Everest Base Camp map & highlights

There is no road between Kathmandu and Lukla where the trek to Everest Base Camp begins, so a short plane ride brings you to the start of the trail. You will fly at an altitude of about 2,860m but by the time you’ve trekked to Namche Bazaar, just 7.4km from your starting point at Phakding, you will have already gone well above that, but 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 five hours’ walking time) and will eventually take you to the Khumbu Glacier at 4,900m. From Lobuche you’re just 5km (approx four hours) from Gorak Shep and an extra 3.5km (approx two 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.
Base camp south

1. Base camp south

This rocky clearing, with the treacherous Khumbu Icefall just beyond, is where serious Everest summit attempts via the South Col route start. It was also where 22 climbers and Sherpas lost their lives when the earthquake of 2015 triggered an avalanche. It takes around three hours to trek here from Gorak Shep. During the spring climbing season, it’s a tent city, but at other times of year it can be eerily quiet.

2. Dingboche

On the southern slopes of Lhotse and above the tree line, Dingboche is reached by a short, steep climb. At 4,530m, this summer settlement is typically a final acclimatisation point. Many guided treks spend a full day here, with those adapting well to the altitude opting to climb nearby Nangkartshang Peak at 5,100m for great views of Makalu, Lhotse and other peaks, or trekking to Amadablam base camp.
Gorak Shep & Kala Patthar

3. Gorak Shep & Kala Patthar

Gorak Shep is used as an overnight stop before or after ascending to Base Camp, as few trips actually spend a night there. From here, an offshoot trek leads to Kala Patthar, at 5,545m. This is a tough hike and as high as most trekkers go, but once here, the reward is bucket-list views of Everest (which can’t actually be seen from Base Camp itself) and surrounding peaks, and down over Base Camp.

4. Kathmandu

Nepal’s capital is a chaotic kaleidoscope of narrow, crowded streets where Nepalis on motorbikes zip past cycle rickshaws, backpackers stroll alongside dreadlocked holy men and street dogs look on unfazed. Thamel is a headache of hotels and tourist cafes, but the Old City boasts temples and beautiful Buddhist architecture, although many UNESCO rated buildings were destroyed or damaged in the two earthquakes of 2015.
Khumbu Glacier

5. Khumbu Glacier

This 17km river of ice is the highest glacier on the planet and it’s constantly eroding mount Everest. Setting foot on it is like being engulfed in another world. Just before reaching Base Camp the trail climbs by the side of the Khumbu Glacier before descending onto the rocky glacial moraine itself, where fascinating columns of ice – seracs – flank its sides.

6. Lobuche

A small hamlet with a couple of teahouses, Lobuche is 7km up the trail from Dingboche, at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier. It takes about five hours to cover this route with an altitude gain of 490m. From here, Base Camp at 5,364m is within striking distance. Some guided treks head from Lobuche to Base Camp in one push, before dropping back down to Gorak Shep for the night.
Namche Bazaar

7. Namche Bazaar

One of the first stops on the Everest Base Camp trail, Namche Bazaar is a busy trading center and the cradle of Sherpa culture. Its Sherpa Museum reveals the extraordinary role local people have played in summiting Everest, often at great personal cost. Most treks pause to acclimatise here, with the walk to see the sunrise views from the national park headquarters above the village a good way to aid this process.

8. Phakding

Blink and you could miss Phakding, a small village that sits by the milk white Dudh Kosi river and is often the first stop on the trail to Everest Base Camp. You will be excited about the trek ahead, but don’t overlook this little spot. Phakding is a photographer’s dream with prayer wheels, rustling flags and Mani stones, all colourful against the cloudy meltwater river that rushes down the valley.

9. Tengboche

The rumoured birthplace of Tenzing Norgay and the site of Khumbu’s largest Buddhist monastery, the remote village of Tengboche is only accessible on foot. It’s a midway point along the trail to Base Camp with wonderful views of Everest and Lhotse. The monastery’s cultural center was established to preserve the Sherpas’ social and cultural values and its museum contains rare and sacred Buddhist texts and artefacts.
Travel Team
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Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Christopher Michel] [Base camp south: emifaulk] [Dingbouch: Peter Meissner] [Gorak Shep: Steve Hicks] [Kathmandu: Ashish Gautam] [Khumbu glacier: Rick Charles] [Lobouche: Jerome Bon] [Namche Bazaar Nepal: Rick Charles] [Phakding: Sam Hawley] [Tengboche: Allan Grey]