A group of Canadians and Americans arrived in Kathmandu on 11th of May after their successful ascent of the “North Col of Everest (7045m)”. Explore Himalaya had a privilege to handle this group for “Canadian Himalayan Expeditions” with a three week long mission to reach the North Col which was led by Company’s Director, Mr. Joe Pilaar, had left for Lhasa on 22nd of May.
They reached the Base Camp of Everest (5200m) on 29th of May and stayed Two nights for acclimatization taking Five days to reach the ABC at 6400 m on 5th of May, giving Two days at the Intermediate Camp again, for acclimatization purpose. Sparing Two more days, 6th and 7th of May in exploring around the ABC, they finally left for their ultimate mission on 8th of May leaving ABC at 8.30 AM. It took them Two hours of hard walk along the glacier to reach bottom of the cliff before they started their technical climb which took another Two and a half hours finally, emerging on the Col at the height of 7045m.
Successful members of the Team are Joe Pilaar, the leader, along with Erica Falconer, Bruce Fessenden and Troy Smereka. David Schneider climbed up to 6800m whereas, Richard Christiani, Maria Kusina and Jerry Clayton reached 6600m. Accordingly, Linnea Christiani was up to 6500m.
Talking to Mr. Suman Pandey, president of Explore Himalaya, Mr. Joe Pilaar expressed his gratitude for organizing such a wonderful trip, ensuring maximum reliability which was the key to success of this mission. With his experience and growing confidence towards the team of Explore Himalaya, Joe is committed to promote more trips to North Col and other parts of Tibet/Nepal Himalaya with us in the coming years.
It’s a known fact that Everest Base Camp Trek is a very rewarding highland adventure. Flying to thrilling Lukla Airport, walking past quaint Sherpa villages and breathtaking landscape, and finally getting real close to Everest, the highest of all peaks in the world, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely a whole new level of experience. As expected of any trekking in Nepal, it also involves a lot of walking (continuously for about 11/12 days) in the alpine terrain. So, anyone interested to undertake trekking in Nepal is sure to ask mandatory questions like how high? how far? and how many hours. However, there is absolutely no reason to get worried – we are making things easier for you! Below we have listed some major facts on distance, time and elevation involved in Everest Base Camp Trek. Please note that we have used a standard itinerary to provide a general overview of the trek, though there can be some side treks and different stopovers depending on individual requirement.
Summary of distance, time and elevation
Distance in Everest Base Camp: The total distance in Everest Base Camp trek (Lukla-Everest Base Camp-Lukla) is about 130km round trip (65 km each way). Normal number of days to cover the distance is 11/12 days. So, you will be walking roughly about 11 km in about 6 hours a day in average. As the terrain is rocky with switchbacks (gradual ascent and descent), the pace will be slow about 2.5 km an hour. So, distance in Everest Base Camp Trek is achievable for people of all ages. As you need to acclimatize while going up, it takes 9 days to reach the Base Camp (including the 2 acclimatization days) and just 3 days to return to Lukla.
Elevation in Everest Base Camp Trek : Everest Base Camp Trek is not a very technical trekking. However, elevation is a bit of challenge that needs to be considered of. The very starting point of the trek, Lukla Airport itself is at an altitude of 2860m. Lukla Airport, known as Tenzing Hillary Airport, is popularly known as one of the most adventurous airports in the world due to its tricky runway perched on a cliff. The highest point you reach is 5545m (Kala Patthar), an amazing viewpoint to savor the beauty of Everest and her sister peaks. Though the altitude variation looks extreme, the itinerary is planned in such a way that your body gets enough time to acclimatize. An average elevation gain ranges from 400m to 800m per day. When you gain significantly high altitude in a particular day, the next day will usually be the rest day to acclimatize. As a whole, elevation in Everest Base Camp Trek defines both the challenge and joy.
Day to day distance, time and elevation
To get a more comprehensive idea on the distance, time (walking hours) and elevation, here is a day-to-day break down of the standard Everest Base Camp Trek with en-route highlights.
