Be prepared and enjoy one of the best treks in the world!
The trek to Everest Base Camp is an incredible journey, taking you through the villages surrounding the largest and most impressive mountain range in the world. The journey starts with taking a plane or helicopter ride to Lukla, termed as the world’s most dangerous airport. Some choose to take an extended trek starting with a jeep ride from Kathmandu to Salleri. But be warned it is a jeep ride and not a bus for a reason. Either way, the rest of the trek consists of weaving through the iconic mountain villages of Nepal, slowly climbing 9,000 ft (from Lukla) in elevation to Everest Base Camp, with an added climb up to the summit of Kala Patthar at 5,644m/18,519 ft for sunrise. Make sure not to miss out on the opportunity to witness one of the most amazing sunrises you will ever watch in your life.
The trek to base camp involves so much more than just hiking through a beautiful landscape, as it gives the opportunity to immerse yourself in Nepalese culture at tea houses, try authentic cuisine including the favorite dal baht, and to trek alongside the Sherpas, who are unbelievable climbers with the strongest necks out there.
Do you have to be in great shape to trek to Everest Base Camp?
The trek can be done by people of all ages and abilities, but it does take initial prep to complete successfully. You do need to be in decent shape, as multiple days of trekking can take a toll on anyone, especially when at this attitude. Also, altitude can affect every person differently. Even the most fit athletes can fail on this trek due to complications from high altitude. High altitude is not a joke.
However, if you take the time to prepare, this trek is attainable for most, even without hiking experience. If you do not have a ton of hiking experience, it is wise to start preparing for the trek 6 months ahead of time. Do not take it lightly though, hikers do need to be able to trek for 5 -6 hours each day on uneven, rocky, and steep terrain.
Do you need to hire a guide?
The trek can be done with hiring a Sherpa as a guide or independently. If done independently, make sure to take some time prior to leaving to do some in-depth research. A guide will be a great option for those without the time to adequately research prior to leaving or those looking for a unique connection with the local community. Personally, I choose to trek independently, as I wanted to choose the specific route and have control over my accommodations. However, if you are not experienced with hiking, I would suggest a guide. A guide will make your trip more enjoyable and you will have much less to worry about. Regardless, make sure to do general research about the trek and get into shape, as high altitude can be brutal, prior to arrival.
What time of year can you trek to Everest Base Camp?
There are two “ideal” weather windows to trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. The first one of the year, which is also the most popular, is from March to May. The temperatures are relatively warm compared to the fall, and mornings are bright and clear. Typically, the afternoon brings clouds and hazy skies.
The second ideal window is in the fall from October to December. The weather is cooler, but there are also less crowds compared to the spring. Mountain views are best during this time. The days are sunny and clear with moderate temperatures. The nights are quite cold, with frost almost a guarantee for the morning. Be prepared for snow fall, especially when at the higher elevations.
Be careful when trekking at the end of the season, or anytime during off-season, as it is very common for flights to be cancelled indefinitely. Planes from Lukla will typically only fly out during a small window each morning, if at all. It is not unheard of for flights to be nonexistent for over a week at a time. Plan ahead and leave a few extra days at the end of the trek. When planes cannot fly, other options to leave Lukla include a helicopter or further trek to Salleri with a multi-day jeep ride. Helicopters can run later in the day and in worse weather. Another option is a grass field, Surkey, which is slightly lower in elevation from Lukla. Surkey stays clear of clouds longer than Lukla, but there is no runway for planes. Helicopter tickets are purchased in Lukla before descending to Surkey.
The key to having a successful and enjoyable trek to base camp includes bringing the correct pieces of gear. The idea is to get the maximum comfort, warmth, and weather protection while bringing the minimum amount of weight. Choosing the appropriate equipment can make all the difference.
