Is Everest Base Camp Trek hard? Difficulty & Altitude Sickness
Is Everest Base Camp Trek hard? Difficulty & Altitude Sickness
Modified on Mar 25, 2023
One of the common questions we hear from our guests is how difficult is the Everest base camp Trek and whether I can do the Everest base camp trek or not. Well, the Everest base camp is a moderate to difficult level trek, and whether you can do this trek or not, only you can answer this question correctly.
In this blog, we will share with you our years of experience organizing the Everest base camp trek for people of all ages and how difficult the journey was for them, and what you can learn from them to make the trek doable for you.
The Everest base camp trek is no doubt a world-class venture. It is an adventurous journey to the lap of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Today, the Everest base camp itself has become the newly elevated point in the world a human can reach and boast about.
Whether you are trekking to Everest base camp to challenge yourself and fight your demons or just want to be at this great point and unlock a new achievement for yourself, you have to be well prepared. There are many things to learn about the Khumbu region before you should embark on the trek.
The Everest base camp is located in the northeast part of Nepal in the Khumbu region. The region is protected under Sagarmatha National Park, which begins from Monjo and goes up to the top of Everest. The Khumbu region is also widely known as the Everest region.
The height of the Everest base camp is 5,364 meters. It is a moving glacier and permanent camp for mountaineers aiming to scale Mount Everest. Trekkers do not spend a night at Everest base camp. Gorak Shep is the last settlement before the camp. You have to trek back to Gorak Shep to spend the night, you'll reach EBC.
Lukla is the starting point of the Everest base camp trekking. It is at 2,860 meters. From here, you trek to Everest base camp, which is 65 kilometers away. You will be reaching EBC over eight days of trekking from Lukla. On average, each day, there will be 6 hours of trek covering approximately 11 kilometers.
From Kala Patthar, the trail retraces its way back to Lukla via Pheriche, covering another 65 kilometers. During the descent, you will be covering 15 km to 22 km each day. So, in total Everest base camp trek distance is 130 kilometers.
Before we talk about the difficulty of the Everest base camp trek, you have to understand what kind of area you are traveling in and how the facilities are for tourists.
So, now we'll talk a little about the
Khumbu region and Everest base camp trail
Khumbu is a part of the Solukhumbu district in Nepal and is a Nepalese side of Mount Everest. As per Lonely Planet, the Khumbu region is the sixth-best region in the world to travel to. The region is home to many mountain tribes, including the legendary Sherpas. If you are doing the Everest base camp trek, you are most likely to follow the mainstream trail from Lukla onwards.
The Everest base camp trail is very developed up to Dingboche, but do not forget the fact that it is a remote area. There are many lodges and tea houses scattered around the trail to welcome trekkers. You can find a budget-friendly accommodation to a luxury lodge as per your requirement.
Likewise, the meal options are huge too. You will have no issue sleeping and eating during Everest base camp trekking. However, the accommodation is usually basic, and food options get limited above Dingboche village. These small factors add up to the difficulty level of the Everest base camp trek.
You may not realize it in the first few days, but you have to adjust to a very simple mountain lifestyle from day one. So, your patience, endurance, and willingness to reach the Everest base camp play a huge role in the success of your journey.
Is it hard to trek to Everest base camp?
The answer is yes. It is hard to trek to Everest base camp. But it is also not impossible to reach Everest base camp as we have led hundreds of trekkers aged from 5 years to 85 years old. You have to be well-prepared whether you are trekking alone or with a travel company like us.
You have to understand your itinerary and if it is gonna work for you or not. Check if there are ample acclimatization days or not in your Everest base camp trek itinerary. Do not try to rush the trek or you will see the consequences. Do not miss out on acclimatization days, as it is very crucial.
If we talk about the general Everest base camp trek, the trekking route ascends and descends through lush rhododendron forests. You will be trekking in multiple river valleys, walking alongside verdant foothills, and crossing the Dudh Koshi river numerous times on suspension bridges.
The Everest base camp trail passes by many mountain villages big and small. From Dingboche village onwards, you will be leaving the treeline behind and trekking on the glacier. The trail gets steeper and more rugged. You will be walking through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and boulder-filled tracks.
Upon your landing at the Lukla, you will descend to Phakding village to spend the night. This descent will give you a chance to acclimatize after a drastic change of elevation from Kathmandu to Lukla in a short time. Our Everest base camp trek 14 days itinerary is perfect. It has two acclimatization days, one in Namche Bazaar and another in Dingboche village.
You will go on side hikes during the acclimatization days, which will give you a trek-high and sleep-low advantage. It means you will be acclimatizing to the elevation correctly. Once you go above 3,500 meters, you will get tired easily and feel overwhelmed because of the low oxygen level.
Likewise, the risk of altitude sickness also increases with the increase in elevation. We take all the precautions into account, but still your body may see early symptoms like trouble breathing, insomnia, loss of appetite, vomiting, headache, nausea, etc.
In such a case, we recommend you inform our guide and listen to his advice. Most of the time, with little rest and medicine, the symptoms get away, and you can continue with the trek.
