Everest Base Camp Trek – Ultimate Guide for 2023

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Trekking to Everest Base Camp is different than other treks around the world. Nowhere else on earth will you experience trekking as you do in Nepal and nowhere quite compares to the majesty of the Himalayas. Villages dot the landscape filled with restaurants, markets, bazaars, and tea houses (mini-hotels) where you can stop for lunch, buy supplies, and have a piece of apple pie while surrounded by the highest mountains in the world.

Every hundred meters or so there is a hotel, restaurant, or cluster of buildings making up a small village. The villages are stunning reminding us of something out of the Swiss Alps on steroids. Well-built lodges and brick homes line the trail with the magnificent setting of the Himalayas draped in the back.

about dave and deb at everest base camp trek

Trekking to Everest Base Camp

What is it like trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal? The EBC Trek is life-changing, it’s exhilarating, and it is challenging. We share everything you need to know from planning your trek to Everest to packing for your trip. This guide to the Everest Base Camp Trek breaks down each day. So sit back and take a journey with us through Nepal’s legendary Sagarmatha National Park.

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

On the map, the Everest Base Camp trekking route distances look fairly easy to hike from village to village through the Khumbu Valley. Eight days may seem like it would be more than enough time to cover a mere 63 km (39 miles) one way, (128 km return) but with several sustained days in a row above 4000 meters (13,000 feet), the walk is slow and steady.

It is important not to push too fast to avoid altitude sickness which is a very real possibility. When trekking to Everest base camp, expect to hike anywhere from 7 – 17 km (4.5 – 10 miles) per day with the entire trek taking 12 – 14 days.

Hiring a Guide for the EBC Trek – Mandatory

Everest Base Camp Trek Hiring a guide

Starting April 1, 2023, Nepal has banned solo trekking. Foreigners must hire a guide for treks in high-altitude trekking regions of national parks. According to the Kathmandu Post in March “solo or independent trekkers have to mandatorily hire a guide or a porter before setting off to Nepal’s mountains.” However, after an updated article in the Kathmandu Post, it seems that the Everest Region is an exception. Before booking, we would check with local companies and authorities as rules are constantly changing.

Book Locally

Many people book ahead of time with a tour company located outside of Nepal such as Intrepid Travel or GAdventures, but we hired locally and it saved a lot of money.

Plus, you know your money is going directly to the local economy and you have a more intimate experience by trekking with a local guide. We spent a couple of days in Kathmandu looking for a guide to Everest and found Simrik Real Nepal owned by Kathmandu resident Dipendra Simkhada.

Dipendra planned the entire trip for us, and all we had to do was wait for him to pick us up at our guesthouse in Kathmandu to take us to the airport to board our Tara Air flight to Lukla Airport. Book your Trek to Everest Base Camp with Simrik Real Nepal – A Locally owned and operated tour company, Simrik is located in Kathmandu.

Kathmandu – The Hub of Nepal Treks

everest base camp trek flight from kathmandu
Kathmandu

We spent a few days in Kathmandu picking up supplies and doing some sightseeing before trekking to Everest. We suggest not spending too long here as it can be very polluted in Kathmandu and by the time we were ready to trek, I was already quite congested.

Our recommendation is when you arrive in Kathmandu, only spend two to three days to get yourself organized and instead do your sightseeing at the end of your trek. Read more: Top Places to visit in Kathmandu, Nepal

Day 1: Fly from Lukla Trek to Pakhding

Everest Base Camp Trek Airport

Flights to Lukla no longer leave from Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu Airport) in Kathmandu due to congestion. Flights are now out of Ramechap airport which is a 4 1/2 hour drive from Kathmandu. You can book private helicopters from Tribhuvan International Airport.

The flight from Ramechap airport is much shorter than the flight from Tribhuvan International Airport. Flights to Lukla are only 12 minutes so more flights can get through when the weather is clear making flights less likely to be canceled or delayed for too long.

Everest Base Camp Trek Getting There

The flight to Lukla is a scary flight and is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. We flew from Kathmandu but flights now are much shorter from Ramechap. I think I would like it better as we sat at the front of the plane and saw the pilot’s instruments constantly flash “obstacle ahead.” It looked as if we were about to crash into a mountain at any time. Read all about our flight to Lukla and watch the video here

Watch Us Fly to Lukla Airport

everest base camp trek flight to lukla airport

The Lukla airstrip at Lukla Airpot is a short landing strip at only 525 meters (1,729 feet long.) Built on the side of a mountain it is also a very steep grade that is needed to slow the planes down quickly. Needless to say, we held our breath during the landing.

We survived that flight, but it was the flight back to Kathmandu I was nervous about. Taking off on that short of a runway was a hair-raising experience. One false move and we’d drop thousands of feet into the valley below. Lukla Airport is actually called Tenzing Hillary Airport named after the first two men to summit Mount Everest.

Hiking from Lukla to Pakding

Everest Base Camp Trek Hiking to Pakding

The trek begins officially in Lukla. Lukla is a busy town with plenty of accommodation, shops, and eateries. If you forgot anything for your EBC trek, you can pick up supplies in a pinch. But we suggest purchasing all your gear in Kathmandu. It is much cheaper.

From Lukla, we immediately started our Everest Base Camp hike. After a quick snack and a cup of tea in Lukla, we set off on an easy three-hour trek along trekking trails that were easy to follow weaving through villages, crossing rivers, and stumbling over stony paths.

Entering Sagarmatha National Park

Everest Base Camp Trek Sagarmatha National Park

A permit is needed to hike to Everest Base Camp as it is located in Sagarmatha National Park. We checked in with the national park headquarters and Dipendra took care of everything. He had all our paperwork in order so all we had to do was start walking through the beautiful Khumbu Valley to make our way to Everest base camp.

Sagarmatha National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1976. At 1148 square km (443 square miles) in area, it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited.

Everest Base Camp Trek Welcome Gates

We felt giddy stepping through the welcome gates located just outside of Lukla. This was it, we were following in the footsteps of the great adventurers of our time. It was awe-inspiring to hike through the Khumbu region surrounded by the Himalayas.

As we hiked out of Lukla, Dipendra pointed out the surrounding jagged white peaks named Kwangde, Mumbu, and Kishumkongara. At 6000+ meters, (19,000+ feet) these are the “little guys” of the world’s highest mountain range. It wouldn’t be long until we were among the famous 8000-meter (26,000 feet) peaks.

everest base camp trek Kishumkongara

Our first day was filled with a relaxing walk while learning about the Khumbu region. It was quite early in the day, so we had plenty of time to take our time to learn about the customs of climbing and learn the names of the mountains found in this beautiful region of Nepal.

For the rest of the day, we followed the Dudh Koshi River Valley at a steady but leisurely pace to the village of Pakding. Temperatures were warm and the first day of trekking was comfortable. Lukla to Pakding actually has an elevation loss, so it is a good introduction to hiking through the region as we had a lot of downhill trekking.

After about 5 hours, we came to our first night on the trek where we spent the night in a comfortable teahouse in the village of Phakding.

