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Everest Base Camp Trekking Guide, Nepal

This Everest Base Camp trekking guide shows how the trek to Nepal’s EBC is no light adventure. It is a mini-expedition that will test you and reward you.

It was the eighth final day of the ascent to Everest Base Camp. The 6am wake-up call marked the start of our eighth day of trekking in this sacred area of Nepal, where the quick knock on the door and the long tones of “morning” signaled the start of another long and arduous day. By now, each day of the EBC expedition was beginning to feel like a relentless and monotonous struggle.

Except that this was the day when, despite extreme exhaustion, weakness from loss of appetite, and struggling with extremely cold conditions, we all hoped to find enough energy to make it through the last leg of our journey to reach Everest Base Camp. To hike up to the highest mountain in the world and stand on its foundations, on the steep Khumbu glacier.

That morning I didn’t feel giddy with excitement. On the contrary, wrapped in five layers of clothing and still suffering from a bad cough and headaches from the altitude, I was relieved that what I had set out to achieve was only hours away. I just wanted the pain to go away. Even the strongest were faltering.

Over the course of six hours, half interrupted by a brief rest in the teahouse of our lodge, we crawled slowly and lazily through the thin, icy air. I remember one of the Sherpas grabbing my arm to hold me up, pulling at rocks and ice packs when my legs were about to give out and pushing me all the way because I refused to be defeated. Not now that I had come so far; not now that I was close to the dream of climbing Everest Base Camp.

When we reached the top of the final climb, stumbling over loose rocks and onto a canvas of white, all I could do was sit and weep for what had become one of my greatest achievements.

The top of the world was before me.

Everest Base Camp Trek Guide – All questions answered.

Everest trekking is every avid adventurer’s dream, but just because you’re not going to climb Mount Everest, don’t think that Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek is an easy undertaking. It’s so hard that sometimes you question your sanity and why you decided to do it.

At other times, the scenery is so breathtaking and unlike any other mountain terrain you’ve seen before, going from lush farmland, dense forests, and glistening blue fast-flowing rivers to barren land and glacial pools as you climb, that you realize it was a good decision. Here you are, backpacking up Everest like a warrior. They call it the “steps to heaven” for good reason.

It’s one of the toughest physical and mental challenges I’ve ever faced in my life. However, it was one that, as I arrived at Base Camp and looked up at the clouds enveloping the summit of Everest, became one of my proudest moments.

And that’s just a fragment of the feelings you get while trekking. A dozen questions go through your head before you decide to book this adventure, so here are the answers to the most asked questions about hiking to Everest Base Camp.

Everest Base Camp trekking guide – Facing the challenge. Reaching the top of the world.

How long is the trek to Everest Base Camp?

Normally, the Everest Base Camp trek takes 12 days for a 130 km round trip. It takes eight days to reach Base Camp and four days to descend, divided into nine long trekking days and three short acclimatization days.

All treks that aim (or push you to complete the trek in less time) do so at risk. Despite the relatively short distance overall, there is a reason why the trek to EBC camp one is spread over 12 days, and that is mainly due to the steep climb in altitude.

Everest base camp trekking route to Everest base camp in Nepal.

There is an established route for the EBC trek that takes you through several villages, camping areas and incredibly isolated places with magnificent views of the mountain panoramas.

Way up: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding – Namche Bazaar – Tengboche – Dingboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – EBC
Descent: Gorek Shep – Pheriche – Tengboche – Monjo – Lukla – Kathmandu

Day 1: Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Trek to Phakding

Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Day 3: Acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar (trekking to Thame and Khumjung, the green village).

Day 4: Namche Bazaar to Tengboche.

Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche

Day 6: Acclimatization day at Dingboche (hike to Chhukung or Nagarzhang peak).

Day 7: From Dingboche to Lobuche

Day 8: Reach Everest Base Camp by crossing Changri Glacier and return to Gorak Shep.

Day 9: Gorak Shep to Pheriche (optional morning hike to Kala Pattar to see Everest sunrise).

Day 10: Pheriche to Tengboche

Day 11: From Tengboche to the village of Monjo

Day 12: Monjo to Lukla and overnight. Flight back to Kathmandu the next day.