- Backpack (40 – 48L) w/ rain cover
- Base Layers (top and bottom)(heavy or mid-weight depending on time of trek)
- Hiking Pants
- Hiking Shorts
- Long Sleeve Shirts
- Casual Shirts/Pants for Teahouses
- Lightweight Wool Socks
- Rain Jacket
- Insulated Down/Synthetic Jacket
- Hiking Shoes
- Camp Shoes
- Sunscreen and Lip Balm
- Soap and Hand Sanitizer
- Body Wipes
- Personal Toiletries
- Personal Medications in Prescription Bottles (clearly marked)
- First Aid Kit
- Purification Water Bottle
- Electrolyte Packets
- Headlamp w/ Batteries
- Camera and Phone w/ Chargers
- Recommended: Camp Towel, Energy Snacks, Sleeping Bag (provided blankets but are not the most clean), Throat Lozenges, Trekking Poles, Solar Charger, Reading Material, Journal, Eye Mask/Earplugs, Luggage Locks, Large Plastic Bag (wet and dirty clothes)
- Airline Tickets
- Passport (2 copies)
- Nepal Visa (may be obtained at Kathmandu Airport)
- Passport Photos
- Valid Passport
- Copy of Printed Trek Itinerary
- Travel Insurance
For more tips, check out 18 Facts About the Everest Base Camp Trek to be prepared prior to your departure!
Everest Base Camp (EBC) Itinerary
This 12-day itinerary will start in the bustling city of Kathmandu before taking a small plane or helicopter to the crazy runway strip in Lukla. From Lukla the trek starts gradual before ascending to the famous mountain village of Namche Bazaar, to the edge of Everest Base Camp, and a climb up Kala Patthar for sunrise. There are several rest days built into the itinerary to provide adequate time to acclimatize. Remember to drink tons of water, especially if taking Diamox (high altitude medication), to prevent high altitude sickness and to go at a comfortable pace. It is not a race! You want to make sure you have a great trek and successfully get to base camp.
The initial days are spent in Kathmandu, the capitol of Nepal, before taking a short but exhilarating 30 minute flight to Lukla Airport. The trek, for most, begins departing Lukla Airport in line to Namche Bazaar.
The Everest Base Camp Trek
Lukla to Monjo [Day 1]
Monjo to Namche Bazaar [Day 2]
Rest Day in Namche Bazaar [Day 3]
Namche Bazaar to Tengboche [Day 4]
Tengboche to Dingboche [Day 5]
Rest Day in Dingboche [Day 6]
Dingboche to Lobuche [Day 7]
Lobuche to Gorak Shep & EBC [Day 8]
Kala Patthar & Gorak Shep to Dingboche [Day 9]
Dingboche to Tengboche [Day 10]
Tengboche to Monjo [Day 11]
Monjo to Lukla [Day 12]
Generally speaking, leave a few extra days at the end of the trek in Lukla. Especially if trekking at the end of the season. Weather can cause a significant problem flying in and out of Lukla. Save yourself the stress of missing your international flight out of Kathmandu because you did not leave enough time for a delay in Lukla.
Day 1: Lukla (2,860m/9,383’) to Monjo (2,850m/9,350’)
- Distance & Time: 12.9 km/8.0 miles for a total of 3-4 hours
- Description of Day: Depending on the time of your flight from Kathmandu, ideally you will arrive at Lukla somewhere between 7 – 9 am. Take the time to have your first breakfast at a teahouse, exchange any money if needed (this will be one of the easiest location), and gradually take in the scenery on a relaxed downhill portion of the trek to Monjo. Pakding is a great spot to take a break for lunch. Take the afternoon to begin the acclimation process, as the elevation change from Kathmandu is quite large.
- Teahouse: Sonam Lodge
Day 2: Monjo (2,850m/9,350’) to Namche Bazaar (3,350m/11,320’)
- Distance & Time: 8km/5.0 miles for a total of about 5 hours
- Description of Day: The day starts with crossing a couple of Nepal’s famous suspension bridges until arriving at the official entrance of Sagarmatha National Park. Here you will pay the entrance fee (Rs 3000) and make sure you keep the ticket as there are several checkpoints throughout the trek. The trail follows the river until reaching the most impressive suspension bridges on the trek. After crossing, you will begin to ascend the famous Namche Hill, which will take about half of the total hiking time for the day. Pay close attention to exposed areas of the trail.
