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Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview

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Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview

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  • The first views of Everest come a couple days into the trek. The best views are seen after Namche Bazaar.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The trail above Namche Bazaar is much more rustic and gains substantially more altitude.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Namche Bazaar is a large settlement with plenty of lodging, restaurants, cafes, and gear shops. - Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • One of the many bridges crossing the Dudh Kosi river along the trek to Everest Base Camp.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Passing enormous prayer stones and chortens.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The Upper Khumbu portion of the trail will have trekkers passing directly under some of the world's tallest peaks.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Trekkers are dwarfed by the massive peaks towering just above the trail!- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Bridge crossing are not for those afraid of heights! This notorious bridge before Namche Bazaar dangles high above an icy river!- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • A panoramic photo of Everest and the surrounding high peaks.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Mount Everest at sunrise is best seen from the nearby peak of Kala Pattar, the highest point of most trek itineraries.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Everest Base Camp is a continually shifting pile of rocks and ice on the Khumbu Glacier.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Everest Base Camp is a continually shifting pile of rocks and ice on the Khumbu Glacier.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Guest houses are simple and only the main dining room is heated.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Mount Pumori just after sunrise is a spectacular sight.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The Khumbu Valley leading up to Everest Base Camp.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Memorials from the 1996 (Into Thin Air) disaster are passed along the upper trail along with many other memorials to those who have lost their lives on Everest.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The glacial runoff is crystal clear and icy cold!- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Trekking at high altitude is exhausting, even if the trail itself is not extremely strenuous.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Winter time, although colder, has less precipitation and clearer weather.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Sunset light bathes the high peaks, shrouding the nearby valleys in shadow.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Ama Dablam and the eyes of Buddha.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The sun sets behind towering mountains much earlier in the day than expected.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The upper Khumbu Valley is surrounded by some of the tallest peaks in the world.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Stupas and chortens line the trail.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The way back down goes much faster than the ascent!- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The trail above Namche Bazaar crosses the river a few more times.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • Namche Bazaar is a great place for a rest day. Keep warm and eat plenty of food!- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
  • The views on along the upper Khumbu are constantly awe-inspiring.- Everest Base Camp (EBC) Overview
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing mountain vistas. Unique culture. Trekking and climbing hub.
Cons: 
Risk of high altitude sickness. Crowded. Lots of trash.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Number of days: 
12
Highest point: 
18,389.00 ft (5,604.97 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
9,000.00 ft (2,743.20 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Permit required: 
Yes
Permit self-issue on site: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
75.00 mi (120.70 km)
Total elevation gain: 
20,200.00 ft (6,156.96 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
9,363.00 ft (2,853.84 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Overview | How to get there | Permits | When to go trekking | Where to stay | Mountain safety | Travel tips | Suggested packing list | Resources

Overview

Since before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first successful summit in 1952, Mount Everest has called to climbers and mountaineers. John Krakauer's book "Into Thin Air" and the 2015 film "Everest," which outlines the 1996 disaster, have contributed to the infamy surrounding the deadly mountain. However, trekking to base camp has become a bucket-list item for many trekkers who wish to gain some high-altitude experience, visit the culturally-rich Khumbu region of the Himalaya, and see the world's tallest peak with their own eyes. With a plethora of experienced guiding companies leading treks to Everest Base Camp (EBC), more and more people are making the journey to the roof of the world. Its difficulty is not to be underestimated, however, and many who attempt the trek are forced to turn around before reaching their objective.

For additional coverage of the trekking to Everest Base Camp, check out the following articles:

How to get there

Trekking in the Everest Region is really only accessible by domestic flights from Kathmandu to Lukla, one of the most dangerous airports in the world. Flights can be booked using one of the handful of operators such as Yeti Airlines, but expect delays during most days because pilots will not fly unless conditions are perfect. This is probably for the best since the Lukla Airport is notoriously situated on the edge of the mountain. Plan to have a few days as buffer just in case your flights are delayed or cancelled for weather, and try to get the first flight out of Kathmandu in early morning to minimize the chances of delays.

The roughly 40-minute flight will have you questioning your sanity, although the window seat views are well-worth it as soon as the plane rises above the dense smog around the city. The mountain landing is quite the rush as the runway appears out of nowhere below the plane. Once in Lukla there are no taxis or rental cars to worry about; just grab your belongings and meet your guide at the start of the trail. 

Permits

Two different permits are required for trekking to EBC as well as other locations in the Sagarmatha National Park. First, two copies of your passport are required along with the filled out information for the Trekkers Information Management System card. The Tourism Agency Association of Nepal is responsible for issuing TIMS cards. There are three different types of TIMS card: organized trek (Blue $10), individual trekkers card (Green $20), and the SAARC country card (Red $3). TIMS cards are required before setting off from Lukla. The second permit required for trekking in the Everest Region is the Sagarmatha National Park Entrance permit, which costs $30 plus tax at the entrance checkpoint to the park after Phakding. Most guided groups include the cost of permits and will deal with checkpoint personnel along the trail for a worry-free experience.