A map of the Everest Base Camp trekking route.

A map of the Everest Base Camp trekking route.

Is the Everest Base Camp route difficult?

The trek from the starting point at 2,850 m / 9,000 ft and the ascent to 5,364 m / 17,500 ft is not an easy undertaking, and is more arduous than technically difficult. No particular mountaineering skills or equipment such as ropes and crampons are needed, just a lot of stamina.

Remember that you are not climbing Mount Everest, a feat that can take at least 40 days.

The biggest difficulty you will face trekking in Nepal is the altitude.

Actually, the distance from Lukla to Base Camp can be completed in a faster time. However, with less oxygen at higher altitude, you have to stay healthy. That’s why the 12-day trek is long, so you can adapt and allow for acclimatization as you climb. It is hard in parts, especially on the knees, with the different daily climbs and descents.

I saw people of all ages, all sizes, and all different levels of hiking ability. I had been the typical asthmatic kid in school, told not to participate in the difficult athletic endeavors because it was obvious I would never make it. Any attempt would result in a horrible outcome of extreme embarrassment. I went through life not caring much about sports or thinking I couldn’t do much extreme physical exertion. It took me many years to realize that this was not the case, and the Everest Base Camp trek was one of those things I had to do to prove it to myself. If someone like me, with a chronic illness, can complete the Everest Base Camp trek, so can you.

The most important thing, besides ALWAYS drinking plenty of water, is to go at your own pace. There is also no pressure to keep the same pace as everyone around you. A guide will be with you or not far behind a small group of people, so there is no danger of getting lost or being alone.

Is the trip to Everest Base Camp dangerous?

40,000 people a year trek to Everest Base Camp on its south face in Nepal. Although it remains one of the most popular and well-known treks in the Himalayas, it is natural to wonder how dangerous this high-altitude undertaking is.

As far as the terrain is concerned, you are not going to be doing any form of wall climbing, walking on narrow ridges with steep drops, or using ropes to crawl up rock faces. Reaching Everest Base Camp is a slow and steady hike with a strategically timed ascent to altitude.

Extreme thoughts can be transferred to the question: has anyone died hiking to Everest Base Camp? The fact is, although there are no official figures, any statistics reported have been less than 0.5% of the total number of treks and usually due to a natural disaster. The only danger to you will be if you don’t listen to your guide’s advice or wander off alone.

What is the best time of year to climb Everest Base Camp?

The best time to go to Everest Base Camp is divided into two seasons: March to May (spring) and September to November (autumn).

These two trekking seasons fall on either side of the summer monsoon season, and therefore allow for optimal conditions: less rainfall, pleasant temperatures, and clearer skies. Heavy rains from June to early September make the Everest Base Camp trail off-limits. It becomes treacherous territory, with muddy, inaccessible paths and risk of landslides.

The trekking season from March to May has the advantage of warm, sunny days and the opportunity to see the hustle and bustle of those setting up base camp ready to climb Everest. The disadvantage is the possibility of humidity and heat on the long trek, and cloudy weather in May as the monsoon season begins to brew.

The trekking season from September to November has the advantage of clear skies that allow for incredible views of the Himalayan ranges. The trade-off is the more moderate temperatures, which turn colder towards November, especially at night. As my photos show, visibility in November was superb.

How cold is it at Everest Base Camp?

While the first few days of trekking in the lower Himalayan forest are spent in warm and slightly moderate temperatures, the second half of the trek takes you straight into the colder and often icy altitudes of the mountain plateau.

At Base Camp itself, temperatures can vary from 1 to -10 degrees, on average. Be prepared with base layers, mid layers, and a down jacket; the morning hike can also be an effort in icy winds, so you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible.

Large silver-gray boulders on golden-brown mountain floor, backed by silver-blue and white mountain peaks, on the Everest base camp route,

Do I need to train for Everest Base Camp?

Strength and endurance are the fundamental aspects of your fitness that you need to succeed in the EBC. It is recommended to do some short practice hikes at home at least two to three months before you leave. Start with some two to three hour walks on different climbs and descents and try to build up to a five to six hour walk to get used to long hours at a similar pace. This will give you a better idea of an average day of trekking through the EBC.