Our First Night on the EBC Trek

everest base camp trek Night 1

The accommodation in Pakding was a quaint little hotel/teahouse that looked like a cottage. The wood-burning stove smelled delicious as it warmed the restaurant while they prepared our meals.

Our porter “Sher” carried all our supplies including the sleeping bags that we borrowed from our trekking company. We each rented a sleeping bag that was included in the price of our EBC trek. The beds were comfortable and Dave and I had private rooms. Some tours use dorm rooms but we had private rooms. Toilets were shared, but everything was clean and comfortable. The rooms were clean and we slept like rocks snuggled up in our thick down sleeping bags.

Heated Lodges – Teahouses on the EBC Trek

everest base camp trek heated Lodges

During the EBC Trek, you don’t stay in tents. You stay in charming teahouses with cozy beds, wood-burning stoves, and fully stocked restaurants that serve dinner.

The teahouses are a welcoming sight after a long day of trekking helping to make the trek to Everest one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. If you are planning to trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, read on for all the information you’ll need to help you prepare.

The main lodges of each teahouse we stayed in during the first half of our EBC trek were cozy and warm. At the lower elevations, woodstoves burned wood in the dining room and common areas and our rooms were a comfortable temperature with heating as we were wrapped up in our sleeping bags. We ate hearty meals of pasta and meat and enjoyed a relaxing night soaking in the amazing day we just had on the mountain.

From Lukla – Elevation 2869 meters (9,350 feet) To Pakding – Elevation 2610 meters ( 8563 Feet) Length – 7.7 km (4.78 miles) Elevation loss – 79 meters (259 feet) Duration – 3 Hours

Day 2 – Pakding to Namche Bazaar

everest base camp trek Day 2

On day two, we checked in at another gate of the Mt. Everest park headquarters to show our documentation. We had to show our passports and give them extra passport photos to go into the log. (So make sure you have extra passport photos with you) Once we signed in, we were officially in the Khumbu region and officially on our way trekking to Everest Base Camp.

We covered a lot of terrain on day two making it the longest day of the Everest Base Camp trek. The trail up the mountains was steep and challenging but it was a memorable day.

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 2 Trekking

Day two of the EBC trek was a hike of almost 10km (6.2 miles) with an elevation gain of 800 meters (2624 feet). But throughout the hike, there was a lot of elevation loss mixed in so it felt like a lot more.

We would lose elevation as we descended into the valley only to have to climb back up again to a higher elevation. Today was a lot of fun though because we crossed several suspension bridges over Dudh Kosi River Valley.

Suspension Bridges on the way to Everest

everest base camp trek suspension bridges

If you have a fear of heights, crossing suspension bridges may not be your favorite moment, but the suspension bridges while trekking to Everest Base Camp are well constructed, made of steel, and in excellent condition.

I was nervous about the suspension bridges. The Lonely Planet Guide said, “Grit your teeth and climb onto a drooping suspension bridge floating at a dizzying height.” That sentence freaked me out.

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 2 Suspension Bridges

I had built the suspension bridges of the EBC trek in my head as something monstrous. But by the time we reached the first bridge, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Once I crossed my first bridge, my confidence was up and I was ready for anything the Everest trek was ready to throw at me.

Donkey Trains

EBC trek donkey trains

Today we also started to see a lot of donkeys, cows, and goats taking supplies to the villages. Traffic can get very heavy on the Everest Base Camp hike. When animal trains go by, make sure to get out of their way and stay to the side.

They are loaded down with heavy gear and they have a mission to keep on walking until they are done. They can easily nudge you right off the side of a cliff as no matter what is in their way, they just keep walking.

The trail is a highway, but instead of transport trucks or trains carrying cargo, people and farm animals carry everything from lumber and building supplies to food and kitchen appliances.

Safety Tips on the Everest Base Camp Trek for yaks and donkeys

Important Tip: When a yak, donkey, or cow train passes you during the EBC trek, be sure to stand on the mountainside of the trail so they can’t push you over the edge! It is better to be squished into a mountainside than to go tumbling over the edge!

Final Stretch to Namche Bazaar

EBC trek valley

Right after crossing the last bridge, the hardest part of day two of trekking to Everest base camp started The last push of the day consisted of 2-hours straight uphill to Namche Bazar.

We were drenched with sweat but the air was cool. Whenever we stopped for a break, we would get a chill so we just kept on chugging away.

Large tour groups passed us quickly, only to be caught a few minutes later as they rested. We realize that we were the tortoise and they were the hare! Slow and steady is the way to climb at high altitudes and in the end, we made it to Namche Bazaar with plenty of time to spare in the day.

Arrival to Namche Bazaar

EBC trek Day 2 Destination

We checked into the security post and cringed when we found out that our lodge was an uphill walk for another 20 minutes. Rest had to wait a bit longer.

When we arrived at our accommodation, we were thrilled to see our porter Sher’s smiling face. He had already checked us in and put our bag in our room. We immediately went for a nap and then did a little walking around town in the evening to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat before turning in for an early night.

There are plenty of shops and restaurants at Namche Bazaar, this town is bustling and we spent two nights of our EBC Trek here which was awesome.

Pakding – Elevation 2610 meters ( 8563 Feet)Namche Bazaar – 3440 meters (11,286 feet)Elevation Gain – 830 meters (2723 feet)Distance – 10km (6.2 Miles)Duration – 6 hours

Day 3 – Acclimatization Day at Namche Bazaar

EBC trek namche bazaar

We had two glorious days at Namche Bazaar. Dipendra chose great accommodation for us throughout our EBC trek and we had a good rest in this splendid teahouse where we enjoyed delicious pasta, meats, and of course dhal baht. We spent the morning enjoying coffee and doing a bit of shopping.

What to do in Namche Bazaar

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 3 Shopping Namche Bazar

We explored Namche Bazaar and checked out its many shops. The streets are packed with shopping stalls and markets. We searched for gear that we missed getting in Kathmandu and got some great deals. We were surprised the prices weren’t inflated at Namche Bazaar.

We bought some down booties to keep our feet warm at night, a couple of sherpa hats, and a warmer set of gloves. The Everest Bakery was a highlight with delicious apple pie, fresh coffee, and WiFi. We had two pieces each!

Everest Base Camp Trek Namche Bazar Gifts

But we took it very easy, making sure to stay hydrated and to eat enough food to stave off altitude sickness. Namche Bazaar is located at a high altitude of 3440 meters (11,286 feet). We already saw a woman suffering from altitude sickness. She was having her blood pressure taken and heart rate monitored and when she got up, she was staggering as she leaned on her guide.

Her Everest base camp trek had already come to an abrupt end. It reminded us to relax because the days ahead were going to be tough. So we went back to our teahouse to relax and prepare for the rest of our journey

The Acclimatization Hike for EBC Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Acclimatization Hike Day 3

Most high-altitude treks have at least one acclimation day. The Everest Base Camp trek is no exception. An acclimatization day consists of hiking to a higher altitude and then coming back down to sleep at a lower elevation. It gives your body a chance to adjust to the altitude but you don’t stay for long.

As you will be constantly gaining altitude on the Everest Trek, it is good to have at least one day to climb higher and sleep lower to help prevent altitude sickness.