- Teahouse: Snow Land Hotel
Day 3: Rest Day (Acclimatization) in Namche Bazaar (3,350m/11,320’)
- Distance & Time: 3km/1.8 miles for a total of about 4 hours up Shangbouche Hill (3,900m/12,795’)
- Description of Day: The rest day in Namche Bazaar is spent touring the village, visiting the Namche Museum, and hiking up to the Shangbouche Airport. The day still involves a lot of walking, so not much of a rest day, but you will return to your teahouse in Namche Bazaar to sleep at a lower elevation. This is a critical component of allowing your body to adjust to the high altitude. Exposure to a higher altitude and then descending to sleep at a lower altitude helps give your body a better chance for a successful adjustment. The bottom of Namche Bazaar has a unique path through the center of the village with a bunch of shops, including gear stores like North Face. So, if you have noticed you may have forgot a piece of gear you will be able to find it here. Continue up from this street to the hilltop to the Namche Museum. From the museum, head uphill until you reach a flat runway (right behind Namche Bazaar). The trail up to the airport strip can be very steep. Enjoy the views and head back down to the lodge to rest for the afternoon.
- Teahouse: Snow Land Hotel
Day 4: Namche Bazaar (3,350m/11,320’) to Tengboche (3,900m/12,795’)
- Distance & Time: 12km/7.5 miles for a total of 4.5 – 6 hours
- Description of Day: The day begins by ascending out of Namche Bazaar, to the right of Shangbouche Airport. The trek stays relatively flat after the initial ascent, as the trail winds around the mountain side high above the valley floor. On a clear day, there are great views of the valley, but here is another area you will want to pay close attention to while trekking. Remember to always stay on the inside when walking past yaks, as they have been known to push people off the trail. The trail gradually makes its way back down to the river, which is a great place to grab some lunch. After lunch, the next couple hours are spent climbing uphill to Tengboche.
- Teahouse: Tashi Deleck Hotel
Day 5: Tengboche (3,900m/12,795’) to Dingboche (4,400m/14,436’)
- Distance & Time: 12km/7.5 miles for a total of 5 – 6 hours
- Description of Day: The day starts out heading downhill on the trail until reaching the river. The trail is gradual, so it makes for a relaxed morning. The village by the river, Pangboche, is a great place to stop for a rest and grab lunch. From Pangboche, the rest of the day consists of a gradual uphill trek towards Imja Valley. The trail winds up around the valley until reaching the plateau. Keep trekking for about another hour and you will come around the corner to arrive in Dingboche.
- Teahouse: Good Luck Hotel
Day 6: Rest Day (Acclimatization) in Dingboche (4,400m/14,436’)
- Distance & Time: 3km/1.9 miles for a total time of 3 hours
- Description of Day: Another rest day to aid in the acclimatization process. A hike to the left side of Dingboche in the morning to bring you to an elevation of 4,900m/16,076’. The hike offers close-up views of several mountain peaks, gaining 500m/1,640’ in elevation over the course of 2 – 3 hours. After the hike, return to relax and hydrate in Dingboche. Unfortunately, there is not as much to do here as in Namche Bazaar, so the afternoon will be spent napping, reading, or hanging with other trekkers.
- Teahouse: Good Luck Hotel
Day 7: Dingboche (4,400m/14,436’) to Lobuche (4,900m/16,077’)
- Distance & Time: 12km/7.5 miles for a total of 5 hours
- Description of Day: The day starts by heading toward the Khumbu Valley and continues across an elevated route until reaching Dugla, a great place to stop for an early lunch. This portion of the trail often gets covered in fog which can make navigation difficult. After lunch, you begin the trek up the hill directly behind Dugla to the Everest Memorial. The rest of the trail is relatively flat from the memorial to Lobuche.
