Everest Base Camp Trek – FAQ

Last Updated March 2017

How Much Does the Everest Base Camp Trek Cost?

The Everest Base Camp trek can cost under US $500 for shoestringers who walk in from Jiri, then straight in and straight out to Everest Base Camp, unguided, over 24 days or so when the weather is warm, or over $10,000 for people who book luxury treks with helicopter transport.

G Adventures, a well-regarded Western budget tour provider, runs 15-day trips out of Kathmandu at around the $1500 mark: upcoming discounted slots include departures on 18 March for $1402, 26 May for $1317, and 2 June for $1402.

We flew in and out of Lukla, walked at a leisurely pace through Gokyo with a porter-guide who carried the bulk of our gear, staying at cheap lodges and purifying our own water but enjoying the odd beer, pudding and bucket wash: 19 days in the mountains cost us around $1100 per head, including $280 on flights, all food, fees, accommodation, passes and tips. (2017 flights on Tara Air cost 5573 INR each way for Indian nationals, $148 each way for people who aren’t Nepalese nationals, and under $50 for Nepalese nationals.)

For more detail and cost breakdowns, see my post How Much Does the Everest Base Camp Trek Cost? Note that for most trekkers food will be the single most expensive item on the trip, followed by flights and travel insurance: most organised budget Western tours exclude food.

How Fit Do I Need to Be to Do the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Children as young as six and adults of over 70 have walked to Everest Base Camp, and the straight-in, straight-out trek is less demanding than you would think, provided you allow yourself the time to acclimatise to altitude that YOUR body needs, and listen to your body when it tells you to stop.

Because of steep ascents and descents, rocky paths, rock steps and some moraine walking, the Everest Base Camp trek isn’t suitable for anyone with knee problems or weak ankles, while people carrying significant extra weight are likely to struggle with this at altitude. Anyone with heart trouble or lung problems should check with their doctor. Be aware that medical facilities on the trail are very, very basic.

Although the days of walking are short enough for even slow walkers to manage them comfortably, provided you are travelling at your own pace, a reasonable level of fitness is required. If you get puffed out climbing a few flights of stairs, then ascending over 3000 vertical metres with lots of ups and downs along the way is not for you. But my twelve-year-old son and I did it (for an account of doing Everest Base Camp with a child, start here), and, though we’ve done some challenging trekking, we’re far from your stereotypical super-fit hikers.

As a rule of thumb, if you are reasonably fit, have some experience of hiking at altitude, have done some mountain or gorge hiking, and have done hikes that last multiple days and involve basic conditions, you’re fit enough to get to Everest Base Camp and should also enjoy it. For many, a porter will be a wise investment: in my experience, carrying 10kg at 5000m is like carrying 30kg at sea level.

Do I Need To Do the Everest Base Camp Trek as Part of an Organised Tour?

I would argue against taking an organised tour to Everest Base Camp. If you do want to do it, be aware that those booked overseas cost, typically, 2-3 times the price of those arranged in-market, and usually exclude food, which is far more expensive than standard teahouse rooms. More importantly, you’re tied into a group schedule, which means that if you have difficulty acclimatising to altitude, or get sick with a tummy bug or a cold, you’ll have to either walk at the pace of the group no matter how rough you feel or drop out altogether.

You are much better off arranging a porter, porter-guide or guide and porters yourself, either independently or with the help of a Nepali agent, who can also coordinate flights and passes. You are far more likely to die of AMS on an organised tour than you are while trekking independently.

The two instances where organised tours make sense are where you require less basic accommodation – the higher-end lodges discount heavily to tour operators and not to independent travellers — and where you want to meet climbers at Everest Base Camp proper or spend the night in the camp. Mountain Madness has tours that include a night camping at Base Camp with their climbers at around the $5000 mark: these run during the March-May climbing season only.

That said, if you’re uncomfortable arranging things for yourself, want the companionship of a group or are looking for the security of a Western tour provider, G Adventures runs regular tours throughout the year, usually at around the $1500 mark for groups of around ten people.

Organised camping tours are a mystifyingly popular option. Before booking these, be aware that you will not be wilderness camping, or free camping: almost all of the time you will be in a tent encampment in the middle of a village where everyone else is staying in lodges.

What Is Everest Advanced Base Camp?

When mountaineers climb Everest they set up their base camp on the moraine below the Khumbu Icefall, and proceed up the mountain in a series of different camps. Advanced Base Camp, also known as Camp 1, is on the other side of the Khumbu Ice Fall, the lethally dangerous series of ice slabs where sixteen climbers were killed fixing ropes in 2014: getting there requires mountaineering skills, mountaineering equipment and expedition-level support. The route across the ice fall is set by professional teams of Sherpas during the March-May climbing season each year: to use it, you’ll need to be a mountaineer, or pay top dollar to tag along with a mountaineering expedition.

Don’t confuse this with Everest Advanced Base Camp in Tibet, which is accessed from the Chinese side.

Can I Camp at Everest Base Camp?

Base camp only exists during the climbing season – at other times of year it’s just a moraine with some prayer flags to mark an abstract spot. During climbing season, it’s reserved for expeditions: Mountain Madness, which also runs climbing expeditions, runs treks that include a night camping at Base Camp. Out of climbing season, because of the instability of the moraine – basically heaps of rubble atop a half-decayed glacier – camping is discouraged. Even organised camping tours camp at Gorak Shep, the cluster of lodges an hour or so’s walk from base camp proper.

Will I Get to Hang out with Climbers at Everest Base Camp?

Unfortunately not. Climbers are focused on climbing and, unless you’ve paid top dollar for tours by operators like Mountain Madness and Adventure Consultants which also arrange climbing expeditions, even if you trek during climbing season (March to early May) you’ll only see the tents, not meet the climbers.

I’ve Never Trekked Before. Can I Do the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Before committing to at least eleven days hiking in (generally) basic conditions, it’s a good idea to establish that you like hiking and don’t mind basic conditions, so that you can actually enjoy the experience when you do it. Bank a two- or, optimally, three-day hike to see how you feel about walking each day and being away from home comforts before you commit.

How Should I Prepare for the Everest Base Camp Trek?

The Everest Base Camp trek is less physically strenuous than some people make out – although not a walk in the park. The main issue is going up and down steep slopes and steps, and so the best preparation is to go up and down lots and lots of stairs with the weight that you’ll be carrying when you trek.

Can I Drink the Water on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Nepalese tap water is not safe to drink. Bring water purifying tablets or a water purifying stick to save money and the environment. Note that at higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. Buy a decent thermos flask or plastic water container in Kathmandu so that you can top up with hot, boiled water at the beginning of the day – starting with hot water will stop it freezing. (For more on the gear you’ll need for Everest Base Camp, click here.)

Can I Do the Everest Base Camp Trek If I’m Scared of Heights?

Yes! I did! Provided you take a guide, or porter-guide, with you, or are travelling in a group, there are actually relatively few scary bits on the straight-in, straight-out Everest Base Camp trek.

A few suspension bridges will take courage to walk across: they’re sturdy and well-guarded, with handrails and wire mesh below the rail, but they are high, and move with the motion of your feet and the feet of anyone else on them.

In most places the path follows steep slopes rather than sheer precipices, and most of these have tree cover too. Where the path does trace a sheer precipice, it is wide enough not to provoke too much panic.

Is the Everest Base Camp Trek Dangerous?

The first rule of trekking Everest Base Camp is to step to the wall side when you meet a yak or mule train, since otherwise you can be knocked off the edge. The straight-in, straight-out route, though, is relatively danger-free: the path has been widened and in many places smoothed for trekkers, especially where it traces a sheer slope.

The main danger for most people doing the straight-in, straight-out route is altitude sickness (AKA Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS). For most people, this can be avoided by sleeping no more than 300 metres higher than you did the night before and taking an acclimatisation day every 1000 metres. Serious AMS is more common in folk doing group tours than in independent trekkers.

Other common injuries are twisted ankles and sprains. Rock falls, moraine and glacier crossings add significant risk to longer treks involving crossing high passes such as the Cho-La. As always, it’s unwise to trek solo in case you fall and can’t extricate yourself: people disappear on this route all the time.

Will My Travel Insurance Cover Me for the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance very carefully (here’s why) before embarking on the Everest Base Camp trek – the elevations involved are above 5000m, and many companies simply will not cover you at that level. World Nomads offers cover for trekking up to 6000m on recognised routes like Everest Base Camp and the Three Passes.

You should also ensure you are covered for helicopter evacuation from the mountains in emergencies, while mountaineers should arrange cover with their specialist mountaineering association at home before they travel. For more, please read this post on the best travel insurance for Everest Base Camp.

Can I Get Cash Out on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Yes, but it will cost you! The bank in Lukla charges a fee of 5%; in Namche, there is a Visa ATM which sometimes works, plus moneychangers who will run Visa, Mastercard and Union Pay cards for a fee of 8%. A few of the more expensive lodges on the main Everest Base Camp route will take Mastercard and Visa cards and, I’d imagine, will run them in emergencies for a fee.

It’s still a good idea to carry all the NPR cash you think you will need for your trek with you (Nabil Bank offers daily withdrawals of 35,000 rupees at a 400 rupee fee), plus a couple of hundred dollars in cash in case, for example, you break a limb and need to be transported on a mule down to the nearest helicopter evac point.

Can I Do Everest Base Camp with Kids?

A number of families with children, including us, have done and enjoyed the Everest Base Camp trek (my account of doing the Everest Base Camp Trek with my child starts here): the youngest child I know of was six, which raised some eyebrows at the time.

It is unwise to take a child to Everest Base Camp unless that child is old enough to recognise and communicate the early signs of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness, previously known altitude sickness) – otherwise, they could die.

It should go without saying that any child who does not understand risk and does not obey its parents is risking life and limb in the high Himalayas. Further, any child that’s averse to exercise, not good with cold climates, fussy about what it eats, where it sleeps or what bathroom facilities it uses is unlikely to enjoy the Everest Base Camp trek.

Points to consider before you go: toilet and washing facilities become progressively more basic the higher you ascend, which may make the trek unbearable for some teen girls. Unless you arrange a custom camping tour with your own menu, or bring your own cooking equipment and ingredients, the food becomes very monotonous. At least one porter will come in handy at altitude unless your children are good to carry all 12-18kg of their own gear.

There is pretty much nothing to do in the evenings at any of the lodges and it can cost as much as 500 Nepali Rupees ($4.70) per hour to charge electronic devices at higher elevations, even when the charge is available: consider bringing lightweight games as well as a lightweight power bank.

The golden rule with kids is to allow for lots of rest and acclimatisation days. But there are plenty of delights in the mountains, from animals and wildlife, through to icicles to shatter, glacier lakes to skate on, rocks to chuck and safe places to climb. Active children should find the trek really fun provided you don’t press the pace.

