The Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal is one of the most famous trekking journeys in the country. Nepal is famous as “the Land of the Himalayas” and albeit it’s relatively small size, the country has the encompassment of a wide range of diversities that pertain to geography, culture and wildlife. Among the ten tallest mountains in the world, Nepal has eight of them, including Mount Everest- the tallest mountain peak on the planet. As such, trekking in Nepal has become one of the most sought-after adventure to do among enthusiastic travelers and trekkers all over the world. The country has many amazing trekking destinations that vary from each other in terms of topography, their cultural prominence and landscape. Every year, thousands of trekkers and travelers visit the country to enjoy its many natural, cultural and traditional hallmarks. Among all of the trekking destinations of Nepal, the region of Everest is considered the most famous, and the Everest Base Camp Trek is the most widely done trekking journey responsible for a large portion of revenue generation in the tourism sector of the country.
One would think that trekking to the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain peak is something that requires much effort and money, but that cannot be much farther than the truth. Everest Base Camp Trekking is cheap, super affordable to do, can be done at all times of the year and by people of all demographics. It can be done by novice first-time trekkers as well as experienced mountaineers. The base camp trek journey is a great opportunity to experience the Everest region’s (also called the Khumbu) many amazing features and aspects, like rich Sherpa culture, beautiful mountainous landscape brimming with river valleys, gorges, moraines, glaciers and mountain rivers and magnificent views and sights of the Mahalangur Himalayan range that consists of some of the tallest mountains on the planet. The Khumbu is a prime Sherpa settlement of Nepal and the region has a very rich and dense concentration of Sherpa tradition and practices that isn’t found anywhere else in the country. The legendary Sherpa people are also famous for their mountain-climbing ability and their agility in the Himalayas. As the indigenous mountain people mostly follow their own unique form of Buddhism, the Khumbu is ornamented with many chortens, Gumbas, small stupas, monasteries, prayer flags and Mani stone wall carvings. The trekking trail of the base camp trek to Everest goes through many villages of the Khumbu and also follows major mountain rivers that drain the region. Furthermore, the path to the base camp is decorated with alpine woods, forests and pastures in the low-lands and snowy acreages as the elevation rises. The views of cerulean mountain peaks like the Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse, Changtse, Thamserku, Kongdi Ri and many more are also a constant presence as one treks on the amazing trail that goes through the heart of the Himalayan region.
The Everest Base Camp Trekking Trail
The journey to the base camp of Mount Everest usually starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. A plane journey from the capital of the country to Lukla takes about 30 to 40 minutes and is considered as one of the most dramatic short plane journeys on Earth. The Lukla Airport is also a very fascinating airport that is situated on a cliff and has a single runway that drops off to the gaping open valley below as the runway ends. It is surrounded by tall green hills and mountains, and the terrain at Lukla is quite different from Kathmandu. This change is felt immediately as one lands at Lukla. From the village of Lukla, the trekking trail then proceeds to go through villages like Phakding, Monjo, the Sagarmatha National Park, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche and Gorakshep before finally reaching the Everest Base Camp. Usually, the trekking journey lasts for two weeks, but this duration can be adjusted to suit the trekker’s requirements and conveniences. The duration from one location to the next takes about 5 to 6 hours as the distance between two consecutive villages in the Khumbu is about 10 to 12 kilometers. Acclimatization to the high altitude terrain is usually done in the famous mountain town of Namche Bazaar and Dingboche.
Best Time for Everest Base Camp Trekking
The trek can be done at any time of the year and is available to do throughout the year. Nepal mainly experiences four main seasons- autumn (September to December), spring (March to May), winter (the end of December to February) and summer (June to August). The autumn and the spring seasons are considered the best seasons for trekking the base camp trek because the weather conditions during these months are vastly favorable and suitable. The clouds tend to dissipate and the views of the mountains are clear. Summer and winter aren’t ideal for trekking, but the journey can still be gone through with. The monsoon occurs in the summer months and trekking trails become muddy and slippery with the constant rain. The views of the mountains are also not as clear as the autumn or spring seasons. In the winter, high passes in the mountains tend to become blocked due to heavy snow and the region experiences extreme cold temperatures. That is why autumn and spring are considered the peak trekking seasons as most of the trekkers to Everest arrive during this time and hotels and plane tickets become booked quickly.
Essential Trekking Equipment
Essential trekking equipments for the Everest Base Camp Trek include proper trekking boots, sleeping bag, duffle bags, hiking poles and appropriate hiking clothes. It is important to have trekking boots that you are comfortable with and have “broken into”. Trekking in boots that you are not comfortable in can result in blisters on the foot and just an unpleasant journey constantly ruined by the feel of uncomfortable boots in the mountainous terrain. That is why having good and comfortable trekking boots (of any brand, as long as you are comfortable wearing them) is important. It is also highly recommended to pack as light as possible. Packing lightly will result in fewer hassles and chances of losing things. In the mountains, porters are generally hired for carrying duffle bags. A porter is capable of carrying up to 25 kilogram of weight between two people. So packing a duffle bag that does not exceed the weight of more than 12 kg is the most appropriate way to go. Hotels in Kathmandu also provide services of safety storage lockers where you can store your excess luggage not really necessary for the trek. There are many shops in Kathmandu that sell trekking and hiking equipments. You can rent/hire them once you arrive in the city as well before you start the trek. A proper Down Jacket is necessary, but if you are trekking during the autumn or spring, the temperatures during the day remain mildly warm and you can hike comfortably in T-shirts and hiking shorts. The temperature does drop down a notch or two as the sun sets and the atmosphere becomes chilly, so warm caps, wool socks and jackets come in handy. Other essential items can include sunscreens, sun-glasses and hiking hats.