Guide to Everest Base Camp Trek
Mount Everest (at an altitude of 8848 m) being the world’s highest peak attracts hundreds of expedition lovers each year. Anyone who is fond of traveling and has learned or heard about this mighty mountain dreams of being there once in a lifetime. But this is not possible for everyone. Climbing Mount Everest takes great courage, a hefty amount of money, relentless effort and physical fitness and mental strength as well. And there comes a savior and it’s Everest Base Camp trek!
The Everest Base Camp trek offers a wonderful opportunity for the travel lovers to witness the grandeur of Mt. Everest along with the views of surrounding mountains. Undoubtedly, the Everest Base is one of the most visited places in Nepal because of its specialty. More than 30,000 travelers visit this region every year. Who would not want to observe the world’s highest mountain right in front of the eyes, isn’t it?
The journey to Everest Base Camp trek starts from Kathmandu as it has the only international airport in Nepal. You have to fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, which usually takes around 30 minutes. Then you have to begin trekking. Your trekking starts and ends here in Lukla.
Starting/Ending Point: Starts and ends at Kathmandu
Trekking starting and Ending point: Lukla
Trekking Difficulty level: Moderate and sometimes it is strenuous
Highest Elevation: 5545m (Kala Patthar)
Trekking elevation (Lowest): 2860m (Lukla airport)
Trip duration: 14 days
Mode of trekking: Teahouse
Best season for trekking: Autumn and Spring (we’ll discuss it later)
Highlights of the Everest Base Camp Trek
- A visit to UNESCO world heritage sites in Kathmandu will be a great start of your Everest trekking. Even though it’s not the beginning of the trek, you will get to know the overview of Nepal and its culture.
- The trekkers will experience once in a lifetime memory of mountain flight from Kathmandu until Lukla. Flight to Lukla is exciting and at the same time risky as well. Lukla airport is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world. But you don’t need to worry. The pilots are experienced ones and they will make sure your flight is safe.
- You’ll witness beautiful Namche Bazaar, which is at an altitude of 3440m. Namche Bazar is in a dense circular shape and the view from Namche Bazaar is astounding. Also, Namche Bazaar is famously known as “the gateway to Everest region”.
- Kala Patthar: In Nepali, the literal translation of Kala Patthar is a Black rock. It is a great viewpoint situated at an altitude of 5545m. And this is the highest point, which you will be trekking in the Everest Base Camp Trek. From Kala Patthar, you will be able to see majestic views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Ama Dablam and Thamserku peak among other mountain ranges.
- You will get a perfect opportunity to witness Sherpa culture and their lifestyle on the way to the base camp. Similarly, you can explore Tengboche monastery and the ancient Thame as well. Thame is a legendary place, which witnessed births of courageous climbers mainly Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Apa Sherpa.
- In the village of Khumjung, Sir Edmund Hillary has established a school. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person to climb Mt. Everest along with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. You might as well visit the school once.
- You’ll be visiting Sagarmatha National Park, which is enlisted as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. It incorporates Mt. Everest, glaciers, valleys and trails of the trekking. Snow leopard, Red Panda, and Musk Deer are some of the rare species found in this region.
- The best of all; you’ll reach the base camp of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Also, you will be able to witness a few other notable mountains.
Further reading; Where is Nepal located?
Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival day in Kathmandu (1350 m/4,428ft)
You will be welcomed and picked up from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
Day 2: Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Trek preparation in Kathmandu
Day visit to UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kathmandu and make the final preparation for the trek. This also includes getting all the gears ready.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla i.e. Tenzing- Hillary Airport (2,860 m/ 9,383 ft) and then trek to Phakding (2,652 m/8,700 ft)
It is around 30 minutes of flight from Kathmandu to Tenzing-Hillary Airport of Lukla. Then the actual trek begins from Lukla. It is 3-4 hours of walk from Chaurikharka Village in Lukla until you reach Phakding. You will cover 8 KM in the walk and will follow the bank of Dudhkoshi River until you reach the destination of the day.
Day 4: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,283ft)
Namche Bazaar is a peculiarly shaped beautiful village in the Khumbu region. It is also the biggest Sherpa village in the Everest Region. About two hours of walk from Phakding through Dudhkoshi River and then lush pine forests in Monjo will take us to the entry point of Sagarmatha National Park. The astoundingly carved Mani stones can be found along the trail. Upon reaching Jorsale, it is an uphill climb until Namche Bazaar. Around 2 hours of the walk will take you to Namche Bazaar and it is the first destination in the Everest Region from which you can see a majestic view of Mt. Everest. The total distance covered in this day would be 10-12 KM and the trekking time would be 4-6 hours depending on your walk.
