Walk In The Shadow Of Verdant Hills And Towering Mountains To Everest Base Camp
Walk In The Shadow Of Verdant Hills And Towering Mountains To Everest Base Camp
Modified on Dec 4, 2022
Everest base camp trekking is like no other, with ample magnificent views, winding valleys, gushing rivers and streams, mighty mountains, monasteries, Sherpa villages, icefalls, glaciers, and so much more to even describe in a sentence. The Everest Base Camp trek is a journey to the lap of the world’s highest mountain peak.
It is one of the most adventurous sports activities and is indeed a journey to natural heaven, as people call it. This 2-week trek is the most loved trek by trekkers around the world and offers the most beautiful mountain panorama as per a google search, which in no way is surprising.
A climb to its maximum elevation of 5,644 meters, the Everest Base Camp trek gives you a taste of a life-changing excursion. If you were to ask twenty avid trekkers to nominate the best treks of their life, the majority of them will have Everest Base Camp included in it. It is only a matter of time, and you will be saying the same once you start this epic journey.
Table of Contents
Rich History of the Mesmerizing Region
If you were to look at the history of Mount Everest, there is a lot to know, be it the early expeditions, attempts made in different years, or the golden age of climbs. Although the climbing started as early as 1920, the first successful climb was made by Tenzing and Hillary on May 29, 1953, through the southern route, after which it started getting popular.
Mount Everest has two camps, both situated in mighty glacial valleys. The South camp is located on top of the rock-covered Khumbu Glacier of Nepal at an elevation of 5,364 meters. Whereas, the North camp is located in China below the terminal moraine of Rongok Glacier at an elevation of 5,150 meters.
After the successful ascent of Mt. Everest for the first time, many parties and individuals have marked their spot at 8,489 meters over the years. But climbing Everest is not for everyone, and some call it their high point and huge achievement at Everest base camp. And it is fair to say so because reaching Everest base camp itself requires a lot of effort, determination, and sacrifices.
Is The Everest Base Camp Trek Worth It?
The answer lies in the question itself. To know if you should do the Everest Base Camp trek in 2023/2024 or not, keep reading. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is indescribable in words. Tracing through the foothills of the Himalayas, which shelter eight of the world’s highest mountains is an experience like nowhere on Earth. From the beginning to the interval and the end, the journey never ceases to amaze its audacious trekkers.
The marvelous and eye-catching mountains, rhododendron forests, lush green valleys, rushing rivers, sparkling lakes, glistening waterfalls, viewpoints, Khumbu Glacier all combined with mystical monasteries, Sagarmatha National Park, Sherpa culture & its tradition, Kala Patthar, and other majestic mountains.
Some of the best highlights of the Everest Base Camp trek are:
Scenic and Thrilling Mountain Flight:
This adventurous journey to the Everest Base Camp starts with a thrilling mountain flight to Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla, offering the first sneak peek into the mesmerizing Himalayas. Too much for starters, we guess!
This beautiful Sherpa settlement, also known as a frozen lake bed is captivating enough to leave you stunned (pun intended). The town resides in the base of Kala Patthar. It is the last settlement before you move toward EBC. As the matter of fact, Gorak Shep used to be the base camp of Mount Everest in the early expedition days.
Located at an elevation of 5,644 meters, the name translates to Black Rock, which is in itself a challenging climb. Kala Patthar is mainly known for offering the best views of mountains like Nuptse, Pumori, Lhotse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Khutse, Lingtren, and Thangsherkhu in addition to Everest.
Also known as Dawa Choling Gompa, Tengboche monastery is the largest Buddhist landmark in the Khumbu region amidst the Sagarmatha National Park. Do not miss out on the experience of tranquility and spirituality and the blessings of monks.
Sagarmatha National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site:
This protected region lets you walk through the abundance of flora from rhododendron and pine forests to juniper, birch, bamboo, blue pines, and fir combined with 118 bird species and various animals, including Lophophorus (the National bird of Nepal), Himalayan Tahr, shrews, Himalayan Monal, Pikas, snow leopard, Musk Deer, red panda, Blood Pheasant, and many more.
The fact that you hike multiple viewpoints during the trek for acclimatization and witness striking mountain landscapes makes the Everest base camp trekking furthermore thrilling. Hotel Everest View, Nangkartshang Hill, and Kala Patthar are three viewpoints trekkers usually touch.
