• Updated on Jan 18, 2022

Hiking to Everest Base Camp (EBC) is on many adventurers’ bucket lists! Below you will find all of the information needed to you choose this trek to knock off “the list.” You’re already halfway to success because if you’re reading this, you’re going to be prepared.

Table of Contents

Where do the North base camp and south base camp of Everest lie?

At 5464 meters, the south base camp is the most popular destination, found on the Khumbu Glacier of Nepal. You begin your journey by boarding a short flight from Kathmandu to Lukla airport (landing on a 527-meter airstrip which is at the altitude of 9318ft), and trek for approx. 8 days.

Part of the reason for its popularity may be due to the simple fact that it is easier to trek to the Southside, than the Northside, as there is little to no technical climbing required.

North base camp lies in Tibet in the autonomous region of China. It is reached through a paved road ride after branching off from the national highway of China to Zhangmu. This base camp is situated on the Rongbuk glacier at an altitude of 5150 meters.

How to choose the right itinerary for the Everest base camp hike?

Most people follow the 11 nights and 12 days itinerary for EBC which takes 8 days on the way up from Lukla to Everest base camp and includes the two acclimatization days in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche. Likewise, it is only three days to descend back to Lukla. This itinerary works for most of the trekkers with normal physical fitness.

However for some real adventurers or fit people or people with previous high altitude trekking experiences it is doable in a shorter period of time and in another hand it should give more days for the senior citizens to acclimatize and take it easy.

How hard is it to hike to Mount Everest base camp?

This is a challenging opportunity, but not impossible. You should have a regular exercise routine that involves cardio in some capacity. Many people who live at sea level, Rest assured that with proper conditioning, you could complete this journey, even if you have never been to high altitudes before.

How to get to the trailhead of Mount Everest base camp hike?

There are a few popular options to get to the trailhead of EBC (South), all depending on your holiday duration, physical fitness, and budget.

By land:

Pros: Cheapest option, more hiking

Con: Not ideal if you’re short on time (adds an extra three days)

Option One: From Kathmandu, board a local bus to Jiri which takes about 8-10 hours. The ticket can be bought at the Araniko Yatayat ticket counter in the old bus park, which is located 2 km southeast of Thamel. It typically departs around 6 am and costs 800 Nepali rupees. From here you walk for approximately 7 days to arrive in Lukla. This trail covers the traditional route for summiting Mount Everest which was used mostly before the Lukla airport was built. 

Option Two: Hire a private vehicle in Kathmandu and drive to Jiri. More expensive than the bus, but it is faster, cleaner, and safer. From here you walk for approximately 7 days to arrive in Lukla. This trail covers the traditional route for summiting Mount Everest.

Option Three: Hire a private vehicle or drive a local jeep from Kathmandu to Salleri, which is approximately 12 hours long. Salleri is the district headquarters of Solukhumbu, and from here you will venture on a three-day walk to Lukla. or you also have the choice to fly to Phaplu airport in Salleri.

By air:

Pros: Better if you’re short on time.

Cons: More expensive

Traveling by air is the most popular and easiest way to reach Lukla. The flight length is about 30 minutes from Kathmandu. In the peak season, about 300-500 people land in Lukla airport every day. The flight is operated by a small twin-otter or Dornier aircraft in which 14-18 passengers are seated. The ticket for the flight can be bought from any trek and travel agency in nearby Thamel for about $180 USD per person.

How much time do you need to trek the EBC South route?

On the way up: Normally people take 8 days to reach EBC from Lukla; this includes two acclimatization days on the way up. The first acclimatization day takes place at Namche bazaar on the day 3rd of the trek and the second acclimatization day takes place at Dingboche on the 6th day. On rare occasions, more acclimatization days are added, depending on some trekker’s physical preparedness and adjustments to altitude.

On the way down: Normally people take 3 to 4 days to return to Lukla. The way back can be more enjoyable if done in 4 days, as the trekking hours are longer, although it is “mountain flat”, which is mostly downhill.

Hiring a guide and porter VS trek without a guide.

Hiring a guide or porter from a company ensures your safety and makes your trek exponentially more enjoyable. They are trained in wilderness first aid, with expertise in high altitude illnesses and safety concerns. They are proactive in keeping you as fit and functioning as possible, within the confines of the Himalayas. They constantly advise you on how the route will look in the short and long term (for example, “you have 45 minutes up uphill, and then lunch”. Guides and porters can give your insight into the local people, culture, and history of the region. They help with securing lodging and ordering meals, and if you’re interested, teach you a few words in the local dialects. They are familiar with the emergency plans for each town and have quick and easy access to the telecommunication systems. Unless you have experience trekking in Nepal, it’s better for you (and the local economy) if you hire a guide and porter.

