It may sound like a cliché but we don’t mind repeating it! Yes, Mount Everest is more than a mountain and the trip to Everest Base Camp is more than just a trek. Reaching to the base of this world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848 m) is the dream of every adventurer. Many Himalayan adventure seekers have already ticked it off in their bucket list and many are yet to do so. As, this trip is one of the most talked about and sought after adventures, travelers and would-be travelers are well versed about the facts related to Everest Base Camp. However, many are not fully aware about all the routes and corresponding time required to reach the Base Camp.
There are actually two base camps on Mount Everest, on the South and North sides of the mountains. South Base Camp which is situated in Nepal at an altitude of 5364 m, while North Base Camp is situated in Tibet, China at an altitude of 5,150 m. Most of the Base Camp trekking or Everest expeditions are operated on the Nepal side, i.e the South face of the Everest. In fact, when people say Everest Base Camp Trek, they normally mean Base Camp trekking on the Nepal side of the mountain. However, there are many ways to reach the Base Camp from both sides.
Everest Base Camp from Nepal
Everest Base Camp from Nepal is a popular trekking trail and easier to access than other routes. This trail gives you a chance to challenge yourself, discover the majesty of mountains, walk among the Himalayan giants and explore the highland cultures.
Classic Everest Base Camp Trek : 8 days of trekking from Lukla to EBC
This is the most popular route to reach the Base Camp. It is a spectacular high altitude trek that starts at Lukla, the gateway of Everest region and winds through the floral and faunal richness of Sagarmatha National Park. You gradually hike through some of the beautiful places of Khumbu region such as Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche and return the same way.
Alternate treks: 13 – 22 days
As Everest Base Camp route from Lukla is popular and most favored one, the trail and accommodation gets crowded during the peak seasons i.e. spring and autumn. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, then you can consider alternative trekking routes.
The route from Jiri is also a well-known Everest Base Camp trekking route. This is the same route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to reach Lukla for the Everest summit before airport was built in Lukla during 1960s. This trail adds several days in the itinerary as you have to trek around 6 days from Jiri to reach Lukla/Phakding from where you join the main Everest Base Camp trail.
You can reach Everest Base Camp through the trail of Three Passes Trek as well. One of the most challenging and thrilling trek in Everest region, Three Passes Trek offers an amazingly scenic circular route that includes crossing of challenging Renjo la, Cho la and Kongma la passes connecting to Lobuche to advance towards Everest Base Camp. The order of the Passes can be any depending on where you start from. The duration of this hard trek is quite lengthy (at least about 17/18 days) and only the trekkers who seek for more challenging adventure choose this trail.
Gokyo Lake trek can also be a better alternative to reach Everest Base Camp as this trek skirts the Base Camp and continues to the beautiful Gokyo Lake, one of the world’s highest freshwater systems. The views during this trek worth cherishing for the rest of your life.
Everest Heli Tour: Duration – Half a day
Heli Tour is the easiest way for the travelers who wish to reach the lap of this stunning mountain but have very limited time. It is also a luxurious way to reach the Kala Patthar (5545 m) and Everest Base Camp without trekking. The tour makes you marvel at the panoramic aerial views of astonishing mountains, tranquil valleys, quaint villages, glittering snow peaks, Khumbu glacier and many more. It not only gives you thrill and makes your adrenaline rush but also offers you the next level of experience. Everest Heli tour starts from Kathmandu or Lukla and stops midway for breakfast with wonderful view.
Everest Base Camp from Tibet
Everest Base Camp on the northern side of Everest lies in Tibet. An easier way to get to the Base Camp is by car or tour vehicle. You can travel from Lhasa to Base Camp along the highways having well paved roads. This is one of the fastest and luxurious ways to reach the Base Camp and visit the various attractions of Tibetan plateau. Some travelers also prefer trekking from Tingri over driving from Lhasa.
By car: Duration – 2 days from Lhasa
Many visitors who visit the Base Camp on north side usually get there by car. It is a two-day drive from Lhasa. However most travelers stop along the way in the locations such as Gyantse, Shigatse or Shekar (new Tingri) and Rongbuk that makes this tour longer and more exciting. There are very good roads which make the journey comfortable for almost everyone. The landscape that you can see is breath taking! If you wish, you can drive all the way up to Everest Base Camp but many of the travelers prefer to walk the last mile which is a bit off road. One needs to be acclimatized properly prior to this journey because of the timeframe. Remember Lhasa itself is at an altitude of 3,656 m! And you will gain about 2000m + altitude within 2 days.
