How to Climb the Everest Base Camp

The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most famous trekking experiences on the planet. The thrill of climbing up to the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain is an adventure that is unrivaled. With destinations that are rich in culture, unique traditions and adorned with the most beautiful natural environments imaginable- the Everest Base Camp Trek is a wonderful vacation and a holiday activity. Here is information regarding instructions and everything you need to know regarding how to climb the Everest Base Camp Trek.

The Khumbu Region

The Everest Base Camp Trek takes place in the Khumbu region of Nepal. It is a region that lies on the northeastern location of the country- on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. It is a part of the Solukhumbhu District and is also known as the Everest Region. It is one of the three main sub-regions of the Sherpa settlement in the country. It includes the town of Namche Bazaar as well as the villages of Thame, Khumjung, Pangboche, Pheriche and Khunde. The famous spiritual epicenter of the region- the Buddhist Tengboche Monastery also lies here. It is one of the most beautiful regions to travel on Earth. The Everest Base Camp Trek includes the best areas of the region, along with many ethnic villages and views of tall cerulean mountains.

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

The classic Everest Base Camp Trek has an itinerary that usually involves trekking and hiking to different close locations at specific amounts of time every day. Given below is the travel plan of the Everest Base Camp Trek in a chronological order.

Arriving at the Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu

Nepal is well connected by commercial airlines services from around the world. All international flights land at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. It is well connected to the major cities of the world and most major international airlines have a wide and convenient flight networks to Nepal and back. You can check with your local travel agent for airfares. Usually, when one arrives at the Tribhuwan International Airport at any time, the travel agency’s representatives is there are the airport to greet customers. After that, you will generally be transported to the hotel for accommodations. Usually, the Everest Base Camp Trek commences from the arrival at the airport.

The Kathmandu Valley

The Kathmandu Valley, the capital of Nepal, lies at the crossroads of an ancient civilization of Asia and has at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindu and Buddhist people. There are seven World Heritage Sites within the Valley. It is also the most developed and populated place in Nepal. The majority of offices and headquarters are located in the valley, making it the economic hub of Nepal. It is popular with tourists for its unique architecture and rich culture that includes the highest number of street festivals in the country. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the Changhu Narayan Temple, the holy temple of Pashupatinath, the Boudhanath Stupa, the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Swayambhunath temple and the Patan Durbar Square. Usually, the Everest Base Camp Trek includes a sightseeing tour of the capital.

Lukla and Phakding

From Kathmandu, the Everest Base Camp Trek continues to Lukla. It is a town in the Khumbu area. Situated at 2,860 meters, it is a popular place for visitors to be near the Himalayas. Lukla literally means “place with goats” and mountain goats are found on the village. Lukla contains a small airport servicing the region, and a variety of shops and lodges catering to tourists and trekkers, providing western-style meals and trail supplies. It is serviced by the Tenzing-Hillary Airport. The airport is popular because Lukla is the place where most people start the climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. There are daily flights between Lukla and Kathmandu during daylight hours in good weather. Although the flying distance is short, rain commonly occurs in Lukla while the sun is shining brightly in Kathmandu. High winds, cloud cover, and changing visibility often mean flights can be delayed or the airport closed. The airport is contained within a chain link fence and patrolled by the Nepali armed police or civil police around the clock. It takes around 3 hours to trek from Lukla to Phakding. Phakding is a small village lying in the Dudh Koshi river valley just north of Lukla and south of Monjo, at an altitude of 2,610 m. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The trail start at Lukla and Phakding is often the main stopping point for trekkers on their way to the Everest Base Camp Trek via the Gokyo RI route or Tengboche route. The primary function of the village is to support the tourism industry and as such- consists of a number of guesthouses.

Namche Bazaar

It usually takes 6 hours of trekking from Phakding to reach the village of Namche Bazaar. Located within the Khumbu area at 3,440 meters (11,286 ft.) at its low point, Namche Bazaar is populated mostly with Sherpa people. It is the main trading center and hub for the Khumbu region with many Nepalese officials, a police check, a post and a bank. Namche is also the most expensive place in Nepal, at least thrice as expensive as the capital city Kathmandu. Immediately west of Namche is the Kongde RI at 6,187 meters (20,299 ft.) and to the east lies the Thamserku at 6,623 meters (21,729 ft.). It is one of the most important destinations on the Everest Base Camp Trek. While on the journey, Namche offers places to visit like an art gallery and a Sherpa Culture museum as well. Because of its strategic location, Namche is also called “the Gateway to Everest”. On a hill overlooking Namche Bazaar is the Syangboche Airport (3,750 m / 12,303 ft). It is no longer used for passenger flights. Syangboche Airport is also one of the highest located airports in the world.

