Panoramic view of Mount Everest Base Camp Trek in Himalayas

Everest Base Camp Trek: Get the Details

By Kelsey KrahnDestinations

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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.

However, there are only so many people that are able to complete this intensive, physically demanding adventure, which is where the Everest Base Camp Trek comes into play.

While still physically demanding, a more extensive range of explorers can complete this popular route that climbs through the stark, whimsical Himalayan beauty replete with Sherpa culture, monasteries, Khumbu Glacier, and so much more. Want to know more? Read on for all the details on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

General Information for the Everest Base Camp Trek
Route Overview of the Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek Highlights
Everest Base Camp Trek Difficulty
Best ways to prepare for the Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek Accommodations
Food and Drink along the Everest Base Camp Trek
Health on the Everest Base Camp Trek
Guided tours along the Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest Base Camp Trek Sample Itinerary

Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp on the way to Namche Bazar

Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp on the way to Namche Bazar

General Information for the Everest Base Camp Trek

Before you decide whether you want to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek or not, have a quick glimpse at some of the more nitty gritty details. But beware: you’ll see how accessible it is and probably add it to your bucket list!

Start and End of the Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Base Camp Trek begins and ends in Lukla. You’ll have to fly to and from Kathmandu to reach the starting point of the Everest Base Camp Trek, so factor this in mind when plotting your budget. The rickety, adrenaline-inducing landing will elevate your heart rate, so if you’re not a fan of flying, there’s also the option to take a jeep from Kathmandu to Salleri and then take a two-day trek to Lukla. Unfortunately, it’s also common for the airline to cancel flights between Lukla and Kathmandu, leaving frustrated and annoyed hikers in both places.

Getting to the Everest Base Camp Trek

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 jet lag. 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.

View from Namche Bazaar on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

View from Namche Bazaar on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Distance and Days

The Everest Base Camp Trek keeps you on the trail for 120.0 km, but don’t let this number scare you! You’ll make up a decent amount of ground each day, so if you’re thinking: I’m going to be on this trail forever—you won’t. It will be challenging, but it often takes a minimum of 12 days to complete. Not bad for getting to the foot of the highest mountain in the world and back, right?

Everest Base Camp Trek Elevation

Not only will you gain elevation each day, but Lukla already sits at 2,600 m above sea level! Therefore, it can take a bit to acclimatize as you climb further into the Himalayas. For example, along the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek, you’ll gain 400 m-800 m of elevation each day. Time to acclimatize will usually precede days with a higher elevation gain—trekkers typically spend day four adjusting to the elevation in Namche Bazaar, followed by day seven in Dingboche.

When to Trek to Everest Base Camp

Like most treks in Nepal, the best time to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek is on the cusp of monsoon season: from March to May and September to November. The land isn't drenched in rain from December to February, but the air turns brisk, sometimes dropping to a shivering -30C when night falls.

Tengboche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Tengboche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Route Overview of the Everest Base Camp Trek

Starting in Lukla, the trek gains a total of 2,520 m 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 day, the path leads through forested areas and along a river for a while. The first steep climb is the ascent towards Namche Bazaar 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, before continuing on to 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 is where things get serious! After a long day with a very hard climb, you will reach Lobuche. Upon reaching 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 5,500 m. 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 previous day. After reaching base camp it's downhill again. Going down the trail is much faster than up, but you should still watch your step as the terrain can be quite demanding.

Trekking to Dingboche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Trekking to Dingboche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Highlights

It’s 100 percent surreal to stand at the foot of the highest mountain in the world, but that’s not the only notable highlight along the Everest Base Camp Trek. Some cultural and natural marvels worth nothing include:

  • Catch a glimpse of Sherpa culture
  • Discover monasteries and a school in Khumjung village
  • Drop your jaw at enchanting views of the Khumbu Glacier
  • Spend some time in Namche Bazar; a vibrant, warm town layered on a terraced slope
Stunning views on the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek to Dingboche

Stunning views on the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek to Dingboche

Everest Base Camp Trek Difficulty

The Everest Base Camp Trek is ranked as moderate to challenging, primarily due to the elevation gains. Suppose you plan for this trek to be your first backcountry meander ever. In that case, we suggest going on some local excursions at home first or trying another one in Nepal. Two worth considering are the Annapurna Base Camp Trek or even the Langtang Trek, which can help you better acclimatize before tackling the Everest Base Camp Trek. However, most trekkers can try out the Everest Base Camp Trek; just be prepared for challenging days.

