I will not get tired of repeating it as many times as necessary: the trek to the Everest base camp has been the most impressive trip I have ever done. I don’t know what the next adventures will bring me, but the landscapes that I saw and experiences that I lived during this one were truly out of this world. In this guide, you can find everything you need to know before doing the Everest base camp trek .
Apart from being one of the the best experiences, it was also the most difficult trip to organize. So I took thorough notes during the trip to bring you this complete guide. Here is everything you need to know from the trekking preparations to the Everest base camp, how much it costs, what to pack, and the itinerary, all stated below.
You would not consider taking this trip unless the need for adventure runs through your veins. The trek to the Everest base camp is an experience that I would recommend everyone to do at least once in a lifetime. From the landscapes, the long hours of walking, experiencing the Sherpa culture and the risks of the mountains; everything together will give you an experience that you can never forget.
THE TREK ON VIDEO
The traditional trekking route to Everest base camp takes place in Nepal. To enter Nepal you have to obtain a visa from your own country or at the airport during your arrival. It is cheaper to do it on-arrival. Options are 15 days, 30 days, or 90 days.
Electricity during trek is scarce. While you will have light in the common areas of the accommodation, there isn’t any in the rooms above a certain altitude. Also, if you want to charge your electronic devices (mobile, cameras, etc.) you will have to pay an amount of rupees per hour.
You will need to take your trekking permit in Kathmandu to trek to Everest base camp.
You will also need to pay for access to the Sagarmatha National Park. You can pay for it either at the park’s entrance or at the Kathmandu tourism office, which works out to be cheaper.
Nepal Telecom or NCell card will be able to provide you with 3G internet up to Namche Bazaar. There is no coverage beyond there. You can buy an internet data card called Everest Link which lets you connect to any accommodation wifi that uses this system. Some bakeries also have wifi.
The currency used in Nepal is the nepali rupee. US dollars are accepted in some places.
There are several ATMs located in Lukla and Namche Bazaar. Card payments are accepted only at very few establishments with a surcharge. I recommend to withdraw the cash you need from Kathmandu.
The trek starts in Lukla at the altitude of 2,800m and ends at 5,357m. There is high possibility of getting altitude sickness due to the lack of oxygen. You should be drinking at least 2l of water a day and eating well to avoid it.
Nepal is a safe country, and so are the Himalayas. Follow the precautions same as anywhere else.
It is recommended not to trek alone for safety reasons regarding altitude sickness and possible falls or injuries. It is not a technical trek but it does have its difficulties.
The weather in the mountains can be treacherous. Even so, the best months to trek are in October, followed by April-May, during pre-monsoon season.
Temperatures at night can reach -15ºC in the later stages at higher altitudes.
TREKKING ITINERARY TO EVEREST BASE FIELD
– DAY 1: Arrival in LUKLA. From Lukla to Monjo.
– DAY 2: Monjo to Namche Bazaar.
– DAY 3: Acclimatization in Namche Bazaar.
– DAY 4: From Namche Bazaar to Tengboche.
– DAY 5: Acclimatization in Tengboche.
– DAY 6: From Tengboche to Dingboche.
– DAY 7: From Dingboche to Doughla.
– DAY 8: From Doughla to Lobuche.
– DAY 9: From Lobuche to Gorakshep.
– DAY 10: Gorakshep to Everest BC and descent to Periche.
– DAY 11: From Periche to Namche Bazaar.
– DAY 12: From Namche Bazaar to Lukla.
– DAY 13: Fight back to Kathmandú.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TREK
It is the largest city in the Khumbu valley and the last one where you have services and shops to get what you need. Here I had the luxury of a last hot shower before continuing on the trek.
Tengboche (3,867m) houses the most important Buddhist monastery in the Khumbu Valley. Mountaineers often attend a ceremony here to ask permission from the gods to climb to the summit.