Porters are normally hired to carry the equipment that you do not need during the day (sleeping bag, spare clothing, etc.). They work hard, are trustworthy, and keep your gear safe.

If you choose to do this without a guide and porter, it will be cheaper. However keep in mind that you will need to take care of all of your lodging, vehicle rentals, domestic flights, food, and carrying equipment (other than your day bag). Moreover, you will have nobody to guide and accompany you if you are in trouble. Having a map and information about the region might help to some extent but it lags in real-time information which might pose a great difficulty while you are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

What kinds of food can you find during your EBC trek?

The food on the mountain is largely dependent on the local farmers. The food is large in quantity but doesn’t compare to large city culinary expertise. All food is gourmet after 7-8 hours of trekking! Due to the varying altitudes and guide houses, you’ll get a variety of options during your trek:

For lunch and dinner: from typical Nepalese dishes like Dal Bhat (rice, lentil, curry set) to western foods such as fried rice, fried noodles, fried potatoes, potato chips, macaroni, spaghetti, pizzas, noodle soups, variety of soups, sandwich, etc.

For breakfast: you can get pancakes, bread, chapatti, muesli, porridge, cornflakes, different egg items, etc.

For the drinks: you can find coke, sprite or Fanta and fruits juices for the cold drinks. You also can get beers and hard drinks along the trail but which are not recommended as options on the way up to EBC …. But you can have a few on the way down!

How is the accommodation during the hike to Mount Everest base camp treks?

Although many people imagine that EBC is solely a landscape that offers remote, rough terrain, you can choose to trek in luxury for most of your trip. The accommodation available ranges from basic teahouses to mountain hotels! It all depends on your budget and how much comfort you’re looking for.

Basic Teahouse accommodation: This type of accommodation is available all the way to Gorak Shep which is the last settlement on this trip. Teahouse accommodation is a room with two beds and comes with a pillow and a blanket for each bed. But for toilet use, you have to go to a communal toilet place which is normally located outside the guesthouse. These types of rooms cost from $5 USD to $ 7 USD.

Room with attached toilet: If you have a little higher budget and want to avoid going outside for toilets at night there is an option to choose an attached toilet room. These types of rooms cost from $15 to $70 USD depending on if it has a hot shower, heaters inside the room. This type of accommodation is available till Dingboche (4400m) which can be reached on day 5 of the trek.

Mountain hotel: While trekking to Everest Base Camp you can find a proper hotel that comes with a room consisting of a comfy mattress, clean bedsheets, electric blanket, private bathroom, and a hot shower! They also include buffet-style meals. These types of rooms cost about $250-$350 USD per night for a couple. Hotels are available until Pangboche (3900m) which is day 4th of the trek.

What are the basic medicines that you shouldn’t forget to carry for EBC Trek?

  • Diamox (acetazolamide): helps you to breathe faster and deeper. Has side effects such as tingling sensation in ears and toes.
  • Ibuprofen: it helps to relieve altitude headaches.
  • Imodium: it helps to stop diarrhea.
  • Paracetamol: for a mild headache.
  • Anti-allergic medicine.
  • Anti-nausea tablets.
  • Electrolyte’s powder.
  • Vitamin C: helpful for cold and flu.
  • Lozenges tablet: for sore throat.

What should I bring during the trek to Everest base camp?

Although it depends on the trekker's choices and interests, however, it is suggested to bring good enough trekking gear to tackle the much colder weather in the mountains as the weather is mostly unpredictable. the lists below are just general ideas for the trekker who wants to trek to EBC.

  1. A duffel bag: is one of the things that you need to bring if you are organizing your trek through a trekking agency. In it, you put all the trekking essentials which are carried by the porter during the trek. Regarding the size, you can choose between 90 liters to 130 liters.
  2. Day pack bag: used to store the items you need during the day, and should be comfortable and fitted for you to wear. Items that go into your day bag include your water bottle, wallet, windproof jacket, camera, glove, etc. The recommended size is 30-40 liters as smaller would be too tight and hard to zip up.
  3. Rucksack: is handy for independent trekkers to stuff their essentials.
  4. Water bottles or Camelbak. It is recommended to bring two bottles as you can treat in both bottles and you don’t have to run out of water while there is no refilling place. The problem with one bottle is you have to refill and treat it; you have to wait until it gets ready to drink. It is highly recommended to bring a water bottle that can contain hot water as you can put hot water and throw it in the sleeping bag which warms up quicker in colder places.
  5. Sleeping bag: it is one of the essential things in the mountain which you need for warm night sleep in the mountain. You need to bring around -20 sleeping bags.
  6. Trekking shoes: this is the one thing we recommend buying at home and walking for at least 10 hours prior to coming to Nepal. That way you will identify hot spots for blisters and know how to treat your feet before altitude.