If you’re already on the trail before the trek, like me, factor in a few hikes at the destination you’re at. I went to many mountainous areas in China three months before my trip to the EBC, where I did half-day hikes and climbs of several stairs.

One woman on my trip did altitude training at a testing center in her country, and although this expensive training measure helped her somewhat, she continued to suffer from altitude sickness on the Base Camp trek itself. You can’t control nature: you just have to get in the best shape you can before you get there.

Two rows of multicolored prayer flags join a tall pile of rocks in a mountain valley on the Everest Base Camp trek route

Everest Base Camp trekking – group or solo trekking?

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the epic Everest Base Camp trek. I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t imagine it would be this tough. The most I’d ever managed before was a three-day jungle trek in northern Thailand, which now seems like a walk in the park in comparison.

Can I do the Everest Base Camp trek alone?

With the plethora of websites out there, plus the dozens of local tour offerings, it’s hard to know where to start when booking a hike to Everest. When I was there, I entertained the idea of hiring a guide, but thought that being alone might be lonely when you need the camaraderie of others to encourage you. I was also on the verge of using localized Everest travel websites, like Bookmundi, to meet other people and form a group and hire guides and porters. However, I was worried that I would get caught in the middle of hardcore hikers and be a burden or not be able to keep up with them.

There have also been many reports of people undertaking the route solo, even without a porter or guide, and disappearing. Don’t underestimate the power of nature and the unfamiliarity of your surroundings. Everest trekking in Nepal may be a big deal, but it is not something to get hardened to. It is not a place to get lost as it is hard to find. The porters and guides are born and bred here and know the terrain and altitude changes. If you want a solo experience, at least hire a local guide to make sure you do it in the safest possible environment.

Everest Base Camp adventure small group tours.

I booked the 12 day Everest Base Camp trek with G Adventures more than six months before I started it, making sure I would be with a group. This is an organized trip from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp, with plenty of time in the city on both sides.

And so I started my trip to EBC with a group of 14 people, along with two guides and four porters. Looking back, I needed many of those people. I leaned on them when times got tough, because this is not only a test of physical strength, but it also pushes you to the limit mentally. A simple hug and daily words of encouragement made everything better. When you cried, they understood or cried too because we were all going through the same pain. Laughter and nights huddled around the fire, talking and getting to know each other better, eclipsed any negative thoughts that always haunted us.

I doubt I would have completed this journey without the collective morale that existed among us.

15 Everest Base Camp hikers with their guide on the far right outside a small Nepalese teahouse complex, backed by snow-capped mountains.

My EBC Trek group and guide

Nine people stand together on a dry, yellow mountain ridge facing the snow-capped Himalayan range and Mt. Everest

Trekking is better when you are together. Book Everest Base Camp small group tour here.

How much does it cost to do the Everest Base Camp Trek?

I’ve seen the cost of the Everest Base Camp trek range from $1,200 to $1,600, but it helps to know what it includes and the ethics of the company, including how they support their porters and other local staff and resources.

Generally, what is included in the cost of the Everest base camp trek is:

At least one night’s accommodation in Kathmandu on both sides of the trek.
Return flight to Lukla from Kathmandu
Accommodation for the entire trek (typical Nepalese teahouses)
A licensed and trained trekking guide
Porters to carry the larger bags and supplies for the trekking
Permits for trekking and National Park/Conservation Area entrance permit

The main variable that differs from company to company is the inclusion of all meals and drinks at the trekking camps and EBC tea houses during the trek.

Some treks are cheaper because food and drink are not included, and you can set aside your own budget for it.

What is NOT included in the cost of the trek:

Travel insurance, which you will need to take out yourself and ensure that it includes emergency rescue.
International flights/airfare
Visa costs for Nepal and trekking arrangements
Equipment hire, such as a sleeping bag or down jacket (you can do this in Kathmandu before the trip)
General trekking equipment, such as trekking poles
Snacks
Medication (including altitude sickness pills)

Everest Base Camp trekking permits.

Two permits are required to trek the Everest Base Camp trek.

The Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality entry permit replaced the old Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) permit in October 2018. It costs NPR 2000 per person and is obtained in Lukla.
Sagarmatha National Park entry permit is required as you will be trekking through the park. It costs 3000 NPR per person.