Day 1: Lukla to Phakding
2860m – 2656m
En-route Highlights: mani walls and boulders, villages like Cheplung, Lhawa and Ghat, suspension bridge (first one of six such bridges in the trail)
Day 2: Phakding to Namche
2656m – 3440m
En-route Highlights: Monjo (National Park Entry point, Entry Permit Check Point), Jorsalle, 4 suspension bridges (3 above Dudh Koshi and 1 above Imja Khola, the iconic one seen in movies), approximately 700m vertical climb before reaching Namche – shouldn’t be taken lightly as you will set off for the climb right after your lunch and when you have to walk uphill in altitude right after meal, it can’t so easy. This uphill climb is the first of the two tough climbs you will have in Everest Base Camp Trek.
Day 3: Rest Day at Namche
3440m – 3880m – 3440m
Visit to Sherpa Culture Museum, Sagarmatha National Park Museum ( about 100m above Namche) & Monastery
Hiking to Khumjung/Khunde (3790m- about 2 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Syangboche Airport and continue to Khunde and Khumjung
Hiking to Hotel Everest View (3880m – about 2.5 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Synagboche Airport and continue to the hotel
Hiking in a loop Namche-Syangboche-Khunde-Khumjung-Hotel Everest View-Namche; you can also choose to stay overnight in Khumjung or Hotel Everest View
En- route Highlights: Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; Khunde Hospital, Khumjung School, Khumjung Monastery, Hotel Everest View (one of the highest hotels in the world) etc.
Day 4: Namche to Deboche
En-route Highlights: Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; a suspension bridge over Imja Khola , after about 300m downhill walk to Punki Tenga; about 500m of climb to Tengboche (second of the two vertical climbs after Namche climb), Tengboche Monastery (3867m – 10 km, 5 hours)
Day 5: Deboche to Dingboche
3734m – 4410m
En-route Highlights: Views of towering Amadablam and Nuptse; Everest starts to hide behind the Nuptse wall; Pangboche Village (3985m- about 3 km, 2 hours) combination of 2 settlements lower and upper; Pangboche Monastery with its famed yeti skull; Pangboche is also the last village for Amadablam expedition – climbers go to Amadablam Base Camp via Pangboche; consistently flat trail throughout; crossroad one leading to Pheriche and other leading to Dingboche
Day 6: Rest Day at Dingboche
i. 1.5 km (if Nangkar Tshang Hill)
ii. 11 km (if Chhukung Village & Chukkung Ri)
i. 3 hours (includes steep climb)
ii. 6 hours
i. 4410m – 5083m
ii. 4410m – 4730m – 5550m
Hiking to Nangkar Tshang Hill (5083m, about 700m high from Dingboche, 2.5 hours) which sounds like Nagarjun (Nepali word of Sanskrit origin), at first steady climb and later on steep. Nangkar Tshang hill is right behind Dingboche village.
Hiking to Chhukung Village (4730m, about 5km, 1.5 hours) – the last village before Island Peak, can continue to Chhukung Ri (5550m, about 820m high from Chhukung Village, 3 hours) if you want to push yourself a bit harder – in this case an early start from Dingboche is required.
En-route Highlights: From Nangkar Tshang Hill 360 degree views of Mt. Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Island peak, Amadablam, Kangtega , Thamserku , Taboche, and Cholatse ; From Chhukung Ri impressive view of Imja Tse (Island Peak), Imja Glacier, Ama Dablam, Makalu and Nuptse
Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche
4410m – 4910m
En-route Highlights: Views of Amadablam, Taboche and Cholatse; Thukla – a riverside lunch stopover, A Memorial Park at Thukla Pass – has about 100 memorials (called chhortens in local language) of those who died while climbing Everest and other mountains including legendary climber Babu Chhiri Sherpa; Khumbu Glacier moraine
Day 8: Lobuche to Gorakshep (Base Camp hike)
i. 4.3 km (Lobuche – Gorakshep)
ii. 3.5 km (Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp)
i. 2.5 hours
ii. 5 hours for round trip (3 hours + 2 hours)
i. 4910m – 5140m
ii. 5140m – 5364m – 5140m
En-route Highlights: Khumbu Glacier, close up views of Pumori, Nuptse, Khumbutse, Lhola, Everest Base Camp,Tip of Everest (highlight of the whole trek)
Day 9: Morning Kala Pathhar hike; Gorakshep to Pheriche
i. 1.2 km (Gorakshep – Kala Pathhar)
ii. 10 km (Gorak Shep – Pheriche)
i. 3.5 hours for round trip
ii. 5 hours
i. 5140m – 5545m – 5140m
ii. 5140m – 4371m
En-route Highlights: Spectacular sunrise view of Everest, Nuptse, Changtse, Lhotse etc. from Kala Pathhar
Day 10: Pheriche to Namche
4371m – 3440m
En-route Highlights: Pangboche monastery; Tengboche monastery; Suspension bridge at Phunki
Tenga; views of Nupste, Everest, Amadablam, Kangtega Thamserku, Kongde Ri etc.
Day 11: Namche to Lukla
3440m – 2860m
En-route Highlights: 5 Suspension bridges, Dudh Koshi River; and of course trees (you might have almost forgotten about them)
We all know that Everest Base Camp Trek is an adventure that includes a fair amount of walking every day. You need to walk continuously for 6-8 hours. So, most of us are concerned about ideas and information related to walking or day time activity. But what about the nights? After a whole day of rambling through the rocky terrain and relishing the sparkling peaks, what you need the most is a bed where you can lay your head. After all an intrepid adventurer seeking some raw Himalayan adventure also needs a peaceful sleep at the end of the day. So, accommodation in Everest Base Camp Trek is a crucial matter. And the region’s remoteness adds its importance more as accommodation can be a tricky affair in high altitudes. So, it’s a very sensible thing for every trekker to know about the accommodation facilities that are available during the Trek. So, here is all you need to know about accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek.
Hotel Everest Inn Lukla
Where to Stay?
During Everest Base Camp Trek, you will find numerous teahouses, lodges and hotels that provide accommodation facilities to make your well-earned sleep comfortable. You can also go for tented camps but it’s almost outdated as there are many accommodation providers along the trail, and camping trekking is environmentally not very friendly. So, most of the trekkers choose teahouses or lodges.
Teahouses are small outlets run by local people. They provide basic facilities like room with small beds and blankets; hot shower and dining services. The facilities are basically modest.
There are also some lodges with more luxurious amenities in major stopovers like Lukla, Phakding and Namche. They provide better services like comfortable beds with electric blankets, attached washroom, hot water showers and free WiFi services.
Hotels like Everest View Resort (one of the highest hotels in the world) and Yeti Mountain Home lodges (Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Thame and Kongde – the highest hotel) provide deluxe facilities. They have spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms, heated rooms, thermos and electric blankets etc.
Hotel Everest View (3880m)/Photo Courtesy: Hotel Everest View
A Tea House in Monjo
Basically, rooms in teahouses are small with twin beds. The bed has a mattress, bed sheet, pillow and blanket. Night are extra chilly, so always make sure to bring a sleeping bag as there is a very less chance of getting extra blanket especially during peak season. Rooms can have simple furniture like table and chairs, in some cases nothing at all. Dorm rooms are also available. In some teahouses, you can also have single rooms and en-suite rooms but in limited number. However luxury lodges and hotels, as expected of, have more spacious room, en suite bathrooms, electric blankets, heated rooms, luxury furniture etc.
Twin Room in a Tea House
Toilet and Shower
You can find western style toilets throughout the route but most of the time they are very basic. You have to arrange toilet paper by yourself and you are not supposed to flush it down the pan. You have to trash it in a bin placed next to it. As water gets frozen, toilet paper tends to block the drain. So, follow it with all honesty. Hot Shower facility is available but using it incurs an extra cost from $5 – $10 per shower. Shower room is generally a small common room with a hot water tap. In most cases, water is heated by solar power. You have to arrange toiletries and towel on your own. In deluxe room, you can also get attached shower facility. In luxury lodges and hotels, you will have 24 hour running hot shower facility.
Hotels, lodges and some teahouses (up to Namche) provide laundry facility with extra charge depending on the number and type of clothes (not exceeding $1/2 per piece). Beyond Namche, you can ask for hot water and wash yourself. This also incurs extra cost (approximately $2/3 per bucket) as in high altitude fuel is really scarce. You also need to keep in mind that days are usually not very warm and sunlight hour is short. So, while washing make sure the day is really warm and the next day is acclimatization/rest day. Beyond Dingboche (second last stopover before reaching Base Camp), normally people don’t think of washing clothes because of the freezing temperature.
Every tea house, lodge and hotel has a big dining room with a big heater in the middle of the room. The heaters are fuelled with firewood (in lower elevation) and yak dung. Such rooms are communal rooms where you eat, relax and socialize. Some dining rooms also have a television set and a bookshelf with a small collection of books. Generally people tend to spend most of their evenings in dining room as such rooms are warm and lively with full of people. Dining menu of teahouses has limited options of continental and local foods. They have breakfast and lunch/dinner menu with simple choices of beverage.
A Tea House Dining Room in Everest Region
Interior of a tea house in Pheriche
As with the other services, the price of accommodation in Everest Base Trek also depends on the altitude. As you go higher, the price also tends to be higher though the services tend to be more basic. The accommodation price is somewhere between $2 to $5 in teahouses. In teahouses, you are expected to eat where you stay. Otherwise, you may have to pay twice or thrice the price of the regular room price if you are not eating. As you won’t find fancy restaurants or many dining choices in most of the places, it’s sensible to eat where you stay. Though teahouses have budget price, the price in some luxury lodges and hotels can go as high as $200+ depending on the facilities. You can also find mid-range rooms from $20-$40. In places like Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Syangboche, Kongde and Thame, you have the options of mid-range and high range accommodation facility.
Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You have to pay extra charge for this service about $5 (per stay) up to Namche though you can’t be really sure about signal strength. Beyond Namche, teahouses normally don’t have WiFi facility. A better option is to use Everest Link network which works throughout the region. It has better connectivity and faster speed. You can buy the data package at approximately $2 (10GB) and $3 (30 GB) valid for 30 days. You can also use Ncell and NTC network but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher.
Everest region has the facility of electricity powered by hydro-electricity in lower elevation and solar energy in higher elevation. So, teahouses, lodges and hotels have electricity facility. But due to remoteness and altitude, people have to use it economically. In teahouses there won’t be charging plugs in rooms. Charging facility is available in dining room (common room) with extra charge ranging from $5 to $10 (depending on the devices like mobile phones, camera battery, power bank etc.) But, most of the time such facility is fully packed. So, it is sensible to bring a fully charged power bank. Rooms, washrooms, shower and corridors are well lit. So, you won’t have much problem during night time. However, it’s better to have a head lamp or torch handy. In some teahouses, you can also get electric blanket and electric heater for a charge of about $20 per night.
Everest Base Camp Trek is love at first sight! Whoever hears about it falls for it. But this beautiful package of adventure comes with some sort of challenges. That’s why whoever thinks of doing this trek asks one mandatory question “How fit do I need to be” or “What is the fitness level for Everest Base Camp Trek?”
Though the question connotes some sort of apprehension, the answer is simple “People of moderate fitness level can do it!” Ah such a relief! It is actually true that you don’t need to be super fit or in best shape with athlete physique. Everest Base Camp Trek is not technical and you don’t need previous experience in altitudes. But the “moderate level of fitness for Everest Base Camp Trek” does demand some efforts from your side. After all you are covering 120 km (round trip) gaining approximately 300 m each day in one of the most extreme terrains in the world.