Further reading: Namche Bazaar.
Day 5: Acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar
Happy resting day! You will spend the whole day resting and allow your body to acclimatize to the increasing higher altitude. You can spend the whole day staying in your hotel or take a brisk walk along the village of Namche Bazaar. It’s better to opt for the latter option. Haat Bazaar (Weekly market) held every Saturday is a beautiful way of getting to know economic as well as cultural aspects of this place. Also, you can choose to take around 3 hours of trek to the Everest View Hotel. This hotel is located at the highest altitude in the world. The distance to be covered in this hike is 3-4 KM. It is completely optional but it’ll help you in the acclimatization process.
Other options include a visit to Syangboche Airstrip above Namche Bazaar. From there you can see a panoramic view of Namche Bazaar. Also, Namche Bazaar has Everest Photo Gallery and Sherpa culture museum. They can be better options to give a visit as well.
Further reading: The ultimate guide to Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Day 6: Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3,860 m/12,660 ft)
After breakfast in the morning, the 6th-day trek begins towards Everest Base Camp. You follow the trail downhill towards Dudh Koshi valley which takes to Phungki Thanka. After crossing the forest pass, you will have to take an uphill trek. Getting through the challenging steep trails, you will reach the beautiful village of Tengboche.
Tengboche village is regarded as one of the most beautiful destinations in the Everest Region and is surrounded by the rhododendron trees, and lies at the junction of Dudh Koshi and Imja Rivers. Views of Mt. Ama Dablam and Mt. Everest is amazing from Tengboche. Tengboche Monastery is one of the largest monasteries in the Khumbu region.
The total distance to be covered is about 10 KM. And the total time for the day’s walk is nearly 6 hours.
Day 7: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,410 m/14,470 ft)
The 7th day of the trek begins with a walk through rhododendron forest crossing the Imja River via a suspension bridge. You will come across the village of Pangboche on the way. Pangboche is the village with the largest settlement of Sherpas in the Everest region. One can even opt to trek until Pangboche monastery when in Pangboche.
You will reach Dingboche after some time and a long wall surrounds the valley. The idea of building a wall is to protect the crops from cold winds. Because of this very reason, Dingboche is also known as “the summer valley”. From Dingboche, you will be able to witness a beautiful view of Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and the Island Peak. In the 7th day of the trek, you will walk about 6 hours and the distance to be covered is 11 KM.
Further reading: Mount Ama Dablam
Day 8: Acclimatization day at Dingboche
Dingboche is a perfect place for acclimatization. The rest day at Dingboche is your last resting place in your trek in the following days. In this day, you can explore the places around Dingboche and surrounding valleys such as Chhukung and Imja. Nagarjuna can be a great option to choose which is at an altitude of 5100 meters situated at the edges of Chhukung valley. If you choose to trek to Nagerjun, you will need to walk uphill and it is steep as well. Around 3 hours of challenging upward walk will take you to Nagerjun and a rewarding view of Lobuche, Taboche, Thamserku, Ama Dablam and if you get lucky with weather conditions, you will be able to see Mt. Makalu as well. Mt. Makalu is the fifth highest mountain peak in the world and is 8,485 meters high.
Similarly, if you choose to explore around Imja valley, it is connected with Island Peak, Makalu Varun National Park and the high passes of the surrounding places.
It’s up to you whether or not to choose to trek to those places. But the most important of all, you need to prepare yourself. You should be ready to take up the upcoming challenges in days to come and steep trails to conquer.
Day 9: Dingboche to Lobuche (4,940 m/16,210 ft)
After a day full of rest, you will begin walking in the challenging terrain and steeper ones. You will pass Dungla after some time and you will reach Pheriche. In Pheriche (4,371 m/14,340 ft), which is situated above Tsola River, you can find a rudimentary hospital for first aid and any other medical issues. Further walking will take you to Chupki Lhara and then to Khumbu glacier debris.
From the 9th day’s destination i.e. Lobuche, you will be able to witness beautiful views of Mt. Lobuche, Mt. Pumori, Mahalangur Himal, Khumbutse and the Nuptse. On the 9th day of the trek, you will be walking for about 6 to 7 hours and you will cover around 11 kilometers of distance.
Further reading: Nuptse Mountain
Day 10: Lobuche to Gorakshep (5164 m/16,942 ft.) to Everest Base Camp (5380 m/17,600 ft) and back to Gorakshep
The 10th day will be tiring and rewarding as well. You will be walking more than 8 hours on this day and the distance covered will be around 15 KM. It is going to be a challenging day. You are likely to have altitude sickness on this day because of increasing altitude. So it is very important to walk slowly. You will come across the world’s highest glacier, the Khumbu Glacier. It is located between Mt. Everest and Lhotse-Nuptse ridge.