These are some things you can do to avoid altitude sickness during Everest base camp trekking:
Drink plenty of water and fluids. The moment your body gets dehydrated, you become much more vulnerable to altitude sickness.
You may have guessed, do not drink alcohol or smoke. Consuming any substance that may dehydrate your body is not recommended.
You may not feel like eating after a point, so better carry your favorite snacks and bars to treat yourself. Stick to one food that you can eat in any situation.
Adequate sleep is equally necessary for a successful Everest base camp trek. As you will be walking for long hours every day, you have to be able to get up and move.
Everest base camp trek preparation & tips
The single best way to prepare for the Everest base camp trek is hiking. You can go on day hikes or multiple day hikes a few times to let your body face similar conditions to the Everest base camp trail. Hiking will let your legs and body get ready for the trek.
Other aerobic activities like running, cycling, jogging, etc are also good ones. You have to strengthen your legs and knees. You can do incline training on the treadmill and add strength training to your gym routine if you go.
Below are some tips for the Everest base camp trek:
In the Himalayas, you can experience all kinds of weather in one day, so better be prepared for all kinds of weather, even if you are trekking in the peak season.
As mentioned earlier, keep yourself hydrated at all costs.
Invest in a good trekking bag and shoes. Get them early and get used to them.
You can rent or buy all trekking gear in Thamel, Kathmandu. So, no need to pack everything from your home.
Get yourself a nice guidebook before the trek begins, and read it to know about the trail.
Always wear sunglasses and sunscreens at high altitudes, as the sun's rays can be striking and may cause snow blindness.
Do not rush and maintain your pace.
Learn the basic etiquette to mingle with the locals along the way.
Respect local's beliefs and customs.
Always walk on the hillside while passing by yaks and mules.
If you are passing by chortens or mani walls, be on the right side.
Everest base camp trek map and altitude profile
The Everest base camp trek begins at 2,860 meters. Drop to Phakding on the same day to spend the night, located at 2,610 meters. The trail heads to Namche Bazaar (3,440 m) to Tengboche (3,860 m) to Dingboche (4,410 m) to Lobuche (4,940 m) to Gorak Shep (5,164 m) to Everest Base Camp (5,364 m) to Gorak Shep (5,164 m) to Kala Patthar (5,545 m) to Pheriche (4,371 m) to Namche Bazaar (3,440 m) to Lukla (2,860 m).
You can check out our attached Everest base camp trek map for more information. While ascending, we have maintained a 500 meters climb a day. Only two days have more than 500 meters of ascent, and on those we have acclimatization days to balance out the ascent.
Is the Everest base camp trek dangerous?
No, the Everest base camp trek is not dangerous. If you are trekking in the peak seasons- spring and autumn, you will see numerous other trekkers on the trail. You will not be alone at all. If you are trekking in the off seasons, like in winter or summer/monsoon, we recommend you travel with someone. The trail is almost empty in the off-season. In case of any emergency, there will be no one to help you.
Solo trekkers are advised to be more thorough with their preparations. Make sure to do all the bookings and follow our tips for a safe journey. The locals are very welcoming, so you do not have to worry about anything. You can freely ask for help from the villagers.
Can you trek to Everest base camp on your own?
Yes, you can trek to Everest base camp on your own. But you have to understand what you are losing while trekking alone.
If you think a solo trek will better fit your time and need, then go ahead and do the Everest base camp trek without a guide. Make sure to obtain the necessary permits and book the accommodation in advance. As in the peak season, all the lodges and tea houses get packed.
We recommend trekking with a company like ours. We organize the trek for you and make sure you are ready for the venture. Our team will assess your fitness and requirements and help you with everything you may need while traveling to Nepal. We will be your family and friends in Nepal whom you can lean on.
Our native guides will show you the trail and motivate you to keep going. They will monitor your condition and provide you with the necessary assistance. Likewise, our porters will carry all the heavy loads, so you will be trekking freely. You will learn deeply about the villagers and their culture.
On top of that, we'll make sure you get accommodation throughout the trek to spend the night. All the permits are obtained on your behalf. We make every arrangement to ensure a safe and hassle-free trip
for you in Nepal.
Is the Everest base camp trek worth it?
Yes, Everest base camp trekking is worth every penny and time you spend. It is not just a trek. You will be learning a lot about life and yourself on this 14 days journey. The Everest base camp trek demands you to get out of your comfort zone and open up to nature. The kind and humble locals will win your heart.
For the next 10 to 12 days, your only goal will be to reach Everest base camp and Kala Patthar. You will push your limits and walk 6 hours a day every single day to reach your destination. By the end of the Everest base camp trek, you will feel inspired and healthy. You will feel as if a lot of weight from you has been gone. If you have extra days, you can extend your trip to Island Peak as well. You can our 18 days Everest Base Camp with Island Peak trip
The venture will rejuvenate you and your soul. And the breathtaking landscapes are a bonus during the Everest base camp trek.
I, Dipendra is an Adventure Specialist and founder of Scenic Nepal Treks and working in Mountain Travel and Tourism for more than a decade.
I have been leading different Hiking groups from all around the World to the Himalayas including Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, and many more. Follow me for my adventure on Facebook and Instagram