Everest Base Camp is one of the most legendary trekking destinations in the world. It is a trek that every nature lover wants to complete once in their lifetime. But many such travel enthusiasts wonder how difficult it really is to complete the Everest Base Camp trek.
The views of the Himalayas from the Everest region is almost unparalleled in beauty. The panoramic views of mountains like Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu etc. during the Everest Base Camp is sure to delight everyone. But in order to get the close up views of the mountains, you need to get to excellent viewpoints like Kala Patthar, Tengboche, Gokyo Ri etc.
The difficulty of getting to these points in the Everest Base Camp depends upon various factors. These include the weather, your preparation, the amount of distance you cover during the trek, how steep the slopes are, how well you adjust to the altitude of these places and so on.
Let us look at these factors in detail so that you get a picture of how challenging the Everest Base Camp trek really is.
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Everest Base Camp Trek Difficulty Factors
Geography of the Everest Region
Everest Base Camp trek generally starts after a small but thrilling flight to Lukla. You can also complete the Everest Base Camp trek from Jiri. This will help you avoid the need to take a flight to Lukla as you will trek there from Jiri.
Lukla is located at an altitude of 2800 meters. This is quite a high altitude for the start of your trek. From here, you will get to various places along the way like Namche Bazaar (3400 meters), Tengboche (3800 meters), Dingboche (4410 meters), Lobuche (4940 meters) finally reaching the Everest Base Camp (5380 meters) and Kala Patthar (5545 meters).
Such high region means that you will walk amidst rocky terrains in the mountainous region of Everest. During the way, you will have to climb steep uphills at various points along the way.
At such high altitudes, it snows during the winter. There might also be intermittent snow during the end of the autumn season or during the start of the spring.
While trekking in the Everest region, you will walk through Sagarmatha National Park. The park is full of a variety of vegetation that includes temperate and alpine forests. Various kinds of animals like snow-leopard, etc. can be seen in this national park.
The total distance that you cover during the classic Everest Base Camp trek is approximately 130 kilometers. This means that you will roughly cover 65 kilometers on your way up and 65 kilometers on your way down.
There are various trekking options in the Everest region. You might want to visit Gokyo lakes, or Cho La pass, or other passes during your trek. The distance that you will cover in these treks will be more than the classic EBC trek.
And don’t forget, while going to Everest Base Camp, you will have to walk uphill. You might feel that it is merely 65 kilometers. But walking uphill is more strenuous than walking in flat tracks.
So the difficulty due to the distance is different for different people. If you are an experienced trekker, you can complete this distance in 12 days. But if you are not an experienced trekker, it might take you 13 or 14 days to complete this trek.
Any trek that is over 3000 meters bring about the possibility of altitude sickness. This is no different for the Everest Base Camp trek. The risks of altitude sickness during Everest Base Camp are present as you will trek to 5545 meters in Kala Patthar. This is another difficulty you will have to overcome while trekking to Everest Base Camp.
There are various kinds of altitude sickness like Acute Mountain Sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The first of these is quite mild while the latter ones are quite threatening.
So you have to watch out for the symptoms of altitude sickness while trekking to Everest Base Camp. Early symptoms of the various forms of altitude sickness include headache, nausea, difficulty in breathing etc. Chronic symptoms of altitude sickness are hallucinations, running out of breath even while walking short distance, inability to walk in a straight line etc.
Make sure that you watch out for these symptoms while trekking to Everest Base Camp. If you happen to notice any of these symptoms, make sure that you descend to a lower altitude.
Weather is another factor that determines how difficult your trek to Everest Base Camp will be. If you trek in the monsoon, you will encounter wet trails. If you trek in the winter, the weather might be too cold for your liking.
There are four seasons in the Everest region- summer, winter, autumn, and spring. Autumn (September, October, and November) and Spring (March, April, and May) are the most popular seasons for trekking to Everest Base Camp. Moderate sunshine and low rainfall make these seasons trekkers’ favorite seasons.
If you are trekking in the summer (June, July, and August) season, you will have to consider the possibilities of rain as well. So if you are not experienced trekking in the mountains, you must be more careful trekking in summers as you might experience accidental slips in wet trails. But a good trekking boot with sturdy grip will help you prevent such incidents.
Winter (December, January, February) trekking to EBC might be tricky for you if you have not experienced the cold of the mountains. In these seasons, the temperature can go as low as -25 degrees in Gorak Shep. In addition, some trails might be closed for trekking due to snowfall in these months.
So you should look out for the weather of the Everest region in various seasons. That will help you decide what kind of weather will offer you the most pleasant trekking conditions.
The amount of hard work you need to do to trek to the Everest Base Camp also determines the difficulty of this trek. You need to have a moderate amount of fitness to complete this trek.
You need to train for at least a couple of months before embarking on the Everest Base Camp trek. Training will help you develop the physical as well as the mental strength needed to complete this trek.
Besides, exercise is also a way to keep away the effects of altitude sickness.
You can engage in various kinds of exercises to prepare for the EBC trek. Running, swimming, cycling, jogging, and walking are some of the most popular exercises that will help you prepare for this trek.
You can also hit the gym in order to train. You should give greater focus to develop the strength of your thigh muscles as you will trek uphill. In addition, don’t forget to develop strength in your shoulders as well as the core.
Another form of preparation would be to complete a few practice hikes. That will give you some idea as to how your body adjusts to trekking for long distances. You can also opt to complete one of the many hikes around Kathmandu valley before you embark on the EBC trek.
Guides and Porters
If you don’t have a guide with you, you might also lose track of the trekking trails. Guides will also have excellent ideas as to which parts of the trek are tricky to complete. They will guide you through these trails easily.
You might also encounter a few other problems while trekking without a guide. You might also suffer accidental slips while trekking. Altitude sickness is another possibility. Guides will provide you with plenty of needed medical attention if such instances do occur.
Trekking with your backpack for close to two weeks might leave you exhausted. Exhaustion and dehydration are other factors that contribute to altitude sickness. So a porter will come in extremely handy while trekking.
Guides and porters are quite necessary for trekking, They will help to make your trek to Everest Base Camp quite easy.
Some Tips and Tricks to Make the Everest Base Camp Easy
- Watch out for the reports of weather forecasts before and during your trek to prepare accordingly.
- Make appropriate reservations for accommodation.
- Consult a good trekking agency and avoid the haggle of managing permits, accommodation, trustworthy guides and porters.
- Get a travel insurance that also covers emergency evacuations to deal with the worst case scenarios.
- Drink plenty of water along the way.
- Ensure that you have an appropriate amount of food intake while trekking. Munch on chocolate bars during your trek.
- Avoid alcohol during your trek as it causes dehydration and exhausts you.
- Trek slowly and preserve your energy.
- Don’t skip acclimatization days as they help you to adjust to the high altitudes you encounter while trekking.
With the right amount of preparation and mental toughness, you can conquer everything. As long as you are positive, well-prepared, and follow the tips above, you wont find the trek to Everest Base Camp difficult. Make sure that you have assessed every factor that I have discussed above. As long as you do that, the staggering views of mountains you will get in the Everest Base Camp trek will give you memories of a lifetime.