Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
How to prepare for the Everest Base Camp Trek is a Frequently Asked Question by travellers. Furthermore, they often search the internet for information about their trek preparation. That’s why we have prepared an article to inform travellers about pre-information about their pre-planning for the trek. In addition, this article will give you basic ideas about the EBC trek itinerary, trek preparation, when to trek, how to start and when to trek. Similarly, it provides information on excursion expenses, travel insurance, equipment checklist, and other related tour information.
How far is Everest Base Camp from Lukla Airport?
It’s about 62km (38.5 miles) from Lukla airport to Everest Base camp.
It is a two-week thrilling adventure that leads you to the base of its tallest mountain, Everest. The adventure seekers, who want to fulfil their dream, the Everest Base Camp is the ultimate destination.
Can I do the Everest Base Camp hike as a beginner and alone?
“A hike to Everest Base Camp” is a dream for everyone who loves outdoor activities. However, some travellers think they have yet to climb a high mountain. We frequently get queries- “I want to travel to Nepal and visit the Base camp. Can I do it as a beginner and alone?
Our answer is “yes” to all your Everest Base Camp Trek questions, whether you are a beginner, a retired person, or an old person between 65 and 75 years.
The Base Camp Trek is ideal if you are physically, mentally, and spiritually perfect. No worry! Nepal Hiking has experienced guides and a support team to look after you during the trek.
Which trek to choose for first-time Nepal travellers?
There are many tourist attractions and popular trekking destinations in Nepal. And we have listed the top trekking areas in Nepal so you can choose one. Nevertheless, Everest Base Camp is the first choice and destination for travellers.
What is the trek duration for the Everest Base Camp trek?
When planning for the Everest Base Camp trek itinerary, a 12-day to 14 days itinerary will be the best choice. However, if you want to include other trek routes such as Gokyo Ri, Gokyo Lake, and Chola Pass, you need 3-4 additional days. Above all, you can shorten your trek duration by taking a helicopter on your return journey after you visit EBC. However, it is only available in high seasons such as October – November and March – April.
Why Everest Base Camp trek?
- The main objective of the trek is to reach the Everest Base Camp.
- The second objective of the trek is to reach Kalapathar (5545 metres), from where you can witness an eye-catching view of Mt. Everest.
- During your trek journey, you will be in the Sagarmatha National park, the world’s natural heritage site.
- You will witness and experience the social life culture of local people.
- As a side trip, visiting Buddhist monasteries in Phakding, Namche Bazar, and Pangboche will be worthwhile.
- You will enjoy an impressive view of Khumbu Glacier, the world’s highest glacier, on the way to EBC.
- It will be an exciting flight to Lukla airport, rated as the most dangerous airport for over 20 years.
- While you are in Namche Bazar for 2 nights, don’t miss out on your visit to Sagarmatha National Park Museum. This place also offers a good view of Mt. Everest.
- A side trip to Thame village will be worth visiting while you are in Namche Bazar.
Pre-planning information for EBC Trek
The trek will be one of a lifetime’s most beautiful remembrances and adventures. This trek escorts you for a close-up sight of the mountain ranges, along with the Makalu (8481m), Mt. Lhotse (8516m), and Cho Oyu (8201m), which are affirmed as the top 10 tallest mountains in the world.
Preparation of the Trek
The Everest Base Camp trek is quite demanding and tough compared to other treks in Nepal. Therefore, you should be physically, mentally, and spiritually balanced to avoid altitude sickness. Furthermore, we advise you to follow the itinerary as suggested below.
When to Trek the Everest Base Camp?
Mainly there are 2 most favourable trek seasons for trekking in Nepal. Firstly, mid-September to the end of November is the best time in Autumn. Similarly and secondly, March to the end of May is another good season for the trek in the spring.
Trekking in Mid- June to September is not recommended due to raining season in Nepal. Likewise, December to February is the winter season in Nepal. You still can do the trek, but we don’t highly recommend it.
How do you start the trek? Where does the Everest Base Camp Trek start?
To commence this trek, you will take a half an hour exciting flight from Kathmandu to Lukla Airport, the “Gateway to Everest.” But, first, to reach the famous local community villages of Phakding and Namche Bazar, you will walk from Lukla to enjoy your first day’s hike to Phakding, which takes just 3 hours. Finally, you will stop here and spend your first night at Phakding.
After your first day and wonderful night at Phakding, you will trek ahead and spend nights in different places. You visit and spend overnights in Namche Bazar, Tengboche Monastery, Dingboche, Lobuje, and Gorak Shep. After your return journey from EBC, you will spend your last trek night at Lukla before taking a flight to Kathmandu.
What is the itinerary for EBC Trek?
Here is a suggested itinerary for Everest Base Camp Trek.
Day 01: Kathmandu (1350 metres)
The agency would generally arrange a pick-up service if you booked the trek with a local Kathmandu agency. As a Nepalese culture, your host agency will welcome you by offering flowers or garlands.
