The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Mount Everest is the most famous mountain in the world. You can go to any country and say “Mt. Everest” and somebody will know what you’re are talking about regardless of the language spoken. But it is a little strange that not everyone who knows about Everest, knows where it is located. The highest mountain in the world is located in Nepal and is referred to as Sagarmatha in Nepali language. The ultimate guide to trekking to Everest Base Camp contains only the most pertinent information about your trip to “the camp”.
The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Did you know that you can’t see Mt. Everest from Everest Base Camp? You can have much grander views of the Himalayas from Kala Patthar. In this blog post I will share with you all the secrets, tips, and hints (no tricks though, just hard work) about traveling to Nepal and scaling the grandest mountain in the world. If you’re still unsure, you can skip ahead to see how to prepare for Everest Base Camp or what to expect before coming to Nepal.
When to Go
For the best weather conditions, you want to go in late spring. Most people attempting to summit Everest go in May. For those of you south of the equator that would be late fall early winter. The exact months are March, April, May. Be careful though, because June marks the beginning of the monsoon season and you do not want to be involved in that mess. As you can imagine the best weather conditions attract the largest crowds, so be prepared.
The Fall season, September, October, and November, has historically been the second busiest season to trek the Everest Base Camp trail. However, recently, people trying to get away from the herds of the primary season have migrated to fall season. The fall conditions are, in my opinion, just as good if not better than the spring conditions. So, it is up to you and your availability on when visit.
Winter can be a little cold and hazy, but for the most part it is also a great time to start your Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek. In the winter season, you can take advantage of discounted rates and your choice of lodges. Be prepared for freak snow storms. Fortunately, though you don’t need much cold weather gear. I did the majority of the trek in jeans and a light long sleeve and a t-shirt.
My advice, don’t go in the summer. There are some exceptions to that though. If you also want to go to Gokyo Lakes or to the more remote areas, this might be a good time to go. The summer months June, July, and August receive a massive amount of rain fall. They are hot and humid and you can’t hardly cool down. You are also at a greater risk of being injured by a land slide, and getting in a car accident. Upper Mustang, or Tibet are better destinations for the summer
Kangtega at this vantage point looks like Maneki-neko. May it bring you good luck on your trek.
Elevation gain and loss on the trail
Elevation of different locations along the Everest Base Camp Trail
Starting at an elevation of 4,593 ft in Kathmandu you fly to Lukla at an elevation 9,317 ft. This is a gain of 4,724 ft. From Lukla you trek to Phakding at an elevation of 8,563 ft. This is a loss of 754 ft. From Pakding you trek to Namche at 11,286. This is a gain of 2,723 ft. In Namche you go on a day hike to Kumjung at an elevation of 12,401 ft, then back to Namche. After acclimating in Namche, you travel to Tengboche at 12,663 ft. This is a gain of 1,377 ft. Then you trek to Dingboche at 14,468 ft. This is an elevation gain of 1,805 ft. In Dingboche you acclimate by going on a day hike to Nangkartshang at an elevation of 16,676 ft, then back down to Dingboche. The following day you trek to Lobuche at 16,305 for an elevation gain of 1,837 ft. From Lobuche you trek to Gorakshep at 16,863 ft. This is an elevation gain of 558 ft. In Gorakshep you can immediately go to EBC at 17,598 ft then back to Gorakshep. After Everest Base Camp you hike up to Kala Patthar at 18,208 ft then back down to Gorakshep, then to Thukla at 15,157 ft. From Thukla you descend 2,494 ft to Tengboche. Then you descend an additional 1,377 ft to Namche. You lose an additional 2,723 ft going to Phakding. And finally, you gain 754 ft going back to Lukla.
It is 40.39 miles from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. This distance includes the slope or vertical distance also traveled. The actual distance from Lukla to base camp can be a little different depending on the trail you take. Though this can seem like an unobtainable goal, it is actually quite achievable especially spread over 10 days. On average, you are trekking only 4 miles each day on your way to base camp. You will probably hike further returning to Luka. The return trek averages 10 miles each day.
You might be thinking “4 miles on flat land is a lot different than 4 miles up hill in thin air.” You are right. This is what makes the trek challenging. I wouldn’t say it is difficult though. Let me explain. Our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt to change. In bright light our pupils constrict, and in dark they dilate. At high altitudes our bodies make more blood cells to compensate for less oxygen in the air. Our bodies also develop better circulation the more we exercise.
