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A Guide to the Everest Base Camp Trek

The ultimate guide to the Everest Base Camp Trek will outline everything you need to know about this bucket list trip to the world’s highest mountain.

Summit Expedition’s ultimate guide for the Everest Base Camp Trek will outline everything you need to know about this bucket list trip to the base of the world’s highest mountain. The guide includes the main highlights, itinerary, trek difficulty, altitude sickness, kit list, food, accommodation, and much more.

If you are interested in taking on this incredible challenge, then join one of our upcoming treks to Everest Base Camp.

What is the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Firstly, it is important to note that there are two base camps for Mount Everest. One is on the North (China) side and one on the South (Nepal) side with both the starting points for mountaineers to climb the world’s highest mountain.

When people refer to the Everest Base Camp Trek they are not referring to the North side, as the base camp in China requires a government permit and is reserved for mountaineers only. On the other hand, over 40,000 hikers make the trek to base camp on the Nepalese side each year, and it’s regularly considered one of the best treks in the world.

How High is Everest Base Camp?

The base camp on the Nepalase side sits at an elevation of 5,364m, which is slightly lower than Kilimanjaro (5,895m) and Mount Elbrus (5,642m) but higher than Mont Blanc (4,809m). This puts it very much in the category of high-altitude, non-technical trekking and is certainly a physical but achievable challenge.

Whilst base camp is at 5,364m, many treks will go as high as 5,545m as trekkers ascend to Kalapatthar. From this view-point, trekkers have a panoramic view-point of the Himalayas and many consider this a bigger highlight than reaching base camp itself.

When is the Best Time to Trek to Everest Base Camp?

The best time to trek to Everest Base Camp is October-November and February-April. These periods are either side of the monsoon season and offer the most stable conditions.

If you want to see mountaineers preparing to climb Everest, then March thru May are the best months for the trek. Most expeditions will attempt the summit towards the end of April and early May.

How Cold does it get at Everest Base Camp?

Everest Base Camp has seasons, so the temperatures will depend on when you do the trek. The winter months (Dec-Feb) are the coldest with daytime temperatures around -5°C and nighttime -15°C.  The months either side will have higher daytime averages of 5-15°C, although nighttime temperatures will unlikely go above freezing.

Just remember these are temperatures at base camp, whilst you will spend most of the trek at lower altitudes where it will be warmer. Trekkers that wear the recommended clothing should not worry about the cold on the trek.

How Long does it take to Trek to Everest Base Camp?

Many Everest Base Camp trek itineraries are 14-15 days long, however these will usually include a day in Kathmandu either end. The trek is commonly done in 10-12 days, and will depend on the acclimatization days, fitness of the group and method of descent.

The common itinerary for trekking to Base Camp is:

  • Day 1: Fly Kathmandu to Lukla, then trek to Phakding (2,652m)
  • Day 2: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3,440m)
  • Day 3: Trek to Tengboche (3,680m)
  • Day 4: Trek to Dingboche (4,360m)
  • Day 5: Trek to Lobuche (4,930m)
  • Day 6: Trek to Everest Base Camp (5,360m) and
  • Day 7: Optional to Kalapathar (5,545m)

Once trekkers have reached base camp and the optional 7th day trek to Kalapathar (highly recommended) and have descended to their overnight lodge in Gorak Shep, they can continue to trek for 2 days back to Lukla.

Will I get Altitude Sickness on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

You will most likely experience symptoms of being at altitude, but you need to put it into perspective.

After being at altitudes over 2,500m for at least 24 hours, most people will experience some symptoms. Theese could include headaches and feeling nauseous, but for many people it will just be a slight shortness of breath.

As you go above 4,000m and then 5,000m, the symptoms are likely to increase. However, the chances of these being more than just uncomfortable, are extremely rare. Also, with adequate acclimatization time built into the itinerary, as well as being hydrated, fed and rested, will ensure that any risk of extreme altitude sickness is minimized.

What is the Food like on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Most people don’t trek to base camp for 5 star cuisine, however that doesn’t mean you will go hungry.

You will be eating your meals mainly at the teahouses along the route, which is both a lovely way to meet some of the locals but also taste the local and International dishes they prepare.

Whilst each teahouse is different, they tend to have similar items on the menu. Note that the higher you trek, the more limited the options become as there is less fresh produce available.

Below is what you can expect to eat for each meal:

Breakfast on the Everest Base Camp Trek

After a good sleep and a full day of trekking ahead of you, breakfast is essential to fuel you up for the day. At breakfast you will likely have options for:

  • Toast/bread
  • Pancakes in different flavours and toppings
  • Chapitis; plain or with eggs, cheese, baked beans
  • Spreads; butter, honey, jam, peanut butter.
  • Eggs; boiled, scrambled, friend or omelettes
  • Porridge and other cereals
  • Fruit is available although the options are limited

Lunch & Dinner on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Lunch and dinner are similar and whilst they will depend on each tea houses menu, as well as the produce available at that altitude, they will all offer trekkers hearty, energy packed meals to replace the energy used trekking.

  • Traditional Nepalese food; Bhat, Dal, Aachar, Tarkari.
  • Rice meals; rice with chicken or vegetable curry, egg or veg fried rice.
  • Dumplings; vegetable, cheese, potato, chicken.
  • Pasta and Noodle dishes 
  • Pizza & Sandwiches

How do I book the Everest Base Camp Trek?

If you are interested in taking on this incredible challenge, then join one of our upcoming treks to Everest Base Camp.

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