Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest base camp trek
The seduction of a trek to Everest base camp has long been known in adventure travel for its unmatched views of Everest, immersed in the peaceful world of Tibetan Buddhism, and framed by the majestic Himalayas. This classic Everest trek through the Khumbu valley offers more than just a walking holiday; it is for many a pilgrimage to the bottom of the highest mountain in the world, in a remarkable country which will leave you with vivid memories of the people who live there.
We have a long history with this region of Nepal. We have been running treks and climbs to mount everest for over two decades and run our very own company based in Kathmandu. You will be in good hands with excellent travel advice and some tips on weather conditions and what to expect. We also provide the trekking permits in advance of your visit.
Summary of base camp trek itinerary
Days 1 & 2 : Arrival and preparation in Kathmandu
Days 3 - 11 : Fly to Lukla then trek up to Everest Base Camp
Days 12 - 15 : Trek back down from Everest Base Camp
Days 16 - 17 : Fly back down to Kathmandu & depart
The total distance covered throughout the everest trek is approximately 92 kilometres. Every day the trek starts after breakfast at about 8.30am and there are many opportunities to stop and take photos, or have a cup of tea. The pace is slow and the itinerary allows for acclimatisation and also rest days. At the start of the trek the distances are short but there are hills aplenty, and higher the distances increase but the gradient is more consistent and even.
Kathmandu is at an approximate altitude of 1400m and the flight to Lukla will take you up to a height of 2866m. With Everest Base Camp standing at 5360m and Kala Patthar at 5545m, the base camp trek gains a total of 2679 metres from Lukla and 4145 metres from Kathmandu.
How easy is it to trek to base camp of Everest?
This Nepal trek is a feasible goal for most fit hill walkers. The paths are well trodden, they are the highways and byways of the Sherpa people, so you find yourself passing through many villages and getting up close with the culture. The average group size is ten and you will have Sherpa guides and a team of porters to assist you all the way there. Accommodation is in lodges which provide a wide range of western and Nepalese food. Our programme allows you to choose freely from an a la carte menu. It is more remote than, say, the Annapurna Circuit trek which now a road servicing part of it; indeed the final part of the trek is on the Khumbu glacier itself, which ends at the camp used by climbers attempting to ascend the mountain. Over the high wall of mountains beyond base camp is Tibet, so you will have reached the northern border of the country.
From your first enquiry, you will have experienced people to talk to in the UK office who will give you an honest appraisal of your holiday. This personal service and warm welcome will also await you in Kathmandu where Pasang and Lhakpa run AA Nepal. They speak excellent English and will be on hand all the time, they can help with a day trek in the Kathmandu valley beforehand, hiring equipment and preparing for your holiday, plus we have a very nice guesthouse in the city where you can stay if you wish.
There is nothing technical about the trek, no climbing or even scrambling, but the path is rocky and at the end of the trek it is on moraine and finally on the glacier itself. With a good pair of boots, there should be no need for concern though, the biggest issue is hiking at altitude and staying fit and strong for the final ascent of Kala Patthar. This is a walking holiday but the usual concerns for weather and remoteness and handling the high altitude require common sense and a slow pace. People enjoy the social nature of this trek, the evenings are always fun in the lodges and the food is excellent. Some of the lodges now are quite high-class hotels. As you walk along these Sherpa paths there is always ample opportunity to stop at a tea shop or a small shop and potter about the villages, nothing happens very fast up here!