Horses, mules, yaks and porters provide alternatives to carrying tired children at a price. Chocolate is really expensive at high elevations – as much as $4 for a Snickers bar – so bring all consumable bribes with you from Kathmandu or Pokhara. And – obviously – bring spare sets of gloves, including liners, and hats.

I’m a huge fan of travelling with kids whenever you can, so I’d say do it.

Can I Bring My Laptop on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Yes, though you may regret it if you have to carry it. There is wifi, when it’s working, at many points along the main Everest Base Camp trek, all over Lukla and all over Namche, as well as in Gokyo. The headline charge can be an eye-bleeding 20NPR (19 cents) per minute, but most lodges will negotiate a decent daily or, at the very least, hourly rate.

Battery charge costs from 200NPR ($1.90) to 500NPR ($4.70) per hour, and is only available where there is solar electricity to spare. Again, you may be able to negotiate a flat rate for this. If you’re trekking in winter, you may find your battery won’t even charge in the low temperatures higher up.

Do I Need a Guide, a Porter, a Porter-Guide or No Guide?

The Everest Base Camp trek is busy and generally well-marked, so you don’t need a guide to find the way, except when navigating the moraine at the end or when visibility is obscured in midwinter or monsoon. In theory, you are legally required to have a guide, but trekkers continue to make the trip independently.

That said, the trip is definitely best enjoyed with someone who speaks Nepali and some Sherpa and understands the local culture, and arguably more pleasant if you’re not carrying much: you’ll have a richer experience and contribute more to the Nepal economy if you travel with a guide or porter-guide. Technically, tourists are now supposed to be accompanied by a guide, but this does not seem to be enforced.

A porter’s role is to carry loads. You shouldn’t pay less than 1000 rupees a day to a porter, and shouldn’t give them more than 15kg to carry, as they have their own stuff to carry as well (the legal limit in Nepal is a total of 35kg). It’s your responsibility to see that your porters have the right gear for the elevations they’ll be headed to. They may not know the route and may not speak any English.

A porter-guide will speak some English, carry loads and do some basic guiding – showing the way, explaining the basics of a monastery or a ceremony, helping negotiate rooms at a lodge, or translating conversations with locals. You can’t expect an in-depth history of a specific spot, though. Expect to pay from $20.

Most guides will not carry anything (unless you’re exhausted and they want to get somewhere), but will look after every aspect of your trip, from arranging rooms, meals, flights, or camping gear, through to timing your arrival at a peak for sunrise, knowing the history of that monastery, etcetera. They should speak fluent English and will handle any porters they recruit: expect to pay $40-$60 per day. The larger the team they manage, the more a guide will cost.

Because porters, porter-guides and guides pay their own accommodation, you can expect to end up at lodges that offer them good deals. If you want a different lodge, the right thing to do is to cover your porter’s increased costs.

The standard tip is 25%. We found our excellent porter-guide Nir through Narayan Bhandari. All agencies take their cut, but it means the negotiation is done, the upfront payment’s delivered, you have someone you can rely on who won’t run off with your gear leaving you stranded, and everything’s clear at the end of the trek.

For more difficult stretches, like crossing the Cho-La pass, most lodges can arrange porters, guides or porter-guides for that particular day.

Is It Worth Bringing My Own Food?

Snacks are expensive on the trail, so they are definitely worth bringing. Lodges charge extra if you bring your own food in, not to mention for hot water, so shoestringers hoping to make a bag of rice last a twelve-day trek will find this a false economy. Fuel is really at a premium in the mountains. Dal bhat, the Nepali lentil stew, is the most economical way to eat: above Namche, the EBC trek is not a gourmet experience.

National Geographic's Everest Base Camp map.

How Long Does the Everest Base Camp Trek Take?

This depends very much on what route you do. It is possible, and most group tours plan, to walk in from Lukla and back out the same way in twelve days, but you should allow extra days in your schedule in case you get sick, need extra acclimatisation or flights are backed up in Lukla either heading in or heading out. I’d recommend planning for twelve days plus a two day detour up to Chhukung to catch some views, then if you get sick or have trouble acclimatising you can drop the detour but still see Everest Base Camp and get the views from Kala Patthar. G Adventures’ itinerary makes a handy guide to the classic in-and-out Everest route.

The route we took leads up the Gokyo Valley to beautiful Gokyo Ri, over the Cho-La Pass (which isn’t always passable) and then up the Khumbu to Everest and back down to Namche and Lukla. While not a complete loop route, you do avoid the repetition of an in-and-out trek. This took us nineteen days, going at a leisurely pace with multiple rest days. It’s possible to do it in sixteen.

Another alternative, which is physically challenging and involves a lot of altitude, is the Three Passes trek, for which you should allow at least twenty days. This takes you down the Thame Valley, over the Renjo-La to the Gokyo Valley, over the Cho-La to the Khumbu, up to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar, then down and over the Kongma La to the Imja Khola Valley, and back down to Namche and Lukla. You only repeat the first two days of the trek and get incredible mountain views.

Other variations include the Five Passes Trek, the Seven Passes Trek, and a custom route allowing you to climb some walkable peaks along the way. For these, I’d recommend
National Geographic’s excellent map
and probably also Jamie McGuinness’s Trekking in the Everest Region: you can buy both of these on BookDepository.com with free international shipping.

Can I Wear Trainers on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

No, because if it gets cold you could get frostbite. You need decent waterproof boots with a bit of ankle support (not necessarily hiking boots, unless you’re doing a pass that needs crampons or similar), also some sandals or, if you fancy yourself as a mountaineer, down booties for when you take them off in the evening. For more on this see “What Gear Do I Need for the Everest Base Camp Trek?

What Is the Accommodation Like on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Accommodation on the Everest Base Camp trek is basically available at two price points – 200-500 Nepali rupees ($2-5), or $150+ (or, of course, you can do a camping trip).

Entry level accommodation typically buys you a clean, sunlit plywood cell, with two beds, perhaps a table and some hooks on the wall, a window, perhaps with a view, plus a couple of shared squat toilets and a shower room in which you can wash from a bucket of hot water for an extra fee. Only the main shared dining area will be heated and then only at certain times of day, and you will need to purchase everything from boiled water to toilet paper.

At busy times of year there may not be enough quilts, so it’s critical to bring a cold-weather sleeping bag. Toilets are generally not for the squeamish, and the absence of insulation can make lodges hell for light sleepers, especially in peak season.

At lower elevations, 500 rupees will buy you a bathroom of your own with a Western toilet, although you’ll almost certainly need to shower elsewhere. The pricing assumes you will eat dinner and breakfast in your lodge, rather than elsewhere – lodges double or triple prices if you don’t eat in their restaurant.

Top-end accommodation features similar rooms, but stone built and slightly larger, with carpeting and en suites and perhaps a desk. In many of these, though, you will need to flush your en suite Western-style toilet from a bucket, and request a bucket of hot water to use under your apparently decorative shower. Most have some form of in-room heating but you will not be lounging in the boudoir in a negligee or dining in shirtsleeves.

At Lobuche and Gorak Shep, where fuel and solar electricity are at a premium, all accommodation is basic. Yes, even if you’ve spent $10000 on a top-end tour. Sorry!

What Is the Food Like on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

For this, see my post Food on the Everest Base Camp Trek, over on my food blog. Expect to eat a lot of rice and dal, with perhaps some yak, at higher elevations: Namche Bazar, however, has what’s probably the highest Irish pub in the world!

I’ve Heard Flying into Lukla is Dangerous. Do I Have To?

Yes, Lukla is a dangerous airport, and flying into Lukla is terrifying. And, no, you don’t have to fly. If you have the time, you can walk in from Jiri (technically Sriwalajaya), which is a strenuous six-day trek that goes up and down the sides of valleys, or Phaplu, or other more distant destinations, and walk out to one or the other of those places: Jiri is on a bus route from Kathmandu, while Phaplu is a lengthy and adventurous jeep ride.

What If My Stuff Breaks? Can I Buy a Replacement on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Both Lukla and Namche are full of trekking stores selling things like hiking poles, gloves, windproof jackets, cold-weather sleeping bags, head torches and day packs, as well as books, energy bars, snacks and the usual tourist tat. You are much better off buying everything you need in Kathmandu, where prices are lower, or before you go.

Outside Lukla and Namche, options are much more limited: don’t plan on finding anything more than loo roll, snacks, drinks, batteries and possibly the odd pair of woollen gloves in many villages.

Should I Buy My Gear at Home or in Nepal?

That very much depends on how much use you intend to get out of it. Reasonable quality fake gear is available in Kathmandu and Pokhara for a fraction of the price of the real deal – be aware that standards are lower, so a -30°C rated sleeping bag will only be good for -20°C, a 900 fill down jacket is more likely to be 700 fill, etcetera. You can expect fake sleeping bags and jackets to leak down, and should feel everything you buy for fill before you spend.

Whatever boots you wear need to be broken in before you get to the mountains – unless blisters are part of your trekking plan, buy these outside Nepal, or with enough time left to break them in, and don’t even think about renting boots. Many places in Kathmandu and Pokhara, including Shona’s Alpine on Amrit Marg in Thamel, also rent out down gear and sleeping bags, typically for less than a dollar per item per day, which are the most sensible option if you don’t think you’ll be using them again for a while. More detail here.

Always travel with cold weather gear. In 2014, many trekkers died on Annapurna because they didn’t have the gear to handle the blizzard that came in.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Do the Everest Base Camp Trek?

If you value solitude, the monsoon season (June-August) and midwinter (January-February) can make a great time to do it, depending how well you cope with extreme climate, although if you’re adding in high passes to the route they may become impassable. When trekking during those times, allow space for delays, be aware that trail conditions can be difficult and do not assume that flights will run on time. In monsoon season visibility can be very poor, while during winter blizzards can white out the trail.

The main peak season is late September to early December, but during October and November the trails can become unpleasantly crowded with trekkers and the yak and mule trains that support them, and lodges are often block-booked by tour groups. March to May, when the flowers are out, is increasingly popular – one advantage of trekking in April-May is that there are tents and climbers at Everest Base Camp.

If you only have time to do the basic Everest Base Camp route, I’d opt for early December, early September or March. Generally, as everyone going up and everyone coming down follows the same route, as do all the yak and mule trains bringing in supplies, it’s hideously busy in the spring and autumn peaks. While numbers remain down after the 2015 earthquake and ongoing political instability, you will still be dodging a lot of mule trains.

If you’re fit, I’d recommend you do a longer, more challenging, more interesting loop route, either the Five Passes, the Three Passes or the Gokyo route, rather than the straight in-and-out.

