Himalayan AdventureHow hard is the Everest Base Camp Trek?

February 12, 2021by Bhagwat Simkhada1

Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most sought out trekking routes in the world.  Its popularity is the eccentric beauty of Mt. Everest (8848.86m), also known as Sagarmatha. Gazing at the tallest mountains in the world and the surrounding mystifying Khumbu giants is the trek’s best moment.

The trek also is a perfect mix of nature and the fascinating yet rich culture of Nepal. The tranquil beauty of the Everest region and its thrilling topography is in a rank of its own. Not to mention the countless ancient stupas, Gumbas, and temples, which are of great importance to Nepal. Several small and large rural villages give an outlook to the people’s rural lifestyle surviving in Everest’s harsh conditions.

Everest Base Camp is a moderate-grade trek, but some find it challenging. This article discusses how hard the Everest Base Camp Trek is. Some of the important aspects to look into are the total length of the trek, altitude variation along the route, average walking hours each day, and many other aspects.

Length of the EBC Trek

The whole Everest Base Camp trekking route takes 12 days to complete. In these 12 days, you will walk a total of 120 km (about 75 miles) on foot. If you wish for a more leisurely pace, you can also increase the trek’s duration to 15 days.  You can also combine the Everest Base Camp Trek with Gokyo Valley Trek in the Everest region, which takes about 19 days to complete.

Altitude Profile of EBC Trek

The EBC trek starts after a flight to the Lukla airport, which stands at the height of 2860m. From here, you will need an ascent during the trek to the maximum height of 5640m at Kalapatthar. The altitude in the trek gradually increases from Lukla. Almost 6 out of the 12 days, you will be walking at an altitude of 4000m above sea level or even more than 4000m. On the other half of the trek, the altitude is around 3000m-4000m. The total ascent, which you will gain during the trek, is approximately 6015m starting from Kathmandu (1300m).

Walking hours during the trek

You will be walking for 4-5 hours every day on average while following the EBC trekking route. The longest waking duration will be about 8 hours on your trek from Lobuche to the Everest Base Camp and back to Gorakshep. You will have to walk long hours during descent from Everest Base Camp back to Lukla, which will be about 7 hours.

Weather along the EBC route

The EBC trekking route is famous for its changing weather conditions, especially in the higher altitudes. Not all seasons are suitable for a trek to the Everest Base Camp. During June- August (monsoon) and November-January (winter), the trail welcomes extremely adverse weather conditions along with cold temperatures. The trails are slippery because of constant rainfall, and there is the presence of thick fog throughout the day, making the visibility low.

In February-May (spring) and September-October (autumn), the weather is mostly stable. The days are longer, and the weather is also dry, so there are fewer rain chances. Because of the good weather condition, the flights also have lesser chances of cancellation. This is the time with the best visibility, where you can enjoy the fantastic view of mountains with the warm sun shining above your head.

Training required to do the EBC Trek

Anyone with a fit physique can take part in the EBC Trek. Prior experience in mountain treks can be beneficial. The trekking route is of great difficulty because of the changing weather condition at higher altitudes and challenging high passes. So, an excellent physical shape is a necessity for the trek. If you have not yet started training for the trek, you can take it up today!

A simple routine of jogging, swimming, cardio, or aerobic exercises mixed in your daily exercise routine can take you a long way. The most important thing is to build up endurance and strength as the walking hours in the EBC trek are 4-5 hours each day. You can also try taking short hikes around your community every weekend for about 4-5 hours. If outdoor exercises are not suitable, you can also try indoor exercises like running on the treadmill, swimming, or simply climbing up the stairs. A properly balanced diet mixed in with the daily workout is also best for building up strength.

Altitude Sickness during EBC Trek

The EBC Trek is prone to altitude sickness as almost the entire trek is at an altitude of over 3000m. So, proper acclimatization is the prerequisite of the trek. There are several acclimatization days in between so that you can gradually be accustomed to the changing air pressure.

The chances of getting Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) are high in the EBC trek, especially if you do not take safety precautions. Thus, it is necessary for the trekker always to do not rush to reach the destination. You need to give your body enough time to be acclimatized to the changing altitude and be mindful not to take too much strain.

Remember to always be on the lookout for AMS symptoms, some of which are headache, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, vomiting, sleeplessness, and so on. If you feel these symptoms, then the best option is to stop and rest or, better yet, climb down to lower altitudes. If the symptoms still do not subside, you will be evacuated promptly with emergency helicopter services.

 Conclusion

The trek to Everest Base Camp is not only a trek but an adventure. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to challenge the rugged yet thrilling terrains of the magical Everest Region. The splendid aura of the Khumbu Mountains is not something you get to experience every day. Neither is the essence of the rich culture of people who live among these silent hills something to miss. Everest Base Camp is simply the pinnacle of unforgettable Mountain adventures in Nepal.