When to go trekking

High season for trekking to EBC is October and May, when the weather is generally warmest. Summer months are typically wetter, and clouds often obscure the high peaks. During the high seasons, expect a constant flow of trekkers and guesthouses that fill up fast. Accommodations can be reserved throughout the year, although some restaurants, shops, and guesthouses will be closed during winter. Winter months are clearer with the least amount of precipitation, although temperatures will be substantially colder, especially at higher elevations and overnight. Early winter (November through December) and spring (late April through early May) are perhaps the best overall times to trek. These months provide ideal tradeoffs with fewer trekkers on the trail and cool, crisp weather. 

Late spring and summer:

  • Daytime temperature: 5 C to 10 C (40 F to 50 F)
  • Nighttime temperature: -7 C to 0 C (20 F to 32 F)
  • Precipitation: 15 to 190 millimeters (0.6 to 7.5 inches)
  • Variable weather, monsoon season, more cloudy days

Late fall and winter:

  • Daytime temperature; (-5 C to 5 C) 23 F to 41F)
  • Nighttime temperature: -15 C to -7 C (5 F to 20 F)
  • Precipitation: 5 to 15 milimeters (0.2 to 0.6 inches)
  • Colder weather, windy, drier, generally clear skies

Where to stay

Guesthouses along the trail are the most common and popular option, offering simple rooms and meals. Accommodations range from just a few dollars per night, depending on season. Guesthouses offer lodging all the way up to Gorak Shep, the highest settlement just a few miles from Everest Base Camp, and they are spaced frequently along the trail. Wi-Fi can be purchased from guesthouses, and prices increase dramatically the higher up you go (reliability and connectivity, in turn, plummets higher up on the trail). Rooms are not heated and often share a communal toilet. Some offer hot showers for a small fee and extra blankets if they are needed. In the evening it is not uncommon for a fire to be lit in the wood stove, which keeps the communal dining areas relatively warm. Simple menus consist of omelettes and toast for breakfast, dhal bhat (rice, lentils, potatoes), noodles, mo-mo (dumplings), coffee and teas, and other basic items. 

Tent camping, although less popular, can be accomplished by solo trekkers, although backcountry tenting is uncommon. Many villages have designated tent platforms for rent; however, these are typically situated right next to guesthouses. 

Full-scale hotels are rare and seemingly out of place, but the five-star Everest View Hotel offers upscale lodging near Namche Bazaar.

Mountain safety

The trek to EBC, although straightforward, can be made extremely difficult by high altitude and extreme weather. Take it slow! Altitude mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) can develop in climbers who ascend too quickly. Symptoms for AMS include headaches, nausea, weakness, and loss of apetite. The only cure is to descend rapidly. Trekkers can lower the likelihood of developing AMS symptoms by ascending no more than 600 meters per day, drinking plenty of water (3 to 4 liters per day), avoiding alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, and taking prescribed medication such as Diamox (Acetazolamide) according to a doctor's instructions.

EBC trekking is remote enough in that injuries or sicknesses require helicopter evacuation back to Kathmandu. Look into purchasing travel insurance that covers medical evacuation and high altitude trekking activities (i.e. World Nomads Explorer). Helicopter evacuations from high elevations are pricey, yet seemingly every day there are multiple trekkers that request to be flown out. 

Travel tips

  • Plan extra days: You never know if there will be an unforseen delay in the itinerary. Plan a couple of days of buffer time in Kathmandu to account for uncertainties. It is also nice to settle in and do some sightseeing before trekking or rest for a little after a long trek. 
  • Always purify water: All water along the trail should be treated to avoid sickness. Purification tablets can be purchased before the trek in Kathmandu. 
  • Avoid eating meat on the trail: Food is carried up the mountain on the backs of yaks and donkeys. Therefore, any meat dishes have likely been transported (unrefrigerated) for multiple days. Nepalese cuisine is naturally vegetarian friendly, so avoid getting that questionable sausage pizza high on the trail.
  • Tip your guides/porters: If you plan to have a guide or porter, make sure to carry enough cash to tip them at the end of the trek. It is customary to tip 10% to 20% of the trip cost. 
  • Pack smart and light: Although many guide companies offer a porter to carry heavier gear along the trek, you will still want to pack light for gear in your personal day pack. The weather changes frequently, and gaining elevation each day can call for trekkers to carry an array of clothing to be accessible at a moment's notice. Therefore, think about minimizing your pack weight without sacrificing functional uses. Down jackets are a useful investment for a warm yet light midlayer. Sleeping bags, comfortable sneakers, and extras (snacks, toiletries, batteries, etc.) should definitely be set aside for the porter. See the suggested packing list below for a breakdown of necessary items. Do not overpack! One pound of gear feels like 10 at altitude! 
  • Rent gear locally: Don't own some of the gear required for trekking? No worries! There are at least a hundred different trekking shops in Kathmandu's Thamel district where you can buy knock-off gear at cheap prices or rent equipment such as sleeping bags, boots, packs, and more. Looking around these stores can be fun! If you want higher-quality legitimate brands, Thamel also has a dedicated stores for The North Face, Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardwear, and other brand-names, too!
  • Budget: There are ATMs in Namche Bazaar; however, if you plan to continue up into the mountains, be aware that accessing money can be extremely limited. That being said, most items become more costly the higher up you go. Generally $50 per day is enough for food, drinks, gifts, and tips. Have somewhere safe to tuck away some cash for emergencies as well.

