Everest Base Camp Trek – Nepal’s Most Famous Trek

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On this page you will find a comprehensive and impartial guide to the Everest Base Camp Trek.

As this is a very long and detailed article on the Everest Base Camp Trek, we recommend using the quicklinks below to navigate to the sections that interest you most. Alternatively, bookmark this page for future reference.

Route Overview

The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular and iconic treks in Nepal.

Home to four of the six highest mountains in the world – Mt. Everest (8,848 meters), Mt. Lhotse (8,516 meters), Mt. Makalu (8,470 meters) and Cho Oyu (8,201 meters) – the Everest (or Khumba) region affords trekkers the opportunity to hike in one of the grandest and most awe-inspiring trekking areas in the world. 

Trekkers get to retrace the footsteps taken by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their historic Everest expedition in 1953.

In this detailed Everest Base Camp trek article you will find information on the typical route and it’s variations; a day-by-day itinerary breakdown of the trek; practical information on accommodation, meals, permits, equipment and insurance; as well as guidance on the best time to trek Everest Base Camp.

Key Highlights

Highlights on the trek include: unforgettable mountain views from Kala Patther, including Mt. Everest; the chance to see the famous Everest region Sherpas and Sherpa town – Namche Bazaar; sightseeing in the Sagarmatha National Park – a World Heritage Site; glimpses of the highest Buddhist monasteries in the world; and a sneak preview into the inner workings of the base camp to the world’s highest mountain.

Regional Map

The Everest Base Camp trek is situated in the Everest, or Khumba region of Nepal (see map). It is the most popular trek in the region, if not the country.

Khumbu-Valley-Trek-map

Recommended Map

everest-3-passes-map

This map is one of the better representational schematics of the Everest Base Camp trail (we believe it is from GlobeTrekker but can’t be certain as their are many scattered across Google Images).

The map shows the classic Everest Base Camp trek running up from Lukla to Namche Bazaar and then veering North-east up to Pheriche / Dingboche. From Dingboche / Periche the trail turns North-west to Lobuche before heading north gain to Gorak Shep. From here Everest Base Camp can be seen to the East and Kala Pattar in the North-west.

The map also shows the route to Island Peak in the East, via Dingboche and Chhukung, and the Goyko Lakes in the West.

Please note: The map is not to scale and should not be used as an accurate representation of the Everest Base Camp trek route. We provide links below to excellent maps of the Everest region.

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Itinerary

Most trekkers fly from Kathmandu to Lukla Airport to begin their Everest Base Camp trek. The ‘classic’ or typical route follows straight up the Khumba Valley and through the Sagarmatha National Park to Everest Base Camp.

Variations via Gokyo Lakes or Chhukhung Valley are also popular (see the variations section below).

The typical Everest Base Camp trek duration is between 14-16 days (including transfers between Kathmandu and Lukla). The trek itself (excluding sightseeing in Kathmandu and transfers) usually lasts about 12 days with acclimatisation days at Namche Bazaar and Pheriche.

Here is a brief overview of a typical itinerary on an Everest Base Camp trek, with approximate trekking times and altitudes.

Click each day to read more...

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6​​​​

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

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Altitude Profile

Here is an altitude profile chart for a typical Everest Base Camp trek.

everest-base-camp-trek-altitude-map1

Route Variations

  • Gokyo Lakes trek
  • chhukhung valley
  • Island peak

The Gokyo Lakes or Gokyo Ri Trek is a fantastic variation on the Everest Base Trek. The route begins in Lukla and follows the traditional EBC trek itinerary for the first three days up to Namche Bazaar. Here it veers off to the North-west via the towns of Dole and Machemo, up to the stunningly beautiful Gokyo Lakes. The trail then ascends Gokyo Ri (5,483 meters) and traverses Cho La Pass (5,420 meters) before joining back up with the classic base camp trek at Lobuche.

The variation adds 2-3 days to an average Everest Base Camp trek but provides an excellent opportunity to avoid the crowds on the busy everest trail, as well as gives one the opportunity to trek up and down on different routes.

Read more about the Gokyo Lakes Trek here.

