Comprehensive guide to Everest Base Camp Trek
Planning to do Everest trek and yet have no idea about where to start? This guide will help you in not only planning your trek to the Everest region but also in knowing the region you are going to tread and in knowing what you should expect on the trek. Everest Base Camp trek is a bucket list adventure for many people. Many get to tick off their bucket list adventure with safety and in a responsible way while many are unaware of where to start. To help you plan your journey to Everest base camp smoothly we have created this comprehensive guide to Everest base camp trek which will cover all the important aspects of trekking to the Everest region.
For better readers experience, we have covered the topics in different subheadings such as:
1. Knowing the region
2. Planning your trek
3. In Kathmandu
4. On Trek
6. Additional Tips
P: s: Following we have covered the most important aspects of the trek which we believe will help you in accomplishing your goal. However, there are many aspects which we have not covered and it’s all due to personal preferences as to what one likes and one dislikes.
1. Knowing the region, you are going to tread
Everest Base Camp – the journey to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain. The most popular trek in Nepal in the whole 2,400km stretch of the Himalayas offers experiences, unlike any other Himalayan treks. Closeup view of the highest mountains, spectacular sceneries throughout the journey, an insight into rich Sherpa cultures, old monasteries, etc. are some highlights you will encounter on this trek. Geographically located in the northeastern part of Nepal, this region alone welcomes thousands of trekkers/climbers every season. The standard Everest base camp trek is 130km long from Lukla to Everest base camp and back.
ii. Trek Grade
Physically challenging due to the higher elevation above [5000m/16,400ft], involves daily trekking of approximately 6–8 hours. No previous trekking experience is required but you should be moderately fit and must enjoy walking and adaptable to high altitude conditions. The maximum elevations on this trek is [5,545m/18,193ft] at Kalapathar and [5,364m/17,559ft] at Everest base camp while the maximum overnight elevation is [5,140m/16,864ft] at Gorekshep. Your journey will begin from Lukla [2,800m/9187ft] and you reach an elevation of [5000m/16,400ft] in eight days including two rest and acclimatization days at Namche and Dingboche.
iii. Start/End Place
The starting/ending point of Everest base camp trek is Lukla which sits at an elevation of [2,800m/9187ft]. 30 mins of flight on small aircraft connect Kathmandu and Lukla. Nepal only has one international airport at the moment which is Tribhuvan International Airport situated at Kathmandu. Arrive in Kathmandu’s airport and fly to Lukla to start your trek.
iv. Best time to come
In general, the best time to visit the Everest region is Spring (March to May) and Autumn (Sept to Nov). Weather is more stable at these times of the year. Spring season provides an opportunity to interact with the climbers heading to summit Everest and you also get to see the tent city at the base camp of Mt. Everest. Autumn the post-monsoon season is the busiest time of the year. Avoid Monsoon season (June to August) as the fights will be affected due to poor visibility and also who wants to trek getting caught in rain?
The best seasons to trek to the Everest region are Autumn (from mid-September till the end of November) and Spring (beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you ascend higher every day. The nights are cold (between -10C to 5C) and the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). Mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up in the afternoon and disappearing at night.
2. Planning your trek
Now that you have a general idea of the trek, it all comes to the planning of your trek now. Below we have listed some important points you should consider while planning your trek.
I. Choose independently or guided
First thing, plan whether you wish to trek independently or guided. It is much safer and easier to trek with a guide if you are alone and are not comfortable doing an unassisted trek. Going through organized trekking will have everything arranged for you before your arrival. However, if you wish trek independently it is completely safe to trek on your own too. Everest base camp trek is one of the most popular/busiest trekking trails in the world. You will meet several people along the way and in the teahouses, you will stay. If you can’t afford but yet need someone to assist you, you can always request for a guide only.
Important note: Its always better to book a guide before rather than looking for one in Kathmandu.
II. Find a reputable company
If you have decided to go through an agency, find a reputable one who you can trust. The Internet can be a valuable tool for you to evaluate them, check their reviews and experiences. Consider recommendation at first if your known have travelled to Everest base camp before as they will have beforehand knowledge and will be able to suggest you. Make sure that you choose a reliable travel agency with a lot of credibilities. Inquire about the route thoroughly, the guide’s experiences, the teahouses you will be living in and much more. It may seem tedious, but you wouldn’t want to take any chances!
