The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most famous trekking journeys in the world. It draws in thousands of trekkers from across the world to Nepal every year. The base camp trek to Everest is a journey that takes place in the Khumbu region of Nepal- home to the ethnic Sherpa people. It is a moderate trekking journey that presents the best features of the Khumbu for the trekkers to enjoy.
At every step of the journey, the trekkers are presented with mesmerizing views of the Everest peaks and many of its neighboring Himalayas as well. It is a grand adventure that lets trekkers experience the rural Himalayan life of the ethnic Sherpa people while also taking in the vistas of the Everest massif. The river valleys of the Khumbu are blessed with alpine woodlands and the trekking journey also takes trekkers through the famous Sagarmatha National Park- a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
Likewise, the Everest Base Camp is a moderate trekking journey. In general, the trekking journey lasts for about 14 to 15 days, but of course, the length of the trekking journey can vary according to the trekker’s preferences as well. It can be done by first-time trekkers as well, with some prior trekking preparation.
Everest Base Camp Trek- Altitude
The Everest Base Camp Trek usually starts from Lukla. From there, the trekking journey then gradually gains altitude until finally reaching the base camp of Mount Everest. One of the major highlights of the trekking journey is the vantage point of Kalapatthar, famous for presenting panoramic views of the entire Mount Everest massif and its neighboring peaks. Kalapatthar is perhaps the highest point of the trekking journey, where trekkers reach the altitude of 5,643 meters. The base camp itself is situated at an altitude of 5,380 meters.
As such, slow, comfortable and gradual ascend throughout the journey is important.
Generally, the trekking journey has about two days for acclimatization. The acclimatization days are, for the most part, reserved at Namche bazaar and the Dingboche village. Namche Bazaar is situated at an altitude of 3,440 meters, while Dingboche is situated at 4,410 meters. Letting your body properly adjust to the altitude is important to prevent getting altitude sick. Acute Mountain Sickness can make the trekking journey unpleasant and can sometimes be fatal if not treated properly.
It takes 10 days of trekking towards the base camp, but only 3 days to trek back. This is because it is more difficult to trek up higher altitudes than the descent.
Everest Base Camp Trek- Length
From Lukla, the average length of the trekking journey to the base camp is about, in approximation, 65 kilometers round trip. The length may not seem formidable, but various factors also come into play during the trekking journey, like the rocky and up-and-downhill terrain, the load of the backpack that trekkers carry and the average speed of the trekkers. Most trekkers can opt to hire porters to carry their backpacks for them as well. On a standard 16 days trekking journey, trekkers will generally walk for 12 days, with two days reserved for acclimatization. Roughly, the average distance covered by the trekkers during the journey from one destination to the next in a day is about 15 kilometers.
Training for the Everest Base Camp Trek
Considering the length and duration of the trekking journey, it is important to prepare the body before the trip. As stated, a good amount of stamina is needed to keep up with the trekking journey. Preparing the body about six to eight weeks before the trekking trip is suitable preparation for the trekking journey. Doing cardio exercises like running, jogging or swimming can help to prepare the body for the trip. Cardiovascular exercises help in increasing the body’s stamina and boost energy, all factors necessary for a smooth trekking journey. In general, the trekking journey consists of walking long distances for a long period per day, from one destination to the ext., crossing the Himalayan terrain. For this, it is important to train your body to tackle hiking long distances for extended periods. For this, trekkers can prepare the body by taking long hikes and gradually increasing the distance.
Equipment and Gears for Everest Base Camp Trekking
Predominantly, the Everest Base Camp Trek does not require an extensive list of gears or equipment to do. However, basic gears for the trekking journey include a basic pair of hiking poles to assist in the trek, other equipments like suitable clothes for the weather and climate of the Himalayas and most important, a good pair of hiking boots that trekkers have broken-into. It is good to pack as less as possible and only carry the necessary things.
Another important thing to consider while trekking is keeping hydrated. Most of the travel agencies do not include drinking water in the trekking package. Thus, trekkers can either opt to buy bottled water from the shops in the mountains or use water purification methods for drinking water. For the sake of the environment, it is best to carry water-purifying equipment, like purifying tablets or other methods like SteriPEN, and a good water bottle for water storage.
Best Time for Everest Base Camp Trekking
Nepal experiences two major peak trekking seasons in a year- the spring season and the autumn. The spring season lasts from March to May, while the autumn season lasts from September to November. Both the peak trekking seasons are ideal times for the Everest Base Camp Trek as they present the best weather conditions for the journey, with good visibility and very few flight cancellations. Retrospectively, the seasons of winter and summer are not considered good for the trekking journey as the summer season experiences constant summer-showers that make the trekking trail muddy and does not provide good visibility. On the other hand, the winter season experiences heavy snowfall at higher altitudes, blocking the trekking trail.
In conclusion, the Everest Base Camp Trek is a moderate level trekking journey that anyone can do, even first-time trekkers. It is a beautiful journey that encapsulates the wonder of the Everest region, presenting trekkers with a chance to fully immerse themselves in the Himalayan ambiance.