However, on most organised small group tours, these permits are handled by the guide and are included in the total cost of the tour. It is worth checking if they are included.

Can I visit Everest Base Camp in Tibet?

I was also able to visit Everest Base Camp in Tibet on an overland trip across the country. On a separate trip, you can travel to Tibet on a two-week adventure (on a round-trip from Kathmandu), which passes through the Tibetan region of Rombuk.

The visit to Base Camp on the Tibetan side is not a multi-day hike, but rather a long walk to the edge of Base Camp from Rombuk Monastery, where you spend the night. Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side has recently been set back 7 km, making the proximity to Everest mountain even less attainable, but nothing beats the view on the opposite side.

View of snow-capped Mount Everest with a golden glow from the clouds in the morning sun at Everest Base Camp Tibet.

Tibet Everest Base Camp

Day by day trekking guide

Everest Base Camp trekking itinerary: day one.

Leaving Kathmandu, you’ll face a morning flight to Lukla, a small plane in which the engine roars for the entire 40-minute flight (muffled in vain by the complimentary cotton wool of the stewardess, who urges you to stuff it in your ears). The wind makes you wobble in the air, until you land on the famously short, steep and precarious runway on the mountainside for which Lukla is known.

The flight to Lukla is included in the EBC trip itinerary.

A man loads a light aircraft with trekking bags at the tiny mountain-backed airport in Lukla, Nepal - the start of the Everest Base Camp Trek.

The famously short mountainside airstrip at the Lukla airport in Nepal, which is very close to the surrounding Himalayan mountain range

The short runway on the mountainside of Lukla airport’s mountainside

Buoyed by the successful landing and still being alive after this nail-biting experience, we went to breakfast full of enthusiasm for the hike ahead: a three-hour climb that wasn’t too demanding. We didn’t know how much harder it would be and how much colder it would be.

Enjoy that first night. It’s one of the most comfortable.

A small group of people walking along a stone path towards a white gate with a green arch: the exit gate of the Everest Base Camp trek in Lukla looking out over the green forest and Himalayan mountains.

The group starts the Everest Base Camp trek from Lukla.

A man sits on a broken wooden platform with his dog, overlooking the green trees that fill Sagarmatha National Park on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

The forested Sagarmatha National Park on the trek to Everest Base Camp.

A typical Nepalese teahouse on the Everest Base Camp route sits on a high green hillside next to a rocky stream. In the background, Himalayan peaks peek through the forest trees.

Constant views of the mountains while trekking.

Everest base camp hikers pass a sacred monument in the mountains: a tiered temple structure with black-painted panels featuring white-painted scriptures. Multicolored prayer flags hang next to the temple.

Passing a sacred site on the Everest Base Camp trek – one of the many temples and monuments along the way.

Four people, dressed in trekking clothes, sit at a table in a traditional Nepalese tea house built of wood which is located on the Everest Base Camp trek in the mountains

Arriving at the tea house in the afternoon.

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary: Day 2.

On the second day, we headed to the well-known Namche Bazaar, one of the biggest rest areas and full of markets, restaurants and Wi-Fi cafes. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? However, reaching this refuge at 3,440 meters requires extreme effort.

This day, said to be one of the hardest parts of the Everest Base Camp trek, seemed to me to be one of the hardest, along with the day of reaching Everest Base Camp itself.

It was six hours of high altitude climbing and steep steps through stunning forests, crossing rivers via long swinging suspension bridges and relentless physical exertion in dry, dusty heat that sent my adrenaline levels so high that all I could do when I reached the lodge was sit down and cry from exhaustion.

A line of hikers and porters make their way across bridges and up the steep, rocky, green slope on the traverse of Everest Base Camp.

Bridges and steep climbs on Day 2.

A small white temple structure with a golden spire sits atop rocks covered with rows of hanging multicolored prayer flags: a sacred place on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Three hikers cross a scree backed by dense green forests and mountainous hills on the Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal.

The long way to Namche Bazaar

A woman in a T-shirt and trekking pants holds a walking stick while standing next to a bright turquoise river in a small rocky canyon in the Nepalese Himalaya

A rest stop before continuing on. see the bridge in the distance?

