Complete guide Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Guide

Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is a dream destination for many adventure seekers. The Everest Base Camp Trek is a popular trek that takes you to the base camp of this mighty mountain. This trek is a challenging and exciting adventure that requires proper planning and preparation. Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes you through some of the most stunning scenery and the unique lifestyle of mountain people. In this complete Everest Base Camp trek guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your Everest Base Camp trek.

1. When to Go to Everest Base Camp Trek?

The best time to trek to Everest Base Camp is from March to May and September to November. The weather during these months is relatively stable, and the clear skies provide excellent views of the surrounding mountains. If you can handle the crowds, these are the prime trekking months. These are probably the busiest of all. During the monsoon season (June to August), the trails can be slippery and dangerous, and during the winter months, the temperature on mount everest can drop well below freezing.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect throughout the year:

Mid-September to December:

This is the peak dry season and the best time to hike to EBC. The weather is favorable, and the skies are generally clear. It’s also a busy period on the trails, creating a vibrant atmosphere. If you’re interested in seeing the mountaineering action, early October is an ideal time as climbers set up camps for their summit attempts.

January to Mid-March:

The trails are cold, snowy, and less crowded during these months. While it’s certainly colder with temperatures around -20°C (-4°F), you might enjoy super clear skies and more solitude. However, keep in mind that some tea houses may be closed due to the off-season.

Mid-March to Mid-May:

Another great time for trekking in the Himalayas, this period offers milder temperatures and good visibility. It’s a popular time for trekkers and climbers alike, with many mountaineers acclimatizing at EBC in preparation for summit attempts. Planning your trek during this time can give you a chance to witness the bustling base camp atmosphere.

June to Early September:

This is the monsoon season, making it the least favorable time for trekking to EBC. The trails can be slippery, muddy, and leech-infested. Low-hanging clouds often obscure mountain views, and the risk of landslides is higher, posing additional challenges and dangers.

2. Trekking Permits for Hiking to Everest Base Camp

To hike to Everest Base Camp, you will need to obtain two permits:

 

    • The Sagarmatha National Park Permit and

    • The TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card.

The TIMS card costs 2,000 rupees (about US$15), and the parking ticket is 3,000 rupees (around US$23). The most convenient place to get these is at the National Tourist Board office in Kathmandu. Alternatively, you can obtain these permits from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or a registered trekking agency.

When you go to get these permits, be sure to bring along:

 

    • Two passport-sized photos

    • A copy of your passport

    • Emergency contact information

    • Your insurance details

3. How Long is the Trek to EBC?

Hiking to Everest Base Camp covers a total distance of about 130 km (81 miles), making it a substantial challenge!

The quickest you could realistically complete the round trip from Lukla to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and back is in about 10 days. However, I wouldn’t advise attempting this unless you are experienced and well-acclimatized.

For most people, 13–14 days is a more reasonable timeframe to complete the most straightforward route comfortably. It’s important not to rush this trek. We strongly recommend against finishing the return trip from Lukla to EBC and back in less than 12 days, as you need adequate time to acclimate and rest. The most common reason trekkers have to turn back is due to overexertion.

Recommended Read: How Long Does it Take to Climb Mount Everest?

4. Trekking Route

The trek follows the Dudh Koshi River valley, passing through traditional Sherpa villages, monasteries, and yak pastures. Along the way, you will be rewarded with incredible views of some of the world’s highest mountains, including Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. The general itinerary takes 12- 15 days to complete the EBC trek. A short itinerary for the for the for the trek to Everest Base Camp is listed below:

Days 1-2: Lukla – Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,286ft)
Days 3–4: Namche Bazaar (acclimatization)
Days 5–6: Namche Bazaar–Tengboche (3,867m/12,687ft)
Days 7-8: Tengboche – Dingboche (4,410m/14,469ft)
Days 9–10: Dingboche (acclimatization)
Day 11: Dingboche – Lobuche (4,910m/16,109ft)
Day 12: Lobuche – Everest Base Camp (5,364m/17,598ft) Gorakshep (5,164m/16,942ft)
Day 13: Gorakshep – Pheriche (4,280m/14,042ft)
Day 14: Pheriche – Namche Bazaar
Day 15: Namche Bazaar -Lukla

5. Accommodation on EBC Trek

Several teahouses and lodges along the Everest Base Camp trek route offer basic accommodation and food. The rooms are usually shared, and the facilities are basic but clean and comfortable.

The cost of staying in most tea houses ranges from 100 to 1300 rupees (approximately $1 to $10 USD), which varies based on the altitude and your ability to negotiate. However, owners may not be as receptive to bargaining in smaller villages where guest houses frequently reach capacity. The menus are typically consistent from one place to another, and if you’re on a strict budget, you can usually find at least one meal option for under 700 rupees (about $5 USD).