After 2 to 3 hours of walk, you will reach Gorakshep. Gorakshep is the stop where you will have lunch and some rest before embarking on the journey to the Everest Base Camp. Before reaching the Everest Base Camp, the trail is steep and the intense walk is required to reach the base camp. However, the price you pay for it is totally worth or maybe even more. You will see the breathtaking views of Mt. Everest, Mt Cho Oyu, Mt. Makalu, and Mt. Ama Dablam among others. If you are lucky enough, especially during the spring, you will see mountain climbers preparing for the expedition to the peaks.
Spending a few hours in the Everest Base Camp, you will return to Gorakshep to spend the night.
Day 11: Gorakshep to Kala Patthar (5545m/18192 ft.) to Pheriche (4,371 m/14,340 ft.)
Kala Patthar is the highest altitudinal destination you will come across in the Everest Base Camp trek. Kala Patthar (which is translated as a black rock in Nepali) is at an altitude of 5545 m. It is one of the most popular viewpoints in Nepal and the views from this vantage point are awe striking. Early in the morning, you will trek to Kala Patthar and witness the captivating sunrise. Also, you will be able to see the panoramic views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Lhotse, and Mt. Pumari among others. You will see the closest view of Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar.
After spending time in Kala Patthar, you will descend to Gorakshep for lunch and then trek further down to reach Pheriche. And Pheriche is the 12th day’s destination. Until you reach Pheriche, you will walk about 6 hours on this day to cover around 12 KM of distance.
Further reading: Famous Trekking routes in Nepal
Day 12: Pheriche to Namche Bazaar
On the 12th day of the trek, you will be covering about 14-15 KM of distance and the duration of the trek would be around 7 hours. The trail follows the Imja River as it did at the beginning of the trek. Up until you reach Tengboche, you will be walking across the bank of this river. You can thoroughly enjoy the beautiful landscapes and beautiful villages along the trek. You do not need to rush as well because the important and challenging walks have already been completed.
Day 13: Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The trail from Namche Bazaar to Lukla is steep and you will need to cross a suspension bridge. Now, you will see the Dudh Koshi River flowing. After briskly walking for about 7 hours, you will reach Lukla. You will be covering around 16-18 KM of distance from Namche Bazaar to Lukla. While descending, you will come across the Mani stonewalls carved with prayers, Chortens, and Gumbas beautifully decorated with prayer flags, pastures and the beautiful villages in between.
Your stay at Lukla is the last day of stay in the Everest region. Cherish all the beautiful, challenging and joyful moments you had during the trek to Everest Base Camp and have a reflection on your life as well. The following day, you will leave for Kathmandu.
Day 14: Lukla to Kathmandu
About 30 minutes of flight will take you to Kathmandu from Lukla. In between, you can see the mountain views for one more time. Cherish it! Upon your arrival in Kathmandu, take a rest in the hotel and have a deeper reflection one more time.
Further reading: Mount Lhotse
Frequently asked questions about EBC
1. How high is Everest Base Camp?
Actually, there are two Everest Base Camps, one in Tibet and another one in Nepal. The Everest Base Camp located in Nepal is the Southern Everest Base Camp and its altitude is 5380 m/17,600 ft.
2. How to get to Everest Base Camp?
The only way to get to Everest Base Camp is by walking. It takes around 2 weeks to complete Everest Base Camp trek. However, if you choose to do a quick tour around Everest Base Camp, you can reach Everest Base Camp by flights as well.
3. Where is base camp on Mount Everest?
Everest Base Camp lies at an altitude of 5380-m/17,600 ft. Before climbing Mt. Everest the climbers have to camp there for some time to acclimatize themselves and physically prepare themselves for sometimes. The Everest Base Camp is between Mt. Everest and Nuptse-Lhotse ridge. The climbers who are doing expeditions to Lhotse and Nuptse also camp there in Everest Base Camp.
4. How fit do you need to be to go to Everest Base Camp?
This is one of the most asked questions when we talk about Everest Base Camp. It is also because people are scared of Mt. Everest being the highest peak in the world. Just because Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, it doesn’t mean that the base camp is as scary as it sounds. In reality, it’s not.
You don’t need to have a great fitness level while trekking to the Everest Base Camp. It’s also because the trek to Everest Base Camp is done with ease and more time. One cannot just rush and try to finish the trek within a week or so. S/he is pretty sure to suffer from altitude sickness.
