Welcome to Everest Base Camp Trek or simply EBC!
You don't have to be a professional athlete or mountaineer to complete the Everest Base Camp Trek? On the other hand, it doesn't also mean that EBC trek is as simple as walking or running in a park. A certain level of fitness and training needs to be maintained if you really wish to complete Everest Base Camp Trek
without any issue. Therefore, we are here with an exclusive advice and information to prepare you should you consider taking up this trek.
Most of my customer inquiries ‘how difficult is Everest Base Camp Trek’? Do we have to trek somewhere before going for a hike to Everest Base Camp?
In this article, I would like to highlight my experience about EBC trek difficulties and basic preparations you may need before embarking on this great trail. I suggest you to read this article until the end for causes and effect and how can you put yourself on the list of a successful EBC trekker.
Approximately 130km (80miles) round to and fro from Lukla, including 2 days acclimatizing side trips at Namche and Dingboche. That is roughly 65km (40 miles) one way to reach Everest Base Camp in 8 to 9 days walk in and 3 to 4 day walk out. which is roughly 10-11km (6-7 miles) walking distance each day.
For those who take the domestic flight, the trek start from Lukla located at 2,860m (9,383ft) with an effective oxygen level of about 14.8%. Higher the altitude lower the Oxygen level, a mantra that people coming to the Himalayas from low land should always remember, irrespective of your fitness or muscular capacity. That means you shouldn't assume 10 Km a day is easy as running in the park. You should prepare yourself at least 6-8 hours of walking roughly 400-500m of elevation gain every day in a state where your body will be denied its normal oxygen demand.
Elevation and Acclimatisation
A majority of trekkers are from lowland or sea level whereas Kathmandu itself is already at 1,300m, Lukla airport at 2,850m and your final destination Kalapather at 5,550m (18,208ft). Throughout the treks, you will gain 500m to 700m (6 to 8 hours) of elevation per day. If you have not experienced any high altitude trek in your life, it could be difficult to reach certain elevations in just a couple of days. For example, the trail to EBC requires a change of 1500m in just one day alone! The flight from Lukla to Kathmandu takes you from 2,860m to 1,300m in just 30 minutes! For someone who is not used to this kind of change, your body may not adapt quickly. Therefore, the best way to put yourself fit at this elevation is to have some extra days for acclimatization.
Weather & Temperature
Temperature at the Base Camp
or in the high passes can drop to -12°C (10°F) in Mid-November 2016 the temperatures of the Basecamp was measured maximum 15°C (59°F) and minimum -12°C (10°F) and the wind speed around 5 to 6 mph. However, during the same time of the year at Lukla the temperature was minimum 8°C (46°F) to Maximum 20 °C (68°F).
Death and Casualty
Accidents and unfortunate news from Mt Everest is often and reach globally, however, most of those incidents pertains to the expedition and not trekking. An avalanche claimed the lives of 19 climbers in camp II in 2015 (Isn’t this 2014 pls reconfirm?). The cause of most of the death is by avalanche, the trail to base camp is safe from any avalanche. There is no actual static available online about how many people die in Everest Base Camp trek? A rough estimate we heard from the news is about 3-5 people die each year on the Everest Base Camp Trek out of roughly 30,000 people. This is a death rate of about 0.01% mainly due to the high altitude sickness.
How to prevent
Everest Base Camp trek is NOT DIFFICULT
in general if you follow some advice. Acute mountain sickness due to high altitude is the main problem if they are not adequately acclimatized. Since, this trail is trekked by people from around the world it has significant medical to rescue by helicopter facilities which can be mobilized immediately.
Choose a right Gear
As every sport is played with the right gear, it is very important that multi days trekking should not be compromised. A lot of my customer planning Base Camp trek for the first time think EBC trek is like climbing a high mountain?. The following items could equip you with basic requirements:
- No climbing Ropes needed
- No Ice axe needed
- No Goretex needed
- No climbing shoe or crampon needed (Ground is not paved – rough, rocky and gravel strewn)
What you need are:
- Hiking boot (high ankle boot recommended)
- Sleeping bag (not necessary but recommended to have one)
- Down Jacket
- Pair of thermal sweater to keep you warm inside
- Pair of easy dry hiking pants
- Hiking socks (thick and it should give enough warm)
- Hiking bag (minimum 50l+10)
Additionally, you could consider taking, warm hat/ head cover, scarf, sunglass, lip guard, sun cream, trekking pole, headlamp, windproof gloves, water bottle, water purification drop, camera accessory, first aid kit etc.