Our acclimation hike took us to the Everest View Hotel. With an elevation gain of only 400 meters, it wasn’t too much higher than our hotel in Namche Bazaar, but it is enough to help acclimate to the high altitudes. Everest View Hotel offers amazing views of Mount Everest (hence the name). Plus it holds the Guinness book of world records as the highest hotel in the world.

Everest Base Camp Trek Namche above

It is not an easy day off though. Just walking through town takes your breath away. As we made our way up the steps, I wondered if I should have just stayed in bed and skipped the viewpoint to relax. When we started the climb I was breathing heavily just walking up a few flights of steps. We hadn’t even left Namche Bazaar and I was pooped!

Once we got on the trail, things became easier. The steep grade gave way to a sloping trail and I started to feel better. After one and a half hours of climbing, we reached what has to be the world’s highest airstrip at 3700 meters (12,139 feet). We arrive just in time to see a small plane take off.

First Views of Mt. Everest

Everest base camp Mount Everest

It was here that we got to see our first breathtaking views of Mt. Everest and the surrounding mountains. We hiked a bit farther and there it was, standing quietly behind the other highest peaks of the earth. 

Lhotse, Changri, Ama Dablam, and Nuptse surround the mighty Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. At 8414m (27,604 feet), 6027m (19,773 feet), and 7861m (25,790 feet) they are the little sisters of this sacred mountain. Mount Everest stands at 8848 meters (27,716 feet).

everest base camp trek Views Hotel

The deep Khumbu valley views were magnificent. The river wove far below, carving through the panorama of the white mountain tops. We walked a narrow trail snaking along the side of a steep mountain and suddenly realize “this trek has become real.” We were high in the Himalayas and one false move could mean catastrophe falling into the abyss below.

The sky was a deep blue and the white summits reached toward the billowing clouds. The view was so awe-inspiring it brought me to tears. Everything was so crisp and clear. During the EBC trek, you feel as if you could reach out and touch heaven.

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 3

The clouds rolled in quickly so it was time to go. The weather conditions change quickly on the Everest base camp hike, so it is good to have the experience of a guide leading us through all terrain and conditions. We went back to Namche Bazaar to relax and gain strength for the rest of the trek.

Namche Bazaar – Elevation – 3440 meters. (11246 feet)Everest View Hotel – 3880 meters (12,730 ft.)Elevation – Bounce of 440 meters (1443 feet)Duration – 3 hours returnElevation Gain – 0 km

Day 4 – Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

everest base camp trek namche bazaar to tenboche

We awoke earlier than usual on Day 4. Two large group treks (Intrepid Travel and G Adventures) had checked into our lodge and we didn’t want to have to compete for service or breakfast. We also didn’t want to have to wait in line for the bathroom.

Lodges become more and more sparse as you go higher on the Everest Base Camp Trek and fewer toilets are shared between more people. Up until now, we hadn’t encountered crowds of people. It had been pretty quiet on the mountain and we liked it that way.

Luckily, we were a day ahead of the other tours. They had to stay in Namche Bazaar for another day to acclimate to the high altitudes, So we moved on to enjoy our EBC Trek free from crowds of people – for now.

Tenzing Norgay Memorial Stupa

Everest Base Camp Trek Tenzing Norgay Memorial Stupa
Stupa honoring Tenzing Norgay Sherpa

During day 4 of the EBC trek, we hiked along trails clinging to the side of the mountain. The narrow trekking trails along this route were a little scary. They wound along the edge of the cliff with nothing but a sheer drop to the abyss into the Khumbu Valley. But we kept our wits about us putting one foot ahead of the other until we reached the Sherpa Monument.

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 4

Tenzing Norgay Sherpa monument was erected by the Norgay family. It is a stupa honoring Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and all the Sherpas that risked their lives to help climbers reach the summit of Mt. Everest.

All treks pass this monument and it is an important stop on the journey to pay respect to the famous Sherpa of the Everest region. In case you don’t know, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa was the first man to summit Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary.

What is a Sherpa?

everest base camp trek Sherpas
Sherpas carry large loads

Sherpas are the unsung heroes of Mt. Everest. They do all of the hard work and technical work on the mountain. They carry the heavy loads, set the ladders and ropes to cross the Hillary Step and Khumbu Icefield for mountain climbers, and they take care of setting up camp while climbers and trekkers catch their breath and try to survive life on the world’s highest peak.

Difference Between a Sherpa and a Porter

everest base camp trek Sherpas with load

Sherpas and porters are very different from one another. We learned that a Sherpa is actually the name of an ethnic group from Tibet. The original mountaineers hired Sherpas as their guides in the Himalayas and the world has now adopted the name for porters in the Everest region. If you aren’t born into the Sherpa ethnic group, you cannot be called a Sherpa. Porters are porters and Sherpas are Sherpas.

We were told that some porters, especially commercial porters carry up to 60kg (150 pounds) of supplies and gear to businesses located along the EBC trek. That is a lot of weight and we were very surprised. When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, porters had a mandatory weight limit of 35kg. (77 pounds).

Dipendra told us that they get paid per kilo so some people push it too far. The Nepalese are a strong bunch but this is a lot to carry at such a high altitude no matter what shape you are in.

everest base camp trek Porters

We kept our pack as light as possible at around 22kg (48 pounds) for Sher and we even felt bad about that! We have heard there is a 30kg (66lb) limit for Everest, but judging by what we saw other porters carrying on the Everest Base Camp hike, people were pushing it well beyond that.

We saw men carrying stacks of plywood with heavy white sacks loaded on top. We saw men carrying propane tanks, doors, and huge packs. What could people possibly need on the EBC Trek that they packed their packs so full? Read more: Packing List for Everest Base Camp Trek

Approaching Tengboche

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 4 Approaching Tegboche

The final push of our EBC Trek day 4 was to Tengboche Monastery. It was a tough yet steady 2-hour steep climb. We are now gaining altitude climbing above the tree line. We put our heads down and huffed and puffed our way up. We didn’t stop for any photos or videos and were surprised to cut the climb down to just one and a half hours.

We reached the prayer wheels of Tengboche Monastery just in time for light snow to start falling. We made it into our camp at Tengboche by 1:30 pm and had the entire afternoon to ourselves at 3900 meters (12795 feet). This is an excellent place on the Everest Base Camp hike to have some extra time to relax as there are a few special things to see and do.

Tengboche Monastery

everest base camp trek tengboche monastery
Inside Tengboche Monastery

We warmed our feet with our new down booties that we bought at Namche Bazaar and changed into some dryer clothes before heading off to see the monks chant at Tengboche Monastery. Our guide Dipendra told us that this is the most important monastery in the region. All climbers summiting the mountains stop at this monastery to be blessed by the monks.

We were allowed to watch the ceremony and to take in the warmth and blessings from the monks. It is a sacred place and all climbers and trekkers stop here before continuing up the mountains.

Everest Base Camp Trek footprints of Lama Pagna Dorje

The footprints of Lama Pagna Dorje from the 16th century are embedded in solid stone in front of the monastery.  A place where he mediated and raced through the Himalayas riding the wind with his mind.