By Trek from Tingri: Duration – 5 days
Trek from Tingri to Everest Base Camp gives you an amazing experience of Tibetan plateau, small village communities and nomadic herders. This trip takes you to Lungtang which takes around five hours from Tingri and heads due south, by crossing the Tingri plain and on to the Ra-chu valley and so on. This trail is not commonly used and only attempted by the experienced well-acclimatized trekkers.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. — Buddha! One of the greatest truths Buddha has spoken clearly attests the importance of our mind in our deeds. Our mind’s under working does impact hugely in whatever we do or what we make of ourselves. The prominence of mind is even more pertinent if we are undertaking an adventure in Nepal like Everest Base Camp Trekking, which can be both apprehensive and overwhelming at the same time. Normally people focus on physical fitness only when they think of such adventure, but it’s equally important, or even more, to be mentally prepared to go out of your comfort zone and push your limits.
It is generally considered that mental fortitude is something one is born with. But mental fitness is just like physical fitness that can be developed and maintained. You can adopt some strategies to rely on when you are not in your element, especially when the trek gets difficult and you start feeling your inner self shaking. Below are a few ideas that will help you before and during Everest Base Camp Trekking:
Know What You Are Doing and Why
Be clear about your adventure thoroughly. You also need to understand why you are doing this and what it means to you. Though the adventure is same, people have their own purpose of doing it. Knowing about your trip and your objective prepares you for what to expect. You will be in alignment with your convictions. This way, whatever comes next won’t be shockingly surprising to you. Do a bit of soul-searching interview with yourself. Remember you will be counting on yourself, and no one else!
Just now, we have agreed to think but it doesn’t mean you need to think it over and over. Stop over thinking! It’s ok to be excited about your trip but being anxious or obsessive will just rob you off your peace of mind and you will be tired and drained even before you start your trip. Even during the trip at the time of challenging moments like longer trails, high passes or sheer descent, stay focused and seize the moment but don’t carry the burden of challenges in your mind all the time. If you feel the strain is too much, let your mind relax and wander and think about pleasant things you have done – there is no harm in being a little escapist!
Break into Sections
Everest Base Camp trek is a long and challenging adventure, about 10 days’ trekking in the wilderness of the Himalayas. So it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed due to the enormity of the adventure. Breaking it into smaller phases will make things achievable. You can divide the trip into sections like pre-trekking, during trekking and post trekking, and even smaller sections while doing trekking. Just concentrate on the section you are doing that day. Like a Zen monk be “here and now”. This way, you won’t be succumbed to the pressure of the adventure.
No Short Cuts
Though slow and steady has been outdated now, it’s still the way of mountains. So, don’t attempt any quick fix as the trail is long and not easy. Don’t haste, learn the art of patience. As mountain life has its own pace, there is no sense in being carried away by your impulses and emotions. Adventure is not a race – Relax, Enjoy and Take Your Time!
Learn to Compromise
Trekking is of course a kind of “me-time” but the plain fact is it’s not an indulgence or luxury. It could be a bit easier in other parts of the world, but in the Himalayas – adventure does come with price. Terrain is rugged, temperature is extreme, region is remote and life is difficult. So, naturally facilities are basic. Accommodation is in basic teahouses with basic food and amenities. And most of the time choices are limited. For a western traveller, you really need to stretch your comfort zone. So, be prepared to have a different kind of experience.
In the land of mountains, we go by their rules. Respect the mountains and people. Be open minded and shed your judgements. Cultivate child-like curiosity. This way you can let go much of the mental strains that can be caused by new environment. The thumb rule is “Wander and Wonder” – the rest will be fine!
The Everest Base Camp trek is a Himalayan trek of lifetime with fascinating views and big rewards. The trek in the Khumbu region where Mount Everest 8,848m the world’s highest mountain and other Himalayan giants soar up to the sky, offers the incredible vistas of these peaks as the trek goes closer to the Everest Base Camp 5357m and Kala Pattar 5545m. The shortest way to get to the Everest Base Camp is to fly to Lukla from Kathmandu and begin the trekking adventure. From Lukla the trekking trial to Everest Base Camp cross passes beautiful valleys, dense forest, glacial rivers and mountainous Sherpa hamlets. Besides Nepal’s fascinating culture and pleasant people trekkers meet whilst trekking to Everest Base Camp is one of the prime highlights of the trek. In brief, Everest being one of the world’s most remarkable sights the Trek to Everest Base Camp is perfectly a moderate trekking adventure.
A photo gallery highlighting the Everest Base Camp Trek, defines very well why in the bucketlist of trekkers across the globe, Everest Base Camp Trek tops the list.
First bridge to EBC- 45 mins walk from Lukla
Mani walls at Ghat- 2 hours walk from Lukla
A musk deer seen on the trial between Namche and Tengboche
Periche- Tobuche, Chola Che and Lobuche Peaks in the view
Dughla Pass 4800m- Way to Lobuche
Ascending up towards Lobuche, Dingboche seen down
Nagashang Ri Hiking
Italian pyramid just above Lobuche
Walking above Gorakshep towards Kalapattar- Mt. Pumori on the view