 meters. It involves long hours of walking on mountainous terrain. Taking this into consideration this trek could be tough for beginners, especially for those with no experience in hill walking or trekking.
But having said that, a novice trekker can certainly complete this trek provide he/she is in robust health, have strong legs and lungs, and possess a high level of endurance. One also needs to be strong mentally to complete this trek. If you think you can then you can certainly cross all hurdles and reach your destination.
10. Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness or AMS(acute mountain sickness) is a reality one has to deal with while on the EBC trek. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the top high-altitude treks in the world. You will be walking in the foothills of Mount Everest and other 8000-meter peaks. The oxygen level at the base of these mountains is almost fifty percent less than in the lower elevations. Breathing becomes a struggle in such an environment.
As you go higher you can feel the oxygen depleting. From Namche onwards, you feel the onslaught of rarefied air. The symptoms of altitude sickness include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, palpitations or irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, etc. If you feel any of these symptoms you should take Diamox immediately and descend to a lower elevation if the symptoms persist. If not checked and taken care of, AMS can lead to pulmonary and brain edema (swelling of the brain and lungs) which can be fatal.
If your condition worsens, you will be evacuated by air and taken to a medical facility in Kathmandu where you will receive proper medical care.
To keep altitude sickness at bay you need to drink water and fluids regularly and keep yourself hydrated. Ginger tea and garlic soup are traditional Sherpa remedies for AMS and help a lot in making you feel better. Try not to rush to your destination and maintain a slow and rhythmic pace while walking.
11. Everest Base Camp weather and climate .
During spring and autumn, the weather remains warm and pleasant in Khumbu. At higher elevations which are closer to the mountains that are covered by snow the whole year round, it may get a bit cold and chilly.
Summer brings in the monsoon rains and it gets really wet and foggy in the mountains. Winter is pretty cold and harsh in Khumbu. There is regular snowfall and the icy wind makes venturing outdoors near impossible.
12. Everest Base Camp Trek Distance .
The total distance covered during the Everest Base Camp Trek (standard route) is 130 kilometers. It includes the trek to EBC and the return hike to Lukla.
13. Best time to visit Everest Base Camp .
The best months to trek to Everest Base Camp are March, April, and May in spring and September, October, and November in autumn. These months have agreeable weather and less precipitation. The skies during autumn remain crystal clear offering you unimpeded views of the mountains.
On the downside, these are peak seasons and the trail can get choked with tourists during these months. If you desire a quiet and peaceful trek, then you can plan your trek during early winter or early summer. The weather conditions may not be favorable, but there will be less or zero crowds on the trail. Most teahouses will be vacant during off season and teahouse owners offer hefty discounts.
14. Travel Insurance .
It is mandatory to buy travel insurance to do the Everest Base Camp Trek. You should get one that has a cover for high-altitude rescue and evacuation above 5000 meters. Most travel insurance policies don't have a clause for high-altitude mountain rescue, therefore you should check your insurance policy properly before buying it. It is crucial to have travel insurance while heading up in the mountains because you never know what hazards you may have to face during your adventure.
15. Lukla Flight Diversion to Ramechhap .
From October 1st, 2022 barring the first flight, all flights to Lukla will depart from Manthali Airport in Ramechhap. The first flight will take off from Kathmandu and the subsequent flights will depart from Manthali Airport.
The small airport in Ramechhap lies at a distance of 140 kilometers from Kathmandu. It takes around 4-5 hours' drive from the capital to reach Manthali Airport. If you want to avoid taking a long ride to Ramechhap to catch your Lukla flight you can always book a helicopter flight. Compared to the regular Lukla flight fare, the helicopter ride can be a bit pricey but you will get to reach enjoy a hassle-free and comfortable ride to Lukla.
16. Accommodation in Everest Base Camp Trek .
The trail to Everest Base Camp weaves past small Sherpa settlements where one can find plenty of options for overnight stays. Locals operate teahouses and lodges which offer food and lodging to weary trekkers. There are luxury as well as budget accommodations on offer from Lukla to Namche.
You can choose a private room with an attached western-style washroom, or crash in a dormitory-style room with a common toilet. The rooms are furnished with wooden beds, mattresses, pillows, blankets, and bedside tables. Usually, you will have to pay extra for hot showers. Beyond Namche, the teahouses get more rustic and offer only basic amenities. Some teahouses have their washroom outside. Be mentally prepared to use an Asian style or squatting toilet at some teahouses.
17. Food and drinking water in Everest Base Camp Trek .
Most teahouses on the trail offer the same kind of food on their menu – Nepali thali or dal-bhaat(rice, lentil soup, and curry), momo, chowmein or fried noodles, thukpa or noodle soup, pasta, macaroni, chappati (Indian flatbread), Tibetan bread, etc. Dal-bhaat is by far the most healthy and popular choice. It is made from fresh ingredients and the carbs from the rice will give you the much-needed energy to push on.
While meat is available at most teahouses, it is advisable to skip it as the meat supplied in the mountains comes from the lowlands, and thus won’t be fresh.