Apparently, he sat on this stone for so long, his feet left their mark. He spent years traveling the world through the power of his mind and we believe the story. Especially after our yoga experience in Goa India. He predicted that a monastery would be built here and surprise surprise…here it is.

The View from Tengboche Monastery

everest base camp trek Tengboche
Tengboche Monastery

The view is magnificent from Tengboche Monastery. The valley is wide and opens up to massive rolling hills giving way to the highest peaks on earth. Plus it has a clear view of Mt. Everest and the surrounding mountains.

We were told that Sir Edmund Hillary came back to survey the peak of Mount Everest from this spot because the view is so clear of the mountain and we can understand why.

Accommodation – Basic Tea Houses at Higher Altitude

Everest Base Camp Trek Accommodations high altitude

At this high elevation of the EBC trek, accommodation became very basic and rustic. We felt like true adventurers as we sat by the fire warming our feet and bonding with our fellow trekkers over our shared experience by candlelight.

There were 10 of us staying in this teahouse. All are sharing electricity to charge our camera batteries. Meals were now vegetarian and wood stoves were heated by yak dung. At this high altitude, meat cannot be transported fast enough to stay fresh and regular wood is scarce, so yak dung it is.

When we went to bed, our room was freezing. Rooms are not heated at higher elevations. We had our own room, but I sometimes wonder if sleeping in a dorm would have helped with more body heat. The temperature easily dipped down to -10 Celcius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and our plywood walls didn’t offer a lot of comforts.

We tossed and turned all night long trying to keep our noses warm in our sleeping bags wearing our down jackets, thick socks, and thermal mid-layers.

Mount everest base camp trek toilet
Toilets covered in ice

It was so cold the scoop bucket for the shared squat toilet froze over forming a patch of ice to form on the floor. It was a slippery trip to the outhouse. Sadly, we always have to pee a lot during the night when sleeping at high altitudes so we visited that toilet a lot.

Hot Tip: Pay for hots showers at lower elevations You won’t regret it! We realized that we should have paid the 250 Rupees for the hot showers offered at the accommodation in Namche Bazaar. Now that the weather was so cold there was no way we could face a bucket bath in a freezing shed. Dave and I set a new record in these mountains of Nepal, 9 days without a shower!

Namche Bazaar – Elevation – 3440 meters. (11246 feet) above sea levelTengboche – 3860 meters (12664 feet) Elevation Gain – 420 meters (1378 feet)Distance – 9.3 km (5.77 miles)Duration – 3 hours (without stopping) 5 hours for photos, lunch and rest.

Day 5 – Tengboche to Dingboche

Everest Base Camp Trek Leaving Tengboche
Getting closer to Everest Base Camp

Day 5 of the EBC Trek was freezing! We had an early wake-up call and morning came too quickly on the Tengboche leg of the EBC Trek. But, we awoke to a winter wonderland of fresh snow at the Tengboche Monastery and clear views of Lhotse peak.

The snow from the night before made for more incredible views on the hiking trails. As we started out from the lodge, the sky was crisp and clear, showing Mount Everest in all its glory. It was stunning, and in between gasping for air, we admired the view.

Everest Bae Camp Trek Day 5 Wooly Yaks

Today we walked to higher altitudes and saw our first trains of wooly yaks. Yaks cannot survive at low altitudes because it is too warm for them, so you don’t see yaks on the Everest Base Camp hike until at least 3000 meters. (9800 feet) They are beautiful.

Yaks on the Trek to Everest Base Camp

everest base camp trek yak trains

Woolly yak trains were more frequent and by day five of the EBC Trek, we had our system perfected to give them the right of way without letting them nudge us off the mountain.

As we said earlier, it is important to give yaks space. They will run you right off the mountain if you are in their way. Be sure to stand on the mountainside as they pass so you don’t get knocked over the edge. The yaks of the Everest Base Camp trek, have only one thing on their mind. To get to their destination.

On this day, signs of expeditions going up to summit Everest started to go by as large groups of yaks carried giant loads of climbing gear. It is exciting to think that we were walking the same route as so many great mountain climbers, like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.

The Trek from Tengboche is breathtaking

everest base camp trek Day 5 Views

I conquered what little fear of heights I had left this day. Some of the narrow paths on the route dropped sharply into the deep valley below. Soon we found ourselves walking along the ledge not thinking at all about the dangers below. We hiked for a couple of hours before stopping for tea at a restaurant in Pangboche.

Pangboche

mount everest base camp trek Pengboche
Nepal Woman

There are shops, teahouses, and restaurants along the route so we could buy lunch along the way and one of the more popular stops is in the village of Pangboche. After a tea stop in Pangboche, we met a sweet lady that walked with us all the way to the village of Dingboche. Her name was Yangshou and she waited for us as we struggled up hills and crossed the suspension bridge over the Imja Khola River.  

Her cute laugh and quiet prayers helped to pass the time. She stopped to talk to everyone on the trail while we plugged along. She’d fall far behind when she chatted with friends, only to quickly catch us and then scoot by us with ease. She must have enjoyed our company because we really slowed her down. “Yangzhou, we will always remember your smiling face!

Everest Base Camp Trek Pengboche to Dingboche

We spent the night in the village of Dingboche and wished that we had another night here. It is from here that you will see beautiful views of Island Peak and Lhotse, but it is also a good spot for another acclimatization day.

Tengboche – 3860 meters (12664 feet) above sea levelDingboche – Elevation – 4410 meters. (14468 feet)Elevation Gain – 550 meters (1804 feet)Distance – 10.8 km (6.71 miles)Duration – 3 hours (without stopping) 5 hours for photos, lunch, and rest.

Day 6 – Second Acclimatization Day at Dingboche

everest base camp trek acclimatization day Dingboche

This is a day that most people spend acclimating to the high altitude. We did not do this day, but you should! So we are including it in the guide because it is a very important day when trekking to Everest Base Camp. If we were smarter, we would have spent 2 nights in the village of Dingboche where we would spend a day hiking up to Nagurjun Hill.

This is the best place for climbers looking to summit Everest, Ama Dablam (6812m), Lobuche peak (6,119 m), or Island Peak to do their acclimatization day. Dingboche is a small village in the Khumbu region with only a few guest houses, so it is a good time to relax, replenish and rejuvenate for the next push.

If we had brought our Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalayas (which we forgot in Kathmandu and kicked ourselves about it every day) we would have realized that we should have taken an extra day to acclimate in Dingboche.

everest base camp trek acclimatization walk

Dipendra was flexible so he would have easily added another day onto our trek, we just didn’t know any better to ask about it. Lucky for us, we felt strong, but other groups were complaining of headaches and dizziness.

In the end, we wish we spent the extra day here. Some people even spend two days here climbing to the surrounding peaks. We did suffer after reaching base camp and I believe that is because we didn’t spend time acclimatizing here.

Had we stayed, we would have done some light hikes to gain altitude and then come back down to rest at a lower elevation. Many people who are set to climb Island Peak or Kala Patthar stay here for a few days to get some practice climbs in.

