A Complete Guide to Everest Base Camp Trek

  • 2022-09-02
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Everest Base Camp trek is one of the spectacular high-altitude hikes in the Khumbu region of Nepal that take us to the base of the tallest peak of the world – Mt. Everest [8848.86m/29032ft]. It is the ultimate destination to get the jaw-dropping scenery and a unique cultural experience exploring the challenging trekking routes around the highest mountain in the world.

Several practices are done to reach Everest Base Camp [EBC] since the 1920s. The undertakings of legends such as George Mallory, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Tenzing Norgay put the mighty mountain on the map; thousands followed them, making huge sacrifices,  lots with their lives in their efforts to the peak. But today, the EBC journey has become much easier; several teahouses are established, there are well-established trekking trails that are not confusing at all, and many fellow travelers are seen on the way making the journey interactive.

Walking inside the Sagarmatha National Park, one of the World Heritage Sites in Nepal, travelers will explore diverse flora and fauna including red panda, snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, marten, Himalayan mouse hare [pika], and over 118 species of bird including the Impeyan pheasant, snow cock, blood pheasant, red billed cough, etc. and pine and hemlock forests, while fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron, scrub and alpine plant communities are common at the higher altitude during the trek.

During their walk to EBC, trekker enthusiasts get astonishing panoramic sceneries of 4 of the 6 tallest peaks of the world viz. Mt, Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu and numerous mountain massifs mountain peaks, such as Mt. Nuptse [7855m], Mt. Pumori [7161m], Mt. Changaste [7550m], Mt. Thamserku [6723m], Mt. Kantega [ 6685m], Mt. Kusum Khagaru [6367m], Mt. Amadablam [6856m] Mt. Kongde [6011m], Mt. Khumbila [5761m], Mt. Twache peak[6367m], Mt. Lingterin [6679m], Mt. Cholaste [6335m], Island peak [6179m], Honku south peak [6119m], Lobuche peak [6145m], Pokalde peak [5806m], Khumbu Glacier, and Khumbu Icefall which proofs that trekkers will enjoy each moment watching the lustrous scneries.

Highlights of Everest Base Camp Trek

  • A Short – 30 minutes scenic and dramatic flight to the Lukla Airport, one of the most extreme airports.
  • A pleasant and vibrant trek passes the bank of the Dudhkoshi River, crossing the renowned Sagarmatha National Park entrance and alpine backwoods.
  • Witness and explore Sherpa culture and the way of living.
  • Get the exquisiteness of the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest 8,848.86m and other peaks such as Mt. Lhotse[8,516m], Cho Oyu[8,188m], and Mt.Makalu [8,485m] and hundreds other 6000-7000m peaks.
  • Get insights into UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu and Sagarmatha National Park
  • Visit the religious shrines such as Prayer wheels, colorful flags, Mani stones, monasteries and chortens
  • Walk passing high suspension bridges, and a wide range of Flora and Fauna.
  • Get inside, explore and pray in the ancient monasteries in Tengboche, Phakding, Pangboche, and Khumjung.
  • Sightseeing wildlife like musk deer, colorful pheasants, snow, leopards Malayan Thar, and several others.

Why Trek Everest Base Camp?

 Popular mountaineer George Mallory lives on in the following brilliantly eloquent quotes. “ Because it’s there… Everest is the highest mountain in the world, and no man has reached its summit. Its existence is a challenge. The answer is instinctive, a part, I suppose, of man’s desire to conquer the universe”. This is the biggest reason why you should trek EBC. Thousands of trekkers have their ultimate dream to conquer the foot of Everest. Here are some of the possible reasons why one should trek Everest Base Camp at least once in their lifetime.

A Beautiful Scenic Flight to and From Lukla

Flying Lukla from Kathmandu is one of the most scenic flights in Nepal that flies over high mountain massifs, deep valleys, high hills, and lush vegetation. Although, there are several ways to reach EBC; Phaplu to EBC, Jiri to EBC, Heli ride to EBC, Ramechhap to Lukla flight, and Kathmandu to Lukla flight. Among all, flying Lukla from Kathmandu/ Ramechhap is the most enthralling journey. More than ninety percent of the trekkers choose this way to reach there.

Although Lukla airport is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world, there are no such frequent accidents reported there, and while flying you will have a wonderful outlook of forested hills, valleys, dazzling rivers and villages, and more. From the air, you can bird eye view of greenery terrace farmlands, clouds, beautiful waterfalls falling amidst the deep forest, etc. Choose the left seat of the aircraft to have such a wonderful experience.