This peak in the Himalayas is close to Gorakshep requires no special permit to climb. It is a steep trek which does not require any climbing experience or technical gear . It is at an altitude of 5,643m and the views of Everest and the peaks of the Himalayas from its summit are spectacular.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR TREK
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT FOR TREKKING
You will have to invest money into buying suitable clothing for trekking and the temperatures that you will be exposed to. Thermal shirts and tights, feathers, hat, gloves, boots,…
If you do not already own the, you will have to invest a fair amount which will be worth it if you like mountain activities and which you can continue using later. I do not buy the sleeping bags, but I rent them in Lukla for 15 days. I did not want to be carrying a heavy bag all the way from Spain and walking through the 30ºC Kathmandu valley.
Many people ask us what is physical level required to do this trek. While some people think it is a very difficult route, others think it is a walk in the country. It’s neither one nor the other. It is a trek without technical difficulties, but you do have to be in good physical shape to last walking for 4-7 hours a day for 15 days . The most complicated stages have more than a 1,000m cumulative drop and the lack of oxygen is especially noticeable in the last four stages.
I did several hikes with more than 1,000m of elevation gain before doing this trek. The last hike I did was in Andorra, where I could reach a higher altitude with the backpacks and boots that I was going to take (although it is nothing compared to what you would experience on the trek to the Everest CB) .
You have the option of organising your by yourself by paying an agency. Some reasons to choosing which of the options were logistics involved or for ethical reasons, if you want to be responsible tourists. Finally I decided to organise the trek completely by myself. You can read its pros and cons in this article.
When you organise it by yourself, you will have to buy the round-trip flights from Kathmandu to Lukla yourself. The flights are managed by Tara Air and you can buy the tickets on its website. The price is closed, which means, it is worth the same and nobody should charge you more than the price specified by their website. I recommend that you book your flight weeks in advance to secure your ticket.
I always recommend that you travel with travel insurance wherever you go but this time, its a must. I have already been telling you about the dangers of trekking at high altitudes which reaches 50% oxygen. It is mandatory to have insurance and you will be asked for your policy number when you apply for the trekker’s permit to trek to the Everest base camp.
I have my travel insurance with a company called World Nomads as it covers adventure activities, including trekking, up to 6,000m altitude and helicopter rescue. These are the two factors that you will have to look at before hiring your insurance
INFORMATION TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT DURING THE TREK
ACCOMODATION IN LODGES
During this trek, you will stay in lodges that are run by families of Sherpas who live there. They are priced between 100 to 300 rupees as long as you have breakfast and dine in the accommodation itself. Otherwise the price can even reach Rs 1,000 – Rs 2,000. The rooms are simple with two simple wooden beds and a shared bathroom (without shower).
You can pay upto 2,000 rupees at Namche Bazaar for a private room with a double bed and bathroom, access to wifi and electricity to be able to charge all the electronics that we carried.
FOOD DURING THE TREK
One of the things that those of you who really want to do this trek ask me about is the the food. There is of little variety of food based on rice, noodles and vegetables, especially the potato. Some of the traditional dishes you will always find are dal bhat, momos and sherpa stew. Still, I were surprised by how delicious it was and I got to obsessed with their potatoes with vegetables.
At the end of the trek you might end up a little tired of ordering the same dishes day after day that you will end up getting something more like a pizza or a plate of tomato macaroni. Still, they are good foods to eat for the trek, especially pasta.
I recommend not eating meat because it is yak meat that is carried up the mountain by the Sherpas. If it takes three days to reach its destination, that’s three days that the meat has been in the air without preservation and may end up being spoilt. So better prevention than look for a cure.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TREK TO THE EVEREST BASE CAMP?
We always break down the money we spend on each trip in the trip budgets section. 1 did the same in this case by recording the expenses in a notebook. The money each person spends is personal and depends on their whims.
On the trek to Everest base camp, products such as meat or alcohol can be very expensive. Even so, it is also not recommended to consume them because the meat may be spoilt and beer is not good for coping with altitude sickness.
There is an entire article dedicated to breaking down your entire trekking travel budget by categories and day by day. I have also added the prices of basic products such as a bottle of water, toilet paper, energy bars or a hot shower