This Complete Everest Base Camp Trekking Guide from start to end is very important because Everest Regions calls trekker with a bit of prior planning and preparation, and it’s always a thumbs up to hear what the experienced have to say. Everest has it’s own Do’s and Dont’s. You are in the right place to have a walkthrough after you land in Nepal till you ascend in the Everest Region.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you are in a pursuit of trekking the Everest region. If you are familiar with high altitude trekking you might have some idea about the gears to carry along, or even have some of them already.
However, this article is helpful for all because of two reasons,
- If you can trek the Everest region you are practically qualified to trek all high altitude destinations in the world and
- Hey, it’s the mighty Everest and you wanna know the DOs and the DONTs.
So let’s directly get into a comprehensive guide for the Everest Base Camp Trekking.
Landing in Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
Kathmandu is 1400m above sea level and the climate is just the way you’d want for your vacation.
Be prepared for some dusty and polluted roads in the valley as severe road expansion and other construction work is going on and might continue for six more months.
Average temperature during summer is 29 degree Celsius and in winter its around 10.
TIA is a small airport with not many luxurious facilities. You land, you claim your baggage after waiting for maybe an hour or so while noticing some rather super relaxed and ever-smiling airport staffs, you get out of the airport. As simple as that.
If you’ve hired a travel agent, someone will be waving just outside of the arrival lounge with your name and a big smile of course. If not you don’t have to find a cab, one of them will find you.
To the Hotel
Most trekkers and backpackers stay in Thamel which has enough hotels from basic to luxurious amenities.
It will take you not more than 40 minutes to reach Thamel from the airport. Trust me, whatever you see on the way will amuse you.
Thamel is where you rest your luggage and leave for the trek. Carrying as light as possible is important as the Everest region is treacherous and you wouldn’t want your luggage to dawdle you.
What to Eat?
How about trying dal-bhat and other local dishes instead of pizza-burgers? After all, it is a balanced diet- all carbs, vitamins, protein!
We’ve sure heard stories of dudes cheering with beer mugs, but if you are not more than 100 % sure of your health, don’t!
Listen to your guides if s/he advises you not to consume alcohols, especially if you are gaining altitudes. EBC offers more than just your basic needs to pamper you, but let’s choose healthily.
In Kathmandu, however, you can chill and relax, you just had a long flight after all. Maybe make some new Nepali Beer Buddies as well, they get along real quick and well.
Prep Before Trek
Trekkers normally spend a day or two before flying to Lukla, the entry point of the Everest region.
The prior knowledge about the climate, food, people and services available in Lukla gives you a heads up to get along with the trek.
You can buy some appropriate food (energy bars, dry fruits) and local accessories(traditional woollen cap, neck wraps) in Thamel itself to keep yourself warm up there.
For those who are sceptical about the altitude getting better of you, a mini oxygen cylinder is highly recommended. The thin air sometimes can be a reason you will not be allowed to ascend during your trek and the oxygen cylinders are your insurance. They are tiny and easily fit in your smallest backpacks too.
One thing you must let go off for the Everest Base Camp Trek is you need to keep the expectation of luxuries off the table. Think and expect only the basics, you’ll be happier and more satisfied. Having said that it shouldn’t mean that you’ll have to forget the civilization, just enjoy the local lifestyle, you’ll love it.
IMPORTANT! Carry Cash. It’s not that there are no ATMs or they don’t accept visa and master cards. Some of them do, but they charge you extra bucks which you’ll feel unreasonable. However, ATMs are also not that abundant in the Everest region.
I’d like to share how I categorize the gears that we should carry along. People categorise it otherwise too, however.
1. Safety Gears (Harness, Carabineer, Oxygen Cylinders) – Harnesses and carabineers are not required for EBC, oxygen cylinder, however, is proved to be useful for people with breathing issues.
2. Medical Kit (Lip Balm, Painkillers, Band-Aids, Iodine Tabs, Water Purifier, Knee Guards, Duct Tapes, Sunscreen, Wet and Dry Tissues) – Required
3. Clothing (Good Boots, Backpacks, Base Layers, Trekking Poles, Pants, Towels, Gloves, Trousers, Trekking Socks, Rain Coats, Hat/Wollen Cap, Jackets, Toiletries) – Everything else is Required, Trekking Poles are recommended.