These comfortable accommodations are managed and run by locals of the region for the hospitality of trekkers. Equipped with basic facilities, the lodges or tea houses along the Everest base camp trail lets the trekkers relax after a long day of the tiring trek and socializing with fellow trekkers.
Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary
This epic trekking journey begins in the temple-topped city of Kathmandu, from where you will be heading toward the northeast for the Everest Base Camp trek. Since the starting point of the trek is Lukla, most itineraries follow the same route. The Everest Base Camp trek takes 14 to 16 days. This is what a typical Everest Base Camp trek itinerary looks like:
Day 1: Your Arrival in Kathmandu / Meet by Our representative at Kathmandu Airport
Day 2: Early morning fly to Lukla, and trek to Phakding (2,651m/8,700ft): 8km, 3 - 4 hours trek
Day 3: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,438m/11,280 ft): 11km, 5 - 6 hours trek
Day 4: Acclimatization Day - Namche Bazaar: (3,440m/11,284ft)
Day 5: Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3,870m/12,694ft): 10km, 5- 6 hours trek
Day 6: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,360 m/14,300 ft): 9km, 5 - 6 hours trek
Day 7: Acclimatization Day at Dingbouche / Explore Dingbouche Village
Day 8: Dingbouche to Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft): 4km, 2 - 4 hours trek
Day 9: Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,170 m/16,961ft), visit Everest Base Camp (5,364 m/17,594 ft): 13km, 6-7 hours trek
Day 10: Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5,545m/18,192ft) to Pherice (4,288m/14,070ft): 16km, 7-8 hours trek
Day 11: Pheriche to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,280 ft): 20km, 6 - 7 hours trek
Day 12: Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2,860m/9,186ft): 19km, 6 - 7 hours trek
Day 13: Fly back to Kathmandu by Air (1,330m). 28 mins flight
Day 14: Transfer to the Airport for your onward destination / Farewell
The beginning of this expedition involves a short 30-minute scenic flight from Kathmandu to a picturesque village, Lukla, and descends to Phakding for a night stay on the same day. The next spot will be a trading hub known as the capital of the Khumbu region, Namche Bazaar, which is well-known for its busy and lively markets.
Namche Bazaar is your first acclimatization point. A hike to the Hotel Everest View is a must, and you can continue to Khumjung monastery. The trail ascends to Tengboche village via Phunki Thenga. Here, you will visit the biggest monastery in the Khumbu region, the Tengboche monastery. The view of Ama Dablam is fantastic from the monastery.
Walking via Pangboche village and crossing Imja Khola on a suspension bridge, you then walk to Dingboche village. The trail is forested. Rhododendrons and junipers decorate the path. After one more acclimatization in Dingboche, you will head towards Lobuche village, crossing the Dughla pass and Khumbu glacier moraine.
The trail from Lobuche goes to Gorak Shep and follows a steep, rugged path to Everest base camp. The next early morning, you spend at Kala Patthar relishing jaw-dropping views of the Himalayan mountains, including the panoramic views of some well-known peaks like Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Pumori, South col, and many more. It is truly an experience like no other.
How to reach the Everest Base Camp?
First, you need to arrive in the city of Kathmandu from your home country. After that, to reach the Everest base Camp, you can pick any following option as per your preference.
Option 1: Lukla to Everest base Camp
A 30-minute short flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is the most preferred route due to its offering of stunning aerial views of the valley, dense forests, off-beaten roads, majestic mountains, Sherpa settlements and other towns, glaciers, steep & narrow trails, and much more. It is also the quickest way to reach Lukla, the starting point of the trek.
Option 2: Phaplu to Everest base Camp
Few trekkers who wish to avoid the risky Lukla flight choose this route, which starts in Phaplu village after a short 30 minutes flight trip or a 7 to 8 hours drive from Kathmandu. After trekking to Nunthula, Bupsa, and then upon reaching Phakding, the trek follows a similar route as the regular Everest Base Camp Trek trails.
Option 3: Jiri to Everest Base Camp
This trekking route is quite popular as it begins with a 7-8 hours of drive from Kathmandu valley to Jiri. Back in 1953, legendary summiteers like Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa followed this trekking route for their trekking expedition. After Jiri, you need to hike to Lukla, and the rest is the same as the regular Everest Base Camp trail.
Option 4: Helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla
Many trekkers opt for a helicopter flight to Lukla these days because of a way more safe flight alternative and the breathtaking views. You get the option to choose either a shared helicopter flight or a private one as per your budget. The helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla takes around 45 minutes. Check out our Everest base camp helicopter trek.