Cover of Trekking in the Everest Region by Jamie McGuinness

I’d Like to See Everest but I’m Not Sure I Want to Spend Twelve Days There. Are There Alternatives to the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Yes! There are tonnes. And, given you can’t see Everest from Everest Base Camp ANYWAY, a shorter trek to lower altitudes might well make sense, although you’ll miss out on the high mountain experience.

The walk from Lukla to Namche takes two days – some folk walk in to Namche, climb to the top of town to see the spectacular Everest view, complete with jetstream, and then walk back. Others use Namche as a base for shorter treks in the region, divert off into the forest to go wildlife spotting, or pick a valley to explore.

One advantage of staying lower is that conditions are a lot more pleasant than higher up the trail, particularly if you’re staying in luxe lodges. If you’re really lazy, scenic flights with views over Everest run daily from Kathmandu.

What Medical Facilities Are There on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Medical facilities catering to tourists operate on a seasonal basis – so in peak season there are basic altitude clinics as far afield as Gokyo and Pheriche, and a more sophisticated facility in Namche.

Outside peak season there are pharmacies in Namche and Lukla, and a small hospital in Khumjung, but other than that you’re on your own.

It’s important to bring all medicines you think you might need with you, including treatments for every minor ailment you’ve ever had, all the common stomach bugs and AMS, and to have full medical cover, including helicopter evac, on your travel insurance.

And – whew! — I think that’s that covered. Drop me a comment with any questions, and I’ll edit this post to include the answers.

Looking for more on the Everest Base Camp trek? My story starts here. Trek Around Nepal arranged our flights and introduced us to Nir: they also offer full service Everest Base Camp treks.

134 Responses

  1. Catherine Hartmann says:

    Very informative. If I wasn’t so lazy and and high maintenance I would totally consider doing this 🙂 But as I sit in my sofa with a glass of wine we just know that it is never going to happen and makes blogs like yours all the more fulfilling. I have a friend who blogs about her running addiction that has a similar effect when read from my semi reclined position.
    Anyway, now that you’ve done a grand job with the treking facts when can we get the next installment of the story? 🙂

  2. Uwe says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and have really enjoyed your days in the Khumbu. The first time (1990) I was in base camp, the highest lodge (barn) was in Periche and we had to carry our own tents and food … been there again with my wife in 2002 and in March we will be taking our kids along and do it again. They’re 8 and 6 years old, love hiking and all four of us can’t wait to get going. If you someone wants to follow along, here’s a link to our travel blog: http://familytrip2013.wordpress.com

    There’s a good chance we won’t make it all the way to base camp with the kids, but that really wouldn’t be much of a problem either. It’s the time spent together on the trail that counts.

    Thanks for all the tips and for sharing your travels!

    All the best from Germany, Uwe & Family

    • Theodora says:

      That sounds like an excellent time! Wow. The Krakauer Effect really has transformed it.

      I think if they love hiking, they should be fine to get to EBC (as I say, I know of at least one other six-year-old who’s done it), particularly if you’re prepared to spend a few days in Gorak Shep so they’re just doing one thing a day (AKA: get to Gorak Shep, Day 1, Day 2, climb Kala Patthar, Day 3, do EBC, Day 4, head down)>

      All the best to you too from Harbin, which is scheduled to drop below -30 this weekend. It’s -23 right now and all the locals are out and about without so much as gloves or a hat…

  3. Ben says:

    Brilliant and very in depth post Theodora, God you have put some work into this! One thing there is/was an internet cafe at Dingboche but don’t think that is a stop on the classic trek just when people shoot off to the side to do Island Peak.

    • Theodora says:

      Yeah, it’s a bit further up the Imja Khola (whoops, spelt that completely wrong, will fix it now), so if you’re headed to Chhukung or Island Peak you go through there, but not on the classic trek. There’s a posh lodge in Pheriche that has internet, as well — I think it’s only really on the Three Passes trek that internet’s an issue, or coming up Gokyo…

  4. Thanks for such a thorough post. I am doing the trek in March and can’t wait. Off to read your packing list now. 🙂

  5. Tony Page says:

    Hi Theo, your adventures in Nepal really take me back, although quite a few things have changed on the Everest Trek since I walked in from Lamosangu (no Jiri road or airport!)in 1981 – especially the prices!
    But you know, your description carries the thrill of freedom and sense of personal achievement I felt back then, so perhaps the core experience is still much the same, even if there are a few more people around…
    Keep on truckin’!

    • Theodora says:

      Ooh, I BET the prices have changed, Tony. I think the thrill for us was in the Cho-La, but also in getting to Base Camp — I’m almost kicking myself for not doing the Three Passes trek in fact. But there is, particularly in Gokyo, still the sense of wide open space and real personal achievement — though it is, of course, much more of a packaged and commonplace adventure than it was when you did it. It’s the Krakauer Effect, I believe…

      I do rather fancy the Great Himalayan Trail now, though….

  6. What an extensive guide!! Impressive!

  7. Excellent overview, Theodora. Thank you.

  8. Susie says:

    There’s also a Himalayan Rescue Association hospital in Pheriche as well as a clinic in Phortse. The hospital is staffed by volunteer western doctors who give a great daily talk on dealing with altitude.

    • Theodora says:

      Thanks for your comment, Susie — these, like the HRA clinic in Gokyo, and the HRA in Namche, only operate during the peak trekking seasons. I should probably update the post, though, to include a link to the HRA, because we went to their talk in Kathmandu, and you’re right that it’s very good…

  9. Larissa says:

    Great, comprehensive list. A terrific resource for anyone considering this trek!

  10. Wow. My head is spinning! I’m preparing for the Camino de Santiago across Spain this month, but thinking about Everest makes me feel like a slacker! My hat’s off to you both.

  11. Great tips…not sure if I’ll ever find myself at Everest Base Camp, but if I do I know where I’m turning for advice:)

    • Theodora says:

      I would thoroughly recommend it, depending, of course, how much you like your creature comforts, which I suspect you do…

  12. I have the Everest trek in my bucket list and though I’m not planning to go yet in the near future, I am definitely bookmarking this. So envious of you to have been there already!

  13. Jill says:

    Hiya. Just wanted to say how impressed I was to read the word ‘obey’ in relation to child and parent and travel. It’s not fashionable, but I totally agree with its necessity.

  14. Ishwar Kafle says:

    Really very Informative FAQ Everest Base Camp Trek.

    All the best from Ishwar

  15. Andrea says:

    Hi, I’m doing a solo trek on October and am looking for information on spending the night at Base Camp. Can’t find out if this is possible. Just loved this page, extremely informative. Thanks.

    • Theodora says:

      Base camp proper is a collection of tents that goes up ahead of the Khumbu glacier during the climbing season, which is March-May: climbers don’t welcome trekkers in their tents. So base camp itself is just a patch of moraine and ice. You can stay the night at Gorak Shep, which is 45 minutes to 1.5 hours from base camp, depending how fast you walk, easily enough: you wouldn’t be able to place a tent in the base camp location as a solo trekker and camping treks always camp in and around Gorak Shep itself anyway. You might find there’s pressure on accommodation at Gorak Shep doing it in peak season as a solo trekker — that’s the only issue. I’d recommend staying the night, though, because you’ve got a fighting chance of finding Kala Patthar clear at either sunrise or sunset so you get the views with the light.

    • Joy says:

      Hey! I’m also hiking in October 2013.. are you doing it solo? Trying to make sure it’ll be ok to do on my own. What have you found out?

  16. ken poulter says:

    Thank you loads for this post!!!
    I’m starting a year long trip in October and my first place to visit is Nepal and the E.B.C.
    I was going to hike it early Oct but after reading this I’ve decided to wait until mid November.
    Thank you again as you have answered most of my questions about my trip!


  17. Very useful information. really appreciate


  18. Sin says:

    Thank you for such detailed FAQ on Everest Base Camp trek. I am planning a trip in September ( Kathmandu ex: 2nd Sept – 18th Sept). We are planning to do the Gokyo Ri – Gorakshep – Kala Pathar route. Will the route be accessible during this time?

    • Theodora says:

      Almost certainly, yes. The monsoon *should* be over and winter won’t have set in, although conditions can change on the high passes at random. Are you going with a guide? If not, make an arrangement with the guesthouse you’re staying in in Lukla to hold your plane tickets and reconfirm your flights &c, or change them if you need them changing — just because that’s a relatively tight schedule.

  19. Joy says:

    I’ll be doing both EBC and the Annapurna Circuit starting at the beginning of October. Is anyone else going at that time?

  20. Dean says:

    Hi Theodora,
    Have been wanting to go to Everest Base camp for a couple of years now. After reading your extensive guide I think I will do it independently now.
    Just a few questions regarding camping overnight at base camp. Is it possible to camp at Base camp if you have your own tent? Are there any additional fees?

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Dean,

      As far as I know, camping at Base Camp is discouraged, because it’s basically on a moraine, and there would be concerns for your safety as the ground isn’t stable: it’s rubble over ice and rock/ice hybrid, and rock falls aren’t uncommon. It wouldn’t be possible during climbing season – March to May – and you wouldn’t want to do it during the monsoon season, either, even if you could get up there, because of snow. Even organised camping groups don’t camp there (all the ones we saw were camped near the lodges): AFAIK, lodges aren’t averse to people putting up tents on their grounds provided that you eat meals there, because they make their money on food, but that’s probably not the experience you’re after.

      That said… you could always give it a go, particularly if you ate meals at one of the lodges and tried to sweet-talk them, and particularly if you’ve got some relevant experience.

      A few considerations: it can be EXTREMELY cold up there, especially at night, and one feels cold more at a higher altitude. To avoid hypothermia, you’d need to have an extremely good, -30 rated sleeping bag (AKA, not a Nepalese fake, but serious climbing gear), and a tonne of layers. There’s no water, because, obviously, everything’s frozen, and there’s no fuel at that height either, because you’re way above the treeline (and competition for yak dung is tough), so you’d need to carry a lot of gear, including a stove and liquid fuel (you might, if you had a super-duper thermos, be able to buy boiling water before you set out to camp so that it would still be liquid in the morning). It would also, unless you were carrying stuff like an airbed and a pump, be pretty uncomfortable — because it’s pure rubble.

  21. Amy says:

    Hey there,

    I am going to EBC in this coming November, just wondering if it’s necessary for us to bring our own water purifier?? How’s the water source up there? Does tea house provide water? Is it safe to drink??