Namche Bazaar is popular with trekkers in the Khumbu region, especially for altitude acclimatization for the Everest Base Camp Trek, and is the gateway to the high Himalayas. Traditionally the village was a trading post, with locals bartering yak cheese and butter for agricultural goods grown at lower altitudes. However, after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s successful climb of Everest in 1953, the dynamics of the village changed forever as climbers and trekkers soon followed in their wake. The town has a number of lodgings and stores catering to the needs of visitors as well as a number of internet cafés. Usually on Saturday mornings, a weekly market is held in the center of the village. Sometimes there are also daily Tibetan markets where clothing and cheap Chinese consumer goods tend to be the main articles for sale.

Khumbu Valley

The Everest View Hotel

Situated within the Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal, the hotel offers a 360 degree view of the awe inspiring peaks. With a view of Mount Everest from every room, visitors can immerse in the splendid scenery in luxury. Opened in 1971, Hotel Everest View has been listed on the Guinness Book of World Records (2004) as the Highest Placed Hotel in the world at 13000ft. Featured in numerous guide books and having received media coverage, the resort has become a destination in its own right. For acclimatization, trekkers can visit the Everest View Hotel from Namche for looking at views of Mount Everest from the hotel.

Tengboche

The village of Tengboche lies at an altitude of 3,867 meters and it takes around 5 hours from Namche to reach here. The Everest Base Camp Trek continues on to Tengboche where trekkers can visit the holy Buddhist monastery that is located here. The Tengboche Monastery is the largest Gompa in the Khumbu region. Tengboche has a panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the well-known peaks of Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku. Tenzing Norgay, the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, was born in the area in the village of Thani and was once sent to the Tengboche Monastery to be a monk. Located on a hill at the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and the Imja Khola rivers, it lies in Solukhumbhu district to the north east of Kathmandu on the Nepal – Tibet border. The trail of the Everest Base Camp Trek crosses initially the Dudh Koshi River and a further climb leads to the Tengboche monastery at 3,870 meters altitude. The Tengboche monastery is amidst the Sagarmatha National Park and is draped with a panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains. The monastery is strategically placed on the way to Everest Base Camp and thus attracts large number of tourists from all parts of the world. During the spring season, hill slopes around Tengboche are covered with flowering rhododendrons.

Dingboche

Lying at the Chhukung Valley, Dingboche is a popular stop for trekkers and climbers headed to the Everest Base Camp Trek. Parties tend to typically spend two nights in Dingboche for acclimatization purposes. The village relies heavily on tourists with lodges and tenting areas comprising most of Dingboche. The Imja River flows directly east of the village.

One of the characteristics of Dingboche is the kilometers of stone walls, built using the stones of different sizes that cover the entire Valley of Imja. These stones are removed in order to plow the soil and end up being piled one over the other creating kilometers of walls. Coming from Namche Bazaar or Tengboche, Dingboche is the better alternative than the village of Pheriche, in being sunnier, and less affected by the icy winds that descend through the Valley of Khumbu. Because of this, Dingboche is also called the “Summer Valley”. There are no roads that go to the village, only trails. With the exceptions of some agricultural products produced around the village; yaks and mules carry most of what is consumed locally at the village. Walking for approximately 5 hours from Dingboche, Nagerjun is reached. It bestows good panorama of Lobuche East (6119m), Lobuche West (6145m), Kangtega (6685m), Taboche Peak (6367m), Thamserku (6608m), and Ama Dablam (6856m).

If you are lucky, you can also observe stunning sight of Makalu, the world’s fifth tallest peak on a clear day from Nagerjun. The views of the Pheriche Valley from here is also splendid.

Lobuche and the Everest Base Camp

As one moves further from Dingboche, the Lobuche village emerges in the distance. After this, the Everest Base camp lies ahead. The Khumbu Glacier Moraine also lies along the trail. The Everest Base camp is a rudimentary campsite on Mount Everest that is used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent. South Base Camp is used when climbing via the southeast ridge, while North Base Camp is used when climbing via the northeast ridge.