III. All-inclusive or GAP service
As the number of trekkers coming to the Everest region has grown exponentially many operators have come up with different policies and marketing tools. Always check whether the price offered to you is an all-inclusive cost or not. Many are offering Everest base camp trek these days for around 1000 USD without providing meals on trek. It is always better to find an all-inclusive trip as that will be much more cost effective to you and you will not need to bring more cash with you. Make sure that meals, accommodation, staff wages, flights, permits are all included.
IV. Travel companion / private or group joining
Travelling is always fun when it’s with the people you love the most. If you have friends/family doing the trip its always better to do it on a private trip rather than joining the fixed departure trips. Travelling in a private group allows you and your friends/family members more advantage when it comes to decision making. Not everyone will agree to the same if you travel on fixed departure trips with people from around the world. If you are solo traveller then perhaps joining the fixed departure trip will be as good as travelling with friends.
V. Route variations
Everest region alone has many trips from trekking just to the base camp, doing the high passes or climbing 6000m peaks or 8000m peaks. For Everest base camp trek, the eventual goal is the same for everyone – reaching Everest Base Camp but the ways to reach a goal can be different. The itinerary varies as per the number of the day available to you with the standard duration of 12N/13 Days trek to 11N/12 Days at minimum. We advise you not to do the trek if you are in a hurry or have limited time as that leads to shortening the itinerary and will eventually lead to altitude sickness. Always keep 2 rest and acclimatization days at Namche and Dingboche before heading higher up.
VI. Include Contingencies day
Always keep a day for contingency after your trek. Weather, Flights, Illness, etc. can all lead to jeopardizing the itinerary and having a contingency day after the trek will allow you time to cope up with that. If all goes well then you can use that day to explore the capital city, Kathmandu.
VII. Places to cover on the trek
Make sure that the places you wish to visit are covered in the itinerary. If not, you can always request to amend the itinerary. If possible, we would be happy to cover your places of interest.
VIII. Book your flight
We advise you to book your flight tickets at least 3-4 months before your trip date. Nepal has only one international airport with a fair amount of flights operating. During peak season time the flight gets full and the ticket will only be available at high fare mostly. Booking the flights early will avoid the chances of non-availability and high fares and also you get to travel on your desired dates.
IX. Visa and Passport
Kindly ensure that you hold a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining. Visa for Nepal can be obtained at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu on arrival or at the diplomatic consulates or missions abroad.
X. Get the right insurance to cover emergency
It’s mandatory and highly recommended for all our clients to have travel insurance that will cover emergency evacuation and medical expenses. Please ensure that your insurance covers the level of activity you are undertaking.
More Details: Travel Insurance
XI. Proper trekking gears buy/rent (Try it before the actual trip)
Your whole trip could end miserably if you have not gotten yourself proper trekking gears. You will not have to spend a whole lot of money or get everything new for the trek but you will need to make sure that your gears are adequate and of quality. Before embarking on the trip, make sure that your gears such as (Boots, Jackets, Socks, Sunglasses, Water Bottle, etc) are in good condition and will not break in the middle of the trek. You also need to make sure that your clothing is proper and warm enough as it will be cold up in the mountain. If getting trekking gears in your region is a problem then you can also get it in Kathmandu after your arrival. There are entire areas dedicated to just trekking gear shops. From branded to local clothing, you can find a wide variety of selection. On our trip, we provide every participant with a warm down jacket, sleeping bag, and waterproof duffel bag.
XII. Consult with your doctor before leaving in case you have any past medical conditions
Seek medical advice with your doctor before leaving for a trip if you have had any medical conditions before or have any ongoing treatments. Tell him about the trip you are undertaking in detail.
XIII. Bring medications you will need
On a trek, we carry a comprehensive medical kit, supplementary oxygen system, and satellite phone for an emergency purpose. You are encouraged to bring your medications too but please tell your leader about the medication you are taking and use the medications only if you are confident. Avoid sleeping tablets in higher altitudes.
XIV. Training for the trek
Now that the planning for the trek has been completed, it’s now time to train yourself for the trek. Read on how to train for Everest Base Camp Trek
3. In Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the capital city of the Himalayan country, Nepal and holds the only international airport in Nepal. After your arrival at Kathmandu’s airport, you will be received and transferred to your hotel. There will be a trip briefing and a welcome dinner arrange for that day and the rest of the time is free for you to explore and do any last-minute shopping.
I. Get briefed
After your arrival in Kathmandu, you will be briefed on all the important aspects of the trek and Kathmandu. Equipment checking will be done at the same time too. If your flight arrives late and you happen to miss the briefing, your leader will find a time to make it for you.