    • Theodora says:

      Hi Amy, Tea houses sell boiled water, which you can put in a container to stop it freezing, high on the trail. There are water sources lower down the trail, for which we used purifying tablets, which are available everywhere, but higher up, where it’s colder and the water sources begin to freeze, and water freezes when you carry it, you need to buy the stuff. You can also buy bottled water, but it’s incredibly unsustainable, so you’re better off buying the boiled stuff. AKA: no, don’t bring a water purifier. It will add unnecessary weight and higher up you’ll need to buy boiled (hot) water anyway, which will then keep throughout the day (though it may get a bit icy) in a good plastic container (you don’t need a thermos). You can also use this as a hot-water-bottle at night and it comes in bloody handy. Cheers, Theodora

  22. Raquel says:

    Very useful information. Thanks!

  23. Leigh says:

    Hi, I thought that the information provided in regards to the base camp trek was very informative and detailed, the best and most honest yet! However I do have a question in regards to foot wear. I am solo travelling for 6 months around this trek and will be probably hiring most of my gear as I don’t want to pay a fortune for gear use it once and then carry it around with me for 5 months, is it possible to hire boots for the trek and I have done this before with glacier hiking in NZ.
    Also as a solo traveller is it easy to meet other solo’s in Kathmandu and join with others last minute that are trekking to the mountain?

    • Theodora says:

      You can hire all the cold weather stuff, including sleeping bags, but it’s inadvisable to hire boots, because you don’t want blisters, and you also don’t want to be breaking in boots up there: apparently, Nepalese fake boots are terrible, and break. I wore a pair of furry ankle boots that I bought in northern China, which actually worked fine: I’d think you could do it in high-tops, but high-tops rather than trainers because you might hit snow (depending on the time of year). So… I’d pick up a pair of warm, waterproof high-tops somewhere and break them in, rather than having to break in hiking boots and lug them with you.

      Yes, there are tonnes of solos in Kathmandu (Thamel is heaving with backpackers), but you’re more likely to meet people doing the trek solo if you start the trek, if that makes sense — because you’re relying on meeting solos whose timings match yours and who haven’t committed to a porter or a guide, and you could hang around KTM for ages waiting for someone. If you’re walking in from Jiri, it should be almost all solos. If you’re starting from Lukla, you’ll likely meet people on the trail.

  24. Peter says:

    I’m planning to visit Mt Everest Base Camp in 3rd week in March. Would there be a problem with using a 3 season tent at the base camp for 1-2 nights?

    • Theodora says:

      Yes. Spring is the climbing season, which means tents for climbers, sherpas and support staff will be all over base camp, and there’s no way they’ll let you pitch a tent there at that time. I don’t think they’re keen on walkers pitching tents there at the best of times, but during climbing season I think you’d get chased off sharpish. Sorry.

  25. Lesa says:

    Hi, loved reading your article. Base camp is on my bucket list, and now my hubby wants to as well. My issue is I have twin girls age 6. Is there any other easier treks we can do as a family next year, and save the base camp for when they are older. Thanks heaps !

    • Theodora says:

      Yes, there are a tonne. There’s a pretty steep walk en route between Lukla and Namche, otherwise I’d suggest flying into Lukla and doing a trek up to Namche so that you get the Everest view — though that could be doable with littlies if they’re strong enough. Just take it really slowly: allow yourselves three days to walk in, a couple of days in Namche, and two days to walk out. Otherwise, Pokhara has stunning views and is a good jumping off point for some easier, shorter hikes in the Annapurna region, where you also won’t need to fly.

  26. Extremely great info for the group and individual travelers. Thanks you Theodora..

  27. Extremely great info for both group and individual travelers. Thanks you Theodora..

  28. gunawan alif says:

    Dear Theo,
    Your blog is really informative, and help me to pursue my dream. I have intention to EBC n Kalapathar next March-April, starting solo from Jiri. It is possible to get porter there? In return it is possible to book flight out from Lukla?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Gunawan,

      Yes, you should have no problem finding a porter in Jiri — people can and do pay as little as $10 a day, but it’s better to pay a little bit more as you’re making a real contribution to the local economy (a farmer, for example, can buy livestock with the proceeds of guiding one person to EBC, an investment that will help support the family for many years). Also be sure that the guy you choose has the cold-weather gear required for higher elevations – thick socks, closed-toe shoes and a good jacket — or be prepared to hire trekking gear for him.

      Flights from Lukla are more problematic. You have two options: book your ticket out of Lukla through a tour agency or at the airline office on arrival in Kathmandu, or pick up a flight when you arrive in Lukla from the airline office there. The advantage of the second approach is that you’ll have a reasonable idea of how long you’ll be walking for by the time you get there. The disadvantage of that is that the flights may be quite heavily booked so you may have a longer wait than anticipated.

      But if you’re walking in from Jiri, you could always walk out to Jiri. Another option is to walk out to Phaplu, and aim to fly out of Phaplu, with a jeep as a back-up plan if the planes aren’t running for whatever reason. I’m almost inclined to suggest that you walk both in and out, for the sense of completion, if that makes any sense at all….

  29. Thank You Theo. Extremely great information for both group and individual travelers.
    I’m definitely looking forward to it knowing that it costs just around 500$

  30. Cal says:

    Dear Theo,

    It was a pleasure reading your article which is very informative. I just did Annapurna base camp (21-28 sept 2013) and although very tiring (I didn’t hire porter or guide and my bag was 17kg), the whole experience was rewarding.

    My next hiking trip will be to EBC, hopefully in Oct/Nov 2014 or April/May 2015.

    After reading your flight experience to Lukla I might consider the Jiri option. How’s the hiking condition from Jiri to Lukla? Can it be done shorter than six days? What’s the average walking duration/elevation per day? Are there many tea houses along the trail?

    Thank you

    • Theodora says:

      Thanks for your nice comment, Cai! We didn’t do Jiri ourselves. Our porter walked in from there and out to there in less than 3 days, though his gear was less than 17kg, and he’s Nepalese; most visitors take six days, walking 6-8 hours per day; but I met a guy who’d taken eight.

      Yes, there are plenty of places to stay, but it’s a Nepalese set-up rather than the tourist-focused places you find in the Annapurna and Sagamartha regions.

      The challenge with Jiri is that you’re going up and down the sides of valleys — so down 1000m, up 1000m, down 1000m, up 1000m. The terrain’s extremely corrugated — take a look at it on Google Maps in satellite view — and there aren’t any bridges to make it easier.

      I’d imagine, though, by the time you’d done EBC you’d be faster on the way back than you were coming in.

  31. Lina says:

    This post is by far the best I have found on trekking to Everest. My husband and I are really looking forward to this part of our upcoming RTW. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  32. Sara says:

    Hi, great information! We are looking to do EBC next week. We are trying to work out an accurate budget.You mentioned that the porter/guide pay for their own accommodation. Is the guide responsible for his food or us?

    • Theodora says:

      Typically, provided you’re spending the standard tourist prices in the restaurant of the guesthouse you stay in, an experienced porter-guide will get discounted food at the place you stay in, and also carry his own snacks. But be sure to clarify that with your porter or guide when you come to terms with them for the trek — be aware that if you choose to stay somewhere different from where they choose, their food may cost them more.

  33. Chuk says:

    Dear Theo,

    I just came back from trekking the Annapurna. It was not easy but it was a great 14 days in Nepal. I am already thinking about doing the EBC and chanced upon your site. What a wealth of information!!

    Thank you! Now I am more comfortable about bring my kids…if I can get them off Xbox and youtube. 🙂

    • Theodora says:

      Hahahahaha! They’ll get into the zone once they’re in the mountains — I promise! Bring a tonne of chocolate, though, and take it nice and slowly…

  34. Stephen says:

    Good info, thanks. I recently trekked in the Langtang Region and enjoyed that immensely. I know I’ll be back to Nepal to do more hiking some day!

  35. Liza says:

    Hi Theodora,

    Great blog, thanks for the informative information. I am considering an ebc trek mid April for around 3 weeks. Initially I was going to book in a group tour but after reading your blog am considering going alone and arrranging when I’m in Nepal as it seems to be significantly cheaper. I’m just a little concerned as I have never trekked before and I would be doing it alone. Do you still think it’s wise? Or am I better off joining a group tour so I can meet people and make friends and have more support?

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Liza,

      That’s an ambitious trek to start with if you’ve never trekked before — because once you’re on it, you’re committed (though there are mules for hire lower down the trail if you really want to back). Is there a two or three night trek you can do somewhere near you so that you can get used to the habit of walking from A to B and sleeping in basic conditions? We’d done several multi-night treks before we did this, including one of 8 days, so we knew we could handle the length of the journey.

      Have you ever been to altitude? EBC is over 5000m above sealevel (almost 18,000 feet), which is fine if you acclimatise well, but if you haven’t been high up before that could present its own challenges too.

      This isn’t to put you off, but I’d strongly recommend trying out a shorter trek somewhere else to see if you actually like trekking before committing to the EBC route. As regards meeting people: the trekking lodges all have communal areas for eating and drinking, and people sit around in the evenings and chat as there’s little else to do, so you will easily meet people.

      If you do do it, I’d say a private porter-guide would be a better solution for you than a group trek, because they can tailor the pace and morning start time to what suits you. Do you walk a lot normally?

      Let me know!


      • Liza says:

        Thanks Theodora for the quick response! I also thought it was an ambitious trek for a first timer but when I asked a few tour agencies they all seemed to think I’d be alright! I was a bit sceptical and thought maybe they were just after their commissions so I appreciate your honesty!
        To be honest it’s more the fact that I’ve always wanted to do the EBC trek rather than trekking itself. I have day treks nearby that I could do not sure the accessibility of 2-3day treks. I’ll investigate. Never been to that high altitude either so not sure how I would be. I noticed I wrote 3 weeks above. I only meant 2 weeks. I think that’s around the average for EBC treks there and back? So would your suggestion be to wait and do it later in the year so I am better prepared for it?

        • Theodora says:

          I think my suggestion would be to experience a multi-day trek in basic conditions and see that you actually enjoy it. The standard group tour route for EBC is 11 days, straight in and straight out — if you’re on a group tour, you don’t have much margin of error if you don’t acclimatise as well as you’d hoped. My concern isn’t that you can’t physically do it — anyone of reasonable fitness can do the trek, including at least one six-year-old child — but that a lifetime’s dream turns into a horrible experience. So I’d try and find something that will take you up relatively high with at least one night on the trail and see how you enjoy it — because of the altitude, it is an ambitious one for a first-timer…

  36. Fantastic guides. All I ever wanted to now. Makes we want to go back to Nepal!

  37. Jared says:

    My wife and I are experienced campers and hikers but not SUPER experienced, high-altitude trekkers, but we summited Mt. Beirstadt in Colorado (14,080 feet or so) two years ago. We are 10 lbs heavier than at that time…

    We have 14 days in Nepal from late July to early August (monsoon season, we know), and we want to give ourselves adequate time before the trek and during to acclimate to altitude. We also plan to do this independently and camp rather than lodge to cut costs.