Day 02: Flight to Lukla (2704 metres) and trek to Phakding Village
Generally, the air companies arrange a flight to Lukla earlier morning, starting from 6 am till 2–3 pm.
You should know that the weather is unpredictable in Lukla and even Kathmandu. The weather may suddenly be bad, even in October or November. Thus, you must be flexible on your holiday while planning this trek. Because Your tight schedule sometimes doesn’t work. If everything goes fine without delay, you will be in Lukla earlier and have enough time to walk around, relax and make a leisurely first day walking to Phakding, where you spend your first night.
2 nights in Namche Bazar (3535 metres)
Day 3 and 4: Trek to Namche Bazar and day hiking
Before reaching Namche Bazar, you will trek through many hinterlands, cross many suspension bridges, and witness and experience the local people’s social and cultural life.
While in Namche Bazar, the elevation is already above 3500 metres above sea level. Thus, considering your health issue, you must spend 2 nights here to acclimate to a new environment. When you are in Namche Bazar, we suggest 2 alternative options for your day trips – The first option is to take a day hiking to Thame valley and return to Namche Bazar by the evening. And 2nd option is to go as high as possible to Syangboche Airport, just about 400 metres above Namche Bazar. As the trip highlights state, visiting the Sagarmatha National Park museum will be worthwhile.
As stated above, you can choose either option. But, equally, you will have a great day with the fascinating views of the mountain peaks, such as Mt Thamserku, Kusum Kangaru, Amadablam, Lhotse, and Mt. Everest.
Day 05: Trek to Tengboche (3850 metres)
After staying 2 nights in Namche Bazar, you will energise yourself for another 5-6 hours trek to Tengboche. While heading towards Tengboche, you will see the Tengboche situated on the hilltop of the mountain. So you can easily point out the building of the Buddhist monastery where you are going today. If you are not exhausted, you can visit the monastery in the evening and join a praying ceremony. Meanwhile, you can ask for a blessing of a successful trek.
2 nights in Dingboche (4410 metres)
Day 06 and 07: Trek to Dingboche and day hiking
Dingboche valley is just situated near the foothill of Mt. Ama Dablam, where you can see her impressive view from Tengboche. But you can’t see the Dingboche from Tengboche, although you can guess by seeing Mt. Ama Dablam where you are today. On the way, you will go through the picturesque village of Pangboche, where you can visit an old Buddhist monastery. Then, in 5-6 hours, you will reach Dingboche, a nice and wider valley.
According to the itinerary, you will spend 2 nights here by making side trips around the valley. To make the trek go smoothly and safely, you will make your 2nd acclimatisation here after your 1st acclimatisation in Namche.
On day 07 in the morning, to make a day hiking, there are 3 different options available, which are as given below:
The first option (A): Nagarjuna Hiking (3-4 hours)
The second option (B): Hiking to Chhukung valley, including Chhukung Ri (6-7 hours)
Third option (C): Hiking to Ama Dablam Base Camp (5-6 hours)
Day 08: Trek to Lobuche (4950 metres)
From Dingboche, you commence your trek by walking a few hundred metres up on the hilltop. Then, the trail is quite easygoing till you reach Thuklha, the place with some lodges. Also, the views are quite impressive while looking down the valley of Pheriche. Eventually, you will go through this village on your return journey from Everest Base Camp.
From Thuklha, the trail is ascending; take a slow pace while walking as it’s quite hard to breathe. When you reach the ridge, you will see many prayer flags and mani stones (memorials). These memorials are for climbers who lost their lives climbing Mt. Everest. In 5-6 hours, you will reach Lobuje. And enjoy the night there comfortably.
Hiking to Kalapathar and EBC
Day 09 and 10: Hiking to Everest Base Camp (5380 metres) and Kalapathar (5545 metres)
Get up early morning. As early as possible would be good to start up your hike! Looking at the weather, you can decide where to go first- Everest Base Camp or Kalapathar. If the weather is good enough, don’t delay capturing the view from Kalapathar. So, you can go to Kalapathar, which might take about 4-5 hours.
If the weather is just ok, expecting the following day will be better for Kalapathar, you can decide to go to Everest Base Camp today.
Please note that the base camp doesn’t offer you a view of Mt. Everest; you go there to see how the base camp is! On the contrary, Kalapathar offers both views of Mt. Everest and the Base camp.
On day 10, after visiting, Kalapathar or EBC, you can trek further down to Pheriche.
Some alternative options
1: Sleep in Everest Base Camp
Some trekkers love extraordinary adventure! They want to explore and experience more by staying a night at Everest Base Camp. However, it would be best to stay in a tent as there is no permanent human settlement. Would you also like to take the same experience yourself? If yes, contact NepalHiking; they will arrange a tailor-made programme to meet your needs.
2: Return to Lukla from the Helicopter
For your return journey to Lukla, there is no alternative trek route to Lukla. So, you will have to trek back the same way via Tengboche, Namche, and Phakding. It is a reason some trekkers want to avoid trekking back and choose to return to Lukla by taking a helicopter. It is possible in high seasons such as October, November, and March-May.