Acclimatization & itinerary
Acclimatizing shall be on top of your list for a satisfying EBC trek. Depending on where you come from plan an itinerary with enough days of acclimatization in between. EBC classical route can be done between 12 - 15 days
I have experiences dealing with a lot of customers who are attempting EBC as their first high altitude trek with 98% success. It is very important to identify the right company who can advise and suggest you the best EBC trek itinerary
according to your experience and level of fitness.
A certain degree of physical fitness is required for any trek but that does not mean you need a professional trainer or special mountain experience. From my experience let me break down some of the basic training you can do at home or at the park nearby as part of the preparation.
Running in the park:
At least one month prior to the date of departure minimum 5-8 miles a day. This will help breathing and blood circulation in addition to building up your thigh and torso muscles.
Holding your breath and swimming helps to store oxygen that will ease short breath in the high altitude.
Yoga or Aerobic:
Give some time doing yoga, stretching your body, jogging to tone up your body and muscles etc.
If you plan hiking with a loaded backpack, we suggest extra exercise especially leg Squat, Leg press, Deadlift, Leg extension, Wall sit, Leg curl etc.
Test your gears:
It is quite common that some trekkers cannot complete EBC trek due to blisters on their feet. This happens if you just bought a new pair of trekking boots and haven't tested for size and adjustment with your feet. Always remember your hiking boots should have enough room for fingers. Generally hiking boots for mountain trails should have at least 0.5 or 1 size bigger than your regular size. Equally important is proper hiking shocks as well. The hiking socks should be thick and be able to regulate temperature to keep your feet from getting sweaty. When you purchase trekking shocks you should consider buying Woolen socks. Wool is naturally antimicrobial so it tends to retain smells less than synthetic fabrics.
- Don't be nervous, feel confident and feel like an experienced hiker.
- Drink enough fluids and remain always hydrated, dehydration might cause symptoms of being sick as well.
- Postpone your physical relationship with your partner while you are in the high altitude.
- Always give enough space for oncoming Yaks, Nyak, Ghokpe, Mule on the way and make sure you always lean up on the side wall.
- Always drink purified water and bring some water purification drop/tablets with you.
- Be aware of uncooked food, keep yourself vegetarian as meat in the mountain are not fresh.
- Carry some extra calorie light food.
- Always make sure you will pack the right gear that fits for Everest Base Camp Trek
- Stay away from alcohol, smoking or any kind of drug in the high altitude.
- Bring your own basic first aid box you are comfortable with. Do not use any medicine that you are not sure about the brand.
- Do not sleep during the day in high altitude, It is recommended to move around and keep yourself active.
- Don't be scared or think that this might be the symptoms of Altitude sickness if you have a little headache or slight fever. It is normal to get these symptoms while adjusting to varying altitude.
- Did you research the trek you have chosen in accordance to your fitness?
- Are you prepared physically and psychologically?
- Did you choose a trekking company which is specialized and has good track record or rating in every aspect for your safety?
- Did you plan a right itinerary that fits your level of fitness and desire?
- Did you book your trip during the best time of the year
- Did you find an insurance company that includes emergency and medical or other associated expenses in case of evacuation on the trail?
Everest Base Camp trek
is probably one of the well-established trekking trails in the world itself. Checkpoints along the way are provided for your safety, It has all the logistics and communication facilities available at designated places. Almost each guest house offers wifi including base camp to communicate with your family or friends. A little preparation before you start will raise your confidence and make your trek enjoyable till the Base Camp of world's highest mountain. Over 200 adventure travellers every year books trip with us. If you want to join with them feel free to inquiries us. If you enjoy reading this article share with your friends and family who's been missing this exclusive information about EBC. We would also appreciate if you give us a rating on the side pooping box.