    1. Is acclimation prior to the trek necessary?
    2. Is a guide necessary in our situation?
    3. Is it possible to trek to EBC in 10 days with no detours for extended sight-seeing, or is that too ambitious with the threat of AMS?
    4. Is the EBC trek shielded from most of the bad weather or should we maybe stick to Annapurna, which seems to be shielded?

    • Jared says:

      5. Is there quick ground transportation past Jiri? To save on costs, we’d rather not fly, and to save on time we’d rather not walk 🙂

      • Theodora says:

        This is your easiest question, so I’m answering it first. No, there is no ground transportation — no roads. The route from Jiri is going up and down over a series of valleys. I’ve read that the vertical ascent you do on that stretch, not counting the descents, is equivalent to climbing Everest.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Jared,

      I don’t think planning on doing it in 10 days, camping, during the monsoon season is realistic. I can’t imagine anything less pleasant than making and breaking camp and cooking during monsoon rains; without local knowledge you don’t know which areas are safe to camp in (landslide risk is higher); lodges cost in the region of $3-$6, so the most you’ll be saving on accom is $30-$60. If you’re planning on carrying all your own food, you will save significantly, but I really can’t imagine it being a pleasant experience.

      Your other issue during monsoon season is Lukla being shut. Flights won’t go when the visibility is poor. That’s quite common during the monsoon season, and, while they put in as many flights as possible to clear the backlog, if you’ve only got a fortnight, you’re quite likely to miss connecting flights.

      That said, to move onto answering your question:
      1: No acclimation necessary – Lukla’s at 2800m (9,000ish feet), and that’s where you start. Just follow the rules on safe ascent and you’ll be fine.

      2: You’ll likely need a guide to navigate the moraine to the place with the EBC flags, and probably if you want to do sunrise / sunset on Kala Patthar. The moraine is pretty landslidey at the best of times, and it would be good to have someone with you to advise, and who knows the current safe route, during the rainy season. Most of the route up is pretty darn obvious: you can do it with any of the cheap maps they sell in Nepal. Might be worth picking up the National Geographic one, which is by far the best, but hard to find in Nepal — you’d need to bring it with you.

      3: The best place to shave off time is the descent. Note, though, that when it’s raining you’re looking at a) slippery paths and b) the possibility of having to reroute around landslides. Monsoon season isn’t the time to try and do it fast.

      4: I’d say definitely do another trekking route rather than EBC with those time constraints, and the financial aversion to flying into Lukla. Note that in Annapurna there is now a road, so it’s not going to be the wilderness trekking experience that it is in Sagamartha National Park: there are other treks within the Sagamartha region that aren’t EBC, but are dazzling, but if you don’t want to fly in, I wouldn’t do it. Given you want to camp, I’d consider investigating treks that are neither EBC nor Annapurna — but, again, bear in mind that you’re camping in the rainy season. Also note that almost all road transportation takes longer during monsoon season because vehicles get stuck in the mud on unmade roads and even “made” roads can be blocked / destroyed by landslides.

      Does this help? Nepal’s a developing country, which is one reason why its wildernesses are so magical, but does tend to cause logistical difficulties.


  38. Violeta says:

    Hi Theodora,

    Fantastic blog! I enjoyed so much your account of doing EBC the “lazy way” and forwarded the link to my friends, too.

    I did the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek in May/June this year and fell in love with the Himalayas. I want to go again next year for the Everest Base Camp trek and hopefully do more trekking, too. I have to plan wisely, especially since I’ll go higher in altitude than I did in the Annapurna Sanctuary. I think the best will be to hire my own porter-guide (or a guide and a porter), so we can go with my pace. (Hopefully I’ll find friends to join me, but if not then I’ll go by myself.)

    I agree 100% with you (I forget where you wrote it, but I had a good laugh reading it) that people get AMS much worse and more often on organized trips than on individual treks. Haha – so true! On my organized group trip, once we got above 3000m, I got mild AMS symptoms, but the group kept moving, so I had to move with them. Then we went up 930 m in one bloody day from Dobhan to ABC and I got really sick, classic severe AMS. Chilled to my bones, too, in freezing rain when one could’t even see a darn thing! Then just as I was getting over AMS after a nightmarish night, we had to go down — in the gorgeous, clear morning the next day — because that was the “plan”. What the heck? I had a mere two hours to enjoy the high mountains in a clear morning post-AMS. Lesson learned: I’m never going again with a commercial trekking company! I want to rest when I need it and keep moving when I feel well.

    Long story short, my question for you is this: how did you find your wonderful “porter-guide” Nir? How can one find reliable porters and guides? It may sound imbecilic asking this, but since I went with a western trekking company, I really have no clue. Of course, I saw the many signs in Kathmandu and Pokhara about hiring guides etc., but how do you know which places to trust? I’ll be grateful if you share advice on that.

    Thanks again for a fabulous blog, so entertaining and informative! Namaste.


    • Theodora says:

      Hi Violeta,

      Thanks for your lovely comment! We found Nir through Narayan Bhandari, who now runs trekaroundnepal.com, who was recommended to us by Dave at The Longest Way Home – I’ve lost Nir’s email address and phone number (sorry!), but he IS a lovely guy, and I’m sure if you asked Narayan if he were available he’d be able to set you up with Nir. Which would make Nir very happy: he’s a farmer when he’s not guiding, and his guiding money buys a lot of livestock. He’s also, importantly for the solo female traveller, quite the gentleman. Narayan’s email is [email protected] – let me know if you have problems getting hold of him (the nature of guiding is that he’s sometimes trekking places with no internet access or mobile service) and I’ll look him up on Facebook for you. Theodora

      • Violeta says:

        Thanks for the prompt reply, Theodora! I’ll contact Narayan – your recommendation means a lot. I’m sure doing an individual trek is the right way for me to go. You may like this story … I’ve been sorting through my photos from the ABC trek and some of the shots I took on that one (very short) clear morning post-AMS are quite good (even if I say so myself). So I’ve got that one great image, but I’ve no idea which summit – it seems pretty high, but one can’t be sure at that angle if it’s higher than others or maybe not that significant. I start googling like crazy to identify “my mountain”, thinking ok maybe it’s not important, but I’d like to know. I tried every name in the area and finally typed “Annapurna I”. That was the one! So I’d stood there in front of the 10th highest mountain in the world, lucky to take a great photo in a crisp clear morning, and I’d had no idea what I was looking at. I am So Done with being rushed around and spoon-fed somebody else’s idea of what my trek should include or not. Next time I face a mountain, I’ll know the name ahead of time — that means doing my own research and planning my own trek. I don’t think your EBC trek was the “lazy way”. My ABC trek was! It doesn’t get any lazier than paying a bunch of $$$ to a western trekking company to plan my “adventure”. Yours was the smart way, methinks. I’ll be smarter next time, too. Thanks again — and keep the posts coming, they are a blast to read! – Violeta

  39. Siddhant says:

    Dear Theo,

    Like everyone else who’s commented, I’d just like to say thank you for giving such an in depth and informative account. It’s really helped me plan my trip.

    I just had a few questions that I was hoping you could help me with. I’m planning to head to EBC either at the end of September or midway through November in 2014. I’d prefer mid- November as it fits around my other travel plans (around South East Asia) a little better. Would going in Mid- November and finishing around the start of December be dangerous (with resepect to weather)? Am I likely to come accross delays during that time?

    I should also add, I’m planning to do this myself without a guide or a porter and it is my first time. I’m doing this mostly to fit to my budget. I’m planning to walk in and out from Jiri. Do you also know how many days approximately it would take to do this as I can’t find the time period for walking and and out. Usually most people tend to walk in and fly out.

    Sorry for the barrage of questions, and again thank you for the amazing blog.

    Hope to hear from you soon.


    • Theodora says:

      Hi Sid,

      We did it in late November, finishing on 12 December — it was extremely cold up the top, but the trails weren’t busy, which was nice, and the snow made it feel especially mountainous. You can have issues crossing the passes because of snow, if you’re doing a route with passes, but the Everest Base Camp route itself should be accessible. I wouldn’t recommend crossing the passes solo at any time of year, although people do do it, but especially not at that time of year — if you did decide to do a route with a pass, you can normally pick up guides for that day at tea houses before the passes.

      I’d allow six days to walk in from Jiri and six days to walk out again, although you may well do it faster than that. Locals can do the walk in three days; we met a tourist who’d taken eight days over it; but six is, I think, standard Western trekking pace. Because it’s up and down all the way, it’s not likely to be faster one way or the other way. So I’d allow yourself 23 days all-in, if you’re doing the standard in-out route to Everest Base Camp. Bear in mind that you will be carrying a lot of weight – heavyweight sleeping bags, plus the down layers you’ll need for higher up, thick socks, etcetera, etcetera.



  40. jim says:

    Hi Theodora. I have booked my EBC trip for October, via the Goyko and Cho La Pass route. I hired Narayan Bhandari before seeing his name on your website. At first, Narayan assured me he would be my guide. After I sent him a deposit, he told me he was not available and my guide would now be his associate, Nir Girel, age 30. Would this be the same Nir you hired? I am a little concerned about the “bait and switch”. I was hoping you could put my mind at rest by confirming it is indeed the same guide with whom you had a good experience. Thanks.

    Jim Vanderaa, Los Angeles

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Jim,

      I very much doubt it’s a bait-and-switch thing, just that Nir is close to EBC (he lives in Jiri, and the age is right – though the surname doesn’t ring a bell, everything Nir signed in front of us was just his first name and his home town) and Narayan, who’s in Pokhara, isn’t – so it’s fairly standard Nepali business swap, which wouldn’t raise eyebrows in Nepal, although of course it does for you. You will have a great time with Nir, I’m sure: he’s lovely, if it’s our Nir, which I think it probably is.

      If I were to take a guess at how this happened, I’d imagine that Narayan signed you up and then got a group wanting to do something in the Annapurna, which keeps him close to his family, and went to run the big group, which entails running teams of people, and handed you on to an associate who was good to do one small (one-man) group but might struggle with the logistics of running teams of porters. That might seem weird and unprofessional in the US (and would be), but it’s perfectly standard for Asia, particularly Nepal, and not sharp practice.

      That said… I would discuss with Narayan about costings. Narayan is a full guide with excellent English, whereas Nir, when we trekked with him, did not have the best English – although he was looking to develop that area of himself, and I’m sure he’s now beyond the porter-guide level he was with us (and getting an unfit woman and a 12-year-old boy over the Cho-La in December is not to be sniffed at), has improved his English and is moving towards (or already in) the guiding category.