Supplies are shipped to the South Base Camp by Sherpas or porters, and with the help of animals, usually yaks. The North Base Camp has vehicle access (at least in the summer months). Climbers typically rest at base camp for acclimatization to reduce the risks and severity of altitude sickness. The South Base Camp is the one that is accessible from Lukla and the above mentioned trail. Trekkers also can have a look at the Khumbu Icefall.

Kalapatthar

Kalapatthar means ‘black rock’ in Nepali and Hindi, is a notable landmark located on the south ridge of Pumori in the Nepalese Himalayas above Gorakshep. Although not a proper mountain, with a prominence of only 10 meters, the ascent of Kalapatthar is very popular with trekkers of the Everest Base camp Trek since it provides the most accessible close-up view of Everest. Due to the structure of the Everest Massif, its high summit is blocked by Nuptse from much of the surrounding region. The views of Everest, Nuptse and Changtse are spectacular from Kalapatthar and there are glimpses of the northern flank and summit of Lhotse as well. The world’s highest webcam, the Mount Everest webcam, is also located here.

Physical Shape for the Everest Base Camp Trek

Certain level of physical fitness is necessary for the Everest Base Camp Trek. You need to be physically fit and have excellent strength, conditioning and endurance to be able to complete the trek and to fully enjoy the journey.  If you have not trained your body to withstand the pressures of constant strain at high altitude, you will find it a very difficult task to complete the trek, risking your and other people’s safety.  It is recommended to spend at least four days a week doing some sort of intense physical exercise for approximately three to four months prior to the starting date of the Everest Base Camp Trek. Activities like running, swimming and power-walking helps to build up the stamina of the body as well. While on the trek, keeping yourself hydrated is also important.

Equipments for the Everest Base Camp Trek

  • Duffel or Rucksack bags
  • Day packs
  • Down Jackets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Gaiters for hiking in winter
  • Heavyweight gloves or mitten with a waterproof shell
  • Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket
  • Basic First Aid Kit
  • Trekking Poles

Many other items are also needed and other personal requirements can also be bought for trekking. But it is advised to travel light for better trekking journeys. A porter in the mountains is capable of carrying around 25 kg of weight between two people so it is recommended to pack accordingly.

Acclimatization on the Everest Base Camp Trek

One of the major challenges facing trekkers heading for the Everest Base Camp Trek or any other high elevation trek in the Himalayas is dealing with the potential threat of High Altitude Sickness. The primary cause of High Altitude Sickness is a decrease in the amount of available oxygen with altitude. To ensure a safe trek, it’s important to be aware of this potentially life threatening condition and its symptoms. Everyone is susceptible to High Altitude Sickness and it is just as likely in physically fit persons as those who are unfit. The most common medication used to prevent High Elevation Sickness is Diamox (Acetazolamide). This can be easily purchased on arrival in Kathmandu and a dose of 125mg twice daily starting 1 day before ascent has been suggested by the Everest Base Camp Medical Centre. If you already have High Elevation Sickness, the dose can be increased to 250mg twice daily.

Proper acclimatization days should also be scheduled while on the trek. The best rate of acclimatization is to gain no more than 300m (1000 feet) per a day. If you increase this rate, you will be much more susceptible to Elevation Sickness. This should be considered based on where you sleep at night and not how high or low you trek during day.

Trekking Tips for the Everest Base Camp Trek

  • Best seasons for trekking the EBC Trek would be the spring season (March to May) and autumn season (September to December).
  • Usually, the travel agencies do not cover Travel Insurances of the customers. That is why, having a proper travel insurance that covers helicopter costs in the mountains as well as helicopter rescues is mandatory for the Everest Base Camp Trek.
  • Drinking water in the mountains while undergoing the Everest Base camp Trek usually isn’t provided. For drinking water, trekkers can opt for two options- either buying bottled drinking water from the shops or using water-purifying tablets. For the sake of the environment, water-purifying tablets are advised.
  • Hot water showers and in-suit bathrooms are only available at Phakding, Namche and Lukla. Other places, due to their isolation, do not provide hot waters.Usually, the power sockets in the accommodations during the Everest Base Camp Trek have a power outlet with three pin sockets. For charging your electrical equipment, the use of an “Indian-style” adapter is advised for a hassle-free use.
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