Hikers rest on the rocks next to the start of a metal suspension bridge that crosses the Everest Base Camp route.

There it is. One of the many suspension bridge crossings on the Everest Base Camp route.

Three hikers on a climb up a steep, worn trail, passing small huts on an orange rocky mountain face.

One of the last uphill sections towards Namche Bazaar.

An elevated view of Namche Bazaar on the Everest Base Camp Trek - a cluster of teahouses and small buildings nestled in a terraced landscape in a mountain valley

The elevated view of Namche Bazaar on the approach.

A man with a blue backpack walks toward a white gate with a yellow roof-the entrance to Namche Bazaar village on the EBC Trek-toward a small white and gold temple structure and a cluster of and a cluster of rectangular houses built into the hillside

Arriving at the gate of Namche Bazaar.

A man stands in front of two small houses with triangular roofs and next to a sand-coloured staircase in the village of Namche Bazaar, on the mountainous route of the Everest Base Camp Trek

You will spend two days in Namche Bazaar to acclimatize.

Itinerary of the Everest Base Camp trek: Day three to day seven.

What follows are five more days of trekking, of which two are “acclimatization days”. The first acclimatization day is the third day (the second day spent at Namche Bazaar), when you walk to Thame and Khumjung villages, and the sixth day of the trek, when you are at Dingboche, at 4,260 meters, and walk to Chhukung village or Nagarzhang peak.

An acclimatization day means climbing. It is often referred to as a “rest day”, a brilliant term for an acclimatization day, but unfortunately it is not an opportunity to rest or put your feet up. You climb higher and sleep lower, so even if you don’t hike for three to six hours, you’ll spend about two hours climbing a steep hill to get your body used to the next high altitude stage, a painful but necessary evil that makes the next few days of hiking a little easier.

Your body will begin to feel the effects of the altitude at this stage. It is on the fourth day (when you hike from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche) and on the fifth (when you hike from Tengboche to Dingboche) that you start to feel the changes in the air. Just when you thought you had caught your breath, you set off again to reach a higher altitude, a dry run, ready to make the climb proper the next day.

A heady mix of short climbs and high ones, but each step is a closer one. Day seven is the push to Lobuche, the last village settlement on the edge of the Khumbu Glacier, where you will rest before setting off on the final trek to Everest Base Camp the following morning.

A woman in a white T-shirt and blue trekking pants stands in front of large black boulders strewn with multicolored prayer flags and a huge snowy mountain face

Layers of Himalayan mountains - a light brown overhang and behind it a dark brown mountain peak and a snowy mountain peak

A woman in trekking gear jumps high above a background of snowy, pointed mountain views in Everest Base Camp trekking

Reaching Everest Base Camp – Exhaustion and euphoria.

Higher altitude, colder temperatures, and a harder climb come together in a force that you think will overcome you. You will never forget the day before and the day itself of the last long effort to reach Everest Base Camp. It’s the eighth day and you are beyond exhausted. It becomes one of the hardest hours of the whole expedition.

Knowing you’re so close, coupled with unbeatable views are certainly two things that get you through it.

A small group of hikers stand in the wide open valley between the mountain faces in the Himalayas of Nepal

A woman in a purple jacket stands on a rock next to the famous "On the way to Everest Base Camp" poster, backed by striking white mountains.

A small line of hikers walk along a nasty, dusty trail through a wide scree on the Everest Base Camp Trek. The dry, brown valley is surrounded by bright white mountain ranges.

A red-jacketed Everest Base Camp trekking guide walks between huge sand-colored boulders on one side, and pockets of silver powdered ice on the other.

The triangular mountain ranges of the Himalayas meet Everest Base Camp trek

Reaching Base Camp and standing at an altitude of 5,364 meters is indescribably euphoric, even with depleted energy levels. It is like being inside a snow globe, where the magnificent snow-capped mountains, the Khumbu Icefall and the imposing presence of Everest loom before you in a striking white glow.

It is something I will never forget, from the first glimpse of the magnificent view to the congratulatory atmosphere that surrounded me.