Pangboche village on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Pangboche village on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Best ways to prepare for the Everest Base Camp Trek

One of the best ways to prepare for trekking in Nepal and the Everest Base Camp Trek is to research what you need to pack. And no, we aren’t talking about the standard merino wool socks, hiking boots, good-quality backpack, moisture-wicking clothes, warmer layers, but the things you might not think about. Some must-pack items are:

  • Diamox to help prevent altitude sickness (AMS), which may cause some side effects, such as tingling in extremities or an increased need to urinate (it’s a diuretic).
  • A steripen, water tablets, or LifeStraw water bottle to sterilize and filter water—a LifeStraw water bottle benefits both the environment as it eliminates your need for plastic bottles and allows you to utilize the water along the trail.
  • Sleeping bag or liner for the teahouses as they might not clean the sheets every night
  • A lightweight towel just in case the accommodation en route does not provide them
Views from Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Views from Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Your passport will also need to have at least six months of validity after your Nepal trip. So do yourself a favour, pause this article, and check your passport now! Thankfully, you can obtain a visa on arrival (be sure to brush up on this information before you go, just in case things change).

When you arrive in Nepal, you can head to the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu to get your permits. The government requires trekkers to obtain a TIMS permit before trekking, but rumour has it that you don’t need one. Although, it’s probably a good idea to confirm this when retrieving your permits for the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural area, Sagarmatha National Park and Gaurishankar Conservation area. Some may also need a permit for the Gaurishankar Conservation area if hiking from Jiri to Everest Base Camp. You’ll need passport photos to apply for the permits. Most hikes require at least four, so we suggest coming with that or more.

You’ll also need to get travel insurance! When speaking to your provider, make sure that it covers high-altitude adventures. And don’t even think about not getting it.

Looking down on Dingboche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Looking down on Dingboche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Accommodations

Expect primarily teahouses for accommodations along the Everest Base Camp Trek. Teahouses offer simple, rustic places to sleep with delicious, hearty meals. You’ll almost feel like you’re revelling in luxury when you spend a night at them. Okay, not entirely, but it’s always comforting to fall into a bed after a day of meandering trails. As we mentioned above, it might be a good idea to bring a sleeping bag or liner along if you come across uncleaned sheets. It can also get quite cold at night, so carrying a sleeping bag can help you out!

It’s also customary to pay for breakfast and dinner when you stay somewhere along the Everest Base Camp Trek or wherever you’re trekking in Nepal, really! This is where the teahouses make most of their money. We know it’s tempting to figure out your food for budgeting purposes, but it’s only a courtesy to pay for food at each place you stay. So keep this in mind (and it’s good food!).

Lobuche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek in Himalayas

Lobuche on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek in Himalayas

Unfortunately, you’ll only find plugs in communal areas for charging devices—and these come at a cost (200 NPR, 1.6 USD per hour). There are lights in the rooms, though!

After Namche Bazaar, you’ll have to pay around 500 NPR (4 USD) for a hot shower. If you’re trekking earlier in the season, the water will be a bit cold coming from the pipes, resulting in a hot bucket shower. Or you might not get hot water at all!

If you're trekking independently, it's unlikely that you'll be able to book your accommodation in advance, but if you're with a tour, they'll book for you. You could also go with a local guide, and they can reserve it for you. Again, it's possible to find a bed but aim to go earlier, especially during peak season; if not, you might be able to stay in the common room.

Yaks are everywhere on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Yaks are everywhere on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Food and Drink along the Everest Base Camp Trek

Let’s talk about the menu!