II. Last-minute shopping in Kathmandu
Make sure you have all the things required for the trek and if you happen to miss or forget anything Kathmandu is the last place you can get it. You can also get any missing items on the trek but at double the cost of Kathmandu.
III. Change money in Kathmandu
On a trek, you will need local currency for your expenses and exchanging here in Kathmandu will get you a good conversion rate.
IV. Carry a Map
Carry a trekking map so that you will have an idea of the places you are visiting. The map will also help you in identifying the terrain, mountains, and places.
Make sure that your permit has been sorted out. You will require two permits to trek to Everest base camp and both permits can be obtained at Lukla. If you are travelling guided through an agency then your permits will be sorted out before your arrival
4. On Trek
After all the planning and preparation, the journey to the base camp now begins officially as you board a STOL aircraft to Lukla. Your trek starts from the day you fly to Lukla.
I. Always follow the leader advice
Always follow your leader’s advice on the trek as he knows the best. Every evening before or after dinner, your leader will debrief about the day and will brief you about the tomorrow journey. You should also tell your leader if you have any health issues. On trek beside the leader, a group of staff (Assistant Guide and Porters) will be assisting you.
II. During the walk, find your pace and follow it
Remember slow and steady wins the race. The main important thing during the walk is to find your pace and continue the walk. On and Off pace of walk will get you tired easily so build a rhythm and follow it rather than moving faster and taking breaks frequently. Every morning before you begin the day’s walk, allow 15-20 mins to walk slowly as that will warm up your muscle and helps you greatly for the day’s walk.
III. Maintain hydration
Avoid dehydration at all cost as that leads to various illness which will affect your journey. Drink plenty of water and carrying hydrating supplements/ORS will be beneficial. Drink at least 3 litres of water per day or better at least hydrate yourself until your urine is clear and odourless.
IV. Proper layers of clothing
Check the weather forecast for the day and dress accordingly. During the day as you walk, the body temperature will rise and you will not need to put on thick jackets. Wearing a proper layer of clothing will minimize excessive sweating, getting cold and protects from wind. Carrying a fleece/winds topper in your backpack is a must.
V. Bring buff, cap, and a good sunglass
Yeah, it can be uncomfortable to breathe with the buff put on but this will greatly help you in moisturizing the air you inhale. The air is cold and dry in the mountain thus wearing a buff prevents you mainly from getting cough and sore throat. Cap and Sunglass are another important thing you need for the trek and you know why it’s needed.
VI. Start early
The morning weather is great for a walk as it will neither be hot nor cold. Starting early morning not only provides a good temperature for a walk but provides you enough time during the day for the walk, clearer views and helps you to avoid rainfall too. In the mountains, the clouds will usually start to build up from late afternoon onwards as the temperature rises and if there is a chance of rainfall it will much likely be after late afternoon.
VII. Keep at least 2 acclimatization days at Namche and Dingboche
Allow at least 2 acclimatization days at Namche and Dingboche. Remember the golden rule of acclimatization – Climb High Sleep Low. During these acclimatization days climb higher and retrace back for overnight. This will allow your body to adapt with the altitude more efficiently and also exposes your body to a higher altitude to prepare for the coming days.
VIII. Let the yak/Dzopkyo pass first especially at the bridge and stick to the hillside while giving way.
Yak and Dzopkyo (Crossbreed of Yak and Cow) are frequently encountered during the Everest trek. These breeds are used for transportation purposes. Always let them pass first and while giving them way do not stand near the cliff as they may knock you off with the loads they are carrying. And on bridges let them pass first as the bridges are narrow.
Trekking in the (Everest area) does not need tremendous logistics in accommodation as many lodges are varying from luxury to clean and friendly Lodges along the trail. Most teahouses/lodges have basic rooms, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. The rooms are very simple but comfortable to sleep off the tiredness. All of them have electric lights and all have a spacious dining room-lounge. Please remember that hotels in higher altitudes (Lobuche, Gorekshep, Dzongla) are basic and a sense of adventure is necessary. It is more cost effective to stay in a Lodge as in a camping trek.
Meals are available on every teahouses/lodge you will stay. You will find a variety of foods that you can try during the trek. Breakfast and dinner will be at the teahouses/lodges where you will stay and lunch will be along the way.