As we were out of the April to May climbing season, we didn’t come across Everest camps like the ones you see in the famous photos of people climbing Everest. So, it wasn’t a terrain full of people willing to go the extra mile, or where a huge sign indicates your final goal. Instead, you are greeted by a huge rock covered in prayer flags to pose with. All you have to do is look up, because that’s what’s so special.

The pointed ice section of the Khumbu Icefall at Everest Base Camp, with Mt. Everest looking over it in the same white glow.

The pointed ice section of the Khumbu Icefall at Everest Base Camp.

A group of hikers at Everest Base Camp posing for a group photo around a sign with the date 2012. Behind are the brown slopes of the mountain and a patch of ice.

The group arrives at Everest Base Camp.

Return to Lukla after reaching Base Camp.

Itinerary of the Everest Base Camp trek: Day 9 to 12.

Thinking about four days of descent is not the best and something you almost have to train your mind not to think about, as you have no choice but to go back down, and along the same path you’ve already traveled. You often cross paths with the groups going up, knowing what it feels like in those first days of this great expedition.

Four people climb a long, narrow trail up the sand-colored mountain ridge on the Everest Base Camp Trek. In the background, the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.

Rock temple in the Himalayas, perched on the slope of a brown mountain ridge on the Everest Base Camp trek.

A Nepalese man and a white woman stand in front of the gate of

The triumphant return to Lukla’s exit gate.

When the descent is hard and feels repetitive, remember one thing. A celebratory party awaits you in Lukla: a land full of happy people, happy hour, decent food, strong cocktails and a party with your new friends. The Everest Base Camp trek is like a detox or a short rehabilitation period: no sexual activity, alcohol or meat is allowed or advised for 12 days.

Lukla is liberation, and you deserve it. The celebrations continue in Kathmandu.

A group of Nepalis gather in an open square in the town of Luka, based in the high mountain ranges

The city of Lukla, backed by the mountains.

The sandy-hued streets and blue window-framed houses in the Nepalese town of Lukla in the Himalayan mountains.

Four Everest base camp Sherpas enjoy a few beers after the trek at a blue and white checkered table in a wooden hut in the mountains

Some well-deserved beers for the porters.

Four women and a man toast with glasses of booze on a golden brown wooden table

Top tips for completing the Everest base camp trek.

Keep a positive mindset

The journey to Everest Base Camp is a test of mental agility and physical strength. Despite feeling exhausted most of the time, look around you. Walking with the magnificent High Himalayas around you, including Ama Dablam, Mt. Pumori, Lhotse and Nuptse and the snow-capped peak of Mt. Everest, you will feel as if you have been thrown into the most beautiful mountain valley, with a 360° view of the best scenery on the planet.

Approach each climb knowing that there is such a spectacular viewpoint at the end that every excruciating last step is worth it. It really is.

Try to accept the uncomfortable nights in teahouses, where your room will be made of plywood walls and the water will be freezing cold. It’s hard, and there’s not a single night where it feels like luxury. I rented a -20 sleeping bag in Kathmandu, used a silk sleeping liner and put on as many layers as necessary, and when I had the opportunity to take a hot shower, I took it, despite the cost of up to $5 for the privilege.

Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel better, and try not to project too much negativity, as this can also be detrimental to group morale. I found it easier to stay away from people who felt a constant need to complain. Your own mental stability is a crucial factor in reaching the end goal.

A smiling woman in a pale blue jacket stands on the side of a golden-brown mountain. In the distance, snow-covered Mount Everest can be seen.

Altitude sickness prevention in the EBC?

Altitude aversion can be serious and lead to death, but in most cases, it just makes you feel extremely ill. It’s something to watch carefully, and a vital core that your guides will keep an eye on.

Drink plenty of water

It goes without saying that it is essential to drink between 2 and 3 litres of water a day, but it is often easy to forget how often you drink. You will be told the ideal amount of water to consume each day depending on the kilometres and hours of walking.

Diamox or not Diamox?

At the time, I opted not to take Diamox pills, as I suffer from migraines and wanted to know if my body would shut down during the trip.

I heeded all the advice our guide gave us each day about how much water to drink, and drank more to make sure I was still managing my altitude symptoms. But just two days before arriving at base camp I succumbed to altitude sickness. I woke up in the morning with a throbbing headache, which stayed with me throughout the hike. I felt nauseous and weak, and mentally I struggled, so I took pills for a couple of days.