As we are slowly progressing along the trail, our bodies are slowly adapting to the changing environment. This is something you do not want to rush. The slower you go the easier it is to get there. Porters are also a wonderful resource to make your trek easier. Porters will happily carry your bag. The reduced stress on your body has been shown to reduce effects associated with altitude sickness. A guide can also help make your trek easier by setting the pace.
Length of Time
Trekking to Base Camp, and Kala Patthar and back should take 12 or more days. It took me 14 days to complete the trek. If you go faster than 12 days you risk having altitude sickness, over exertion, dehydration, and wrecking yourself. Remember, the slower you go the easier it is on your body. On an average 13-day trek, 2 days are used to acclimate. It is important to have one or two reserve days in case you feel like resting an extra day or in case of inclement weather.
Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Trek Itinerary
Day 01: Meet guide in Kathmandu and be chauffeured to hotel and check in. Enjoy free time.
Day 02: Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding. -04 hrs
Day 03: Trek to Namche Bazaar. -06 hrs
Day 04: acclimate to climate at Namche Bazaar and excursion. -5 hrs
Day 05: Trek to Thyangboche. -06 hrs
Day 06: Trek to Dingboche. -07 hrs
Day 07: Acclimate to climate at Dingboche and excursion. -4 hrs
Day 08: Trek to Lobuche. -05 hrs
Day 09: Trek to Gorak Shep and Everest Base Camp then return to Gorakshep. -06 hrs
Day 10: Trek to Kalapathar and Pheriche. -05 hrs
Day 11: Trek to Thyangboche. -05 hrs
Day 12: Trek to Monjo. -06 hrs
Day 13: Trek to Lukla. -04 hrs
Day 14: Fly to Kathmandu and check into hotels
Day 15: Free day in Kathmandu with sightseeing tour
Day 16: end of trek
You probably have one pending question left, “How much does this trek cost?” That is a tough question to answer. It honestly depends. Are you going to hire a guide and porter? How much food do you eat in a day? How long will you be trekking for? Will you be doing the standard Lukla to EBC or a variation like Lukla to Gokyo Lake with a visit to Base Camp. The lowest possible price you can do the trek for is $53.90.
You might be thinking “That’s a bargain, I’ll take two at that price!” I appreciate your enthusiasm, but let me get into the details. The only things the quoted price gives you is access into the Sagarmatha National Park. You will have to walk to Lukla from Kathmandu (about 12 days) to begin your trek. In addition, you will have to bring all your food and camping gear with you. If you’re into it, go for it. It would be a great experience.
If you feel like splurging on a plane ticket to and from Lukla, it will cost about $400 to $500. The price depends on the airline and date. If you want to hire a guide (highly recommended), it can cost $20 to $25 per day. It depends on the guide and if you are trekking in or out of season. You can also get special deals if you are going in a group. You can hire a porter for $15 to $20 per day but it also depends on the porter and how much you want them to carry. Food is also a major cost while trekking.
Our Everest Base Camp Trek costs $2,590. It includes all expenses. Transportation, food, lodging, entrance fees, passes, guide, porter, and a bonus tour of Kathmandu.
Cost of food on the EBC trail
I took the average prices of the menu items at each place I ate at. I then plotted the prices on the graph above. This trend line gives an idea of how much you are likely to spend on food as you increase in elevation. Prices may be slightly skewed due to my low sample size. The sample size is 1 from each area.
Although there is some variation in food costs along the trail, expect to pay more for a plate of lentils and rice at Gorakshep than in Phakding. I stayed at a relatively expensive location in Lukla. Other trekkers that I met at the lodge also noticed how much more expensive Lukla was compared to the other locations on the trek. In general, try to budget for $15 for food each day. This does not include alcoholic, or artificially sweetened beverages. It does include hot drinking water though.
Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure
You can book your Everest Base Camp and Kalla Patthar adventure through our website. We offer an all-inclusive package as well as discounted packages starting $512 and ranging to $2,590. Our most popular package includes a guide, porter, food, lodging, all fees, hotel and lodge accommodations, round trip airfare, transportation in Kathmandu, and a Kathmandu World Heritage Site Tour. You may book directly on our website or by contacting Ganga Regmi at +9779867706662 or by email at [email protected]
Even if you book your trek through another company please feel free to stop by our Pokhara office to get information about the trek, trail conditions, weather reports, trail maps, or just to say hi. We wish you a very safe and fun adventure.
Please let me know if you would like me to include any other information in The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp.
Have many safe and happy adventures
Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure.