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 Everest Peace Project’strek to Everest Base Camp concluded recently. Lance Trumbull, the leader of the expedition has been kind enough to share some photographs of the trek with us. Here are some images from the Everest Peace Project’s trek to Everest Base Camp. (Read our earlier blog post)
Everest Peace Project’s team at Kala Patthar
Expedition Leader Lance Trumbull
Lance with Explore Himalaya’s Sherpas
Team – Everest Peace Project
Mount Everest(left) & Nuptse(right)
Khumbu ice fall & a helicopter flying over it
Inside Tengboche Monastery
A little Sherpa girl & Mount Ama Dablam in the background
(Photos Courtesy: The Everest Peace Project,www.EverestPeaceProject.org)
Nepalese Climbers Dawa Steven , Nanga Dorje and Pemba Tenzing scaled Kyojo Ri(6186m), a peak lying in the Khumbu region on 6th December. By scaling the peak in winter they have proved that climbing 6000m peaks in Nepal is possible even during icy winter season.
The route the trio took was off the beaten track. Kyjo Ri lies behind Khumbila Peak at the end of two hidden valleys located above 4000m.These hidden valleys rests between the Gokyo Valley (on the east) and Nangpa Valley (on the west). The team took a straightforward approach to the hidden valleys from Khumjung village.
The first hidden valley had an expanse of green pastures. Walking north towards the peak, they encountered a rocky headwall. While the left side of the wall had a very wide frozen waterfall , the right side had a narrow and steep cut in the wall. They entered the second hidden valley via this path.
The second hidden valley was rocky and barren with a large frozen pond in the middle. To the north of the pond there was a large sandy field and the team set up camp there. The next morning the team woke up early for the summit push. After an hour’s walk they had scaled the headwall of the second valley and arrived at Kyajo Ri’s glacier. Crossing the glacier the team came to the base of a rocky section leading straight up to a Col. The Col was directly south west of Kyajo Ri. From the Col the route curved up towards ice and hard granite rock. The team chose to free climb up and over the rocks to about 200 m below the summit.
Towards the end of the rocky section, they started fixing a rope(180metres) on the 50 degree slope of hard ice. Luckily the team found a 70m section of rope to the summit, left behind by a previous climbing team. Climbing up the rope the team managed to reach the summit at exactly noon on December 6th, 2010. The summit of Kyajo Ri offered a 360 degree view of major peaks in the Khumbu region, including Mount Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8481m), Cho Oyu (8201m), Pumori (7161m), Shishapangma(8027m), Ama Dablam (6812m), Palung Ri (7013m), Gyanchung Khang (7952m), Ngozumba Ri (7786m), Thamserku (6608m), Khantega (6782m)etc. Normally teams would have taken 5 days to reach the summit from Khumjung , but these Nepalese climbers had succeeded in reaching the summit of Kyajo Ri in just 28 hours. Good weather conditions, hard and solid ice, and firm snow all contributed to the team’s successful ascent. Kudos to the team! (Photo: Asian Trekking)
Everest has been voted as one of the top-ten destinations for 2011 by CNN. Not surprising, because Treks to Everest Region has been a favourtite among trekkers taking the Himalayan trail. With its rugged trail, towering peaks (including +8000m peaks like Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu), traditional Sherpa villages, well maintained tea houses and lodges and magnificent mountain scenery, the Khumbu Region is worth a visit. In fact, many return to this high and beautiful region after their first experience. A client who trekked with us to Khumbu in the Autumn of 2010, has expressed a similar desire in a written testimonial sent to us via email..
I am writing this mail to say many thanks for your good service during my trip in Khumbu in Autumn 2010. I really enjoyed it a lot and I am extremely happy that it worked out so well. I can hardly wait to get going to Nepal again…… I do not know when we will meet again, but one thing is for sure, we will meet again because I will certainly be returning to the Khumbu for climbing. It will really be good to see you all again.
Klaus Leo Michael Gachter from United States is no stranger to Nepal. He has been to Nepal several times and had visited Khumbu thirty years for the rebuilding of the Tengboche Monastery. According to him he was amazed to see the changes in Khumbu since his last visit.
Klaus, who is in his 70s, jumped tandem from a height of 21,000 feet & 27,000 feet during the skydiving (Everest Skydive 2010) event held at Shyangboche drop zone. He is one of the oldest Everest Skydive member to skydive from this height. Explore Himalaya salutes this adventurous soul. A few minutes before his departure, we got to meet and talk to him at Radisson Hotel. He seemed delighted with his skydiving experience and plans to come back next year.
Klaus Leo Michael Gachter
Excerpts from the interview:
EH:How do you feel after skydiving in the Everest region?
Klaus: I feel great and it was an awesome experience. I really hope I will do it again next year.
EH: Is this your first visit to Nepal?
I have been to Nepal six or seven times. But I have not been trekking for the last thirty years ,so it was quite different in Khumbu. I visited Khumbu thirty years ago when I went to Tengboche to initiate the rebuilding of the monastery and Khumbu has totally changed .Then it was all tents, now its all lodges and it is much more comfortable.But trekking is much hader now as you are thirty years older…
EH: What are your views about skydiving in Nepal? Klaus: I think you can’t do this anywhere else. I think its nowhere as challenging and that’s why I have done it and I enjoyed it tremendously and I wanna do it again.The Himalayas are absolutely amazing. When you view Mount Everest from the top of the viewpoint there, it takes your breathe away!
Skydiving- it takes a certain type of people to do it. I have skydived 40 years ago, but only about a hundred jumps and so in the meantime I totally stopped till this event . But another thing is, I have enjoyed it so much that I will take new lessons in the States when I get back. I plan to come back to Nepal again.
EH: We believe you are involved in charity work.Can you tell us more about this? Klaus: I am already involved in charity with three organizations in Nepal for the last 20 years, actually since 1981. Nick (Leventis) has just given me an idea during this trip, to maybe do the next jump also as a fund raising event. I don’t know yet how I can work this out but I think it will be an opportunity to take.