Dingboche – Elevation – 4410 meters. (14468 feet) above sea level Nangkartshang Peak  – Altitude – 5050 meters (16568 feet)Climb– 640 meters (2099 feet)Distance – 10.8 km (6.71 miles)Duration – 4 hours Elevation Gain – 0

Day 7 – Dingboche to Lobuche

Everest Base Camp Trek Dingboche to Lobuche

We walked with fellow trekkers we met at our guesthouse Martin and Richard from Slovakia during the morning hours. They carried their own packs and after watching them struggle, we were happy we hired a porter. (note: Starting in April 2023, you can no longer trek independently in Nepal) They were really starting to feel the altitude and we eventually left them behind.

Everest Base Camp Trek Lobuche Houses

We enjoyed our day taking photos of the stunning clear views of the Everest region. It may be a little colder trekking in Nepal at this time of year (Early March), but the skies are clear and blue. When we came across a small cluster of houses, we felt like we had entered the Kingdom of Middle Earth. Little Hobbit houses lined a valley with giant peaks looming overhead.

everest base camp trek Lobuche Route

We had a front-row seat to some of the most breathtaking views on earth. An entire panorama of the mountains standing proudly overhead, reaching up to the deepest blue sky that I have ever witnessed. The scene took our breath away. The mountains looked more imposing with each corner we turned and we could not believe that we were fulfilling our dream of hiking to Everest.

Everest Base Camp Trek Views from Dingboche

We had to knock on the door to see if Bilbo Baggins happened to be in. Sadly, he wasn’t home. I ended up singing Leonard Nimoy’s Ballad of Bilbo Baggins for the rest of the day. A bad idea since I only know a few words.

Weather Conditions

Everest Base Camp Trek Weather Conditions
Getting much colder at altitude and the wind

The wind picked up and we put on our outer layers for the first time. We were thankful to have them as we staggered through the high gusts. Weather varies greatly in the Everest Region and before you know it you can have inclement weather so be prepared with your layers. The sun can be shining one minute and then wind and clouds roll in the next.

After lunch, we faced quite the scramble up a steep hill littered with boulders. It looked like a tough climb, but we moved with ease and quickly made it to the top. Where we found our strength, I do not know.

Sherpa Monuments

everest base camp trek sherpa monuments
Monuments to fallen Sherpas

At the top of the hill is a very moving sight. Several monuments and stupas are erected, honoring Sherpas and climbers that have lost their lives on Everest. The most notable of these is Babu Chiri Sherpa.

Babu Chiri Sherpa was the former world record holder of the fastest ascent of Everest, the most number of ascents up the mountain, and the quickest back-to-back summits of 2 in less than 2 weeks. He tragically lost his life on his 11th attempt when he fell into a crevasse.

It was a moving experience and a strong reminder to not take things lightly on Everest, even if you are only trekking to Everest Base Camp. It is still a serious trek.

Dingboche – Elevation – 4410 meters. (14468 feet) above sea levelLobuche  – Altitude – 4940 meters (16207 feet)Elevation Gain – 530 meters (1738 feet)Distance – 17.6 km (10.9 miles)Duration – 4 to 5 hours

Day 8 – Morning – Lobuche to Gorak Shep

Everest Base Camp Trek Lobuche to Gorek Shep

Day 8 on the Everest Base Camp Trek takes you to 5000 meters (16404 feet). How did we feel at 5000 meters? Terrible. Before entering Nepal, I had been suffering for a few weeks in India. The pollution of Kathmandu didn’t help and my congestion was worse when I started the climb. I thought it would clear up in the fresh air, but it intensified with each increase in altitude.

Everest Base Camp Trek Exhausting

Every morning my cough got worse and my nose was stuffed up to the point of being unbearable. Today, I felt the effects of the congestion and couldn’t catch my breath. It didn’t help that we had gone into such a high altitude. The air is thin and cold.

Dave suffered his first symptoms of altitude sickness when reaching 5000 meters as well. He had a slight case of diarrhea and wasn’t happy about having to wait for the toilet in the teahouses. I think many people were suffering from the same symptoms.

Our was a slow climb to Gorak Shep. We stopped regularly to catch our breath and today we took more breaks than usual. Luckily it was only a couple of hundred meters in elevation gain so we made it to our guest house in Gorek Shep by 12:30.

Lobuche  – Altitude – 4940 meters (16207 feet) above sea levelGorak Shep – 5164 meters (16942 feet) above sea levelElevation Gain – 224 meters (734 feet)Distance – 4.3 (2.6 miles)Duration – 4 Hours

Day 8 – Afternoon: Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp

everest base camp trek this way to everest sign
This way to Everest Base Camp

We took a break at Gorek Shep before making out way to Everest Base Camp. We sat in the sun marveling at the fact that we made it this far. After eating a hearty lunch of vegetarian Sherpa stew (Dal Bhat) on the terrace, (yes, we ate outside in the warm sun above 5100 meters) we set out for Everest Base Camp. The sun was shining brightly and it was quite pleasant outside so we were very excited.

EBT trek Route

We were lucky and had clear skies. Up until today, the clouds had rolled in by early afternoon every day. Today the sun shone and the skies were blue until sunset. So, it was our perfect morning to make the push.

The trek to Base Camp from Gorak Shep is an easy one. It’s two hours of walking with only a small elevation gain, and we made it with ease. That break for lunch really helped our spirits.

Reaching Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek EBC
Celebrating – Reaching Base Camp with Khumbu glacier behind us

People can summit Mount Everest from Tibet, but the main Everest Base Camp expedition route is in Nepal, and it is busy when the season is in full swing. Even those climbing to the peak of Mt Everest hike the route we took along the Everest Base Camp trek.

Everest Base Camp Dave

We arrived just a week or two before the season, so it was still quiet on the mountain. In fact, we were the only people at Base Camp that afternoon. We saw another group coming down on our way up, but once there we had it all to ourselves. It was thrilling.

To reach Everest base camp, you will hike out from nearby Gorak Shep and then hike back the same day to spend the night in the village. You do not spend the night at base camp.

Khumbu Glacier

EBC trek khumbu ice field of the Khumbu glacier
Khumbu Glacier at Everest Base Camp

The Khumbu Glacier is the first thing to come into view, and it is unbelievable to think that we are actually standing there. The Khumbu Glacier is the largest glacier in all of Nepal and is famous for the Khumbu Icefall. This treacherous sheet of ice is the most dangerous obstacle that climbers face when summiting Everest.

We witnessed an avalanche that reminded us just how precarious the climb to Mount Everest is. It is an intimidating sight and I cannot imagine having the courage to cross that field of ice. Climbers walk across ladders that shift and move as the ice is alive and constantly settling. It has taken many lives, and we were happy to look at it from afar.

With an elevation of 7600 meters at its source, the Khumbu Glacier is the highest glacier in the world and the Khumbu Icefall is one of the most dangerous portions of the climb to the summit of the world’s highest peak. We were happy to look at it from afar.

Everest Base Camp Trek Khumbu Icefall view

Everest Base Camp’s elevation is 5,364m (17,598 feet) so you will feel the high altitude. But, if you have taken your time you should feel pretty good. We had been at this elevation now for a while and stayed hydrated, so we could enjoy the experience.

