The Mount Everest Base Camp trek (EBC) is a dream destination for many people, as it leads directly to the base of the highest mountain in the world. Hikers cross the Sagarmatha National Park and get an in-depth look into the local culture and traditions. Starting in forested areas, the trek climbs higher and higher and finally crosses glaciers and rubble. In springtime, people in the basecamp are getting ready to climb Mount Everest. On the way, visitors can see some of the highest mountains in the world, ancient monasteries, and stunning nature. A trip to the Everest Base Camp is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Closest Major City: Katmandu
Costs: Less than $1000 – $1500 with guide and porter
Length:11-14 Days (excluding travel days)
When to Go: Spring or Fall
To do this trek, you have to get a permit from the local government in Solukhumbu pay the entrance fee to the Sagarmatha National Park. Both tickets can be bought on the way. Carrying your original passport for this is essential. As regulations can change quite frequently, make sure to ask your agency before you leave if you have to get any permits in Kathmandu.
To get to Nepal, you have to fly into the only international airport in Kathmandu. From there, you take a domestic early morning flight to Lukla, where you will start the hike. We strongly recommend spending a couple of days in Kathmandu before you leave for your trek to acclimatize and get over jetlag. Kathmandu has many interesting cultural sites to offer that can be visited.
If you don´t want to fly into Lukla, you can also take a bus to Jiri and walk from there. This would add an additional five to six days to the trek.
Starting in Lukla, the trek gains a total of 2520m in elevation. The trail is well marked and maintained, even though trekkers have to share it with long lines of mules and yaks that ferry goods up the mountain. The first days, the path leads through forested areas and along a river for a while. The first steep climb is the ascent towards Namche Bazar on the second day. The old trading center also presents itself as the perfect stop for the first rest day to help acclimatization.
After exploring the area, hikers continue towards Tengboche with its famous monastery and then Dingboche. In Dingboche, you should take another day of rest to acclimatize and climb the hill that overlooks the village. From here you can also get amazing views of the Ama Dablam and the Chola Pass.
After Dingboche, things get serious. In a long day with a very hard climb, you will reach Lobuche. OnAt the pass, you will walk by many memorials for people that died on the attempt to climb Mount Everest – a solemn reminder of the dangers of this mountain. From Lobuche, you make the final push towards Gorak Shep. Depending on the time you arrive there, you can either continue towards base camp in the afternoon or climb the Kala Patthar with an elevation of 5500m. From here, you have the perfect view of Mount Everest. When you stand in the base camp itself, the mountain actually hides behind the Lhotse face. When the weather allows it, the sunset from Kala Patthar is stunning.
After a cold night in Gorak Shep, the next morning you can either try to catch the sunrise on Kala Patthar or go to the base camp – depending on what you did the first day. After that it’s downhill again. Going down is much faster than up, but you should still watch your step as the trail can be demanding.
On the way, you will stay in teahouses. In the Everest region, there are many options to stay, so if you are willing to pay some extra, you can get high-quality accommodations along the trail. You should bring your own sleeping bag, though, as the blankets are not always warm enough. Make sure it is a good one, as temperatures higher up can get very low at night – your water bottle will probably freeze in your room. Particularly in high season, places can book out quite quickly, so try to call ahead in the morning. If you have no guide, the teahouse where you stayed will be happy to help (and recommend a place). Otherwise your guide will do this for you.
The food on theMount Everest Base Camp Trek is excellent. Every guesthouse has a great choice of food items. To stay on the safe side, we recommend staying away from meat though, as there is often no proper cooling. Also, eating local dishes ensures that they are delicious, as the cook knows what he or she is doing and is more sustainable, as fewer resources have to be flown in for them. It is also advisable to try to order something similar when traveling in a group (i.e., noodles, rice, potatoes, etc.). This way, preparation is much faster and fewer resources are used.
To be able to enjoy the trek, health is of core importance. On the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek, there are three main things trekkers have to look out for – altitude sickness, stomach bugs and the cold.
Mount Everest Base Camp is very high (5364m) , and altitude sickness is a serious concern. Even if you feel great, you should not skip the acclimatization days on the way up to base camp! They help the body to slowly adjust to the lower oxygen level in the air. If you experience severe headaches, dizziness or nausea, do not keep climbing. If you are in doubt, always go down. Many trekkers have to be rescued in critical condition every year because they tried to push on when they were already not feeling well. It is also advisable to talk to your doctor about possible measures you can take before you go on this trek.
Stomach bugs are widespread in Nepal and are typically spread through water or food. Be sure to use tablets or a filter to make water drinkable or only drink boiled water. We recommend avoiding meat as well, as this is a very common source for stomach issues. The higher you get, the more problems will your stomach have to digest food, even if you are not sick. Do not eat very oily or heavy meals, especially in the evening.
Many people catch a cold or a cough on theMount Everest Base Camp Trek, as the body is already strained in the altitude and temperatures can be very low at night. Make sure that you have gear that is suited for these circumstances. Drink lots of tea and hot ginger and bring medication for a sore throat or common cold to be able to counteract quickly. Do not overdo it either – if you feel tired one day, consider resting or cutting the day short.
In conclusion, the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek is a fantastic hike that is rewarding on so many levels. The highlight is, of course, reaching the famous base camp, but along the way, hikers get to see so many amazing things. Walking with yaks, passing by ancient stupas and monasteries and staying with the Sherpa in their villages all adds to the experience. For two weeks, visitors can completely detach from their normal lives and enjoy being totally immersed in nature and surrounded by the highest mountains in the world.
- Fly to Lukla, hike to Phakding (2610m)
- Phakding to Namche Bazar (3440m)
- Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazar
- Namche Bazar to Tengboche (3870m)
- Tengboche to Dingboche (4410m)
- Acclimatization Day in Dingboche
- Dingboche to Lobuche (4940m)
- Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5164m), visit Kala Patthar (5500m)
- Visit Basecamp, hike to Pheriche (4370m)
- Pheriche to Namche Bazar (3440m)
- Namche Bazar to Phakding (2610m)
- Phakding to Lukla (2860m)