- Teahouse: Oxygen Altitude
Day 8: Lobuche (4,900m/16,077’) to Gorak Shep (5,180m/16,995’) & EBC (5,380m/17,600’)
- Distance & Time: 10km/6.2 miles for a total of 7 – 9 hours
- Description of Day: The day starts out flat walking up from Lobuche, until hitting a quick steep hill. Once on top of the hill, the trail consists of mostly loose rock and glacier moraine. This portion of the trail continues to be up and down over loose rock until arriving at Gorak Shep, taking a total of three hours. While at Gorak Shep, you can check into your accommodation to have lunch and leave most of your possessions. The next three hours to Everest Base Camp continue over the loose rock, but it is a relief to not be carrying all your belongings. At last you have made it to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain. Take some time to grab a photo, consume a snack, and just enjoy your accomplishment. The hike back to your teahouse at Gorak Shep is an additional two hours bringing the longest day of the trek to an end.
- Teahouse: Buddha Lodge
Day 9: Kala Patthar (5,644m/18,519) & Gorak Shep (5,180m/16,995’) to Dingboche (4,400m/14,436’)
- Distance & Time: 18km/11.2 miles for a total of about 7 hours
- Description of Day: A very early start to the day, wake up at 330am to start the climb to the summit of Kala Patthar for sunrise. Begin by crossing the field of sand to get to the trailhead at the other side (there is a Kala Patthar sign). Keep in mind it will be dark, so if you have time, I suggest looking for the trail the day before in the light. This 3-hour uphill hike is difficult and cold, but worth every second while on the top watching the sun come up over Everest. Once back in Gorak Shep, take some time to pack up and have breakfast before starting the 4-hour downhill trek to Dingboche. Dugla is about half way back to Dingboche and a great place to stop for some food.
- Teahouse: Good Luck Hotel
Day 10: Dingboche (4,400m/14,436’) to Tengboche (3,900m/12,795’)
- Distance & Time: 12km/7.5 miles for a total of 4 hours
- Description of Day: The downhill trek from Dingboche to Tengboche is a gradual walk, as the change in altitude allows for much easier trekking than the previous days. Pangboche is a great location for lunch. Today is one of the easiest days on the trail but make sure to check out a ceremony at the monastery while in Tengboche. The monastery is beautiful, and it is such a cool experience to observe the culture of people in the Himalayas. Enjoy a relaxed day on the trail, and take the time to immerse yourself in the culture.
- Teahouse: Tashi Deleck Hotel
Day 11: Tengboche (3,900m/12,795’) to Monjo (2,850m/9,350’)
- Distance & Time: 17.7km/11 miles for a total of 7 – 8 hours
- Description of Day: If your teahouse room faces down the valley or you walk outside there is an incredible view of Everest in the early morning hours. Some choose to take the downhill portion from EBC in 2 days, but breaking this part of the trek into three days allows for a more relaxed pace and the opportunity to take in more of the culture. Some of the trekking days while climbing higher in altitude leave you distracted from fully connecting with the environment, so take some additional time on the way down to look around more closely while passing through each of the villages. Again, the trek starts downhill and winds around the valley below until arriving back in Namche Bazaar for lunch. From Namche, continue down the Namche Hill to Monjo.
- Teahouse: Sonam Lodge
Day 12: Monjo (2,850m/9,350’) to Lukla (2,860m/9,383’)
- Distance & Time: 12.9km/8.0 miles for a total of 3 – 4 hours
- Description of Day: The day starts out with a gradual downhill portion of the trail until hitting the last section of uphill while trekking directly into Lukla. The last part of the trek is not difficult but can be tiring as your legs will be fatigued from the last two weeks of hiking. Once in Lukla, enjoy a coffee and some Sherpa beers at the Everest Coffee Café. Take time throughout the afternoon to check into your flight. There are stands throughout Lukla for each airline. They can check you into your flight and print your boarding pass.
- Teahouse: Paradise Lodge
Remember, the trek is long, and it takes time prior to leaving home to adequately prepare, as you will be covering 8,200m/26,902 ft of elevation change (ascent and descent). However, with preparation the Everest Base Camp trek is attainable for most people and an incredible experience!