      All the same… Narayan’s day rate should still be higher than Nir’s (assuming they’re the same Nir). I’d trust all of Narayan’s recommendations absolutely, but I would ask him directly whether Nir has the same skill-set – including fluency in English – that he does, and, depending on response, negotiate a discount to the guiding day rate based on that. The package costs might also need to change, because (IF it’s the same Nir, and IF he’s still in Jiri) you’d not be flying Narayan in from Pokhara but paying someone to walk from Jiri (or bus to and fly from Kathamandu).

      So – don’t go as low as the porter-guide day rate (because Nir must be worth more than that now) – but do try and get clarity on which Nir it is, and what the costs should be, and see what Narayan says. Hopefully, you’ll have a great time and not feel stung.

      Sorry for the late response. Please do come back with any queries, and I’ll answer as fast as I can.


    • Richard T says:

      Hi Jim,
      Hope you are well. Did you still go ahead with the trek. We are looking at booking with trekaroundnepel.com and have been liaising with Narayan. Before I saw your post I had asked if he was out guide and he was a bit non-committal on this. How did you get on with the guide and would you recommend the company.

      • jim vanderaa says:

        Hi Richard. I just got back from Nepal last night. Trip was amazing! I did the Gokyo – Chola Pass – Kala Patthar – Everest Base Camp – Nargjung Peak loop. Narayan organized everything and set me up with his associate, Nir Girel (pronounced “Near”). I was concerned at first with the switch, but Nir turned out to be a great guide and a very caring man of strong character. He was a stranger when we first met who became a real friend by the time our trek ended in Lukla sixteen days later. Do note that Nir’s English pronunciation can be hard to understand. It takes some effort to communicate with him, especially at first. The communication improved as our time together increased. I get the impression that Narayan is trying to become more the businessman and less the guide. I originally found his name by reading through trekker blogs when I started researching my trip last spring. If you have any more questions about Narayan, Nir, or the trek in general, feel free to contact me directly. Theodora can give you my email address.

        • Richard says:

          Hi Jim,
          many thanks for getting back to me and glad you had an amazing trip. I had been thinking about you a bit since the news of the disaster a couple of weeks ago but glad you made it home safely and had a fantastic time.

          We have booked to go with Narayan and he also said that he might not be able to guide us himself but gave us the re-assurance that if he wasn’t able to do we would still have a good guide. I was also getting the impression that he was managing things rather than doing so much guiding. He has been great so far and very informative and your email re-enforces that so looking forward to the trek.

          We are doing EBC in December – expecting it to be cold! Any tips, recommendations or useful kit info would be gratefully received.

          Many thanks for getting back to me.
          Kind regards


          • jim vanderaa says:

            Hi Richard. Here are my tips for the EBC trek that you might not have found in the usual guidebooks:

            1. Bring a couple of those little squirt containers of Mio or similar water enhancing product. They will make drinking those 5 liters of water every day a lot easier.

            2. Take your own pillow case. There are no washer/dryers on the trek to EBC, so the linens in your teahouse room have probably not been washed in many weeks(or months?).

            3. The air is very dry at high altitude. Your nasal passages are going to dry out and maybe even bleed. Bring a nasal mist to keep those passages moisturized.

            4. Dal Bhat is the only meal on the menu where you can get second servings.

            5. Walking and gawking is like texting and driving. Don’t do it. Stop when you want to admire the mountains. One misplaced footstep and a sprained ankle(or worse) could end your trek.

            6. Bring a buff. They can be worn in a multitude of ways on your head, around your neck, and over your face to protect and to warm you in all kinds of conditions. http://www.buffusa.com

            7. The traditional EBC trek is an out and back walk. Consider going to EBC via Gokyo to make it a loop and to see some bonus vistas.

            8. Bring an extra pair of sunglasses, just in case your main pair is broken or lost. Unprotected eyes are no match for the bright sun reflecting off a new layer of snow.

            9. Wetnaps and Bathnaps will help you stay reasonably fresh as you go day after day without showering.

            10. Sunset beats sunrise from Kala Patthar. When you arrive at Gorak Shep around lunch, and if the afternoon sky is clear, I recommend you go for it. Of course, this is personal opinion, but most EBC trekkers seem to agree.

            Contact me directly if you like and if you have more questions. Theodora has my email address. Enjoy your trek!

  41. Sue M says:

    Would it be possible to do this trek with a slight walking disability? (I have paralysed feet and walk with splints, but manage bush walks at home on variable terrain ok).

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your comment. In places, the trek is very steep, and in other places the path is quite narrow. To walk up to Namche Bazar, you need to use a very steep path, which has no steps, and is just earth, or mud if it’s raining: I can’t imagine doing it without the sensation in my feet to guide me over the terrain as well as visual references, and I can’t imagine coping with the descent without my feet responding to the big steps down that you need to take.

      EBC is much harder than a typical Australian bush walk – I’ve done bush walks rated as difficult/challenging in thongs – and it’s a multi-day trek. Because of the nature of the terrain, as well, some of the trails are steeper than anything in Australia. And, if you’re doing it in peak season, which I’d recommend for you because of the easier conditions and warmer temperatures (with no sensation in your feet you might be at risk of frostbite), you’ll be constantly having to move off the trail to make way for mule trains and yak trains.

      Have you done any multi-day treks? I’d strongly recommend banking at least one multi-day mountain hike to see how that goes before considering the Himalayas.

      That said: there are mules on the route. So if this is a dream of yours you could discuss with a guide or guiding company whether it would be possible, and whether they could (eg) hire a mule to come along with you and help you over the harder/steeper parts.

      But first of all I’d try and do a difficult mountain trek at home – or elsewhere – and see how your feet handle it.

      Hope this helps!

  42. Alex says:

    Hi Theodora,
    I know that this post is about the EBC only, but I have been searching a lot on internet and I didn’t find many objective, satisfying answers to my questions.
    So basically I am planning to do the EBC trek next autumn (oct-nov) and I want to summit Island Peak too. I have some good trekking experience, a little bit of altitude hiking (up to 5000-6000m) and would like to do the trek alone, while hiring a guide for the peak.
    My questions:
    1. I have been traveling for over a year, without any mountaineering gear. From what you have seen, would it be possible to rent such material in villages around Dingboche – or at least Namchee?
    2. Same question, for hiring a guide. I will attempt the EBC trek without a guide but I will need one for Island Peak. From what you know, is it possible to find guides around Dingboche? Is it something normal to do or do I take a big risk by doing so?
    3. Is it reasonable to carry a winter sleeping bag, clothes and basic personal material PLUS a tent all the way along the EBC, considering that I am alone? I did the Lycian Way last year with about 25kg walking about 30km each day, but I’m not sure I could carry much more.

    As you see, I am on a shoestring and I would like to cut the cost in every possible way, without taking any major risk.

    Thank you very much for all your information, it helps a lot!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Alexander,

      1: No, I don’t think you could rent mountaineering gear. We managed to buy a bit of rope, and saw one set of crampons on sale (they looked like something someone had left behind and that the store was trying to sell them by way of recycling): but what’s available in Namche, let alone the smaller villages, is very much about warmth rather than technical climbing gear. The expectation is that you arrange climbing trips in KTM and gear hire (or gear purchase) there too: the Nepal Mountaineering Association can arrange rentals. Outside Namche, these villages are tiny – usually a handful of guesthouses and ten to fifty private homes.

      2: The standard thing is to arrange both a permit, which you need to climb Island Peak, and your Island Peak guide and gear in Kathmandu. There are plenty of trekking guides in the mountains but not many climbing guides, particularly if you’re doing Island Peak in peak season, and any climbing guide who has the funds to invest in spare rental climbing gear isn’t going to be hanging around Dingboche hoping someone shows up. The permit fee for Island Peak is between $70 and $250 depending on season – http://www.nepalmountaineering.org/noticespage-19-Royalty%20 – and each expedition also needs to put down $250 as a refundable garbage deposit, so you’d probably be best off arranging to join an existing group from KTM, where the insurance and guiding fees and deposit can be split, and they can provide ice axes, ropes, carabiners, pitons, crampons, base camp set-up, including stoves, food, water, tents etc. I’d ask around all the agencies in Thamel until you find a group that suits your timings and budget, and arrange to meet them in Chhukung or Dingboche: note that, technically, you need a guide for EBC, although I’m fairly sure that’s not enforced.

      3: Carrying a tent is unlikely to save you much money (trekking lodges make their money on food, not accommodation), and it’s going to add a lot of weight: you might well also have to pay a fee to the lodge to camp on their land. As you know, things feel much heavier at altitude – I found weight felt twice as heavy above 5000m as it did at 2800m. You’ll need a -20 rated sleeping bag, if you’re buying cheap in KTM (or renting), and those things are heavy. Also note that at lower elevations, where it can be positively hot, you’ll be carrying all the layers you need for higher elevations.

      I’d note that in the wake of the 2014 climbing disaster things have tightened up around permits etc. You don’t mention whether you’ve done much climbing – Island Peak, I’m told by people who’ve done it, is bona fide climbing, using ice axes and ropes etc, jumping over crevasses, hacking your way up ice faces etc, and most expeditions include training sessions as part of the climb. So this is one rare instance where I’d recommend joining a group tour as the most cost-effective way to do it – but do do it in-market, from KTM, rather than online.

      Hope this helps!


  43. Jessica says:

    What a top write up! I’m heading to EBC on April 5th 2015 and I haven’t yet booked a tour/guide/porter. Are there many options when I arrive in Kathmandu? I would preferably go with a tour group as I’m a young female, would you suggest this or are guide/porters a safe option as well? I want to start straight away so will this be possible to potentially arrive on the 5th and start on the 6th?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Jessica, Sorry for the late response. Yes, if you’re staying in Thamel, there are a badzillion options on the street, and you’ll probably meet people in your hostel or guesthouse headed that way too. But leaving it until the next day is tight – your group would need to book flights instantly – so it will likely limit your options… Theodora

  44. char says:

    I saw your update on the April earthquake and was wondering if you would have information on whether the route from nepal, flight in and paths to everest base camp (as well as infrastructure) would still be accessible? I have a trip planned in June but now uncertain if I should cancel my flight and whole trip

    many thanks in advance!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Char, I don’t have a crystal ball BUT Nepal is going to need tourist income more than ever, all the infrastructure around Everest is low-rise, so easy to rebuild, and I’d anticipate the trek being doable by June. If you were coming next week, I’d advise you to cancel: a couple of villages have been badly damaged, and there’s been at least one landslide on the trail. By June, I think it will definitely be walkable: flights aren’t going in to Lukla at the moment, but that’s because of bad weather, not structural damage to the airport. If you’re talking about Nepal more generally: I’m sure Kathmandu airport will be open. They won’t have repaired all the damage in the capital by June, not by a long shot, but it won’t be like going into a disaster zone. So – do go.