Food on the Everest Base Camp Trek
Since the Everest Base Camp trekking expedition has gained popularity both nationally and internationally. The trek provides 3 meals a day, which can fulfill the daily requirement of protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients easily. You will have easy access to staples like rice, curries, eggs, and fries, fruits and vegetables, pizza, pasta, flatbreads (known as chapati), Dal Bhat (traditional Nepali food), and more.
In between these meals, you can also expect plenty of hot and cold beverages. You may also carry your snacks if you want. These items are served by teahouses, and everything is hygienic & fresh because regular shipments of the products are done by helicopter, yak, or porters.
Accommodation in the Everest Base Camp Trek
The first and the last day of your Everest Base Camp trek will be in a 3-star hotel in Kathmandu. From day 2 to the second last day of your journey, you will be staying in lodges, which are run by locals. The price, level of comfort, and amenities change depending on the elevation. The higher the elevation, the higher the cost and the lesser the facilities. The rooms are wood-paneled and minimally decorated, offering paid hot showers and charging stations.
The climate in the Everest Region
In the Himalayas, during spring, the days are clear and the weather stable, making it a peak trekking season. Sometimes the climate gets windier and cloudy, which can lead to afternoon showers. This continues until the monsoon hits around mid-June, and monsoons are not very supportive of flights or trekking expeditions. During this time, the wildflowers are blooming and spreading their colorful beauty and fragrance all around the trail.
The monsoon ends by September, and once again the flights are open to Lukla. The clear blue skies from late September to November offer you the best view without any hindrance of clouds. The temperature is stable, and that is why it's another peak season in Nepal for trekking.
By December, Mount Everest welcomes the chilly winter. Not every month in the winter is ideal for trekking, as you may witness heavy snowfall that can block the trails. So there are fewer people on the route, which can be considered an advantage too.
Best Season For Everest Base Camp Trek
To be more precise, every season has its highs and lows, and in every season, trekking is possible if you are prepared well or even if you are experienced enough. Although Autumn (late September to November) and Spring (March to April) are ideal times to go trekking for the Everest Base Camp.
Autumn Season (late September to October):
The most crowded time of the year, but the views are at their best. The lower elevation of the trek is full of flower blooms and vivid greenery. The comfortable temperature hovering around at around 10 degrees Celsius and clear skies offer an uninterrupted view of Everest. During the nighttime, the temperature reaches -10 degrees Celsius. Due to the huge crowd, it often gets hard to find yourself accommodation to stay in.
Spring Season (March to April):
Another peak season after autumn, spring has a relatively lesser crowd in March. All the snow begins to melt, and the temperature drops as low as -20 degrees Celsius. By the time April arrives, it starts getting even busier. The temperature settles, the skies clear, the rhododendrons begin to bloom, and the days start to get warmer.
Summer/Monsoon Season (May to September):
This is the hottest season in the Khumbu region, due to which there is an increase in precipitation. The morning usually starts with clear blue skies, but the heat haze makes the day cloudier, which further leads to rainfall. The rain can block the trail completely and leaves the trail muddy and slippery. There is also a high chance of landslides during monsoon. But not every month during this period is dangerous. A few months are doable, but that is only for hardcore trekkers. Beginners are not recommended to trek to Everest base camp in summer/monsoon season.
Winter Season (December to February):
Winters are only ideal for trekkers who can tolerate cold temperatures, which get as low as -20 degrees C above 4,000 meters. If you are not a fan of the crowded trail and want to see frozen lakes and snow-capped mountains, you are welcome in winter. The days are somewhat tolerable, but nights can be extremely cold. So you need to pack accordingly. Pack everything from down jackets, warm layers, gloves, fleece jackets, boots, etc. If you happen to visit by the end of February, you may enjoy the Sherpa New Year celebrations (also known as Gyalpo Losar).
Although the Everest base camp trek is categorized as the moderate to difficult grade of a trek, the trekking infrastructure makes it somewhat easier and more convenient. The guides and porters, comfortable and scenic flight, warm and cozy beds in the teahouse, plates containing delicious treats, jaw-dropping acclimatization villages, and a lot more.
Hundreds to thousands of international trekkers arrive each spring and autumn with the hope to reach the base of the world’s highest peak. After all, trekking to the Everest Base Camp is not just about climbing it, but also about mind-boggling views, rare challenges, preparation, and acclimatizing, with a little blend of mundane domesticity, trail hurdles & some life-or-death flash (nothing too scary of course).
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