You are a passionate trekker, you love the mountains… and you have always dreamed of seeing the roof of the world? But your dream just hasn’t come true, yet? This short article may help you set the course for an unforgettable adventure in the Himalayas of Nepal.
If this is your first trip to Nepal and you are not sure which trek is suitable for you, you may want to consider the trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC), following the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who reached the summit of Mount Everest (8.848 m) for the first time in 1953. The Everest Base Camp awaits you with a close-up view of the world’s highest mountain, or you can even hike up to Kala Patthar and enjoy a breathtaking sunrise from there.
But your journey is just as spectacular as your destination: Your 15- to 20-day itinerary starts with a domestic flight to Lukla and takes you through stunning sceneries from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche and Gorakhshep. Discover scenic villages, the unique Sherpa culture, the flora and fauna of the Sagarmatha National Park, an ancient trading route between Nepal and Tibet, beautiful monasteries and thrilling suspension bridges.
With every step you make, the spirit of the majestic mountains will surround you and leave memories that last for a lifetime. The traditional teahouses along the way will welcome you with accommodation, tasty food and a convivial atmosphere where you can share your adventure with fellow trekkers from all over the world while taking a well-deserved rest.
What is the best time to trek EBC?
Spring (March to April) and autumn (end of September to November) offer the best weather conditions with stunning views for spectacular photographs. The climbing season for Mount Everest is in April and May, so expect a bit more traffic during this time. It is also possible to do the EBC trek off-season in December, but be prepared for lower temperatures.
How difficult is the trek?
The Everest Base Camp trek is considered to be a moderate trek. Make sure to use good shoes that provide stability on the rocky, steep and sometimes snowy trails. Trekking poles are very helpful, too. You need to be fit and healthy, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a professional athlete. Prepare with regular exercise and plenty of hikes before you embark on your big adventure.
A positive mindset is just as important – be confident that you will reach your goal, but, don’t make it a race! With a slow, but steady pace, you can maintain your energy level and reduce the risk of altitude sickness. Lots of fluids are important, too. Avoid caffeine, eat Dal Bhat – the traditional Nepali dish – and Garlic soup.
What do I need to pack?
While it is possible to rent equipment in Kathmandu, you should at least bring your own hiking boots to make sure you are comfortable and don’t get blisters. Your clothing depends on the season in which you trek, but in general, layering is the best advice. Be prepared for cold temperatures in higher altitudes, especially at night time.
Your clothing list should include warm underwear, trekking shirts, base layers, a fleece, a down jacket, a rain jacket, hiking trousers, hiking socks and warm socks, gloves, a hat, beanie and scarf. Don’t forget UV protecting sunglasses, as the sunlight is intense up there.
Trekking poles, as mentioned above, are very recommended, and you definitely need a good quality sleeping bag (rated for at least -10°C). Other items to bring: daypack, water bottle, waterproof bag, plastic bag, tissues, cash, headlamp, towel, camera, charger and spare batteries, earplugs, water purification tablets, hand sanitizer, a first-aid-kit, medical kit and sunscreen. And last, but not least, you need a comfortable backpack with a raincover (45 – 65 l, depending on if you go with a porter or not). This list is not complete, but it should help you get an idea.
Do I need a guide?
You don’t necessarily need a guide to go to Everest Base Camp, but if you want to fully focus on your holiday without any hassle, it is recommended to leave the planning and organization to a local expert. Just in case your domestic flight is delayed or your accommodation is fully booked or things just don’t go as planned… it is always good to have a trustworthy contact person who can assist you.
And most importantly, a local guide will share his/her knowledge and experiences with you, introduce you to the unique Nepali culture and make sure you are safe, so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.