Upper body:

  • Waterproof Rain Jacket or Poncho
  • Fleece gloves (1 pair)
  • Insulated gloves (1 pair)
  • Merino wool long sleeve shirts (2)
  • Windproof outer layer (1)
  • Sunglass (1)
  • Sun hat (1)
  • Fleece hat (1)
  • Buff (1)
  • Down jacket (1)

Lower body

  • Hiking pants (2)
  • Thermal pants (2)
  • Windproof pant (1)
  • Hiking socks (3 pairs)
  • Underwear (preferably not cotton)

Miscellaneous items

  • Water purifying tablets
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Earplugs
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen (SPF 40+)
  • Mobile phone with charger and voltage converter
  • Zip-lock bags to waterproof and separate items in your bags
  • Diary
  • Camera
  • Medical kit
  • Sandals (one pair for lodge and showers)
  • Playing cards
  • Headlamp or torch with extra batteries
  • Walking pole. 

Is EBC trek safe?

EBC trek is safe for travelers with respect to the people. You must consider the fact that everyone responds to altitude differently. You must schedule acclimation days, even if you feel fine. You must purify your water, even if you have drunk water from other countries. You must avoid salads and meat while trekking, as these foods, maybe cooked differently and washed with unpurified water. Listen to your guide, if you have hired one. Most important is watching for signs of altitude sickness. Headaches, confusion, difficulty breathing; again, follow the advice of your guide.

To sum it up, EBC is safe if you play by the rules.

What are the keys to success for the Everest base camp trek?

  • Plan your own itinerary according to your fitness and age.
  • Consult with a doctor about the trip and health problems if you have any.
  • Pack properly with warmer gears to tackle the cold weather in high elevation.
  • Hire a guide and porter which makes the trip smoother and less stressful thinking about the next day's walk, accommodation, food, and load carrying.
  • Drink plenty during the trek minimum of 3 liters a day.
  • Eat properly as you need more energy during the trek.
  • Listen to your body properly and provide extra acclimatization days if needed before heading to a higher elevation. 

How can I get drinking water during the trek to Everest base camp?

  • Refill the water from the taps: This is the most popular option for many as about 70 percent of the trekkers do that. You can bring your water bottle which can be refilled from the tap in the guest house or along the trail and put some iodine or chlorine tabs or drops to cure the water. This all is the cheapest way and even good for the environment as there every year tons of plastic bottles and other trash piles up and pollute this region.
  • Buying bottled water: About 30 percent of trekkers chose to buy bottled drinking water that is already treated. This is an option for those worried about the taste of the water purifier. But buying bottled drinking water is an expensive way as the cost of a bottle goes from 100 rupees to 500 rupees until the top.

Do I need to train for Everest base camp hiking or can anyone do it?

This is another most frequently asked question by many whether they need to be trained for hiking to Everest Base Camp or not. It always makes a difference to some extent if you are fit and trained before trekking as it increases your stamina and endurance as well as your breathing capacity which increases the possibility of your trip success.

However, it is doable for those as well if they can handle 4-8 hours uphill and downhill for 11 days along with good endurance and a determined person can handle the hike to Everest base camp. As long as you go at your own pace and follow acclimation rules, you will be in a good position to succeed.

When is the best time of year for the Everest base camp trek?

It is known that “Nepal is for all seasons,” however the most popular trekking seasons are the early spring (March-May) and fall (September – November).

Spring is popular because the temperature is relatively warmer, there is less snowfall and the sky remains clear. You will have a great view of the mountains in the spring. Spring is also the season when the national flower of Nepal “rhododendron” blooms which adds up for the scenery. Moreover, this is also the most popular season for mountaineering as weather is more predictable and ice remains compact which is good for championing.

Autumn is a popular season because temperatures in the mountain remain temperate, the sky is also normally clear, and the weather is more predictable than the summer or winter.

How long does it take from Everest base camp to summit?

Normally, the climber spends about 2 months altogether resting and acclimatizing for high altitude before they get ready for the summit however this might differ depending on the experiences and fitness. During the climbing course, they do up and down to camp IV and return to base camp several times until they get ready for the summit. They also have to wait for the best weather window to the summit.

Kumar Lamsal

Kumar Lamsal

Kumar is one of the Co-founders and Managing directors of Discover Altitude holding 18 years of experience in the tourism sector of Nepal. He has trekked to almost all the popular regions of Nepal and is an authorized trekking and tour guide.

Started his career as a porter to support his study, now holds MPhil and LLB degree, and is doing his Ph.D. in religious studies. He loves traveling to the Himalayas and has deep knowledge about religion, culture, and history.

Kumar is also involved in the teaching sector as a part-timer to deliver his research related to the cultural and religious diversity of Nepal and is the one who mostly answers your queries giving them his personal touch through his decade-long experience.