Suggested packing list

Clothing

  • Wool baselayer shirts: Form-fitting, breathable, and moisture-wicking (one for hiking, one for sleeping). Smartwool or similar.
  • Synthetic baselayer tights: Moisture-wicking and breathable for colder, high altitude days. Helly Hansen HH Dry or similar.
  • Fleece midlayer: Great for lunch breaks, windy days, and adding a little extra warmth. The North Face Khumbu 2 or similar.
  • Down jacket 800+ fill: Perfect weight-to-warmth ratio, especially for the sunrise hike. Rab Continuum or similar.
  • Heavyweight softshell hiking pants: Flexible fabric that sheds light moisture and resists abrasion. Outdoor Research Cirque or similar.
  • Light hiking pants: Flexible and cool for sunny days lower on the slopes. PrAna Zion Stretch or similar.
  • Wool socks. Wool dries faster and is actually very comfortable (one pair for hiking, one pair for night, one pair for extra). Smartwool or similar.
  • Liner socks: Thin socks to go under heavier ones, reducing painful blisters and hotspots. Smartwool or similar.
  • Sturdy hiking boots: The trail is rocky, dusty, wet, and uneven. Gore-tex is a plus, adding warmth and waterproofing. Salomon Quest 4D or similar.
  • Sneakers: Comfortable and supportive footwear for use after hiking all day in boots. Salomon Speedcross or similar.
  • Hardshell jacket: Multipurpose for the wind/snow/rain, should be light and completely watertight. Arc'teryx Beta AR or similar.

All-purpose Gear

  • Day pack: 35- to 50-liter packs seem to be a good size for trekking with a porter. Osprey Exos or similar.
  • Down sleeping bag: Warm and light, get something that's rated around -17 C or 0 F for the chilly nights. Western Mountaineering Kodiak or similar.
  • Water purification pills: For use with all water that hasn't been boiled. Aquamira tablets or similar.
  • Hydration bladder: 2 liters always accessible makes staying hydrated easier. Camelbak or similar.
  • Water bottle: 1-liter reusable bottle for proper mixing/measuring of purification pills overnight. Nalgene or similar.
  • Compression sacks: These are useful for compressing down items and reducing bulk. Sea to Summit or similar.
  • Waterproof sack: Important for storing extra batteries/documents/etc. Sea to Summit or similar.
  • Medical kit: First aid for minor injuries, sicknesses, and problem-solving. Adventure Medical Kits or similar.
  • Microfiber towel: Trust me, you'll want something absorbant after stepping out of your well-deserved hot shower.
  • Trekking poles: Even hikers without knee issues would benefit from the added stability and support poles offer. Black Diamond Expedition or similar
  • Power bank: 10,000 mAh battery packs are great for recharging electronic devices via USB cables.
  • Headlamp: Bright lights are useful when navigating to the bathroom or on the pre-dawn hike. Black Diamond Storm or similar.
  • Glacier glasses: The added coatings on these special sunglasses reduce glare and intense UV radiation at altitude. Julbo or similar.
  • Windstopper gloves: For cold mornings before the sun reaches the trail and windy ridges, hands get chilly first. Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch or similar.
  • Heavy gloves: For the summit of Kalapatthar and other blustery days. Black Diamond Guide or similar.
  • Wool hat: For cold mornings and evenings.
  • Cap: For sun protection.
  • Toiletries
  • Camera and accessories

Resources

  • Bookmundi.com: Compare guide companies and reviews, ask for quotes, customize an itinerary.
  • World Nomads: Purchase travel insurance to cover high-altitude trekking and emergency evacuation as well as other basic needs.
  • The Clymb: Members will often see discounted group treks to Everest Base Camp and other destinations around the Himalaya!
  • Green Valley Nepal Treks: My personal recommendation for a local guide company. Raj set us up with the best guide, Gopal (even the other tour clients we met along the way told us so)! For expert service, hassle-free planning, and local knowledge, check them out!
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