Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary
Kathmandu – Lukla
The Everest Base Camp Trek typically begins with a short flight from Kathmandu to the Himalayan town of Lukla in the Khumbu region of Nepal. While there are other ways to reach Lukla from Nepal's capital- Kathmandu (much of which will be discussed further in the article), the short 35-minute flight is among the easiest ways to reach Khumbu. The trekking journey commences upon landing at Lukla Airport.
One of the quirky things about Lukla Airport is its scenic location. The airport, also known as the Tenzing-Hillary Airport (named after the first two people who reached the summit of Mount Everest), is situated atop a cliff. With a single 527-meter runway, the airport presents a gaping drop-off into the valley below at one end and immediate high terrain on the other. Moreover, because of all the difficulty and precision needed to land a plane, it is also notoriously famed as one of the most dangerous airports in the world.
Lukla – Base Camp
The small town of Lukla is among the most famous overnight stops for trekkers doing the Everest Base Camp Trek. On average, the trekking journey consists of 14 days, with two days reserved for acclimatization, while the remaining days are for hiking. Since the trek to the base camp of Mount Everest (also called Sagarmatha in Nepali) is quite famous, the trail is a well-established path that meanders through the Dudh Koshi and Imja River Valleys of the Khumbu. Prominent villages and ethnic Sherpa settlements along the way include Phakding, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche, Lobuche, and Gorakshep, among others.
The trekking trail increasingly gains elevation as it progresses away from Lukla. On average, the daily trekking journey consists of about 5 to 6 hours of hiking from one destination to the next. A large part of Khumbu is protected under the premises of the Sagarmatha National Park- a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Likewise, as stated, there are many villages and settlements to pass along the way to the base camp. The most famous one is Namche Bazaar- the commercial hub of Khumbu.
Another prominent overnight stop is the village of Tengboche-the spiritual center of the region. The village is known for its Tengboche Monastery- the largest and the most important Buddhist monastery in Khumbu. Finally, Gorekshep is the last overnight stop before the base camp.
Base Camp – Kathmandu via Lukla
The trek back to Lukla from Base Camp is more accessible than climbing up. Moreover, since the path has a downward gradient, the trek back down the same villages as before takes less time and effort than the climb. Thus, climbing your way back down the valley presents you with more opportunities to enjoy the Everest Himalayas.
Everest Base Camp Trek Routes
Flight to Lukla
There are three primary ways of getting to/from Khumbu and Kathmandu. The easiest and fastest route is the short flight to Lukla from Kathmandu. As stated, daily flights occur from Kathmandu Airport of Lukla.
Khumbu via Salleri is another route you can take if you do not want to fly. Granted, the trek may take longer than the short flight, but the walk to Khumbu via Salleri has its charm. The journey begins with a drive from Kathmandu to the village of Ringmo via Phaplu. From there, the trek then commences towards the Rai settlement of Takshindo. The settlement is known for its local Cheese Factory and monastery. The path then veers around terrace farmlands and rivers, leading towards a village near Khari Khola. The next overnight stop is the village of Puiyan. From there, it is a 6 to 7 hours trek to Phakding.
Visiting the Everest Base Camp via Helicopter ride out is a form of transportation that has gained steady momentum in recent years. Heli rides to base camp present a vastly different experience than trekking or reaching Khumbu via commercial flights. Heli rides present mesmerizing aerial views of the landscape and the Himalayas. The bird's-eye view of the towering peaks is utterly spectacular. In addition to commercial rides, helicopters are also used for emergency evacuation in the mountains. Moreover, you can also travel to the base camp and return to Kathmandu via helicopter.
Everest Base Camp via Jiri is a classic route traverses old ethnic Gurung and Sherpa settlements of Bhandar, Sete, Junbesi, and Nunthala before finally joining the way again at Khari Khola, eventually leading to Phakding.
Everest Base Camp Altitude
While trekking in Nepal, altitude is an essential factor to consider. Kathmandu is located at an altitude of 1,400 meters. Lukla is generally the starting point of the Everest Base Camp Trek, situated at an altitude of 2,800 meters. From Lukla, it is a journey riddled with steady elevation gain; the farther you progress toward the camp, the higher the elevation becomes. Below is a column that depicts a general itinerary, location-altitude along the trekking journey, and other prominent locations in Khumbu.
Everest Base Camp Trek Location and Altitude
| Location|| Altitude|
| Kathmandu|| 1340 meters|
| Lukla|| 2800meters|
| Phakding|| 2650 meters|
| Namche Bazaar|| 3440 meters|
| Khumjung|| 3800 meters|
| Tengobhe or Phortse|| 3850 meters|
| Dingboche|| 4410 meters|
| Lobuche|| 4910 meter|
| Gorak Shep|| 5165 meters|
| Everest base camp|| 5364 meters|
| Kalpathar|| 5550 meters|
Being properly acclimatized while doing the Everest Base Camp Trek is among the most important health factors. Acclimatization is letting one's body adjust to high-altitude conditions. Locations at high altitudes, generally 3,000 meters and above, have different oxygen levels. Without allowing the body appropriately adapt to the changing landscape and elevation, you are in a vulnerable state of being altitude sick. This can negatively impact the trekking journey.
Acclimatization is done for a full day during the Everest Base Camp Trek, typically at Namche Bazaar and Dingboche. Therefore, a full day is reserved for acclimatizing at these locations. At Namche, trekkers opt to trek to the Syangboche Airstrip or the Everest View Hotel. At Dingboche, trekkers can spend the day hiking to Tserko RI, a vantage point that presents panoramic views of the Everest massif and the Imja River Valley below.
Everest Base Camp Trek Weather
The spring and the autumn months are the two best seasons for doing the Everest Base Camp Trek. The spring season lasts from March to May, and autumn lasts from September to mid-December. This is because they present the best visibility and fewer precipitation chances while trekking. The spring and autumn months are also called the peak trekking seasons because the number of trekkers who visit Khumbu during this time increases significantly.
On the contrary, trekking can also be done during the winter and summer, but it is not usually recommended. Low-altitude treks can be suitable, but high-altitude treks, like the Everest Base Camp, are not.
The average daytime temperature during the spring extrapolates to about 15˚ to 17˚C, while at nighttime- it may drop down to -1˚C. The precipitation amount is about 7mm, with an average of 9 hours of sunshine per day. Similarly, during the autumn months, the average daytime temperatures vary from 17˚ to 18˚C during the day while dropping to about -8˚C at nighttime. Daily weather forecasts, nevertheless, are available online.
Everest Base Camp Trek Flight Delays
The chances of flight delays or cancellations are significantly less due to the weather during the peak trekking seasons. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to have an extra contingency day at the end of the trek for flight delays or cancellations. Generally, trekkers are reprimanded for such events by the travel agencies they are trekking with.
Everest Base Camp Trek Cost
The average cost to do the Everest Base Camp Trek varies from one person to the next. Typically, the cost of an Everest Base Camp Trek package provided by a well-reputed and registered travel agency is about 1,500 USD to 2,000 USD. The trek package includes the cost of accommodation in the mountains, a trekking guide, meals, trekking permits, and documentation and transportation.
Travel agencies, however, do not cover travel insurance. Therefore, having travel insurance is often mandatory while trekking in Nepal. The travel insurance must cover the cost of canceled flights, lost baggage, medical expenses, and emergency helicopter evacuation in the mountains.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime journey. It encapsulates the best natural, cultural and Himalayan features of Khumbu. Because of the grand luxury that Everest Peak presents, it is a journey worth doing at least once.