Video Overview

A great video overview of the Everest Base Camp Trek by Gareth Leonard. It’s just under 7 minutes long and worth every minute.

Recommended Guidebook

trekking-in-nepal-guidebook

The classic trail itself is well-worn, but there are many smaller yak trails that can confuse people.

We recommend taking a detailed trekking map. The region is sparse and it is possible to get lost in the many valleys that lie on either side of the main trail. The most recent Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya provides the most up to date information and maps of the region.

Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons’s book: A Trekking Guide to Everest is also rather good.

For a more general guide to Nepal you may want to check out the Nepal Lonely Planet Travel Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the trek cost?

Like many treks in Nepal, there are three ways you can plan your Everest Base Camp trek. For a detailed breakdown on the cost of an Everest Base Trek, see our Everest Base Camp Trek Cost article.

1. Independent trekking: Here you organise your trek. You will need to get yourself from Kathmandu to Lukla (a flight is the fastest and easiest; there are buses but these are rather unpleasant). You can employ the services of a porter or guide in Lukla or indeed in Namche, but it is important to note that as an independent trekker it is illegal to use a guide or porter that is not licensed as a trekking agent through TAAN, or affiliated with a licensed trekking agent. You will need a Green TIMS card (costing NPR 2,000), money to buy food and water, a reliable and accurate map, and negotiations skills to book teahouse accommodation. Estimated cost for an independent trek excluding flights: $500-$800

2. Local tour operator: There are many local tour operators in Kathmandu who organise guided Everest Base Camp treks. Generally local operators are quite good. You will join a group of trekkers (up to 15 people) and have a team of porters, assistant guides and lead guides (who can speak English) of a similar size to the trekking group. It is important to check that your local operator is a licensed trekking agent. We recommend shopping around and asking for recommendations from other trekkers. The cheap local operators tend to be the least reliable, often only providing tent accommodation or access to old and poorly run teahouses. Their ethical standards towards staff and the local environment may not be to the highest standard as well. Estimated cost for an Everest Base Camp trek organised by a local tour operator: $700-$2,000.

3. Western run / operated tours: There are many Western run companies that offer Everest Base Camp treks. Most of these Western companies have their own ground teams or strong relationships with the best local tour operators who they outsource their on-the-ground operation to, whilst managing the overall tour experience. The best Western companies own their on-the-ground operations. Expect a well run tour with either a Western guide or a very well trained local guide who understands the subtle service nuances expected of a Western trekker. Estimated cost for an Everest Base Camp trek organised by a Western run tour operator: $1,200-3,000.

A fourth option of joining a Everest climbing expedition is also possible. Major climbing operators like Adventure Consultants, Jagged Globe or Alpine Ascents usually offer Everest Base Camp trekking spaces on their Everest climbing expeditions. Securing a trekking space a can be a little pricey but offers one an incredible insight into an Everest expedition as well as the chance to spend a night or two at Everest Base Camp.

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Are permits required for the trek?

Yes, there are two permits you require for standard treks from Lukla to EBC. They are:

1. Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS Card)

TIMS cards are issued by the Tourism Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN). There are three different types:

  • Organised TIMS Card (Blue in colour, USD 10). If you are trekking with an organised tour these will be arranged for you. You will need to provide your passport number and one passport photograph
  • Individual TIMS Card (Green in colour, USD 20). If you are trekking independently (without support) you will need to get one of these TIMS cards from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu
  • SAARC Country TIMS Card (Red in colour, USD 3). These cards are for nationals from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, i.e. India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

2. Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit (USD 30 + 13% Govt. Tax)

The Sagarmatha National Park or Solukhumbu is the region through which the EBC trek runs. A National park entry permit is required to enter Sagarmatha. Permits can be acquired at the first checkpoint along the route, north of Lukla called Monjo. The cost is US$30 + 13% tax for trekkers using a trek operator or agency, as well as for independent trekkers. Permits can also be acquired in Kathmandu, but we recommend getting it in Monjo as it is more straightforward.