Packing List for Everest Base Camp
Everest base camp trek altitude profile
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Everest base camp trek itinerary
|1||1400m||None||Arrive into Kathmandu. You will be met by our staff at the airport and transfered to the hotel. Depending on your arrival time you can relax or sightsee around Kathmandu.|
|2||1400m||None||Rest day and acclimatisation to jetlag, sightseeing plus trek briefing.|
|3||2460m||45min flight 2hrs Trek||Flight* to Lukla, walk downhill to Phakding or Monjo along the edge of the Dudh Kosi River. Easy, busy path, surrounded by forest.|
|4||3440m||5 - 6hrs||Uphill to Namche Bazaar which is the Sherpa 'capital' in the heart of the Khumbu region. Initially follow the valley to Monjo where you enter the National Park, then cross the river a few times and start a long unrelenting path uphill, with one spectacular bridge spanning a deep gorge. Leave the coniferous forest behind, and arrive at a huge natural amphitheatre with the houses spread around the sides.|
|5||3440m||n/a||This is an acclimtisation day which you can rest or enjoy the sights and sounds of Namche. You can also go for short walks to the Sherpa museum and other local places of interest.|
|6||3850m||6hrs||Walk to Deboche which is near the famous Thyangboche Monastery. The path out of Namche is initially steep and then opens out into a high valley, passing through villages like Pangboche before negotiating two steep hills. After this it is a short walk to the beautiful rhododendron glade where you will find the lodge.|
|7||4252m||5hrs||A gradual gradient up to Dingboche. The path skirts the side of the valley with the river far below on your right and passing beneath the spectacular Ama Dablam. The village sits on the confluence of two valleys and is good farming land.|
|8||4252m||n/a||This is another rest and acclimatisation day. In the neighbouring village of Pheriche you can visit the Himalayan Rescue Association to listen to the daily lecture on high altitude health, and get a check up from the medical staff or go on a local walk up teh valley towards Island Peak or up one of the neighbouring ridges.|
|9||4920m||5hrs||Trek up the high valley to Lobuche which is alongside the huge Khumbu Glacier. You can now easily feel the effects of the thin air as the hike takes us up to the Thukla Hills where there are many stupas erected in memory of Sherpas who have died on expeditions.|
|10||5360m EBC 5200m sleep||7hrs||Hike on the glacial moraine to the final settlement of Gorak Shep. The views here are spectacular; Nuptse dominates the other side of the valley, behind which the black triangular peak of Everest is just visible. The giant wall of ice ahead is the border with Tibet. Gorak Shep is the last outpost, a small collection of huts just below a shoulder of Mount Pumori called Kala Patthar which is our destination the following morning as it's a fine viewing point for Everest. We'll have lunch at Gorak Shep and then walk on for roughly 1.5 - 2hrs and visit Everest base camp. We trek along the lateral moraine and finally over the Khumbu glacier itself to the base camp at the foot of the Khumbu Ice Fall. Arriving at the small tented city, where climbers congregate to climb the mountain, is a surreal experience. There is plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere, take photos and enjoy the area. After which we drop back to Gorak Shep for dinner and get our heads down before an early start to climb Kala Patthar.|
|11||High point 5540m drop to 4370m||2 + 3hrs||Early morning climb to the summit of Kala Patthar (5540m) to see sun rise behind the peak of Everest. This is a tough walk in the cold and not to be underestimated. Take warm clothing. Back at the lodge for breakfast and a walk back down past Lobuche, dropping out of altitude to Pheriche at 4370m.|
|12 to 14||4370m down to 2850m||~6hrs a day||Over three days a descent via Namche Bazaar all the way to Lukla with various options for accommodation. It is possible to stay in different villages, for example Pheriche, Khumjung, Monjo, but the route is the same as the way up. If your itinerary has been shortened due to weather / Lukla flight then it is possible to cover this distance over two days.|
|15||n/a||n/a||Additional weather day - this day is here to allow for any delays either flying into our out of the mountains. If the weather is stable you can fly down to KTM or you can spend an extra day in the mountains. Please read our Himalayan Flight Delays info page.|
|16||1400m||45mins||Lukla flight* to arrive in Kathmandu in the morning and transfer to hotel. Rest and sightseeing.|
|17||n/a||n/a||Depart Kathmandu. If you leave in the morning it is possible to arrive in London the same day, or arrive home on day 18.|
The trek to Everest, including travel days from Kathmandu into and out of the mountains, is essentially a 12 day trek which we do over a 14 day period. You will see above that we have 2 weather days which allow for any flight delays caused by bad weather into or out of the Himalayas. The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla takes 35 minutes. The trek is nine days uphill, which includes two full days rest and acclimatisation, to the last settlement of Gorak Shep. After visiting Everest Base Camp and climbing to the high point of Kala Patthar (for dawn views of the sun rising behind the summit of Everest), the descent is in three days.
You can trek to Everest Base Camp from March to early June, and September to early December.
The start dates refer to the arrival date in Kathmandu and the end date refers to the earliest you can book your return flight home for.