4. Tools (Maps, Swiss Knife, Nail Clipper, Lighter/Matchsticks, Torches, Sleeping Bag) – Required
5. Luxury (Cameras and accessories, Travel Pillow, Pee Bottle, Head Lamps, A good wristwatch that has an altimeter and also gives temperature readings) – Optional
6. Food (Dry Fruits, Instant Noodles, Energy Bars) – Required
Get to know your Guide real nice (if you have one)
He/She is your go-to guy for the entire trek. They are supposed to answer every question of yours regarding the place and the trek and they sure will.
Nepalese people are known for their cheerfulness, welcoming and helpful demeanour. They are literally always there for you.
You will not have any problem getting along with your guide as they speak pretty good English.
If you think you need a porter, the guide can help you find one. You can also hire a porter from Lukla, from where the actual trek starts.
Flying to Lukla
As many must have heard about the Lukla airport and its topography, rightly so, the flight itself is truly enough to kickstart your Everest Adventure.
If you ask me, I wouldn’t say the flight is scary, it’s just something you cannot experience anywhere else.
There have been reviews and blogs saying the flight is too scary to board on, it’s not for the faint-hearted and stuffs like that, but personally what I feel is it just cannot be any easier at that altitude and constantly changing weather condition.
Because the airport is small and with a short and uphill runway, only twin-otters fly in and out of Lukla.
I can understand that having made to fly in a twin-engine plane to the Himalayas already had your eyebrows raised given a comfortable landing in an Airbus in the Kathmandu airport. But to experience the Everest, you gotta let go off some of your fear, don’t you think? And trust me it will be the worthiest thing you’ll ever do.
FYI, you also have an option to trek from Jiri which is around 8 hours drive from Kathmandu. The trek will take you to Namche Bazaar in 10 days.
Please kindly note that the hike durations in the Google map do not match with the duration mentioned in this guide because we have considered the in-between rest times, age factors, weather conditions etc before calculating the final average time.
Lukla to Phakding [2-3 hours]
Landing in Lukla makes you feel you are in the place to be. You can get a light meal (Pizza, Mo: Mo, Fried rice..) at Luka before you start your first section of the trek to Phakding.
The trek starts with a descent to the Dudh Koshi river following a mild climbing trail up to Phakding. Midway are the amazing view of the river and glance of snowcapped mountains.
Reaching Phakding is an achievement that you’ve completed in the first-day trek to Everest. Phakding is a small village and you’ll get basic accommodations, amazing foods and might have to share toilets. The guide will most probably give you a detailed overview of the rest of the trek during dinner.
You might feel awkwardly warm and even sweat a bit while you trek but don’t get fooled, as soon as the sun goes down all your sweat might freeze and the weather gets really cold. Keep yourself warm and sleep well.
Some of the trekkers might push a bit further and make it up to Monjo.
Phakding to Namche [3-4 hours]
From Phakding (2600m), you only trek uphill to reach Namche (3440m). As you walk along the trail you will come across a number of suspension bridges decorated with prayers flags.
You enter the Sagarmatha National Park shortly after leaving Monzo towards Namche. Here you need to buy a ticket to enter the national park. Officers at the national park will ask you for your passport.
The start of the day seems fairly easy through Monzo until you reach Jorselle, after which the trek becomes surprisingly tough. It is advised that you stock up on drinking water and maybe some food as you will find no shops after Jorselle for quite a while.
At the police checkpoint before reaching Namche, they’ll ask you for the tickets you purchased at the Sagarmatha National park.
Acclimatization Day at Namche
Namche is the largest market in the Khumbu Region. People come here all the way from Tibet to trade. Once you reach here, you’ll feel relaxed and relieved.
The reason for having an acclimatization day at Namche is primarily for you to hike up to a certain height during the day and sleep low during the night. This, as a result, helps you to get used to the altitude you’ll be gaining in the rest of the treks. Besides, it is also the most happening place in the Khumbu region.
The thing you’ll love about the people in Nepal are they treat you as your family straight away. You hang out in their kitchen, play with their kids and talk about their lifestyle, culture etc. That’s what makes people never wanna return or maybe come back time and again.
Namche to Tyangboche[ 4-5 hours]
Waking up in Tyangboche early morning can be a tad difficult as the temperature is chilling and leaving your bed feels like being punished. But hey! Imagine the view outside. Jump off your bed and you won’t regret.
Regardless of how amazing hotels or resorts you’ve stayed in all around the world, the breakfast in the Himalayas are simple and yet tops all of them. It helps you get going.
Its an uphill hike after Namche for a while which follows an easy level walk. Accompanying you along the walk is a super fabulous view of the monstrous mountains and a river valley below.
Remember not to go too fast along the trail, relax and take it slow. The trail only takes you higher and the thin air can get better of you.