      Cheers, Theodora

  45. gopal says:

    I am interested to go base camp 2 via kumbhu Icefall. I need yo know that is there any mountaineering course certificate required to go up there. Or if lhave some experience but not on paper can I conquer the base camp 2 without any legal objections. Plz help me out. I M not getting the proper information,

    • Theodora says:

      I’m assuming you’re asking for next season, since this season the Khumbu Icefall routes were wiped away in a massive avalanche, killing 19 people – and most guides are involved in earthquake relief at the moment, which is probably why you’re finding it hard to get information. I answered this question in the post above, but you need mountaineering experience, mountaineering gear, and to be part of an organised group – otherwise, you won’t be allowed to use the ropes and ladders that are placed within the Icefall to make it navigable. Most expeditions charge $7,000-$15,000. I’m not sure about the legal situation, but I’m fairly sure sherpas will physically remove you if you try it solo with no climbing permit.

  46. Margaret K says:

    Hey! Thanks for the advise! If I am a single, 21 year old female living in Nepal for 6 months, is is possible/safe to make the trip to base camp without fellow travelers?

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Margaret,

      We met plenty of solo travellers, including younger solo female travellers, and the path – if you are not doing any high passes, for which I would hugely recommend a guide, even if just for that one day – is easy to follow. And if you speak some Nepalese, that will help too. Do check your insurance covers you for solo trekking at that altitude. You’ll quite likely meet other indie travellers on the way up and be able to team up with them if solo becomes boring (depending what season you’re trekking in).

      The main risk in solo hiking is that if you have an accident or get sick with altitude sickness there’s no one to help you out, so things can escalate. Also be aware that solo travellers have disappeared in the Everest region. So, you’ll probably be fine and have a wonderful, empowering adventure, but do go into it with an awareness that things CAN go wrong: stick within safe rates of ascent, and if you get altitude sickness symptoms, stop ascending. Also – I wouldn’t trek solo in absolute peak season, because groups and people with local guides will get priority for accommodation over you.

      Good luck!


  47. Alex says:

    What a superb blog. Given how scary the flight into and out of Lukla seems to be, I am surprised that no western trekking tour operators seem to offer an EBC trek without flying as an option. I have found one or two companies in the west that offer a Jiri to EBC option, but still with the flight back to Kathmandu from Lukla. It’s a real shame because I think there must be many, like me, who are being put off doing the famous trek because of the flights in and out of Lukla.
    I did the Annapurna Sanctuary trek in November 2012, with an add-on at Chitwan NP, booked through the excellent UK company Mountain Kingdoms. The trek was very well organised indeed, with five staff to the four clients. We had the use of superb Mountain Hardware high altitude/low temp sleeping bags with fleece liners which really kept you warm in those cold tea house bedrooms. Our head guide was excellent, and lots of extra supplies were carried eg snacks, toilet paper etc. There was never too much ascent in one day and we spent a night up at ABC, with plenty of time to take in the views on the afternoon we arrived there and the next morning. I would love to travel with Mountain Kingdoms again for an EBC trek, but alas all the treks they offer in this area use Lukla as a starting point. They, and other companies, could perhaps tailor make something for me, but I prefer to be in a small group. I try to keep fit by going on 40 to 50 mile bike rides when the weather’s good here in north east England, and I found that this was enough to cope well with the altitude and effort of the ABC trek. However, it does only go up 4300 metres as a highpoint, so I imagine EBC must be much more of a challenge.
    With you extensive knowledge of this area, do you know of any western tour operators who do an EBC or EBC
    -Gokyo trek that avoids Lukla flights altogether ? Also, is there perhaps some kind of longer Himalayan trek where you can get really close to Everest, Lhotse, Pumori etc en route to somewhere else. I just can’t fancy those flights to and from Lukla.

    • Theodora says:

      Hmmm…. You pose a difficult question, as people who are paying top-end tour prices don’t want to walk all the way in, because work. I think, at your pricepoint and with your – admittedly understandable — aversion to Lukla, I’d look outside EBC (I’m fairly sure if there were a tour operator doing what you described, they’d be easy to find online).

      Have you considered the K2 basecamp trek in Pakistan? Or Makalu base camp? Or… at your budget, I’d dare to suggest Bhutan. Do a scenic flight out of KTM so you knock off seeing Everest out of the box, then do either one of the more unspoiled 8000-er base camps or Bhutan.

      Take a look at Adventure Consultants’ treks (you may have read about their founder in Jon Krakauer’s book) – http://www.adventureconsultants.com/adventure/Treks/. Many top-end firms have Bhutan offers – I’d run a Google – but Mountain Kingdoms is one of them, so I’d suggest you looked into that as you like the company: http://www.mountainkingdoms.com/inspiration/holidays/bhutan-holidays

      No, you don’t see Everest – but you can take a scenic flight out of KTM to do that. EBC proper is fab – I loved it – but needs to be done out of season (and, as a Brit, you’re currently not covered to travel there). You could also explore coming at Everest from the Tibetan side, but, as a Brit, that’s difficult in visa terms.

      More questions/thoughts, please do get back! Theodora

      • Alex says:

        Thanks very much for replying. I have read Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” and am currently reading “Dark Shadows Falling” by Joe Simpson.
        Funnily enough, I wouldn’t fancy the Everest scenic flight either, a few of those have also crashed over the years too. Mountain Kingdoms have a fantastic range of treks including the complete Snowman trek in Bhutan. That looks fabulous but at about £6000 is beyond my budget. That would be one to try if I ever won some money, because it looks so gorgeous and unspoilt and Bhutan appears to be such a fascinating place with its own distinct culture. K2 basecamp does appeal and people say that it is actually a very beautiful mountain but I’m not that keen on going to Pakistan as a westerner. I shall look into Makalu and any other options, as well as Adventure Consultants.
        Really enjoy reading your blog.
        Thanks again for your thoughts.

        • Theodora says:

          G Adventures might be worth looking at for Bhutan if you want a Western operator at a lower budget – although I’m not sure they’re your demographic in the way Mountain Kingdoms is. They have two Bhutan tours: this one at under £3k, and this one at around £2k (though, obviously, you’d need to find flights).

          The problem with aviation in the Himalayas generally is that landing on small airstrips built into the sides of mountains just is difficult. You’re right about K2 looking beautiful – Everest is by far the ugliest mountain on that trail. You could look at timing your flight in so that you got to see Everest in daylight both going in and going out: it is lovely seen from the air.

  48. Kristina says:

    Hi Theodora,

    I loved all the advises and comments you posted here. We are planning to hike EBC next year in April and was wondering when you did the trek via Goyko Lakes and you mentioned it took you 19 days…how many miles did you walk daily and how many days out of those 19 did you rest please? If you can respond to my email [email protected] I would very much appreciate it. Looking forward to reading your answers and thank you again!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Kristina, Responding here so that people can see it. You can read a blow by blow account of which days we rested and which days we hiked and when starting here: http://www.escapeartistes.com/2012/12/01/alpine-paradise-everest-base-camp-trekday-1/. We took more than the standard number of rest days, although we tended to hike on those, and we also spent time stuck in Lukla at the end because flights were backed up: those are included in the 19 days total.

      It’s not really about miles covered so much as elevation. The rule is to rest a day for every 1000 metres you ascend, and that’s followed in the Himalayas in a way it isn’t on Kilimanjaro: I was also super-cautious about it as Zac, my son, was only 12. With the exception of the Cho-La Pass – http://www.escapeartistes.com/2013/01/04/crossing-the-cho-la-pass/ – which was genuinely tough, we only really walked a few hours a day, typically 3 or 4, sometimes 6. Theodora

  49. Ana says:

    Hi Theodora, I am visiting Nepal between end of Dec and start of Jan, and am wondering how easily it could be to find a group once I arrive in KTM. So far, the online quotes provided seem expensive (around $1700 USD to EBC). Unless I am wrong thinking that they are pricey?
    So, I have started to think of the possibility to hire a guide-porter as there doesn’t seem to be flexibility in terms of price and dates at this point yet.
    Would you also know how early I would need to book for flights, permits and accommodation in lodges in Nepal? Could you just rock up and find a spot at a lodge?
    Thank you.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Ana, At that time of year finding a group might be difficult, particularly this year, with the earthquake et al – it’s pretty cold, so few people choose to trek at that time. On the plus side, you certainly shouldn’t need to book flights or permits or accommodation, though be aware that some lodges may be closed, both because of the time of year and because of the disaster. If you contact trekaroundnepal.com, they’ll have a porter-guide who should know where is open. Alternatively, G Adventures has one on 27 Dec for $1274, so if you actively want a group you might want to check that out. Cheers, Theodora

  50. Pierre Tremblay says:

    Hi Theodora, thanks for this amazing source of information! My wife and I are planning to do the EBC trek during the last two weeks of February 2016. Should we still prepare for extreme cold and snow, or does it normally start to get a bit better by them? Thanks.

    • Theodora says:

      I would expect extreme cold and snow! But you’ll have the trail virtually to yourselves. I wouldn’t plan on doing high passes at that time of year, but EBC should be OK.

  51. Kenny says:

    Hi Theodora, thanks for posting this article! I find it extremely helpful! I really want to catch a glimpse of the peak of Everest and recently found out that the best way to do it is to hike up to the summit of Kala Patthar. I have summited Mount Kinabalu once and I find that the rock climbing and abseiling part before the Sayat-sayat Hut was a bit scary especially done without harness. So I’m just wondering if summiting Kala Patthar involves any of that? Thanks.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Kenny, No, Kala Patthar isn’t like Kinabalu: it’s more of a hike, and nobody uses ropes out here unless they’re climbing anyway. I do see what you mean about Kinabalu, though. There’s something about going down that slope in daylight that makes you realise what you came up in the dark!

      You’ll see the peak of Everest with the plume of snow from the jetstream from as early as Namche, if you walk up to the top of the town – that’s a must-do on your rest day – but if you go up Kala Patthar (even if you don’t make the summit) you should get the alpenglow as sunset comes in, which is absolutely amazing.



  52. Excellent collection of FAQs. Meantime I had also started a blog with free and independent information about Everest Base Camp Trek. Check out the nice trek map of entire Everest Region.


    Also, if you have any updates or suggestion feel free to leave email at [email protected]

  53. Hi Theodora,

    Do you have any idea what it will be like this October on the EBC trail, has the amount of people been influenced by the earthquake?

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Justin,

      Tourism numbers are still low across Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake, so you can expect lower than average numbers on EBC too.



  54. Aidan says:

    Hi Theodora,

    First off thanks for all the information you’ve posted here to date, its been extemely helpful for our group of three. We’re interested in doing either the three passes or the gokyo lakes trek in around the 24th of September with one of our group going the traditional in out route only. My main concerns are the weather and the crowds.