First things first: Expect to pay around 25 USD for three meals. Okay, onto the fun part: the food.

Enjoy quintessential, filling breakfasts along your trek, such as pancakes, oatmeal, omelettes, toast, french toast, and chapati. Lunch and dinner typically follow a similar menu: rice with curry, burgers and fries (it might be best to avoid meat along the trek; it might taste different than what you’re used to, but give it a go, of course), the bottomless dahl, pizza, spring rolls, Sherpa stew, and more.

You can also buy apples, chocolate bars, and pastries for snacks. It can be a long day of trekking between breakfast and lunch, so snacks are always a good call.

For drinks, you can always order Masala tea along the way. However, coffee can get expensive, so you might want to carry some. And like we mentioned above, it’s essential to bring a big water bottle, and especially helpful to bring one with a filter, so you can refill as you go. Or you will have to buy water along the way, which can get pricier the higher you climb.

You can see stunning Khumbu Glacier on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

You can see stunning Khumbu Glacier on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Health on the Everest Base Camp Trek

To be able to enjoy the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek, health is of critical importance. While on the trek there are three main things trekkers have to look out for - altitude sickness, stomach bugs, and the cold.

At 5,364 m above sea level, Mount Everest Base Camp is a very high destination, and altitude sickness is a serious concern. If you experience any symptoms related to altitude sickness, such as headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, no appetite, trouble sleeping, or just feeling plain sick (to name a few symptoms), please pause, rest, and take a day to adjust. Pushing through altitude sickness can result in a fatality, so listen to your body. Even if you feel great, you should not skip the acclimatization days on the way up to base camp, and when in doubt, always go down.

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 your stomach will have digesting 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 the Mount 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.

View of Everest and Mount Everest Base Camp from Kala Patthar on a trek

View of Everest and Mount Everest Base Camp from Kala Patthar on a trek

Guided tours along the Everest Base Camp Trek

Want to stand in the shadow of the biggest mountain in the world? The Everest Base Camp Trek takes you to the foot of the renowned Mount Everest, immediately propelling an empowered feeling. Although you’re *only* climbing to the foot and not the peak, it’s still a challenging trek that requires thorough preparation. But the thought of completing a tiring, worthwhile adventure in the sweeping Himalayas after an exhausting travel preparation process can be, well, exhausting. In this case, booking an Everest Base Camp Trek tour will eliminate the planning process, granting more time to prepare for Nepal’s most popular Himalayan trek.

Across 17 days, you’ll trek to the Everest Base Camp and back, explore Kathmandu, revel in Nepal’s rich culture, and climb to Kala Patthar for one of the (if not the) best views of Mount Everest (to name a few things). All you need to do? Book your flights to Nepal, get your visa on arrival, and bring extra cash for lunch and dinner when in Kathmandu and for personal drinks, charging your devices and hot showers along the trail. Leave the rest to the tour operator.

The Everest Base Camp Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and it deserves to sit high on your bucket list!

Amazing scenery on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Amazing scenery on Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Sample Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

  1. Fly to Lukla, hike to Phakding (2,610 m)
  2. Phakding to Namche Bazar (3,440 m)
  3. Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazar
  4. Namche Bazar to Tengboche (3,870 m)
  5. Tengboche to Dingboche (4,410 m)
  6. Acclimatization Day in Dingboche
  7. Dingboche to Lobuche (4,940 m)
  8. Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,164 m), visit Kala Patthar (5,500 m)
  9. Visit Basecamp, hike to Pheriche (4,370 m)
  10. Pheriche to Namche Bazar (3,440 m)
  11. Namche Bazar to Phakding (2,610 m)
  12. Phakding to Lukla (2,860 m)
Few tents camped at Mount Everest Base Camp on a trek in Himalayas

Few tents camped at Mount Everest Base Camp on a trek in Himalayas

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 add 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.

If you're interested in Nepal's adventure activities, check out some of our other relevant pages:

Trekking in Nepal: A Guide to the Greatest Trails at the Roof of the World

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