Everest Base Camp map & highlights
Make the most of your time
Fly at an altitude of 2,860m from Kathmandu to Lukla, and consider that by the time you’ve trekked to Namche Bazaar, just 7.4km from your starting point at Phakding, you’re not going to be far off 2,860m on foot. This is a trek that is measured in how high you are – not how far you walk. Daily distances, from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche and onwards to Dingboche and Lobuche are all around 10km (approx 5 hours’ walking time) and will eventually take you to the Khumbu Glacier at 4,900m. From Lobuche you’re just 5km (approx 4 hours) from Gorak Shep and an extra 3.5km (approx 2 hours) to Everest Base Camp South (5,364m) but beware, distances at high altitude take more energy and more time so bear this in mind for the final push.
Nepal’s Buddhist, backpacker and Hindu haven chucks you into a kaleidoscope of temples and traffic. Motorbikes, cycle rickshaws and taxis dodge through alleyways and marigolds are bestowed on deities, while paint daubed cows and dreadlocked holy men wander by in oblivious contentment. Ask a local guide to explain the significance of temples and squares for a more enlightening experience.
The majority of Sherpa accompanying Everest treks come from the Khumbu region, with Namche Bazaar trading centre the gateway to the Himalaya and Sherpa culture. Talking to Sherpa guides unlocks a treasure chest of inspirational and humbling stories and is well worth your time in between keeping your legs moving on day walks to nearby Syangboche, Khumjung and the Everest View.
The birthplace of Tenzing Norgay and the site of Khumbu’s largest Buddhist monastery, the village of Tengboche is a midway point along the trail to Base Camp with views of Everest and Lhotse bringing your quest into stark reality. This remote village is only accessible on foot and as such has very limited supplies and facilities to cater for the thousands of travelers that visit during the five peak trekking months of the year.
Dingboche & Lobuche
Situated on the southern slopes of Lhotse, Dingboche is, for many, a final acclimatisation point and features lodge and tent accommodation alongside rock formed stupas decorated in sun bleached, wind tattered, prayer flags. Lobuche is at the foot of the Khumbui Glacier with shared dorms and stone huts providing primitive yet welcome places to stay prior to the final thrust.
Stepping foot onto the highest glacier on the planet is like being engulfed in another world with ice pinnacles and gravity defying glaciers flanking both sides, and hidden crevasses demanding the utmost concentration on the final section of the trail. Bleak and barren moraine provides a knee jarring terrain underfoot whilst the jagged shards of the Khumbu Icefall end, thankfully, just above Base Camp.
Gorak Shep & Kala Patthar
Although you won’t reach Everest’s summit, you can admire it from a distance with the vantage point from Kala Patthar presenting an all-encompassing view from Base Camp upwards. Gorak Shep is the final overnight stop before Base Camp and the best point to ascend Kala Patthar. Journeys take two to three hours depending on conditions and adapting to altitude.
Base Camp South
There’s nothing that beats the feeling of elation when you finally reach Base Camp. This is where the expeditions of the past started out and taking a moment to respect both the mountain and the departed is just as much a part as watching prayer flags flutter against clear blue skies. After reaching BC you’ll usually retrace your steps to either Gorak Shep or Lobuche, descending further after a good night’s rest.
Everest Base Camp travel advice
TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS
Tips on when to go
Ralph Foulds, Director of our supplier Encounters Travel, shares his tips and advice on trekking to Everest Base Camp:
“The classic peak season is September and October, but I think April is a great month. The rhododendrons and other spring flowers are in bloom lower down and the weather is relatively warm with good clear views in the early mornings. It’s also not as busy as September and October, and you can see some of the climbing groups preparing for their ascents from Everest Base Camp.”
What to read
Ralph Foulds, from our supplier Encounters Travel:
“We love The Ascent of Rum Doodle, by WE Bowman. Written in 1956 it's a fun parody of early mountaineering expeditions and a great topical but lighthearted read to take with you.”
Ralph Foulds, from our supplier Encounters Travel: “The best preparation for hiking at altitude is lots of walking before you arrive. Wear the same boots or hiking shoes you'll be taking on the trek and try to do as many hill walks as possible. In particular, try and do two walks at the weekends - it's the second day's walking that really improves your fitness.”
Responsible Travel’s Sarah Faith has trekked to Everest Base Camp. She shares her advice: “Pack some kind of sauce/condiments to liven up dinner – the teahouse/lodges you stay in will provide warm, tasty, hearty food, but the menu is not varied. Eight days into the trek and the same three meals on rotation every lunch and dinner gets repetitive.”
Give something back
Sarah Faith, Responsible Travel:
“Consider donating or supporting a local education or healthcare charity – the burden of looking after trekkers suffering from altitude sickness falls on local clinics – the region is extremely remote and facilities are extremely poor, more than you’d think given the level of tourism it attracts.”
Everest Base Camp travel advice
TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS
At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful Everest base camp travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
“Bring lots of warm clothes & sleeping equipment and water purification (buying water becomes very costly and produces many plastic bottles). It is hard some days but so worth it!” – Veronica Baker
“Exchange your currency in Nepal before you leave - you can't exchange it back, here in the UK.” – Keith Robinson
“Definitely get very fit before going. Also it is camping, just with four walls around you, so very cold at times and washing was almost impossible in places so be prepared.” – Danusai Brzezina
“Make sure you take a sleeping bag that is comfortable to minus 20. Be aware that it is sometimes difficult to get hot water for showering. There is little of no electricity when the sun goes down - so take a head torch and some batteries, then at least you can read your book even if it is dark.” – Lindsay Clarke
“Bring a bandana or something along the way to cover your mouth and nose from dust. The trails can be real dusty from other trekkers and yaks. Bring some over-the-counter sinus or cold medicine, just in case, there is not much available in the higher parts of the treks if you catch a bit of a cold.” – Art Razo
“Visiting Base Camp Everest and Kala Patar must be the highlight of the trek although the long trek in and the interaction with the local people on the trail and in the tea-houses at night is what it is all about.” – Daan Eksteen
“Be careful to drink a lot. Don’t overexert yourself. If it takes a day longer, so what? In fact, one should probably plan for an extra day or two, just in case.” – Paul Blank
“Prepare adequately and avoid taking anything more than what you really need... Sadly consumers of the most well known products/brands leave their packaging for all to see.” – Edmund Raczkowski