We stood at a rock covered with prayer flags announcing that yes, we had made it to Mount Everest Base Camp at 5364 meters. We stayed for almost an hour taking videos, celebrating, and snapping photos. If you can bear it, don’t rush the experience, take it in and enjoy every minute. This will be the only time you’ll see it.

everest base camp tents
Just a few tents at EBC

Trekking to Everest may be more exciting later in the season when Everest expeditions are there, but we really liked having base camp to ourselves. There wasn’t a soul on the mountain except for the three of us. We stayed for almost an hour taking videos, celebrating, snapping photos, and marveling at the massive Khumbu Glacier. Can it really be true that we are here? It felt like a dream.

We finished our climb about two weeks before the high season began and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We stood at a rock covered with prayer flags announcing that yes, we had made it to Everest Base Camp.

EBC Trek Hiking Back
I need a rest!

When it’s high season, base camp is filled with expeditions and tents spanning the valley. We only saw one expedition so far. They may have been here to climb Island Peak as base camp is also a place to acclimate for that peak.

We started to make our way back to Gorak Shep from Everest Base Camp at about 3:30 pm. Even though it was an easy trek back, there are narrow paths atop high ledges and it just so happens that while we were walking back, an ice bridge broke off after I stepped on it leaving Dave with a sticky situation of having to take one giant leap over a gorge. We made it back to Gorak Shep safely but it was a reminder just how dangerous the Himalayas can be.

Back to Gorak Shep

Everest Base Camp Trek Gorek Shep

By the time we made it back to Gorak Shep, the excitement of reaching Everest base camp had worn off. We had reached our final destination Base Camp, but there was still a lot more trekking to go.

We were happy to have seen it, but we were exhausted. We felt the same when we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. The thrill of reaching your destination is over and there is nothing more to look forward to, but there are still so many days to go.

That night I had serious sinus congestion and felt like I was suffocating in my freezing bed. It was quite scary to already be short of breath because of the altitude and then be completely congested. I really was terrified. Our guide Dipendra brought me hot tea all night and I slathered myself in Vicks Vaporub but nothing helped me to breathe easier.

Everest Base Camp Trek Altitude Sickness

I was afraid as we had the Gokyo Lake trek ahead through the Cho La Pass. We were also planning to trek up to Kala Pattar for the best views of Everest in the morning. I hope I could make it but I was also dreading the day ahead. I barely slept a wink but I finally drifted into a not-so-peaceful slumber.

Gorak Shep – 5164 meters (16942 feet) above sea level Everest Base Camp Elevation – 5,364m (17,598 feet) above sea levelElevation Gain – 200 meters (656 feet)Distance – 3.5 km one way (2.1 miles)Duration – Three Hours Round Trip

Alternative Gokyo Lake Via Cho La Pass

Everest Base Camp trek Cho La Pass

The next morning after a terrible night, we gave up our plans of climbing Kala Patthar and then on to the Gokyo Lakes and Cho La Pass trek. Even though I wasn’t feeling dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded anymore, the sinus congestion was really getting to me. At altitude a cold can turn serious quickly, you just can’t take a chance when altitude is involved.

But, if we were going to trek on, this would be the next stop. It is supposed to be beautiful and if you are feeling up to it, we highly recommend it. This makes the trek much more interesting as you get to take a different way back to Lukla.

Cho La Pass: Altitude 5420 meters (17,782 feet)Gokyo Ri: 5357 Meters (17,575 feet)Gokyo Lakes: 4,700–5,000 m (15,400–16,400 ft)

Day 9 – The Descent and Kala Patthar

everest base camp trek Kala Patthar
A view of Everest

Kala Patthar is a hill above Gorak Shep that offers the best views of Everest and is a must-stop on anyone’s Everest Base Camp trekking route. We had planned to climb to the summit of Kala Patthar, but my congestion was so bad, that we decided it was safer to get to a lower elevation quickly.

Kala Patthar is a quick two-hour trek to add to your descent back to Lukla. It is a good option if you are feeling up for it as it gives a great view of Mt. Everest. Make sure to start early morning before dawn as there is still a long day of trekking after summiting Kala Pattar. Plan on another five or six hours to your next overnight stop at Pheriche.

Kala Patthar to Pheriche – Afternoon

By the time you reach your accommodation at Periche, you should be feeling a lot better. Dave and I find that we are fine in the 4000-meter ranges of altitude and experience very few symptoms of altitude sickness. It is at 5000 meters and above that, we start to feel our symptoms. Periche is a much more manageable 4371 meters.

Kala Pattar: 5643 metres Pheriche: 4371 MetersAltitude Loss: 1272

Days 10 to 11 – The Descent from Everest Base Camp

everest base camp trek porter
A sunny day on the way to Base Camp.

It took us two days more to trek back from Everest Base Camp to our final destination on the EBC Trek. I started feeling better on the second day as the dryness of the Everest base camp disappeared. My sinuses cleared and soon I was breathing easily. I started to feel guilty about turning around, but in hindsight, I know it was the right choice. You never want to take a chance with altitude sickness.

Even though we were heading down, there is still a lot of altitude gain as the EBC trek doesn’t continuously go downhill. I was feeling really fatigued and we still had a tough couple of days ahead of us. But knowing there was light at the end of the tunnel made everything easier.

everest base camp trek Day 11

It takes a lot of mental stamina to climb back down as the euphoria of reaching the Everest base camp has worn off, but we made the most of it, by chatting with other trekkers and getting to know our guides better.

During our decent we could actually take our time to smell the roses or should I say enjoy the trekking trail that ran through the stunning rhododendron forest.

Rhododendrons are beautiful flowering plants that bloom in different shades of pink, red, white, and purple. The rhododendron forest is particularly prominent in the areas of Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, and Dingboche which we really didn’t notice until we made our way down the mountains.

We followed the route we came up with, but it was much faster and we stayed in different villages. The beauty of booking organized trips with a local guide is that our guide Dipendra knew the routes like the back of his hand, so he could change accommodations easily to suit our speed.

Day 12 – Lukla

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 11 Lukla

We were back in Lukla early on day 12 of our EBC Trek and had an evening booked in a guest house here to catch the first flight from Lukla back to Kathmandu in the morning. As much as we loved our trip to Everest, we were excited to be moving on to explore more of Nepal.

The accommodation was pleasant with a lovely restaurant, hot shower, and warm and cozy beds. It was a great way to end the trip.

Day 13 – Return To Kathmandu Flight from Lukla Airport

everest base camp trek lukla airport

It is very important to give yourself an extra cushion when booking your return flight not only home from Kathmandu but from Lukla. We stayed overnight in Lukla on the final night of our trek and booked a flight to Kathmandu for first thing the next morning.

It is not uncommon for flights to be canceled or delayed flying out of Lukla Airport. Weather conditions change quickly. So give a bit of a cushion when booking your flight home from Nepal after you’ve finished your trek to Everest Base Camp. Many a traveler has missed their connecting flights home from Kathmandu because of delays in Lukla. It is safer to plan to spend a night or two in Kathmandu after your trek.

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 11 Waiting for Flight

We were delayed an entire day. Even though we were booked on the first flight from Lukla, the weather made us wait until near sunset. We were the first (and only) flight out that day, so everyone else who was waiting for their flights all day was stuck another night.