When I climbed Kilimanjaro most recently, I took half a tablet of Diamox in the morning and evening, for the entire trek. If I were to do Everest Base Camp again, I would most likely replicate this same controlled use of AMS medication.

Daily health monitoring

Every afternoon when we arrived at the teahouse, we would check our heart rate and oxygen levels with a finger pulse oximeter. Recording our vitals was part of our daily health check in terms of progress or deterioration.

Slow down

Taking slow, measured steps during the journey to Everest Base Camp is as important as staying hydrated to avoid altitude sickness. This is not a race or an opportunity to show off your athletic prowess: even the most athletic can be defeated by the altitude.

Go at your own pace and don’t be intimidated by the strength of others or feel the need to “keep up”. It is better to be an hour late and reach your goal than to falter in the face of your own relentless determination.

Two men with backpacks walk along the yellow, dusty trail in a wide mountain valley on the Everest Base Camp Trek. They walk toward a snowy, gray and white mountain ridge between two brown peaks.

Carry lots of snacks and money

I took 35,000 rupees (approximately £275) for the whole hike and spent it all.

For food at the EBC teahouses.

The short and honest story is that the food on the Everest Base Camp Trek is pretty dire, especially the higher you climb. You get tired of the same old food, and the bland flavors and loss of appetite only make the pain worse. Take plenty of snacks with you, such as protein and chocolate bars like Snickers – a little sugar helps you cope, as do your favourite comfort foods. Or treat yourself to a slice of cake from the world’s tallest bakery in Lobuche, despite its hefty $8+ price tag.

Food and drink get more expensive the higher you climb (due to the effort required to carry them) and bottled water, in particular, comes with a hefty price tag. Consider using water purification tablets or a water filter bottle to save money.

A small group of hikers gathered around a table outside a green Nepalese teahouse, overlooking the high mountain - a typical rest stop on the trek to Everest Base Camp.

Lunch stop at a teahouse, typically halfway through that day’s trekking route.

To get electricity, showers and wifi.

Showers, access to the world’s highest wifi connection (which is poor at best) and battery recharging will cost you between 350 and 500 rupees / $5 to $10 or more. I had a local Kathmandu SIM card, but the data only works for a few days, as reception fades quickly, especially around 4,000 meters.

To tip porters and guides.

You will need to carry an extra amount to tip the porters during the climb, as you will say goodbye to most of them in Lukla on the last morning. Normally a group tip is collected amounting to about $5 per day, per person, i.e. between $50 and $60.

Keep it in a waterproof, protective bag/purse. Our main guide returned with us to Kathmandu, where we tipped him at our last celebratory dinner.

Carry US dollars

It is advisable to bring US dollars into the country to exchange, as ATM fees in Kathmandu and Lukla are high and often the ATMs don’t always work. The last thing you want to do is withdraw money multiple times with multiple fees for a trip as big as this one. Take this large sum of pocket money with you, so you are prepared to start the trek with minimal stress and adequate supplies.

A Nepalese porter exchanges money with a female trekker at a wooden table in a traditional wooden tea house on the EBC Trek

Preparing and packing for Everest base camp.

Braving sub-zero temperatures can be exhausting, especially at night. You can rent a four-season sleeping bag (or just ask for a -20 one) and a down jacket from a lot of Kathmandu trekking shops; these two items became my lifeline to a good night’s sleep.
A pair of well-fitting trekking shoes that are already broken in. I bought my trekking shoes at home to wear before starting the adventure and bought walking poles in Kathmandu, which came in handy on the steeper parts of the climb.
Poles. I don’t usually use walking poles on long trips, but in the case of Everest Base Camp the poles came in very handy, especially on the parts of the trail where the ground was dusty and rocky and therefore more slippery.
Do I need to carry enough toilet paper for the whole trek? No. It is not necessary to carry a few rolls of toilet paper, and it is essential to save as much space as possible in your backpack. Carry a roll or flat pack of soft tissues as a start, as toilet paper is easy to buy along the way and not too expensive.