Additional amenities like showers, laundry, and Wi-Fi are now available at nearly all guest houses, although the quality of the internet and hot water might not always meet expectations. Like most things in the mountains, prices for these extras tend to increase with altitude.

Tea houses can become quite crowded, particularly as you approach Everest. If you’re trekking without a guide who could reserve spots for you, it’s wise to start your day early. This strategy helps you stay ahead of the crowd and secure accommodation at the tea houses each night.

everest base camp trek guide - tidy himalaya

6. Food on the Everest Base Camp Trek

When trekking to Everest Base Camp and staying in tea houses, it’s standard to have your meals there, which is partly why the accommodation costs are kept low. The food at EBC Trek is simple but tasty, and you can expect to find a variety of dishes, including Nepali, Indian, and Western cuisine. As for hydration, carrying water for the entire trek isn’t feasible, and drinking water directly from sources along the trail is not recommended due to potential contamination.

Many trekkers opt to buy bottled water at the guest houses, which can become costly and is not environmentally friendly due to the plastic waste. An alternative is using effective water purification tablets, which can leave the water tasting slightly and require time to act.

Top Tip: To save money and reduce your environmental impact, consider bringing your own snacks, chocolate, and tea bags. Purchasing cups of boiling water at tea houses is often much cheaper than buying tea, allowing you to enjoy hot beverages at a lower cost. This approach helps manage expenses and minimize plastic waste during your trek.

7. Packing List for Everest Base Camp Trek

It’s important to pack wisely for the Everest Base Camp trek. Focus on packing just the essentials. No one will mind if you wear the same outfit repeatedly, but it’s important to be prepared for cold conditions. Pack wisely, including layers and warm clothing, to ensure you stay comfortable despite the freezing temperatures.

You will need warm and waterproof clothing, good-quality trekking boots, a sleeping bag, a backpack, a headlamp, a water bottle, and other essential items. It’s also advisable to bring some cash with you, as there are no ATMs along the trekking route.

 

    • Clothing:
      Essential Gear: Includes a hiking outfit (t-shirt and pants), a thermal set for sleeping, a thin long sleeve layer, a high-quality down jacket, and a waterproof shell jacket.
      Additional Apparel: Sports bras, underwear (5-7 pairs), hiking socks (4-5 pairs), woolen hats, sun hats, buffs, and gloves.

    • Entertainment:
      Bring a couple of books and a pack of cards for downtime.

    • Equipment:
      Navigation and light sources like a map and headlamp.
      Hydration tools include a Life Straw with a bottle adapter and two Nalgene bottles.
      Trekking aids include hiking poles, sunglasses, a sleeping bag suitable for -15°C (5°F), hiking boots, and sandals for relaxation at camp.
      Photographic and power supply equipment like a camera and a portable battery pack.

    • Snacks:
      For warmth and energy, include high-energy foods such as chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, Cliff Bars, and tea bags.

    • Toiletries:
      Basic hygiene products include toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, sunscreen, and baby wipes.

    • Medication:
      Essential medical supplies include painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications, diarrhea pills, band-aids, strapping tape, antiseptic creams, and optional altitude sickness medication.

8. Safety and Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can be slow to show its full effects; if you don’t acknowledge the early symptoms, it can progress to fatal overnight, and in case you haven’t realized, there isn’t much help 5000 m up in the mountains. When in doubt, turn back; getting to base camp isn’t worth it if you don’t survive to tell the tale.

Altitude sickness is a serious concern when trekking in high mountain areas like Everest Base Camp, and it can indeed be deceptive in how it presents itself. The symptoms might start subtly, but if they are ignored, they can rapidly progress to severe and potentially life-threatening conditions overnight.

At altitudes around 5000 meters, medical help is scarce, and emergency response can be significantly delayed. Recognizing the early signs of altitude sickness, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing, is crucial. If you experience any of these symptoms, take them seriously. Carry altitude sickness medication, such as acetazolamide, commonly known as Diamox, and have them at the interval of 6 hours after eating something.

Remember, when in doubt, the safest decision is to descend. Reaching Everest Base Camp is admirable, but it should never come at the cost of your health or safety. The mountains will always be there, so prioritize your well-being and make conservative choices to ensure you can enjoy future adventures.

9. How to Train for Everest Base Camp?

Aerobic Training: Start with regular walking, gradually increasing the distance and incline. If possible, aim for long walks in hilly or mountainous terrain.

Leg Strength: To build the muscles in your legs, focus on exercises like squats, lunges, and leg presses.