Sightseeing Around Sagarmatha National Park [a UNESCO World Heritage Site]

During your second day trek, you will enter Sagarmatha National Park, the highest elevated UNESCO World Heritage site that ranges from 2800m to 8848.86m above sea level. This is protected land and one requires permits to enter in. Here, you can experience the Himalayan-based ecosystem which includes a dense forest of pines, oaks, junipers, bamboo, and rhododendrons. This forest provides shelter to numerous endangered flora and fauna of this region. Walking along the woods, you might see some rare animals like snow leopards, blue sheep, Himalayan goats and eagles, and many more. Walking to the Base Camp, you will have plenty of time to sightsee the National Park.

Hillary Suspension Bridge [Highest Suspension bridge in Nepal], and Other Hillary Memorials

A high, swinging suspension bridge over the milky Dudh Koshi River is considered the highest suspension bridge in the entire Everest region. On your second day trek [Phakding to Namche Bazaar], you will cross it. Crossing this, you will have a steep upward climb to reach Namche Bazaar. The bridge in itself is adventuring and holy. The religious prayer flags embellished around the bridge give you religious and spiritual vibes; while the swinging bridge will thrill you while walking across it.

Apart from it, you will see Tenzing Hillary Airport Lukla, Hillary School Khumjung, Hillary hospital Kunde and several other monuments in the name of Edmund Hillary, the first successful climber of Mt. Everest.

Namche Bazaar [The Largest Sherpa Town]

Popular as a ‘tourist hub’, Namche Bazaar is the largest Sherpa settlement in the Khumbu region. It is the most popular place for spending overnight, an acclimatization place, the place has bars, restaurants, banks, ATMs, local food, and markets. People depend on tourism here. This heavenly site gets a magnificent view of Kongde Ri[6,187m], Thamserku [6,623m], and other peaks.

Tengboche Monastery [One of the largest Buddhist Monasteries in the Khumbu Region]

On the way to Everest Base Camp, we will visit the Tengboche monastery in the hillock of Tengboche village on the convergence of Dudh Kosi and Imja river which remains the largest monastery in the Khumbu district. It was built by Lama Guru in 1916 and has strong influences from Rongbuk Monastery in Tibet.

Standing at the yard of Tengboche Monastery, trekkers will get astonishing views of Everest, Tawache, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and other peaks. Getting inside the monastery, trekkers pray for the success of their Everest journey.

Hundreds of monks in the monastery perform Buddhist rituals. Keeping them all apart, this monastery is famous for Sherpa festivals held once a year, which is called the Mani Rimdu Festival.

Everest View Hotel [The highest place Star Hotel]

Everest View Hotel is the highest elevated hotel in Nepal and keeps the record as one of the highest elevated hotels in the world. It holds the record in Guinness World Records for ‘Highest Altitude Hotel’ in the world in 2004.

During the acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar, trekkers reach this hotel in a few hours' hike. This luxury hotel opens up the terrace for trekkers for some time to have a view and scenery of a lifetime. From the terrace, an astonishing view of snow-capped summits among which Everest stands out the highest is seen.

Staying in this luxury lodge is also possible. At the hotel, you can have a table either outside or on the rooftop to adore local cookeries while appreciating the adjacent views and scenery. Here, you can have admittance to the internet or Wifi along with tremendous lodging amenities.

Everest Base Camp [Our Ultimate Destination]

Situated at 5364m above sea level, Everest Base Camp is the main attraction of the trek. It is the beginning point of the Everest Expedition and the ending point of the trek. Till this point, we reach without any climbing gears and equipment. After walking around 9 days from Lukla, we reach Everest Base Camp. Here we can explore the magical kingdom of snow and rocks gives trekkers some sort of inner peace and accomplishment.

Every part of the base camp is embellished with colorful prayer flags, a large valley, apex touching snow peaks, and beautiful Khumbu Glacier Icefall. Exploring them all, we hike back to Gorekshep overnight as there is no more teahouse to stay in.

Kala Patthar [The most popular Viewpoint]

The highest point of the entire Everest Base Camp trek is Kala Patthar. It means ‘Black Rock’ and it lies 5545m above sea level. Hiking Kala Patthar early from Gorekshep, trekkers will get splendid sceneries of sunrise, sunset, and panoramic views of the high mountain massifs. It provides 360-degree sweeping views of Everest along with Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, and other smaller ones.

Sherpa Culture and Festivals

Almost every part of the Khumbu region is filled with Sherpa settlements. This legendary trek to Everest Base Camp allows you to experience and explore the old culture, traditions, rituals, and lifestyle of the Sherpa people. Walking along the route, we can see several Buddhist monuments such as Chortens, Gompas, alleys, Mane walls, prayer flags, and prayer wheels which are built by the Sherpas and other people. They are the best places and things to understand Sherpa culture and traditions.