For treks from Jiri to Everest Base Camp, there is another permit required called the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project permit. It costs US$20 (no discount for independent trekkers or SAAEC nationals). The checkpoint is at at Shivalaya (just after Jiri). We recommend getting the permit in Kathmandu before departing as the cost is double if they have to issue the permit in Shivalaya.

As a rule of thumb we recommend bringing at least 4 passport size photographs for all your permit requirements.

When is the best time to trek?

everest-base-camp-weather

The best time to trek Everest Base Camp is during the dry and warm months of September through November of March through late May / Early June.

The monsoon rains arrive in mid-late June and get into full swing for the months of July and August (as seen in the average rainfall map below). The route is really too wet for trekking and you would be better placed to explore treks in rain shadow areas like the Upper Manang, Mustang, Annapurna or Dolpo region.

December, January and early February are very cold. Treks run during these periods but be prepared for freezing temperatures and possible snow flurries. The upside is that the route is a lot quieter than in the peak seasons.

The chart shows average temperatures and rainfall in Nepal (data from 1960-1990 compliments of the Climate Change Knowledge Portal at the World Bank)

Is altitude sickness a risk?

An Everest Base Camp trek takes one from a moderately high altitude, 2,800 meters in Lukla, to high altitude, over 5,300 meters at Everest Base Camp and over 5,500 meters at Kala Patthar. At these higher altitudes the body needs to have acclimatised to the lower saturation of oxygen in the air in order to avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness (or what is sometimes referred to as Acute Mountain Sickness – AMS).

The good news is that a typical Everest Base Camp trek has a slow ascent profile which maximises the amount of time available to acclimatise. Nonetheless, every year 100s of people suffer altitude sickness symptoms and some need to cut their trek short due to more severe complications.

We highly recommend you take some time to read our guidance on Acclimatisation and Altitude Sickness in Nepal.

How difficult is the trek?

Firstly, it should be noted that the Everest Base Camp trek requires no climbing expertise and there are certainly no technical climbing sections. With determination and a basic fitness level, you should be able to trek the route. We have seen old and young, overweight and underweight complete the trek – all with a smile on their face!

With that being said, there are certainly some factors that should be considered prior to your trek, such as altitude, length and training that will enable you to better understand what you are getting yourself into before deciding.

See our detailed article on Everest Base Camp Difficulty here.

What gear do I need?

One of the most frequent questions that we get asked is what gear should be packed for an Everest Base Camp trek.

To make your life a lot easier we have written a very detailed Everest Base Camp packing list article. The list is fairly exhaustive but includes all the absolutely necessary items of clothing and gear that you should bring with you.

You will have the opportunity to either buy or rent gear in Kathmandu, Lukla or even in Namche Bazaar, but in general we recommend you bring with you the main items (i.e. backpack, hiking boots, warm down jacket, sleeping bag, trekking poles, appropriate trekking clothes, headgear and gloves etc.)

See: Everest Base Camp Packing List


What travel insurance do I need?

Trekking Everest Base Camp comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel and trekking insurance for all treks in Nepal.

On the Everest Base Camp trek you will reach a maximum altitude of 5,416 meters, so it is important you choose an insurance package that covers you up to that altitude.

In our detailed trekking insurance article you will find the key things you need to consider in terms of travel and trekking insurance, as well as a useful insurance calculator which provides an immediate quote based on your country of origin and period of travel.

See: Trekking Insurance for EBC.

Other Routes

Annapurna Circuit Trek

One of the most iconic treks in the world, the Annapurna Circuit trek follows a counter-clockwise route, passing through the Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi regions. Perfect for trekkers with lots of spare time on their hands.

Langtang-Valley-Trek-routes

Langtang Valley Trek

The Langtang Valley Trek is a relatively easy trek and is often far less busy than other popular treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. The trek can be done in seven days, however, it usually takes 10 to 12 days. Discover the Langtang Valley Trek.

manaslu-circuit-trek-1

Manaslu Circuit Trek

Robin Boustead, author of Nepal Trekking & the Great Himalaya Trail: A route and planning guide, pronounced, “Many would argue that the Manaslu Circuit trail is the best general trek in the country.” Discover the Manaslu Circuit Trek.

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