However you are welcome to arrive earlier or stay on at the end, and stay in our guesthouse in order to spend more time sightseeing in Kathmandu.
*These flights ‘fly by sight’ so if there is cloud cover or bad weather there can be delays. If necessary we can be flexible and adapt the itinerary to catch up on lost days, but if the planes can’t fly then there is little that we can do except wait. Occasionally the planes can’t fly but helicopters can, if you prefer this option we can organise it but there would be a supplemental charge. This doesn’t happen very often but if your trek is very early, very late, or out of the main season you should consider possible impacts. Also look at our Delayed Flight page.
Private trips are welcomed and available for groups like schools, walking clubs, companies or charities. We have our own office and guesthouse ready and waiting for any dates you may prefer.
Everest Base Camp trek cost £1,395.00
- Airport transfers
- Trek accommodation in lodges/tea houses (twin rooms with beds and mattresses)
- Three meals per day during the trek with a hot drink (additional drinks or portions are self funded)
- Sagamartha National Park Fees
- Sherpa guides (English speaking, professional, experienced and trained in first aid)
- Porters (max weight carried for you is 12.5kgs)
- Staff food, insurance, accommodation and equipment
Note: the figure above does include the internal flight to Lukla but we ask that this payment is made separately to Adventure Alternative Nepal.
- International flight to Kathmandu
- Accommodation in Kathmandu (~ £15 - £25pp/n) - we can book this for you. Click here for details
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu (~£40)
- Personal costs like drinks, laundry, hot showers, bottled water (~£100)
- Trip Insurance
- Additional Porters if packs are overweight. £10/kg overweight/trekker
- Visa ($40 for 30 day visa)
- Airport departure tax for some tickets (~£15 paid in Nepalese rupees)
- Tips (~ $5 per day per visiting trekker £50 per trek
- Sightseeing Tours
Note: We don't include your hotel in Kathmandu as there is such a wide range of choice and styles for all budgets. We do make three recommendations and are happy to book these for you and also any additional nights you may need. Hotels will usually transfer you from the airport, but if not we're happy to do so. Unlike most companies we include three meals per day whilst on trek, which with other operators would add £350 - £400 per person to your costs.
A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. We make payments as flexible as possible and you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.
NOT ALL ABOUT MONEY
Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running cheap trips that promote the practice of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.
Additionally we will run 14 day treks which gives a good time to acclimatise. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of safely reaching base camp also greatly reduce. We follow established mountaineering principles of height gain on all treks to altitude.
We include professional staff and porters for each member. We do not operate kitties and we promote good hotels in Kathmandu with which we have built up strong relationships over the years, or you have the option of staying in our own guesthouse.
We have our own licensed company in Kathmandu, Adventure Alternative Nepal and full time staff to operate all our treks, climbs and tours in Nepal
Insurance for a trek to Everest Base Camp
As soon as you book you should purchase a policy which covers trekking to 5500m this will cover you should any unexpected events force you to cancel. Your policy should also include helicopter rescue in the event of an evacuation.
Everest base camp trek - fitness and terrain
The Everest Base Camp trek is a well trodden path all the way, although it can be rocky and uneven in parts. It is not precipitous and there is no rock climbing or ‘mountaineering’ which requires equipment. It is a walk all the way to Everest, although some of the hills can be steep and never-ending!
You will meet many people along the way, and also yaks. There is only one rule of the road when meeting an oncoming yak, and that is to always ensure you step to one side, towards the inside of the trail.
Poles are useful but not necessary, depending on whether you have problems with knees and if you have a personal preference for using them. Higher up, the open slopes and moraine may give you added reassurance with a pole, but again the path is quite easy to follow.
The final section to Everest Base Camp, on the Khumbu glacier itself, is not difficult but occasionally slippery underfoot. The ice is covered in dirt and stones, so it is not like being on a skating rink.
Lightweight hiking boots with a high ankle are recommended for the base camp trek, to protect you against possibly going over on an ankle, but heavy boots will be hot and heavy and cumbersome. Cross trainers are popular, but cold in the morning up high.
Accommodation on the Everest base camp trek
Accommodation will be in comfortable lodges and tea houses run by Sherpa families, unless people specify a preference for tents. Each lodge has a central communal area with stove, while the bedrooms are unheated with two beds and mattresses and pillows. You will need to bring a sleeping bag (3 season is normally enough), and the lodge will lend you a blanket if you ask.