Beverages on offer include tea, coffee, juice, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and beer. Water used by locals is sourced from streams and rivers. To be on the safe side you can carry water purification pills with you and purify your drinking water. It's better not to buy bottled water on the trail as it will add to the accumulation of plastic waste in the mountain.
You will find shops selling sweets, chocolates, biscuits, juice, etc., en route. You won't have to worry about going hungry on the trail even if your stash of snacks runs out.
Namche has some really good cafes and bakeries offering delectable and freshly baked pies and cakes. Please note the cost of food and drinks in the mountains will be considerably higher as compared to the lowlands as it takes a lot of effort to transport the food up into the mountains.
18. Internet and Electricity .
There's internet connectivity as well as electricity on the trail. But you will have to pay extra to use the WiFi at teahouses. The teahouses also demand an extra fee to charge your electronic gadgets (phone, laptop, camera batteries, etc.). You will also have to make an additional payment for hot showers and hot water.
19. Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List .
The success of almost all adventures depends on choosing wisely and packing right. Since you will be heading to a high-altitude zone you need to have the right clothes and equipment to serve you well during your journey. The following are some of the essential gear and equipment you may be needing during your EBC Trek.
• A waterproof duffle bag or rucksack where you can keep most of your stuff.
• A light daypack with a waterproof cover, where you will store the essential stuff you will be needing on the trail – camera, phone, snacks, water, sunblock cream, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc.
• Hiking boots with good ankle support.
• A pair of flip-flops or crocs • Multiple pairs of socks, underwear .
• Sweat-absorbing t-shirts or cotton shirts .
• Trekking pants and shorts .
• Down jacket, light fleece jacket, waterproof jacket.
• Inner Thermal wear .
• Sleeping bag with liner .
• Gloves, hat, woolen cap, balaclava, buff or scarves
• Headlamp or torch, sunglasses, power bank, enough extra batteries for your Go pro or camera .
• Sacks to store your dirty clothes .
• Quick drying towel, paper soap, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, sunscreen lotion, wet wipes, tissue paper .
• Snacks and sweet treats to munch on the way .
• Trekking pole, gaiters(if your trek is in winter) .
This is just a tentative list. We will e-mail you a more detailed list of items needed once you book your EBC Trek with us.
20. Heli tour to Everest Base Camp .
If you wish to visit Everest Base Camp but can't due to time constraints or health issues, there's an option to enjoy an aerial tour. Yes, you can get close to Everest Base Camp and enjoy the majestic views of the mountains by taking a heli tour to Everest Base Camp. Within a couple of hours, you can fly to EBC from Kathmandu and get back to the city.
21. Everest Base Camp Trek Cost .
The cost for the Everest Base Camp Trek varies according to the services you may avail during the trek. If you book a package from an outfitter it can cost anywhere between USD 1100 to USD 4000 depending on the kind of services you may want to enjoy. It is also possible to complete the trek in less than USD 1000 if you are on a tight budget.
While trekking it is advisable to carry enough cash with you as the local teahouses don’t accept card payments.
22. Hire Guide and Porter .
If you book your EBC Trek with a reputable agency like Team Himalaya, we will provide you with an experienced guide and a porter. If you don't need the service of a guide, you can avail services of a porter guide. A porter guide can show you the way and carry your luggage, but he won't be as eloquent and knowledgeable as a professional guide with regard to the culture and the views on the trail.
If you are trekking solo then you can hire a guide or porter from Lukla itself. You will find many independent guide and porters offering their services at the Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla.
23. EBC Trek - A Unique Cultural Experience .
The Everest Base Camp Trek is not only a mountain adventure, but you also get to experience the unique culture of the mountain communities residing in the Khumbu Region. You will be walking through Sherpa villages where you will get to experience first-hand the Sherpa lifestyle and traditions. The Sherpas are devout Buddhists and you will get ample opportunities to visit ancient Buddhist monasteries en route and receive blessings from monks or lamas.
If you make the trek from Salleri or Jiri you will get to visit the villages of the Kirat Rai and Sherpa communities. It will be an insightful experience to observe how these communities have adapted to living in remote and unforgiving terrain.
If you are a passionate trekker or hiker and haven't been to EBC, then Everest Base Camp Trek should certainly be on your bucket list. Apart from the bragging rights (of walking to the foot of the tallest mountain in the world), you will get to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can closely connect with nature and your soul while taking in the inspiring views of the world's highest.
Everest Base Camp Trek is hands down one of the most epic walking adventures in the world. Mind-blowing views of the eight-thousanders, picturesque alpine scenery and the opportunity to engage with the mountain-dwelling Sherpas are but some of the highlights of this inspiring trek. More than anything else you will find yourself humbled and spiritually energized after walking under the shadows of the gigantic mountains.
So if you haven't been to Everest Base Camp yet, it's high time you book yourself a trek. Get in touch with Team Himalaya (send us an inquiry, give us a call, or drop in at our office in Kathmandu) if you need assistance and we will get you there.
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