III. Drinking water
Drinking water is available at every stop and teahouses/lodge you stay. A bottle of water (1 Liter) will cost from 1$ to 2.5$ as the altitude increase. Hot water can be purchased at a relevant cheaper rate. We strongly advise you to carry a water bottle and fill it with boiled water rather than buying bottled water to minimize the plastic waste. You can also add a water purification tablet on top of the boiled water. Bring 2 bottles of 1 litre so you will have enough water during the day’s walk.
Electricity/Charing option is available on Everest trek and you will need to pay to charge your electronic devices. Every room will have electricity but not a charging port. You will need to charge your devices at the dining area and need to pay for the charge per device with the cost ranging from 1$ to 2.5$.
Internet facilities are available throughout the trek and you can buy internet data from the teahouses you stay.
A hot shower is available on every teahouse on the trek at an extra cost of 1$ to 2$. Remember to keep ventilation while taking a shower to let the air flow as there have been cases of people fainting inside the shower due to more toxic gases released from gas geysers shower. Taking shower higher above from Dingboche is not advisable.
Most of the teahouses in the Everest region especially higher above from Namche have common sharing toilets. The toilets are western-style but there will not be a toilet paper so carry toilet paper and hand sanitizer always in your backpack. Rooms with attached bathroom are available on Everest trek but at limited places and limited hotels.
VIII. Altitude sickness
Click here to know about the altitude sickness in detail – ways to identity, prevention, and medication.
6. Additional Tips
I. If your sleeping bag/blanket is not warm enough, ask for an extra blanket at the hotel.
II. Bring power bank as the charging cost will be levied on per device
III. Ask your guide or at the ticket counter for left side seat on KTM-LUKLA flight and right side on return LUKLA-KTM flight for the mountain views.
IV. To dry clothes/socks more efficiently at night, put it underneath the blanket or mattress.
V. Fill your bottle with hot water before you go to bed and put it inside the sleeping bag for additional warmth. You can also use the same water the next morning to brush your teeth and to wash your face.
VI. Allow the first 15-20 mins of walk to do it slowly as it warms up your body and prevents from getting tired easily.
VII. Avoid meat at higher places as the meats are not fresh and are refrigerated only. Only consume bakery items if it’s prepared the same day.
7. Equipment Checklist for Everest base camp trek
The gear listed below is recommended for Everest base camp trek. We encourage you to get all equipment listed below for the trip and kindly ensure you check and try every equipment. You can also buy or hire the same in Kathmandu as they are available in the many trekking shops from branded to local manufacturers in Kathmandu.
Clothing and footwear
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Trekking Shirts
- Trekking Trousers
- Warm Jackets/Sweater/Pullover
- Waterproof jackets and trousers
- Inner wears
- Warm socks
- Cap/Hat to protect from the sun during the trek
- Woollen Hat, Warm gloves, Balaclava sand Bandana/Scarf
- Extra clothes to wear in Kathmandu when you come back from the trek.
- Trekking shoes (Preferably Goretex and full to support your ankle)
- Slippers/Flip flops to wear at camp
- Daypack 30-35 litres (To carry your sunblock, water, camera, waterproof jacket and others that you may require while trekking)
- Passport with visa and validity of 6 months after your trip completion
- 4 copies of passport size photos for permits and Visa
- Travel Insurance covering medication evacuation
- Flight tickets
- Credit cards in case of emergencies
- Driving ID or any other ID in case of loss of your passport.
(Please carry the photocopy of all the documents along with you and leave a copy to next of kin)
- Headlamps with extra batteries
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Camera with charger or spare batteries
- A pair of trekking poles
- Water bottles (1) litre
- Laundry bag to keep the dirty clothes
- Large plastic bags to keep the clothes dry
- Reading materials, notebooks and pens
Toiletries and hygiene
- Quick-drying towel
- Small face towel
- Toothbrush &Toothpaste
- Deodorants, Soap and Shampoo (Smaller bottle)
- Face and body moisturizer, Sunscreen and lip balm
- Hand sanitizer/Antiseptic wipes
- Hygiene products
- Basic first aid kit
The gears listed below will be provided by us for the trek. Down Jacket and Sleeping Bag must be returned after the completion of the trek.
- Down Jacket
- Sleeping bag with Liner
- Duffel/Kit Bag
We hope this guide to Everest base camp trek will help you in the planning of your trek. Please feel free to get in touch with us at Contact Us or simply mail us at [email protected] should you have any questions or require any further information on any aspects of the trek.