Everest Base Camp (5,364m) is a base of the world’s highest mountain Everest. Climbers to climb the Everest and Lhotse, use this base camp. This is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Everest base camp lies on the Khumbu glacier. Here lots of colourful tents set up for the climbers during the spring.
This famous trek starts from Kathmandu with a scenic flight to Lukla. But this is not only the trail to EBC. Driving to Jiri and Salleri and start the trek also the options. Using these driving options are about a week longer to get to the base camp.
Collecting some basic information before planning a trek to the Everest base camp is a principle to the trekkers. So health issue plays a big role to succeed in a journey. Knowing altitude variation, problem face and preventing altitude sickness may help to successful Everest base camp trek. It is a challenge but not very hard to all.
Altitude Variation in the Everest Base Camp Trek
Journey to the Everest base camp is not within a day from Kathmandu. It takes about 8 days to get to the base camp from Kathmandu. There are 2 altitude practice days on the way. Do not care about altitude problem and getting fast and easy way is flying with a helicopter from Kathmandu.
Ascending higher, atmospheric pressure will be high and oxygen level is low in the air. As going higher, people may suffer from altitude sickness and feel altitude effects. Altitude practice before planning a trek to Everest and taking some extra acclimatization days are recommended. See the variation of altitude changes below.
- Land at Lukla (2,840m) and Trek to Phakding (2,610m) – 3 hrs
- Namche Bazaar (3,440m) – 6-7 hrs
- Visit Everest view hotel (3,780m) and hike back to Namche (3,440m) – 4 hrs
- Tengboche (3,860m) – 5-6 hrs
- Dingboche (4,410m) – 5-6 hrs
- Hike to Nagar-Tsang hill (5,100m) and hike back to Dingboche (4,410m) – 4-5 hrs
- Lobuche (4,910m) – 4-5 hrs
- Gorakshep (5,180m) and hike to Everest base camp (5,364m) – 7-8 hrs
- Kalapatthar (5,550m) 2 hrs
The trek starts to descend after visiting these altitudes in 3 days and take a flight back to Kathmandu next.
Visiting Such a Higher elevation from Sea Level
Not all the countries are at a higher elevation. Most of the people are coming from sea level for the Everest base camp trek. Coming from about 200 meters elevation and going to 5,550 meters is not a joke. It is a big challenge for them.
For the people from such a low elevation, the altitude of the Kathmandu valley may be high enough already. But there will not any problem of altitude sickness in Kathmandu. Only need to think about altitude after a flight to Lukla (2,840m). If anyone is beginner trekker and visiting the first time in this altitude, he or she may feel altitude somehow. So it is good to have at least a day rest in Kathmandu before flying to this altitude. Then may start trek to EBC.
It’s better to walk slowly while trekking in this route. Some ascending, rocky and wet floor makes a bit of difficulty to walk in some places. Taking some short breaks to catch the breath is good for altitude. During these short breaks, may enjoy with nice sceneries around.
Doing some short and easy treks before planning a trek to Everest base camp will help to prevent the altitude problem. It helps to walk on this kind of trail, altitude, weather, and climate. This practice makes easier and comfortable for Everest base camp trek. It also makes usual to face with changing altitude.
Travelling from sea level to 1,350m in Kathmandu, Flying to Lukla and trek to base camp may be a problem. But it may not be the problem for all. It depends on the physical condition of a person. There are two types of altitude sickness as effecting to the brain and lung. Effecting to the brain is known as Cerebral Edema (HACE). And effecting to the lung is known as Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). People suffer from one of these or both.
HACE effects in the brain which swell and collect fluids. It causes physiological effect when people travel to high elevation. HAPE effects in the lung with fluids in the air sacs and makes very hard to breathe. Altitude sickness seems normal but it may kill. The symptoms may easily find and need to careful. It is better to consult with a guide and take action as soon as possible. Be careful if heavy headache, hard to breathe even resting, trying to throw up, feel very tired while resting and more.
Things to do before the problem
- Stop thinking about altitude problem and be positive
- Drink enough water and fluids to avoid dehydration
- Do some altitude practices with visiting higher elevation from the place where you sleep
- Have an extra day rest if feeling uneasy and have anti altitude pills
- Keep Warm and walk slowly
- Never use sleeping tablets at higher altitude
Things to do after the problem
- Do not ascend further higher if the situation would be the same after resting a day
- Descend as soon as possible if the situation becomes difficult
- Take advice from the tour leader or guide
- Try to reach to the hospital if the case is serious.
Hiring a Guide and a Porter
Trekking in Nepal and Everest base camp during the high season is not difficult to find the way. There are so many trekkers on the trail. But spending a holiday in the mountain comfortably is better to hire a guide and porter. The guide leads and provides lots of information about the area and more. And porter helps to carry all equipment which needed.
Hiring guide and porter is not difficult and paying is not expensive in Nepal. It is easy to hire online with any trekking agencies. The guides are experienced, government license holder, helpful and friendly. And porters are strong and honest. Booking guide and porter from the agency is far better than the individual. Guide and porter make a successful Everest base camp journey to the travellers.
Buying travel insurance to the Everest base camp trek is compulsory. Never know what things will happen during the trek. So get insured before proceeding a trek to the higher elevation. There are many insurance companies and can get travel insurance online.
Normal travel insurance covers up to 2000 meters in general. But the policy to the Everest base camp trek must buy which covers up to 6,000 meters. Also need to be sure if it covers sickness, any accident or injury. And most important is immediate helicopter rescue evacuation if the case would be serious.
There are several ways to go to the base camp. Altitude effects and problems depending on which way the travellers take. Also based on how many days with altitude practices they are taking. Altitude in the Everest region is high enough to suffer. It is good to walk slowly and take several breaks to catch breathe. Altitude practices and acclimatization play a vital role to avoid the problem. It is good to do well research before planning a trek to the Everest base camp. Research helps to prepare well. And it leads to what should do or do not.
Alternatively, there is a short, easy and don’t care of altitude problem to see the Everest base camp is helicopter flight. Enjoy with the Everest massif, visit the base camp within a few hours is good to them, who have short holiday for Nepal. It is also very good for the people who don’t like very cold temperature and love luxury mountain flight.
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Hello Everyone! I am Rajesh Thapaliya working in the Nepalese tourism industry for more than a decade and a half as a tour leader and trekking/ tour operator. I have been to most of the Nepalese Himalayan base camps and historical heritage sites. I write my Nepal travel experience and love photography. See more blogs and packages…