Everest’s intimidating summit soars so high that trekking to its base camp is still considered the highest form of adventure.
And, even though we at Mosaic Adventure trek to this iconic base camp more than 25 times a year, each trek bring us unique experiences and offer a fresh perspective on traveling.
Whatever the experience means to us or our guests —whether it be a dream come true, a personal achievement, or nourishment of the soul—the experience rewards us with spectacular sceneries that just get better and better each day of the trek.
Like a picture postcard that changes daily, we find ourselves trekking through Sherpa farmlands; through colorful small villages set against soaring, jagged pinnacles; and through sparkling blue rivers and glacial pools.
If you are in for this kind of adventure and doing this for the first time, let us walk you through the top 8 basic things you can expect from Everest Base Camp Trek.
1. Thrilling Lukla flight
To get to Lukla from Kathmandu, you will brave an early morning 40-minute flight in a small aircraft. From Lukla, you will trek to Phakding for 3 hours, passing through Sherpa villages, and shrines and monasteries of Drangdrak Gompa and Pema Choling Gompa. In this trek, you will have quick opportunities to immerse in the breathtaking views of sacred mountain Khumbila and Kusum Kangaru.
It is among the dangerous airports in the world. The location and the short runway in the hilltop make this airport more adventurous. On this flight, you will get the most scenic views of the sea of mountains and an electrifying experience on landing in the airport.
2. Challenging but Not Super Hard 6-hour Trek Per Day
Reaching the base of the world’s tallest mountain does not require you to be a super hiker or climber. Anyone in good health and fitness can comfortably complete this trek. However, don’t expect it to be easy because it’s not. The route still covers 75 miles round trip and the extreme altitudes of 17,500 feet pose a challenge, making it not fit for every adventurer.
The days are also long, with an average of 6 hours of trekking per day but each day of trekking adventure to the base camp rewards you with a sense of accomplishment and excitement which accelerates the higher you climb.
If you prepare yourself for Everest Base Camp Trek properly, you will be surprised to find that the activity is not as hard as most people thought it to be.
3. Early Bed and Wake-up Time
Typical wake-up time is at 6 AM and we eat our breakfast at 7 AM. By 8 AM, we are already on the trail, ready for the day’s trek which consists of 5-7 hours of walking through rough terrains and steep inclines and sometimes with bad weather.
With that said, once you finally get to the next lodge and get your warm meal, you won’t want to do anything except a quick chat with your travel mates or perhaps skim through a book. By the time 8 PM rolls around, you can’t keep your eyes open and your body will just shut down to recover its strength for the next day.
4. “Rest” Days Are Not Really Rest Days
We take a rest from the long-distance trek on Day 2 to get to Namche Bazaar (at 3,400 meters) and on Day 6 to reach Dingboche (at 4,260 meters). Some climbers call these days “rest days” but they aren’t really rest days. On these days, we acclimatize – go higher and sleep lower, which means steep climbing and this is where you will feel the changes in the air.
5. Everything Becomes More Expensive the Higher You Go
Bottled water, snacks, internet service, and hot shower are usually not included in your tour package, so they will need to be budgeted for. You will find that the higher you go, the higher the price of everything. A bottle of water in Lukla(at 9,200 feet) costs you around $1 and this same bottle will cost you up to $4 when you get to Gorakshep (at 16,900 feet).
Apparently, the variation in price is due to the transport required to take these things up there. On average, you will spend the US $200 (equivalent in Nepali Rupees) extra for a two-week trip.
So, to save some money, we advise our guests to take plenty of snacks such as energy bars or chocolates and consider using water purification tablets or water purification filter bottle to save some money on drinks.
6. Altitude Is the Big Unknown
Altitude sickness is definitely no laughing matter and can strike anyone regardless of your fitness level. As we reach higher elevation, most of us get the basic symptoms such as shortness of breath and mild headaches.
If you suffer from more serious symptoms like severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fever, inform your trekking guide right away. These symptoms usually stay or worsen when the altitude increases. It is best to either stop or go lower to acclimatize.
If you feel just fine and don’t get the more serious symptoms, then congratulations! You will likely conquer altitude issues and will be able to breeze through the rest of the journey.
7. The Nights Can Get Really Cold
The higher you go, the more rustic the accommodation is. You will find that accommodations are neither heated nor insulated and have ply walls. In other words, the nights can get really cold. That being said, a sleeping bag is required for this trek throughout the year.
Depending on which month you intend to come, we can recommend the perfect sleeping bag rating and clothing to add a little comfort to your night.
8. Kala Patthar
Reaching Gorakshep is an achievement in itself. From Gorakshep, it only takes 2.5 hours to get to Everest Base Camp. However, from the base camp, you will only have a few glimpses of Himalayas, although the views are absolutely spectacular with the equally beautiful Lhotse and Makalu mountains looming in the distance.
Most of our daring guests who’ve had made it to the camp for the first time would not want to miss the amazing views of Everest from Kala Patthar. The trek to the top of Kala Patthar is considered the most challenging day in the trek but it is definitely one of the most rewarding.
Completing an early morning trek to Kala Patthar rewards you with an unparalleled view of the world’s tallest mountain during sunrise, snow capped, against the blue backdrop of the sky.
It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve set foot on that destination and at what time of the day we reach it. The viewpoint we get each time we arrive at Kala Patthar is just so spectacular that every excruciating step we take to get there is worth it.
We are always overwhelmed by the feeling of euphoria and a strong sense of accomplishment. In between tears, handshakes of congratulations and hugs, we find ourselves standing in awe, marveling at the magnificent mountain and engraving its beautiful picture in our minds.
Trekking to the Everest Base Camp is a wonderful experience one accumulates in the rugged mountainside of Nepal. You will find everything new and adventurous with every footstep. All you need to do trek open-minded and become ready to accept all the challenges and the newness the routes bring.
For a truly profound experience, plan your Everest adventure ahead. Email us for more information about our Everest Base Camp Trek.