Core Stability: Strengthen your core muscles with planks, crunches, and yoga, which can also improve balance.

Upper Body: While not as critical, strengthening your back, shoulders, and arms will help you carry your backpack comfortably.

Back-to-Back Hikes: Practice doing back-to-back long hikes to simulate consecutive trekking days on the EBC trail.

Pre-Trek High Altitude Exposure: If possible, spend some time at high altitudes to familiarize your body with lower oxygen levels.

Learn About Altitude Sickness: Understand the symptoms and treatments for altitude sickness to recognize and address any issues during the trek.

Expect Challenges: Be mentally prepared for the physical and emotional challenges. Trekking to EBC is taxing, and mental resilience can make a significant difference.

Nutrition: Before the trek, focus on a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system.

Hydration: Increase your water intake in the weeks before your trek to ensure you are well-hydrated before starting.

Recommended Read: How to Train for EBC Trek?

10. Additional Things to Know From Everest Base Camp Trek Guide

ATMs: The only ATMs available during the trek are in Lukla and Namche Bazaar. However, these ATMs can be unreliable; they often run out of cash and charge high withdrawal fees. Therefore, it’s wise not to depend solely on them for your cash needs during the trek.

Cash Needs: Carry sufficient cash in Nepalese rupees. Calculate your estimated expenses for meals, accommodations, Wi-Fi, showers, laundry, and souvenirs, and then add a bit extra for unforeseen costs. Remember, you won’t find places accepting card payments once you leave Kathmandu.

Showers: While most tea houses offer shower facilities, there is usually an extra charge and hot water isn’t guaranteed. For the best chance at a hot shower, try to arrive at your accommodations early in the day and plan to shower in the early afternoon.

Charging Electronics: Charging facilities in tea houses are often limited and located in common areas like the dining room or reception, which may not be secure. There’s typically a fee for charging devices. Consider bringing a solar-powered battery pack to avoid relying solely on these facilities and keep your electronics powered throughout your trek. This will allow you to charge your devices independently of the tea house amenities.

Wi-Fi Access: The route to Everest Base Camp is well-covered by cellphone towers, so you’ll have access to calls and 3G data if you have a local SIM card. Additionally, most guest houses offer Wi-Fi for a fee. For free Wi-Fi options, you can find access at places like Starbucks in Lukla and a bakery in Namche Bazaar.

11. Solo Trekking or Guided Tour to EBC?

Solo trekking to Everest Base Camp is restricted from April 2023. Trekking alone at high altitudes increases the risk of something going wrong. Following the trails and dealing with unexpected situations alone at remote locations could be difficult for solo hikers.

Tidy Himalaya tour guides offer a safe and secure trekking environment with proper logistics and support. Our tour guide answers your questions and shares cultural insights. The well-experienced guides of Tidy Himalaya offer hikers a comfortable trekking environment.

Conclusion

You’re all set for an incredible adventure! As you embark on your journey to Everest Base Camp, embrace the excitement and let there be room for spontaneity. We hope this Everest Base Camp trek guide gave you some essential information. Enjoy every moment—from the breathtaking views to the unique cultural encounters. This trek is about reaching a destination and the experiences and memories you’ll gather along the way. Safe travels, and have a fantastic trek!

FAQs

1. How can I prevent altitude sickness?

Conquering EBC without altitude sickness is indeed possible. Ascend slowly, take rest days up high, sleep lower each night, drink tons of water, and eat carbs. Listen to your body and descend if you feel unwell. Consider talking to your doctor about altitude sickness medication too.

2. Can I charge my electronic devices along the trekking route?

Yes, you can charge your electronic devices along most of the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek route. Most teahouses and lodges throughout the trek offer charging stations. However, these are not free. The cost to charge your devices increases as you reach higher villages. A portable power bank is a more cost-effective option, especially for longer treks.

3. How much water should I carry with me each day on the Everest Base Camp trek?

Aim for 3-4 liters of water per day on your Everest Base Camp trek. This can vary depending on your individual needs, exertion level, and weather conditions.

4. Is it safe to hike to Everest Base Camp?

Everest Base Camp is a safe trek with stunning views, but respect the altitude. It’s moderately difficult with no climbing. Since 2023, guides have been mandatory to help navigate altitude sickness, which is the biggest concern. Choose the right season and a good trekking company for a safe and unforgettable adventure.

5. Can you do Everest Base Camp without training?

Hiking to Everest Base Camp without training is possible, but it’s not recommended. Training increases your chances of reaching EBC and reduces your risk of altitude sickness. Invest a few months in building endurance with regular hikes. This will significantly enhance your EBC experience.