So, keeping fit does help a lot. But you don’t need to freak out! Trekking in Nepal requires some sort of playful seriousness. You should be concerned but without overshadowing the fun part. In short, with right preparation, right pace and right attitude, the mountains will welcome you wholeheartedly!
Here is how you need to train yourself for Everest Base Camp Trek.
Tip 1: Walk Walk Walk
All you will be doing in the trek is hiking, not just in Everest Base Camp Trek but in every trekking in Nepal. You will be walking for 9-10 days with an average of 5-8 hours (approx. 15 km) per day. Though the distance you cover doesn’t sound very challenging but you will be basically walking uphill on rocky terrain with your each step gaining altitude. So, importance of hiking practice is not an overstatement.
Practising hiking helps you to get used to with the pace. Begin 7-8 weeks prior to the trek with about 2 hours each day and slowly increase the duration up to 5/6 hours. The best thing to do is simulation hiking in wilderness carrying some weight. This way you will know the spot in your body you need to strengthen. Don’t forget to wear the hiking boots you will be using in the trek as new shoes can give blisters. The thought of it alone can give you a nightmare! Try the boots in some steep terrain and try to find trouble spots. Lightweight boots with good ankle support, plenty of toe room for long descents, a stiff sole to lessen twisting torsion are the best.
Tip 2: Cardio Workouts
Any kind of cardio workout is good for Everest Base Camp Trek. It can be simple jogging, swimming, cycling or even treadmill walking. Or you can take help from YouTube where you can get many great ideas. Just make sure that you experience deeper breathing and light sweating during the workouts. You can do it about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. It helps your body to work hard and adjust your pace with less oxygen. Though fitness level doesn’t determine how easily you acclimatize, cardio workouts will optimize your endurance chances. It will allow you to enjoy the views and bask in the beauty of the region rather than you bending over and struggling to catch your breath.
Tip 3: Strength Training
Trekking is simply walking, a basic natural activity humans have been doing all the time. However while trekking in Nepal, we do it in low oxygen conditions, which makes our breathing a bit harder and we get tired much faster. So, it’s highly beneficial if you increase your endurance and work on the leg muscles. Though the above mentioned tips (hiking and cardio) will help you a lot, the strength workouts will definitely improve your trekking performance. So, you can include squats, pull ups, push ups, weighted step- ups and lunges in your regular strength routine, about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. You can schedule cardio and strength alternatively. Don’t overdo it, take your time and schedule it comfortably.
Finally, the most important tip is you should always consult your doctor before taking trekking challenges. It’s really important to know your body. Though it’s your soul that takes the pleasure of the experience, your body is going to bear the whole thrust. So, fitness for Everest Base Camp is not overrated. However, let me repeat once again, physical fitness doesn’t guarantee acclimatization but your fitness level does make the difference on how you experience your adventure. So, be fit, the rest will be fine!
1Million Tourists Nepal has achieved an unprecedented success in receiving tourists in 2018 with a record of 1,001,930 arrivals between January-November. According to Nepal Tourism Board, the month September alone has the record of 91, 820 visitors, a 33.8 percent increase compared to last year! The tourism arrival got the momentum throughout the peak tourist season between October-November. However, the total count doesn’t include overland visitors, which would have further increased the figure. India became the top source market with 260,124 visitors followed by China with a total of 134,362 Chinese tourist arrivals. The United States, Britain and Germany were enlisted as third, fourth and fifth source countries respectively.
“The growth can be attributed to concerted efforts of Government of Nepal, Nepal Tourism Board, private sector travel trade and media towards promotion of overall tourism sector in the international tourism arena,” said Deepak Raj Joshi, Chief Executive Officer of Nepali Tourism Board. Tourism industry of Nepal considers the record as crucial in Nepal’s tourism history as it indicates a brighter future to further realize the tourism potentials ahead of Visit Nepal Tourism Year 2020. Nepal had the record 940,218 tourist arrivals in 2017.