It was a bumpy flight back to Kathmandu and we almost wished that we didn’t make it on the flight. The turbulence was so bad, I was sure we were going to drop out of the sky.

Everyone on the flight was silent as we were tossed about dropping huge amounts of elevation at a time. But we landed and we have never been so happy to arrive in Kathmandu. We kissed the ground, thankful to have trekked to Everest Base Camp, but vowed to never do it again.

Accommodation – Tea Houses on Everest Base Camp

ebc trek teahouses

The main lodges of each teahouse we stayed in during the first half of our trip were cozy and warm. At the lower elevations, woodstoves burned wood in the dining room and common areas and our rooms were a comfortable temperature as we were wrapped up in our sleeping bags.

But as we ventured higher, the stoves were less abundant and instead of wood, they burned yak dung. You heard me, Yak Dung. Wood can’t burn in thin air, so they use yak dung to heat the teahouses at high elevations. Rooms are not heated so when we went to our rooms, we had to wear hats, thick socks, puffy coats, and long johns.

There were charging stations at the accommodation for electronics and we paid by the hour for electricity.

We highly recommend taking a portable USB charger to charge your own electronics. We also used a solar USB charger that recharged during the day as we hiked.

Meals on Everest Base Camp

everest base camp trek food

Because we booked an all-inclusive Everest Base Camp trek with Simrik Real Nepal tour company, all meals and snacks were included with our accommodation. Each evening, hearty meals were served that included pasta, rice, or Dal Bhat. Dal Bhat is the staple food of Nepal consisting of lentils, vegetables, steamed rice, and curry.

For the first few days, meat was served at meals, but as you climb higher, meals turned to vegetarian as it is more difficult to get the meat up the mountains.

Prayer Flags and Prayer Wheels – EBC Trek Etiquette

everest base camp trek prayer flags
Prayer rocks are all along the way

We saw many prayer wheels, prayer flags, and prayer rocks (mani stones) all along the trail to Everest. Everest is a sacred mountain and these monuments help give luck to the climbers on the mountain. There are customs to be followed when approaching prayer rocks or prayer wheels.

How to properly trek around prayer Wheels and Prayer Rocks

When approaching a prayer rock, it is important to walk to the left of the prayer rocks (mani stones) in a clockwise direction. The stone on the right means you are on the “right hand of God.” When using prayer wheels, you walk along and spin them to ask for blessings for the climb ahead. Sherpas and locals spin prayer wheels saying the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” giving blessings to the climb ahead. The prayer flags have prayers and mantras written on them which are believed to carry messages of positivity and to spread goodwill and compassion they are carried by the wind.

Altitude Sickness

Everest base camp hiking tips

Altitude Sickness is a very real possibility on the EBC Trek. On average 3-5 people die each year doing the trek to Everest base camp. Make sure to keep an eye out for signs of Acute Mountain Sickness. Acute Mountain Sickness is life-threatening and early symptoms include nausea, headache, and vomiting. It can lead to death. The Best way to alleviate symptoms is to go down to a lower elevation.

If you start to feel dizzy, have a pounding headache, or if you start to vomit go down to a lower altitude as quickly as possible. Take your time climbing, stay hydrated, and listen to your body.

Drink plenty of fluids, try to eat, and rest regularly. It is better to walk slowly and steadily rather than rushing at high altitudes. And when you get to your accommodations each day, relax as much as possible.

Everest Base Camp Go slowly

It can be dangerous trekking to Everest Base Camp from falling off the mountain to succumbing to altitude sickness. Some people have simply disappeared. Hiring a guide is a good option (and now the only option) for safety and it is very important to look for signals of altitude-related sickness.

But the Everest basecamp trek isn’t nearly as dangerous as climbing to the summit of Mt Everest. In 2019, 11 people died while trying to summit Mount Everest.

The village of Lukla is located at a high elevation so you will feel the effects of the thin air as soon as you land. The elevation of Lukla, Nepal is 2869 meters (9,350 feet). We were short of breath and already feeling fatigued upon landing. So instead of immediately starting our trek, we had a hot breakfast at one of the many restaurants in Lukla.

Travel Insurance for Everest Trek

Everest Base Camp trek Insurance

We always travel with travel insurance on our travels, but hiking to Everest Base Camp will not be covered by regular insurance providers. It is highly recommended to get supplemental comprehensive travel insurance that offers trip cancellation insurance, and medical evacuation insurance.

Medjet is a good option for medical evacuation insurance and is a good addition to your regular travel insurance. There is a very real possibility of altitude sickness and we knew of two people that needed helicopter rescues during our trek.

World Nomads offers specific Everest Base Camp Insurance. You can check them out to get a quote. I would suggest a combination of World Nomads travel insurance and Medjet medical evacuation insurance. Regardless of what travel insurance you choose, be sure to call them directly to ask for specific advice about trekking to Everest Base Camp.

For a trip like Everest Base Camp, you will want to make sure to have trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance as well as lost luggage. This is a trip of a lifetime, so make sure you have a backup plan.

Can you Trek Independently to Everest Base Camp?

Starting April 1, 2023, Nepal has banned solo trekking. Foreigners must hire a guide for treks in high-altitude trekking regions of national parks. According to the Kathmandu Post in March, “solo or independent trekkers have to mandatorily hire a guide or a porter before setting off to Nepal’s mountains.” However, after an updated article in the Kathmandu Post, it seems that the Everest Region is an exception. Before booking, we would check with local companies and authorities as rules are constantly changing.

Regardless, we loved hiring a local guide to make oure experience richer, to support the local economy and to feel safer hi

Our all-inclusive Everest Base Camp Trek through the Simrik Real Nepal included return flights from Lukla, food, lodging, guiding, and all permits and paperwork. We didn’t have to search for accommodation at the end of each day of trekking We had English-speaking guides and a porter. We had our own room, but you can also share rooms on the EBC Trek We never worried about the cost of meals. They were all prepaid. And our guide (Dipendra) and porter were part of the package for the trip.

Costs for Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek Costs

Prices can vary greatly for trekking to Everest Base Camp. You can contact Simrik Real Nepal for up to date prices.

Booking with an international agency can cost from $1800 – $5000 USD Booking with a local agency and be anywhere from $1400 – $2500

When is the Best time to Trek to Base Camp?

Best Time to do the Everest Base Camp trek

The high season for treks is April to May and October to November. We climbed in early March and felt that it was the perfect time of the year. The weather was beautiful, the skies were clear and the official climbing season hadn’t picked up yet. So we had a lot of the mountain to ourselves. We had heard stories of how busy the trail is, but at this time of year, it was quite deserted.

But a week and a half after our trek started as we made our way back to Lukla, it was already busier. We saw a lot of parties climbing up and the trail was getting congested. I can only imagine how packed the trails are during the high season.

What to Pack For Your Everest Base Camp Trek

What to pack for the Everest Base Camp Trek

Layering is extremely important when trekking to Everest Base Camp. This is a quick guide for clothing but we wrote a complete packing guide for base camp here.

Make sure to have a day pack to carry the important items and layers that you will need for your day of trekking for the entire trek. Your porter will carry everything else.