While acclimatizing, spending overnight, etc., we explore Sherpas’ lifestyles and other daily activities. Besides their unique culture and bravery, sherpas are famous for their grand festivals. In the Khumbu region, Sherpa involves mainly in three festivals; Lhosar, Harvest Festival, and the Mani Rimdu Festival. It is best to observe those unique festivals.

EBC Trek Duration

Generally, the Everest Base Camp trek is a 12 days journey that covers 130 kilometers in a round trip. Although everything depends upon the level of the trekker, weather, rest day, etc, trekkers need to walk 5-6 hours each day to reach the scheduled destination. It takes eight days to get to EBC and four days to get back down, broken down overall into nine days of long trekking and three short trekking acclimatization days. Overall trekking destination, distance, and duration are listed below.

Day 1: Fly Kathmandu to Lukla [2,860 m/9384 ft] and trek to Phakding [2,652 m/8,700 ft]: 9 km/3-4 hours

Day 2: Trek Phakding to Namche Bazaar [3,440 m/11,283 ft] : 12 km/5-6 hours

Day 3: Acclimatization Day at Namche Bazar- Hike to Everest View Hotel [3,962m/12,995ft] 5.4 km/3-4 hours  

Day 4: Trek Namche Bazaar to Tengboche [3,860 m/12,660 ft]:12km/5-6 hours

Day 5: Trek Tengboche to Dingboche [4410 m/14464 ft]: 11km/5-6 hours

Day 6: Acclimatization day at Dingboche: Acclimatization hike to Nagarjun Hill [5,100 m/16,728 ft]: 6km/4-5 hours

Day 7: Trek Dingboche to Lobuche [4,910 m/16,105 ft]: 12km/5-6 hours

Day 8: Trek Lobuche to Gorakshep [5,181 m/16,994 ft] to EBC [5,364 m/17,594 ft] and return Gorakshep: 10km/8-9 hours

Day 9: Trek Gorakshep to Kalapatthar [5,545 m/18,188 ft] and descend to Pheriche [4,210 m/13,809 ft]:12km/6-7 hours

Day 10: Trek Pheriche to Namche Bazaar [3,440 m/11,280 ft]: 15km/6-7 hours

Day 11: Trek Namche Bazaar to Lukla [2,860 m/9384 ft]: 19km/6-7 hours

Day 12: Fly to Kathmandu [1,338 m/4,390 ft]: 35 minutes flight

Everest Base Camp Trekking Route

Accessing Everest Base Camp has several routes;

  1. Classic Everest Trek Route
  2. Everest Base Camp Trek via Phaplu/Salleri
  3. Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour
  4. Everest Base Camp Trek via Gokyo Lakes

You can choose any one of them. But Most of the trekkers choose the classic trekking trail used by the legendary Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. This route for EBC trekking takes you through various villages, camping grounds, and incredibly isolated spots with magnificent views of the mountain panoramas and passes via these areas.

A Way to EBC: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding – Namche Bazaar – Tengboche – Dingboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp

The way from EBC: Everest Base Camp – Gorek Shep – Pheriche – Tengboche – Monjo – Lukla – Kathmandu

Is the Everest Base Camp trek difficult?

Everest Base Camp trek is a moderately difficult journey. It requires a bit of proactive preparedness to succeed. Both physical and mental strength is necessary to ascend the elevation of 5545m [the highest point of the trek]

Novice travelers also complete this trek as we have plenty of acclimatization days during the walk. However, the fitter we are, the more enjoyable experience we will have during the trekking. Previous trekking experience is beneficial but no technical experience and skills are required to complete this journey.

Trekkers need to walk 5-6 hours every day, which involves hiking along the rocky mountain, steep ascents, descents, and straightforward in the high altitudes. It is very important to make sure you are as healthy as possible before starting the trek. Participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood disease should inform us or consult with their physician before booking the tour. For the training exercises; jogging, day hikes, swimming, cycling, etc, and other cardiovascular activities are recommended.