Basically, you will need to prepare yourself to walk for about 8 hours a day. For that, you can prepare yourself before, maybe by exercising, cycling, jogging or any other forms of physical exercise. These will surely help you to become physically fit and more importantly boosts your confidence as well.
5. What is the cost of the Everest base camp trek?
If you choose to trek to Everest Base Camp through a trekking company, you pay a certain amount of money and they will take care of everything.
And if you are planning to trek on your own, you have to take care of all the things by yourself.
Here are some of the costs that need to be taken care of:
- National Park Entry Permit for Sagarmatha National Park: 3000 + 13% VAT. It’s around $30 plus 13% VAT. You can get national park permit at Nepal Tourism Board in Exhibition Road, Kathmandu or in national park entry gate at Monjo in Everest Region.
- Khumbu Rural Municipality Permit: 2000 (around $20). You can get this permit in Lukla.
- Travel Insurance: It is a must to have travel insurance while trekking to Everest Base Camp. Travel insurance gives you a feeling of security. There are plenty of travel companies, which provide travel insurance during your trekking to Everest Base Camp. Make sure to check all the conditions in the insurance.
- Wi-Fi and Phone Charge: The higher you ascend, the costlier it gets. Normally the hotels and lodges charge you $5-10 for a phone to be charged and also for the Wi-Fi. If you want to spend less on these things, you can carry a solar power-bank to charge your phone. Similarly, it’s best you get a local SIM card in Kathmandu. You can make calls and also if you buy Internet packages, you can easily use the Internet at lower rates.
- Food and accommodation: The costs of food and accommodation increase as the altitude increases. Normally, you will be charged $5 for dal-bhat in lower altitude. On the higher altitude, the price increases and it goes up to $10. You will be charged $10 for a normal room and as mentioned above, the cost increases in the higher elevation. The costs of these things are higher because of the fact that all the raw materials need to be transported by the donkeys, porters or in some cases helicopter. And it’s obvious the prices are slightly higher than in lower regions.
6. How difficult is the Everest Base Camp trek?
Everest Base Camp trek is not the toughest trek in Nepal. It is regarded as a moderate-graded trek. You don’t necessarily have to have prior trekking experience to go to the Everest Base Camp. It’s great if you have one. The important thing of all, you will be doing this trek in a relatively slow pace with more time to rest and acclimatize.
Having said that, the trek should not be taken easily. As the trek starts from Lukla at an altitude of 2860 m, this might be the highest point one has ever reached so far in his/her life. Altitude sickness can be one major factor, which needs to be highly and seriously taken care of.
Further reading: Adventurous activities to do in Nepal
7. How is the weather and climate of the Everest base camp trek?
The Everest region witnesses extreme changes in weather and temperature conditions. So it is crucially important for the trekkers to be prepared accordingly.
During the winter season (December to February), the average day temperature is -10 degree Celsius to 8 degree Celsius. -7 degree Celsius to -15 degree Celsius is the average temperature during the nighttime. The Everest regions are relatively drier during the wintertime and they witness an average of 7 hours of sunshine.
In the spring season (the months of March to May), the days are pleasant and rainfall is not expected. The average day temperature is 10 to 15 degree Celsius in higher altitude. Humidity is low during the springtime.
During the monsoon season (June to September), there is pretty less number of trekkers traveling to the Everest Base Camp. These season witnesses frequent rainfall and most of the days are cloudy. The reason why a lot of people don’t travel to the Everest Base Camp is that the mountain vistas are not visible because of poor weather conditions during that time. In the monsoon time, the daily average sunshine time is 5 hours.
The autumn season that falls in the month of October to November is considered to be the best time to trek to the Everest Base Camp. The days are pleasant and the nights are relatively colder. Normally the weather conditions best suit the trekkers in the autumn. Also, wind speed is very less ranging an average of 14 KM/hr. The average temperature in the autumn is 15 degree Celsius.
8. What to pack while trekking to the Everest Base Camp?
What to pack while trekking to the Everest Base Camp can be overwhelming and confusing as well. You might pack too less or sometimes too much. Here are the things you need to pack while trekking to the Everest Base Camp.
- 4 pairs of Breathable underwear
- 2 pairs of Upper and lower thermals
- 4 pairs of Trekking shirts
- 2 pairs of Trekking trousers and shorts
- Fleece jacket
- Insulated jacket
- Rain-proof jacket
- Sun hat or Cap
- Woolen Cap
- Inner and outer gloves
- Trekking shoes
- Hiking shoes
- 6 pairs of Trekking socks
- 2 pairs of Thermal socks
- A pair of Gaiters
- Sleeping bag (optional)
- 2 Pairs of Trekking Poles
- Water bottle with a purifier
- First Aid Kits
- Towel (optional)
- Portable battery charger/power bank
- Sunscreen cream
- Lip balm
- Hand Sanitizer
Pack as less as you can! That’s the key to not burdening yourself while trekking. You need to pack important things first and fill up the backpack with lesser important things. Balancing is everything!