The lodges generally have showers which are powered by gas and they use ‘drop’ toilets (in Namche Bazaar they are generally flush systems now).
Sometimes we use tents which are two person mountain tents, and we will provide foam mattresses. The tents are pitched close by the lodge and eating is done indoors.
Experience for the Everest base camp trek
The Everest trek is not a forced march and the pace is always slow, the days generally being shorter than a day hike at home.
We do recommend that you embark on a good fitness programme prior to your trip though, and one that builds up general stamina and specific leg muscle groups. There is nothing like hiking with a rucksack to train for Everest Base Camp, so the best advice is to get out into the hills as often as you can. You are likely to carry about 5 kilos in your day sack so this is a good weight to work with.
If you are going to be using the gym then concentrate on step machines which work on the thigh and calf muscles, and try to build your heart rate up to 50% above resting rate. Any cardiovascular activity is good, but remember that swimming will not train the correct muscle groups so it must be added to other exercises to be effective. Exercise groups like bodypump, Pilates and aerobic are all excellent preparation for a trek like this, especially those which work on core strength, balance and stability.
Adventure Alternative support
The porters will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down the valley. Unless specifically tenting, all accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are very well equipped, warm and sociable.
We run our Everest Base Camp treks from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. As well as Pasang, our other guides include Geljun Sherpa from Bupsa, Tsering Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa.
All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and high altitude climber Gavin Bate. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs.
Everest base camp trek kit list
The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move comfortably in the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night.
You will be given a detailed kit list after booking, but the main points to cover are as follows:-
- BAGS - Rucksack or duffle bag for a porter to carry plus a day pack to be carried by you
- SHELL - Top and bottom waterproofs to keep off wind/rain
- LAYERS - Shirts, trousers, shorts, Tshirts, jumpers and jackets, hats and gloves
- BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away any sweat and to wear for cold mornings
- FEET - Comfortable boots with a good sole and ankle support. Lighter footwear to change into in the evenings.
- SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag (3 or 4 season) to get a good nights sleep at the lodges (they also have blankets)
- DRINKING - Water bottles should be hard plastic (Nalgene), not throwaway bottles.
- WASHING & MEDICAL - wash kit, towel, first aid kit
- SUN CARE - sunglasses, sunhat
- TREKKING - trekking poles, umbrella, dry bags
- PERSONAL ITEMS - cameras, books, music
All equipment (both real and fake!) can be hired in Kathmandu and also higher in the mountains in Namche Bazaar. The shops sell just about anything you may need, in terms of equipment, snacks, food and of course souvenirs.
Luggage Allowance on internal flight to Lukla
Please note that standard luggage limits on internal flights are 15kg in the hold and 5kg as hand luggage. You can of course wear your trekking boots and jacket to help cut down on the weight of your bag. You will also have left any city clothes or extra travel kit in Kathmandu. If you have particularly heavy luggage then we will need to bring in more porters and pay an extra charge for the aeroplane, so therefore Pasang will charge you an excess fee for the trip to be paid in cash. This is around £10 per kilo over 15 kilos in your main luggage.
Why travel with us?
- We offer an inclusive package. We don't ask for land payments. We include all of your meals on the trek, we include accommodation for the entire itinerary, we include your flight transfers and a full itinerary (14 days trek) allowing you plenty of time to safely acclimatise, enjoy and explore your surroundings.
- All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director and high altitude climber who has made six expeditions to Mount Everest and is a qualified International Mountain Leader.
- We follow and exceed the IPPG five guidelines on porter safety. Porters' health and welfare is constantly monitored by local and UK trekking group leaders.
- All the staff in our UK office have been to Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what its like to go up for the first time, before you go.
- We support sustainable development in Nepal and underwrite our charity Moving Mountains which operates initiatives to help develop the mountain communities through which you will travel and the home villages of the porters and staff who will be looking after you.
You can book your Adventure Alternative holiday for as little as £100.00 and pay the balance in as many instalments as you like. Choose a scheduled date or contact us for private dates, a bespoke itinerary or more trip details.
- Duration 17 days
- Numbers 4 - 15
- Altitude 5545m
- Distance 90km
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Lodges