3: Return to Lukla on foot
Day 11 – 12: Trek to Namche Bazar and Lukla
In 2 days, you will return to Lukla by spending a night in Namche Bazar on day 11 and the last night at Lukla on day 12.
Day 13: Return to Kathmandu
If everything is in order per the itinerary, you will return to Kathmandu by flight by 10 am.
Day 14: Back home or extend your holiday in Nepal
How much does it cost for a standard Everest Base Camp Trek?
It depends on where you book this trek. Booking this trek with an international operator in your hometown is much more expensive than a local agency in Kathmandu. Moreover, we would advise you to book with a local agency based in Kathmandu for cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Generally speaking, it costs between 1100 US$ to 1500 depending on group size if you book locally. And it’s all-inclusive of 2 nights’ accommodation in Kathmandu, English speaking guide, porter(s), a flight to Lukla, a trekking permit, accommodation at local guest houses on the trek, and meals on the trek.
Guesthouses/lodges on the trek route
The high-altitude Everest region has fewer visitors than Annapurna. However, trekkers are well-provided with guest houses and lodges offering a welcome warm bed for the night, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Along the way, you will visit the lavishly rebuilt monastery at Tengboche. In addition, you will enjoy the view of high snow-capped peaks surrounded by pine trees and alpine meadows.
Some Health Tips before joining the trek
High altitude sickness Prevention and Treatment
For people who are not accustomed to living in high-altitude environments, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or Altitude Sickness is a common occurrence when travelling to sites with elevations of approximately 8,000 feet (2,400 metres above sea level) and above. Popular destinations like Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, Upper Mustang, Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Makalu Base Camp, and other high-altitude sites present a risk of AMS for hikers, skiers, and adventurers. Because these locations are remote, it’s essential to recognise and identify the symptoms of AMS and how to deal with them.
AMS is caused by a lack of oxygen in the body and decreased air pressure which you can experience during skiing, mountain trekking, or flying when the body does not have enough time to adapt to the change, or too much energy is exerted. The AMS can lead to a range of symptoms, including:
- dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
- headaches and muscle aches
- loss of appetite, irritability
- swelling in feet, hands, and face
- shortage of breath
- Increased heartbeat. Severe cases include coughing, chest congestion, skin discolouration, and loss of balance and walking ability.
These cases can lead to damage to the cardiovascular as well as muscular and nervous systems and should be dealt with urgently; worst-case scenarios can result in a coma or death. Less severe cases should also be dealt with immediately before they can progress.
Treatment of High Altitude Sickness
In non-severe cases, AMS can be resolved by descending to a lower altitude, hydrating with water, and resting between activities before ascending to a higher altitude. Symptoms can take from a few hours to a few days to subside. However, oxygen may be administered if there is swelling in the brain and fluid in the lungs. Patients may also be prescribed a range of medications, including Diamox to aid breathing, Decadron to reduce swelling in the brain, aspirin for headache relief, and blood pressure medicine.
Prevention of High Altitude Sickness
Fortunately, most people can prevent the onset of AMS with conscientious planning. They ensure good physical health before exposure to high altitudes (such as assurance of no severe health conditions and reasonable fitness levels). Doctors can prescribe Diamox to be taken before climbing. Trekkers can also plan their route accordingly to allow for gradual ascent and rest days (usually done in 600 metres intervals).
Keeping hydrated, carrying oxygen when ascending above 3000 metres, eating regular, high-carbohydrate meals, and avoiding unnecessary exertion (and allowing for plenty of rest) will also help prevent AMS.
Take note of the Altitude.
You suffer from heart and lung disease. As a result, your cardiovascular system will experience strain under high altitudes. Also, consult the doctor before climbing to high altitudes if you take medications that lower breathing rates, like narcotic pain relievers, tranquillisers, and sleeping pills.
People who suffer from anaemia should also consider taking iron supplements before trekking to high altitudes. Low red blood cell counts mean less oxygen, which high climbs will extenuate.
Like any illness, AMS can be prevented and treated accordingly with conscientious planning, an acute awareness of its symptoms, and sufficient access to the right resources for treatment.
What about travel insurance?
The price you paid for your trek doesn’t include travel insurance. Therefore, you must purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover your health insurance, medication, rescue evacuation, etc., which you can do by contacting one of the following insurance companies.
Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List
While preparing an equipment checklist for the Everest Base Camp trek, you first need a duffle bag of 40-50 k.g. to keep your main trekking equipment. Also, having a small backpack of 15-20 kg would be best for your personal belongings.
Do I need to bring a Sleeping bag for the Everest Base Camp trek?
Many travellers ask, “we are staying at lodges during the Everest Base Camp trek; do we still need to bring a sleeping bag?” Naturally, we say ‘yes’ because the blankets you get at lodges may not be hygienically clean enough. Thus, you should bring 4 seasons type of sleeping bag yourself. Alternatively, you can also hire in Kathmandu, which costs US$ 2 – 3 per day, which depends on quality.