Further reading: What to pack for Trekking in Nepal
Major Attractions of Everest Base Camp Trek
The Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most trekked destinations in Nepal has plenty of attractions to allure its trekkers and provide them with a feeling of completeness all the time. Here are some of the major attractions of the Everest Base Camp Trek:
Tenzing Hillary Airport at Lukla
Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary were the first ones to summit the Mount Everest and so the airport in Lukla got its name after those legends. This Airport lies at an altitude of 2860 m (9383 ft), which is a lot in itself and the flight to Lukla is an adventure. The airport only has 527 m of the runway. Interestingly, during the peak seasons (spring and autumn), the airport operates more than 50 flights per day. And the airport is the first step towards trekking to the Everest Region.
Namche Bazaar is the gateway to the Everest region. The structure of Namche Bazaar is amazing in itself and is a popular resting stop among trekkers. Namche has markets where you can get the trekking equipment and also the daily consumption materials.
Tengboche Monastery built in 1916 is the largest monastery in the Everest region. This monastery is also known as Dawa Choling Gompa. This place is amazing for the spiritually aligned people to have tranquil and serene moments.
Besides Tengboche monastery, monasteries such as Khumjung, Thame, and Pangboche are popular as well.
Spectacular views from Kala Patthar
Kala Patthar is the highest point one reaches while trekking to the Everest Region. One can witness the views of Mt. Everest (8,848 m), Cho Oyu (8,153 m), Lhotse (8,511 m), Nuptse (7879 m), Makalu (8470 m) and Ama Dablam (6,856 m) among many others from Kala Patthar.
Everest Base Camp
The Everest Base Camp is the major destination of the trek. Surprisingly, you won’t be able to see the top of Mt. Everest but Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Pumori and Khumbu icefall from there.
Witness the Sherpa Culture
The Sherpas are the major inhabitants in the Everest region. You can witness the raw Sherpa culture while trekking to Everest Base Camp. Getting to know and experience Sherpa culture is like traveling back to time. The brave yet friendly hospitable and heartwarming people will surely make your trip a memorable one.
Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage site. It covers an area of 1148 Sq. KM (443 Sq. Miles). The red panda, Snow leopard, Musk deer, Himalayan Thar, Lophophorus are some of the endangered species found in this national park. Similarly, the park inhabits over 118 species of birds. Sagarmatha National Park is the highest national park in the world including the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest.
Important things to consider while trekking to Everest Base Camp
Here is the list of few things, which need to be considered while trekking to the Everest Base Camp:
It is important to book your flights to and from Lukla as early as possible. During the spring and autumn, it is very difficult to get flights because of thousands of trekkers traveling there. Also, there are chances of flight cancellations. So prepare yourself accordingly. In case of flight cancellations for a longer period of time, you can choose to travel on a vehicle.
Altitude Sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness)
Starting from 1350 m at Kathmandu, you will be reaching until Kala Patthar, which is at 5545 m. So it is not uncommon if you suffer from Altitude sickness with the increasing elevation. The key is to walk slowly and steadily. Don’t rush while you are in the higher altitude. Slower the better!
Choose your foods wisely. And especially when you are in the mountains, your immune system is weak and you are vulnerable to getting sick. So you should be careful enough with what to eat and what to avoid. Consider if you are allergic to anything and avoid them. Also, it is important to hydrate yourself and eat highly nutritious foods to strengthen your body.
Get the permits (rural municipality permit and national park permit) on time. You don’t need to get TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) while trekking to the Everest Base Camp anymore. These two permits are enough.
Travel insurance is for your own safety. Do consider getting travel insurance while trekking to the Everest Base Camp. If you are to be rescued because of unexpected instances, you will have to pay as much as $5000 for a helicopter rescue. Imagine if you are not insured. Terrible, isn’t it? Be prepared.
All in all, the Everest Base Camp trekking offers you once in a lifetime experience. With increased infrastructures of lodging and food, the trekkers are provided with much better facilities than in the past. Plus, Nepal is celebrating Visit Nepal 2020 and is expecting to receive 2 million tourists in the year 2020. Your travel will be a contribution.
Are you up for the Everest Base Camp trek? Let us know!