2 quick drying long sleeved base layer shirts 2 trekking shirts short sleeve 2 Thermal Base Layer – 2 leggings/2shirts 2 liner socks 3 pairs of woolen blend trekking socks 2 pairs of trekking pants with zip-off bottoms 2 fleece sweaters – one lightweight, one heavier Outer windproof jacket and pants 2 water bottles to fill regularly Steripen or Lifestraw – this is great for purifying water Portable USB Charger Basic First Aid Kit – A first aid kit is important to have but your guide, they will have one as well. Warm sleeping bag. If you don’t have a sleeping bag rated to below zero, we recommend renting one from your guding company.

Treats and Medication

Tang – I was glad we packed Tang for our water. It made it taste better, keeping us well-hydrated. We didn’t really want to drink just water, but the Tang (which we bought in Kathmandu) was actually delicious. Gatorade or another electrolyte-replenishing drink is a great idea. Diamox – (You can buy this in Kathmandu without a prescription) I highly recommend using Diamox tablets for altitude sickness as well. We met so many people suffering from headaches, dizziness, and fatigue and they weren’t taking anything. We’ve always used Diamox when climbing to altitude and it has worked beautifully for us. Chocolate – When we were feeling ill, we were happy to have chocolate to eat. It was the only thing that we could eat at times.

How to Get Fresh Water on An Everest Trek

How to get water on the Everest Base Camp Trek

We recommend two refillable water bottles per person that can be refilled along the way. You can fill up anywhere for free along the Everest Base Camp route, but make sure you have a SteriPen or some other form of water purification with you. We love the SteriPen for purifying water, see our review here.

You can also use the LifeStraw or water purification tablets, but once we discovered the SteriPen, we never went back. See our complete Packing a Travel First Aid Kit here

Do You Need Climbing Experience for Everest Base Camp Trek?

Do you need climbing experience for the EBC Trek

There is no need for any technical climbing experience to make it to Everest Base Camp. If you are relatively fit, it is very doable. But it is a full two weeks at a sustained altitude of over 4000 meters.

We didn’t train for our Everest Base Camp Trek but we had been to altitude before and had spent a lot of time backpacking leading up to the months prior. It’s good to know how your body reacts to altitude. We suggested doing a couple of treks above 3000 meters (9000 feet) to see how your body reacts.

Hot Tips for Trekking to EBC

Keep your camera batteries close to your body when not in use. The cold and altitude really eat up battery life, so you will want to keep them warm for as long as you can. Bring USD, ATM Fees are high and you are limited to the amounts you can take out of the ATM, so have ISD to exchange instead. Pack handi wipes and Gold Bond Powder – it’s a lifesaver when you can’t get hot showers. See our Full list of Everest Base Camp Tips here.

How to Get to Everest Base Camp

There are daily flights to Kathmandu International Airport from international hubs around the world.

Flights to Lukla no longer leave from Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu Airport) in Kathmandu due to congestion. Flights are now out of Ramechap airport which is a 4 1/2 hour drive from Kathmandu. You can book private helicopters from Tribhuvan International Airport.

The flight from Ramechap airport is much shorter than the flight from Tribhuvan International Airport. Flights to Lukla are only 12 minutes so more flights can get through when the weather is clear making flights less likely to be canceled or delayed for too long.

Where to Book Your Everest Base Camp Trek

Where to book your Everest Base Camp Trek

We booked our trek in Kathmandu with Local Guide Dipendra of Simrik Real Nepal.  If you are looking for a local guide he is an excellent choice with nearly 20 years of experience in the mighty Himalayas.

Prices for the Everest base camp trek cost can vary depending on where you book. Group tours booked in North America will charge more. Ranging from $1500 – $5000 USD

You can save a lot of money by booking a local guide as you will cut out the middleman prices. Having a local guide let us know our money was going directly to the Nepal economy. Check with Simrik Real Nepal for current prices.

How Much to Tip Guides and Porters for an EBC Trek

Guides and porters in Nepal do not make a lot of money and rely on tipping. When we take tours of any kind, we (ourselves) tip 15% – 20% but that is a part of our culture in North America, we are quite large tippers and realize that others are not comfortable with that. We’ve done a lot of research and gone by what our tour companies have suggested on other tips, what we feel is a fair tip and what the average is across the internet.

For tipping in Nepal we have broken down the cost for a guide and porter.

Guide – Tipping – 10% – 15% of the total cost of the trip. We find this the easiest to figure out. If you paid $2000 for your trek, the lead guide should receive $200 – $300

Guide per day – Some suggest $10 – $15 per day per person for guides – For a 14 day trek that means you would tip your guide $140 – $210.

Porters per day – $5 – $10 per day per person for porters. – $70 – $140 for your porter.

We like to start at 15% of the total cost of our trips to give to the guides and then pay the porters a daily fee of $10.

If you can afford to trek to Everest Base Camp, you should be able to tip your guides and porters who have worked so hard accordingly.

Daily Life in the Everest Region of Nepal

everest base camp trek old man
Cute kids along the way

While trekking to Everest we passed through many picturesque villages. The people are friendly and life goes on as it would in any community in Nepal. People do well in the Khumbu Region and they respect the tours passing through because the tourists are what keep them going. 

There is electricity from the water that they harness from the Imja Khola River and Dudh Kosi River; two rivers that run through the trek. They also have solar power for electricity as well. There are schools, fresh running water, televisions, a health clinic, and bars.

That is not to say that life is all roses. It is a remote region of Nepal and it is difficult to get any supplies in. Food and equipment need to be carried into villages on foot. Porters carry heavy loads on their backs and women and children also do the heavy lifting. Everything needs to be carted in by hand or by animals. Check out our tips for climbing to Base Camp

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does it Take to Trek to Everest Base Camp?

The Everest base camp trek takes 12 – 14 days to climb including two acclimatization days. Treks can be done in 11 days and it is not uncommon for trips to take 15 days to allow for more acclimatization.

How Difficult is it t trek to trek to Everest Base Camp?

Trekking to Everest Base Camp requires good fitness. You spend several days at a sustained altitude of more than 4000 meters (16,404 feet). Altitude sickness is a genuine possibility, it is important to take your time, stay hydrated, and listen to your body.

Can you trek to Everest Base Camp on your own?

That is up in the air. As of April 1, 2023 the government states that all high altititude treks require a guide, but then after some backlash, they made an exception for the Everest region. However, we highly recommend hiring guides and porters. You can trek the region yourself carrying your own packs and gear, but you have a much better chance of making to base camp (and enjoying the experience) if you hire guides.

And that is a day-by-day breakdown of our experience on the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek. If you plan ahead and understand what to expect on the EBC Trek, you will be sure to have an amazing journey.

It’s an experience we’ll never forget and highly recommend it to everyone. The Himalayan Mountains are the most beautiful and spiritual place on earth and this trip will change your life.

Read More about travel to Nepal and things to do in Kathmandu before your trek

Dal Bhat photograph courtesy of Wikimedia – I don’t know why we never took a photo of our Dal Bhat. We ate it nearly every day while trekking to Everest Base Camp. You’ll either learn to love it or despise it.

See other Great Treks of the World

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