    From your experience what is the weather like around that time on the high passes? Is it likely to have to allow extra rest days on account of poor weather and are the views likely to be more clouded than say roughly a month later?

    Also, would the in out section of the trek to be busy then or would we just be sneeking in ahead of the october crowds if we went up to ebc that way and come back the gokyo lakes route?

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Aidan, Tourist numbers are still down in the wake of the earthquake, but I’d say the in-out section will still be busy: you’re not looking just at tourists but at yak and mule trains bringing supplies higher up the trail, and the one who’s doing that solo may have to look quite hard to find space in lodges. I haven’t been in the high passes at that time of year, but pretty much every day of the walk has one or more stunning views to offer so I wouldn’t be too worried if you miss a couple. You’re late enough in the season for it to be unlikely that the passes are going to be blocked with snow – although you can never 100% guarantee they’re passable – so I’d say go for the Three Passes… Theodora

  55. Levi says:

    A truly informative FAQ. I’m climbing to base camp in November and have opted to do it without a tour. Did you pre-book accommodation? or did you book on the night you were staying?

  56. Kirk says:

    Couple of comments (I have done Gokyo from Jiri and EBC from Lukla).

    The three passes trek is better done counter-clockwise, doing EBC and Cho La before Gokyo and Renjo La. The stages for acclimating going to Renjo La from Namche are not as well situated.

    On your trek you went to Phortse from Namche. Staying at Mong La is much preferable for acclimating, and avoids the steep ascent back up if AMS symptoms present themselves. Most tour groups don’t do this since the lodging at Mong are small, but for independent trekkers it’s much better in my opinion.

    On the issue of fitness, willpower will make up for a lot.

  57. Joaquín Béjares says:

    Hi Theodora! thanks a lot for all the information you wrote down, it has been key for my prepartion to do EBC, many many thanks again! 😉
    I have two questions I hope you can help me with.
    – Im travelling in February (the whole month), do you think I will need to buy a new pair of hiking boots (the expensive ones for grampones)? or do you think regular trekking boots migh do the job (with mid ankle support)?
    – Do I have to book in advance for an agency to do EBC? What if I get to KTM and try to find a guide/local agency to do the whole trek? I hope you can help me

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Joaquin,

      You shouldn’t need crampons for the EBC trek if you’re following the straight-in, straight-out route: if you’re doing the Three Passes, it’s a risky time of year because of the snow. Most people seem not to use crampons trekking in Sagamartha, despite the fact that at the Cho-La, eg, they’re definitely needed. February is really REALLY cold up high, so be sure your boots are warm.

      You shouldn’t need to book in advance for a February trip. Do be aware that there’ll be few other people doing it at that time of year, so if you’re looking to share the cost of the guide with others that might be hard to do.



  58. Jessica Wood says:

    Hi there,

    I am a solo traveler that is looking to do this trek next month. I have not arranged a guide/porter yet, can this be done in the couple of days that I have before my flight to Lukla or should I prearrange it? Also, do you have to prebook accommodations along the trail or can you just walk into the villages and find something? Is that too risky?


    • Theodora says:

      Hi Jess,

      In February, you should have no problem finding a porter-guide, and you won’t need to prebook anything, although some accommodations may be closed. You might want to read The Longest Way Home’s account of trekking in that region in February, because it is very cold. Good luck!


  59. Sudipto Roy says:

    Excellent article that covers virtually everything. Regarding the question of children on a Himalayan trek – in addition to what you write, I think the most challenging part for the parents during a long trek is to keep the child motivated, cheerful and engaged throughout the trek. I haven’t trekked to EBC with my child but I did do some treks in Eastern Indian Himalaya with my daughter when she was ten. Keeping her cheerful throughout the day, particularly if the weather was dreary and gloomy was quite a task. It is not that she was getting very tired and her limbs were giving way. She was just bored to be walking endlessly and would constantly ask “when is this trail going to end ?” :-). There sense of achievement and purpose is totally different from us adults. But now when we talk about it she is very happy that she did it and the beaming smile with which she speaks about her treks is quite worth it. I think if there were other children in our group, things would have been easier for her.

    • Theodora says:

      I think you’re right about the motivational aspect. One advantage of EBC is that there’s actually relatively little walking involved: the walking days are quite short, although often with brutal ascents and descents. I think it also helped to have a slightly older child who could appreciate the emotional load or significance of Everest Base Camp as a destination, and the challenge of crossing the Cho-La Pass. We were lucky with the weather, too. It was either brilliant blue and pristine clear, or snowy – not a lot of gloom, and zero rain. Must have been hard for her being the only child in a group. We trekked just the two of us with a guide, so Zac wasn’t the odd one out any more than I was, if that makes sense.

  60. Daryl says:

    Thanks Theodora, tons of great info, been gathering much ourselves for a hopeful trip end of this year with my 2 kids. I have also made contact with a couple of guides/companies, recommended and gaining more info direct, but some conflicts a little.

    Not joining a group, doing our own thing and hiring guides etc, the total $$ does not in fact seem to save a lot, but flexibility and independence has always been our way.

    Still confused about best time to go to get an all rounded experience, less crowds, good weather etc, some recommended March, others late November, others first 2 weeks of October. Anyone shed some real light on this ? We homeschool, live in Bali and very flexible. Ideally November would be good for us.

    Another thing, being in bali, we have limited access to equipment, no thermals that I have found etc …closest seems Singapore. We intend to get what we can, when we can, especially boots and thermals now rather than wait for KTM. but the other main ticket items, fleeces, down waterproof jackets, pants, sleeping bags etc … I read these are abundant in KTM, but mostly fakes, but good to ok fakes and a minus 30 bag might only be minus 20 for example … is that really such a big deal ? I mean give or take minus 10 for us I am not sure we will notice as even 0 is going to be a shock. Same re jackets, can you actually get suitable gear there, also kids sizes is very important obviously…gloves etc.

    Thanks again for all the input here. Daryl.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Daryl,

      Fakes worked for us trekking in late November/early December: it was -15 indoors at Gorak Shep on 12 December, so you do need the layers, especially bearing in mind that cold feels MUCH colder at altitude. Numbers have ticked up lately, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend October, as that’s peak, and if November is best for you I’d go with that. Nepalese kids need down jackets too, so you can buy down and gloves down to baby sizes.



      • Daryl says:

        Cheers… yes making progress… have decided on last week November and 1st 2 of December should see it done. You live in Bali, have you visited the Eiger store on sunset, huge store with lots product… I am keen on their jackets and boots.. jackets from 400 to 800k idr. … boots 950k … lots of gear, just nothing much in kids sizes…. yes silly me forgot Nepalese kids need it too. So looking forward to it, my kids do homeschool so that’s the subject this week.

        • Theodora says:

          I’ve not been, but I wouldn’t trust anything bought in Bali in the sorts of temperatures you’ll be looking at at Gorak Shep in November or December. It’s a great home-school topic, though – lots to learn…

          • Daryl says:

            Well we bought boots …kind of had too as will not be anywhere else beforehand with enough time to break in … waterproof gortex uppers and vibram souls…quality seems very good … I hope.

            On another point re Island Peak … a company I have been in contact with and organising independent travel, we paying all as we go, but guides seem a bit more expensive daily rates … they quoted $800 each for the 3/4 day island peak section alone … does that sound right ? That section alone, all inclusive and with different guides to the rest of the trip and training days.

            • Theodora says:

              $800 each for how many people? Is that $200 per person per day? How old are your kids? How much high-altitude stuff have they done? How about cold temperatures? Island Peak is pretty high for youngsters and I’d guess the high quote is for multiple sherpas so they can physically carry people off the mountain if required. Guiding prices would be higher for climbing sherpas, and there’s also equipment rental to bear in mind, plus high-altitude porters to carry up what you need to base camp. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to request a cost breakdown, but there may well be a danger premium in there for younger children. Are you still planning on starting in late November? It was -15C indoors during the day at Gorak Shep, which is almost 1,000 metres lower than the top of Island Peak in December, and altitude makes cold temperatures feel even colder.

              • Daryl says:

                Hi, ok, got a quote from what seems a better qualified IP team ‘Himalayan Ecstasy Nepal ‘ ever heard of them, they lead at least 20 expeditions up IP each season and have 4 climbing guides based at Chukung and they are $700, involves 4 days extra, 1 day at least training and 1 weather day…… kids are 12 and 15, no real cold or high alt stuff…. plan is to see how we going on the trek up until that point, then decide on IP…. we been training, Mt batur, Mt agung, rinjani next month and one more before November along with at least 20/25k a week walks and start specific gym program soon. ….. re IP, they provide 2 guides for the climb for 3 of us, we camp one night at circa 5500m ……. also, they quoted me a not bad price for the whole trek, which with gokyo and Chola and IP, works out at around 23/24 days … price is 1050 for the trek, plus the IP section at 700, plus airfares at 330 ….. we had been planning independent, but at my budgeting we cannot seem to beat that price by much to make it worthwhile to deal with it independently….. what you think ?

                • Daryl says:

                  Forgot to add … there will be just 3 of us … also all equipment included except the climbing boots which we can hire at Chukung… we have chatted with them a lot, they seem fine with the time of year, but shall reconfirm … maybe a week or 2 earlier if needed. Thanks

                  • Theodora says:

                    I think if the kids are that age and you’re not committing to Island Peak that sounds a lot more sensible. I’m scared of heights so haven’t done Island, but apparently there’s some serious stuff involved, like ice climbing and jumping crevasses – a 20ish guy I met was rather shaken by how dangerous it felt. You sound like you’ll be a lot better prepared than we were!

                    You could probably beat that price (around $100 per person per day on the EBC trek, right?) by going indie or semi-indie, but I don’t think it’s worth it if you want to do Island: also if there’s only one adult, you really want the support of professionals in case you get sick or incapacitated. I’d cut corners on a lot of things but not on mountaineering!

                    The cold will probably be your biggest issue, because it bites harder at altitude. Layering is key: liners under gloves, thermals under fleeces, body warmers, hat plus balaclava, multiple pairs of socks (women’s tights – pantyhose – are a very effective underlayer). Don’t rely on what Nepalese who are used to the cold think you need for the temperatures, but go way over: I’d consider investing in things like heat pads. I’ve camped in sub-zero conditions before (although not at any particular altitude) and it’s pretty bracing. Exciting!

  61. Daryl says:

    Thanks Theodora, we all are very excited…hopefully we can pull it off and nothing pops up to hinder it. We are having trouble finding insurance above 6000m and in particular, using ropes and equipment etc. Sent of 10 enquiries to relevant companies, all declined. Cheers

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