Trekking Gears and Equipment for Everest Base Camp Trek

Following gears and equipment are recommended for the EBC trek

  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Down vest and/or jacket [optional]
  • Fleece or wool trousers/pants
  • Trekking/Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer
  • Footwear for around camp, for example, running shoes and/or sandals
  • Thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Underwear [3-4]
  • Windcheater jacket [optional]
  • Waterproof shell jacket
  • Thermal gloves
  • Shorts [2-3]
  • Cotton trousers/pants
  • Thermal bottoms
  • Socks [3-4 pairs]
  • Sun hat or scarf or Hat or light balaclava
  • T-shirts [Outward provides one]
  • Sunglasses with UV protection [opt to buy this in your home country]
  • Sleeping bag rated to 0 degrees [3/4 season]
  • Headlamp, spare bulbs & batteries
  • Small padlock to lock trek bag
  • Plastic bags
  • Duffle bag [Outward Adventure will provide]
  • Daypack [35-40 liters/2500-3000 cubic inches]
  • Water bottles
  • Small wash towel
  • Footwear [see footwear section below for details]
  • Waterproof shell trousers/pants [preferably breathable fabric]
  • Toiletries
  • Basic first aid kit

Accommodation during the EBC trek

Throughout the trip to EBC, you will have two types of accommodation; hotel accommodation [in Kathmandu] and local lodge/teahouse accommodation during the trek. Almost all rooms are twin sharing rooms.

During the trek, we will stay six nights in rooms with private attached bathrooms at Lukla [1 Night] Phakding [1 Night], and Namche [3 Nights] and six nights in standard rooms at Tengboche [1 Night], Dingboche [2 Nights] Lobuche [1 Night], Gorakshep [1 Night], and Pheriche [1 Night]   

Three nights of hotel stay in Kathmandu before and after the journey will be in one of the three-star hotels.

What about the Food during EBC Trek?

Trekking in the foothills of the world’s highest peak of the world needs sound stamina. Your body needs enough carbohydrates and proteins to keep yourself fit throughout the journey. And, the meals provided must be very convenient and hygienic. However, the food cannot be compared with the options you get in the cities like Kathmandu.

Throughout this Everest Base Camp Trek, you will get all three meals in the teahouses; dinner and breakfast will be in the same teahouse where you spend overnight and lunch will be on the way to another destination.

The most popular menu items found on the way are as follows.

At Breakfast:- Oatmeal, Corn Flakes, Toast with Jam/Butter/Cheese/Honey,  Local Tsampa Porridge, Tibetan Bread or Chapati, Varieties of eggs [omelets, boiled, sunny side up, fried, scrambled], Hot drinks [selections of teas, coffees, hot chocolates, hot lemons], Pancakes, Muesli bread, Fruits and Vegetables, etc.

At Lunch:- Dhal, Bhat, and Tarkari, various soup items, Momo [Dumplings], Pizza [Tomato, Mushroom, Mixed], Spaghetti Noodles, Sherpa Stew Steaks, Sandwiches, Macaroni Dishes, Snacks [Papad, Prawn], Tenduk, Tibetan Bread, Thukpa, Pasta, Vegetable Curry, Potatoes, Salad, Dessert Items [Rice Pudding, Apple pie] and some others.

At Dinner:- Rice, Lentils, and Vegetables [Dal, Bhat & Tarkari], Various Soup Items, Momo [dumplings], Tibetan Bread, Vegetable Curry, Sherpa Stew, Steaks, Spaghetti Noodles, Sandwiches, Pizza [Tomato, Mushroom, Mixed], Macaroni Dishes, Tenduk, Dessert Items [Rice Pudding, Apple Pie], Thukpa, Pasta, Potato Items, Vegetables, Salads, Snacks, Papad, Prawn, Korean Raman, Steaks and some other are included in the menus.

We select the best available lodges/hotels/restaurants where fresh, hygienic tasty, and nutritious food is served. Most menus contain cuisines that are either local or Asian, or popular western. However, as we gain elevation, the menu items available become fewer and fewer.

Entrance & Permits for Everest Base Camp Trek

For the Everest Base Camp Trek, we need permits. If you are traveling through the local travel agency, they will get all the necessary permits and access to the Everest Region. While trekking, once you reach Lukla, you have to find first the office of Rural Municipality for the one permit, and the next day, you have to get the permit from the Sagarmatha National Park office, which is on the way [Manjo]. We need two permits; Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit and Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit.

Travel Insurance for Everest Base Camp Trek

Travel insurance for any trek in Nepal is obligatory. It is one of the most necessary documents for trekking in such high mountains. EBC trek is a high altitude trek and such a hike can be pretty hazardous, Therefore, if travelers, unfortunately, face any kind of consequences during the trekking, those travel insurance might be the best for you. It saves you from paying a huge amount at once, so we request all travelers to get travel insurance before heading to Nepal for trekking and any kind of activities. Thus, please make traveling insurance that covers up to 6000m helicopter evacuation.

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