Tyangboche to Dingboche [5-6 hours]
This 3 to 4 hours section of the Everest Base Camp Trek starts with a downhill hike along the woods. Make sure your boots are nice and comfortable for these downhill sections as you need to walk through slippery rocks and rugged terrains.
Very often you can see helicopters land in the area or just fly past you. Some may be for rescue and some just for tours.
A Complete Everest Base Camp Trekking Guide from start to end
Situated at an altitude of 4400 meters above sea level, Dingboche is a small beautiful village with a lot of lodges, teahouses and bakeries and of course the view always gets better.
All the tea houses and lodges have a dining area with a central heating system (that actually burns yak poop which is completely odourless and environment-friendly) that keeps the room warm and the environment is so relaxing.
It is advised to take a short and brief hike up to some hilltops to get yourself acclimatized to the altitude.
After Dingboche, you have two routes to Lobuche
- Take right to go to Chukhung (4700m) after which you can scale the Kongma La Pass to get to Lobuche – Trial Map
- Take left to directly go to Lobuche via Dughla – Trail Map
If you want to do the pass you can take a short walk to Chukhung. Trial to Chukhung is fairly easy and flat with some rocky path and small freezing streams.
When in Chukung, which you’ll reach pretty early and you’ll have time to do a lot of stuff but the worthiest one would be to climb up to the Chukung Ri hill which is pretty high (5800m) and not to mention the awesome view.
After spending a night at Chukhung and a quick Tibetan bread in the breakfast, you are good to go to scale the Kongma La pass to reach to Lobuche. After you cross a frozen lake and cross the pass, you’ll be able to spot the Lobuche village. The entire day hike will take approximately 6 hours before you reach Lobuche.
The second route, however, will take you around 5 hours and saves a day, but you’ll obviously miss the Kongma Laa Pass.
Lobuche to Gorak Shep to EBC [6-7 hours]
Although the altitude at Lobuche is not normal for trekkers, the walkthrough along the yak pasture trial through Gorak Shep is gentle and easy for the first hour or so. Later it becomes a little rugged as you have to walk through a glacier and the terrain is icy in some parts.
Surrounded by the mighty peaks you will walk through the valley that rests between some of the highest mountain in the world, including the mighty Mt. Everest. After 1 to 2 hours of walk, you reach Gorak Shep (5150m). Trekkers normally take lunch in Gorak Shep and continue to Everest Base Camp.
After Gorak Shep, the trail gets even narrower and you are advised to step gently and carefully all the way. The Everest Base Camp is moved up and down depending upon the movement of Khumbu glacier.
THE RETURNING: Trace Back
This Complete Everest Base Camp Trekking Guide was written to help travellers like me who just gets in love with the beauty of nature and is in search of some peace and solitude.
All trekkers get back to Gorak Shep to spend the night as the base camp is only for the mountaineers who are on an expedition to scale the mountain. So you can spend an hour and head back. Get a good and long sleep if you are to scale the Kala Patthar tomorrow.
Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar to Periche
Early morning in Gorak Shep is very cold and windy at times. Though the Google Map says 53 minutes, it usually takes around 2+ hours to get to the summit of Kala Patthar. It’s very windy at the top so you should carry your layers accordingly.
The reason why people summit the Kala Patthar is for the majestic view of the Everest after which you can quickly get back to Gorak Shep for breakfast. Farthest you can reach before dark from Gorak Shep is Pheriche or you can stay in Lobuche if you want to take it slow.
Periche to Lobuche to Namche for the overnight stay.
The feeling, while you are returning from the trek, is very emotional. You wouldn’t feel like leaving this peaceful and gigantic landscape. Most of the trekkers here return with a feeling of coming back again, maybe bringing their loved ones and spending time with them.
Namche to Lukla for the overnight stay
Returning downhill along the rhododendron forest is a picturesque sight and memory that last for a long time. This is your last night in the Everest region, so you might want to end it on a high note with dancing and partying.
Lukla to Kathmandu
Wake up early and pack. After breakfast, you get to the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla for the final journey back to Kathmandu.
I hope this ‘Complete Everest Base Camp Trekking Guide from start to end’ meets your requirements of knowing about the trek in the Himalayas. Hope you’ll have a pleasant and memorable trip to Everest. Cheers.
This Complete Everest Base Camp Trekking Guide is inspired by an amazing video series by Ryan Van Duzer where he explains the entire Everest Base Camp Trekking in such an engaging manner. Watch Ryan’s Everest Vlogs Here
Subarna is a passionate traveller, photographer and a regular trekweek contributor.