The rest comes down to the art of layering:

Long sleeve thermal T-shirt and thermal gaiters for when it gets colder at higher altitudes, and that you can use as a base layer.
Comfortable trekking pants. I had the ones with the zippered leg compartment, as the first and last day can be a bit sunny and super warm temperatures. Don’t buy trekking pants that are too tight, as you’ll need room for layers, especially at the end of the route.
Three or four T-shirts and a fleece: the easiest clothes to layer and take off easily.
Gore-Tex jacket and/or windbreaker: for windchill and an extra layer over your down jacket.
Hat, scarf and gloves. Insulating gloves. Remember that it is better to be too warm than to suffer the cold for lack of adequate clothing.
Underwear: Enough to last you, as there is no laundry service, nor will you be anywhere long enough to do laundry.

Packing tips

Practice packing before you leave, to make sure you won’t panic in the hotel room the night before.
Don’t leave the most important gear shopping until you get to Kathmandu. I’m talking about insulating items, such as thermal clothing and down jacket, and comfortable hiking boots. Shopping in Kathmandu involves risk: you have to sift through a lot of low-quality or fake gear, and these are crucial things to try out in advance.
Practice carrying your daypack in your pre-trek warm-ups at home. This way, you’ll also train yourself to carry not only your clothes and other essentials, but also at least two litres of water on you.

A woman sits on a pile of black duffel trekking bags at the entrance to a hotel in Nepal. Other trekkers are seen in the background.

This is the bag that will be carried by the porters during the trek to Everest Base Camp.

What travel insurance to take out for Everest Base Camp trekking.

It is essential to take out travel insurance that includes high altitude trekking, and more specifically you must have travel insurance that not only covers the less usual, damage, hospital medical treatment and repatriation, but also includes mountain ascents and mountain rescue.

Check the small print, as many policies state a mountain ascent limit, usually “up to 2,500 metres” or “below 5,000 metres”. This may mean you will need a separate insurance policy or an activity/sport add-on.

For EBC trekking, you will need an insurance policy that covers:

Trekking up to the altitude of at least 6,000m.
Helicopter mountain rescue/helicopter evacuation.

World Nomads has an optional extra in their “Land Activities” policy section that includes “hiking up to 6,000 meters”. This insurance provider is one of the best around and you can purchase or extend your policy anytime, anywhere in the world. Get a quote.

Thinking of trekking to Everest Base Camp, do it!

Reaching Everest Base Camp is not just a light trek. It’s a mini-expedition that will test you in more ways than one.

But in that period of time, all the pain disappears completely, leaving you to revel in what will become one of the greatest achievements of your life.

Between the pats on the back, the hugs, and the congratulatory handshakes, you’ll lose yourself in complete silence as you marvel at the specter before you: the top of the world. There aren’t many people who can say they’ve gotten halfway there.

And if you don’t make it that far, you’ll have traversed one of the most beautiful hiking trails on the planet.

Everest Base Camp Trek: Snapshot.

Book yourself into a small adventure group for trekking in Nepal.

I booked into G Adventures Kathmandu to Base Camp 15 day small group, which includes the 12 day trek and time to explore Kathmandu on both sides. This cost includes the flight to Lukla, all accommodation and Sherpas.
Travel to and from Kathmandu at the beginning and end of the trek, and all food and beverage expenses during, are not included.

Trekking route:

Way up: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding – Namche Bazaar – Tengboche – Dingboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep.
Downhill: Pheriche – Kengjuma – Monjo – Lukla – Kathmandu

Budget:

You should budget about 300€ for food, drink and souvenirs, plus the cost of the trek itself.

Package:

Four Seasons sleeping bag, hiking boots, down jacket, windbreaker jacket, four t-shirts, a pair of hiking pants, thermal layers, a fleece and a hat, scarf and gloves.

Everest base camp trekking guide. write it down!

A woman stands between prayer flags and a sign at Everest Base Camp, Nepal.

Constantly updated with the help of licensed tour guides on the ground, along with access to regular tour updates through tour groups and companies, ensures that this article remains one of the most comprehensive on the web. Any plagiarism of this Everest Base Camp Trek blog or any of its descriptions used on other sites and blogs without attribution is not authorized information by me for use. Know your source.

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