It may sound like a cliché but we don’t mind repeating it! Yes, Mount Everest is more than a mountain and the trip to its base is more than just a trek. Reaching to the base of this world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848 m) is the dream of every adventurer. Many Himalayan adventure seekers have already ticked it off in their bucket list and some are yet to do so. As, this trip is one of the most talked about and sought after adventures, travelers and would-be travelers are well versed about the information related to Everest Base Camp. However, many are not fully aware about all the routes and corresponding time required to reach Everest Base Camp.
There are actually two base camps on Mount Everest, on the either sides of the mountains: South Base Camp which is situated in Nepal at an altitude of 5364 m, and North Base Camp which is situated in Tibet, China at an altitude of 5150 m. Most of the Base Camp trekking or Everest expeditions are operated on the Nepal side, i.e the South face of the Everest. In fact, when people say Everest Base Camp Trek, they normally mean Base Camp trekking on the Nepal side of the mountain. However, there are many ways to reach the Base Camp from both sides.
Everest Base Camp from Nepal
Everest Base Camp from Nepal is a popular trekking trail and easier to access than other routes. Reaching the Base Camp from Nepal gives you a chance to challenge yourself, discover the majesty of mountains, walk among the Himalayan giants and explore the highland cultures.
- Classic Everest Base Camp Trek : 8 days of trekking from Lukla to EBC
This is the commonly used route to reach the Base Camp. It is a spectacular high altitude trek that starts at Lukla, the gateway of Everest region and winds through the floral and faunal richness of Sagarmatha National Park. You gradually hike through some of the beautiful places of Khumbu region such as Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche and return the same way.
- Alternate treks: 13 –22 days
As Everest Base Camp route from Lukla is popular and most favored one, the trail and accommodation get crowded during the peak seasons i.e. spring and autumn. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, then you can consider alternative trekking routes. However, if you choose alternate routes also, you are likely to meet the main trail at some points.
- The route from Jiri is also a well-known Everest Base Camp trekking route. This is the same route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to reach Lukla for the Everest summit before airport was built in Lukla during 1950s. This trail adds several days in the itinerary as you have to trek around 6 days from Jiri to reach Lukla/Phakding from where you join the main Everest Base Camp trail.
- You can reach Everest Base Camp through the trail of Three Passes Trek as well. One of the most challenging and thrilling treks in Everest region, Three Passes Trek offers an amazingly scenic circular route that includes crossing of challenging Renjo la (5360 m), Cho la (5420 m) and Kongma la (5540m) passes connecting at Lobuche to advance towards Everest Base Camp. The order of the Passes can be any depending on where you start from. The duration of this trek is quite lengthy (at least about 17/18 days) and only the trekkers who seek for more challenging adventure choose this trail.
- Gokyo Lake trek can also be a better alternative to reach Everest Base Camp as this trek skirts Everest Base Camp and continues to the beautiful Gokyo Lake (or vice versa), one of the world’s highest freshwater systems. You can combine this trek with Three Passes trek. The views during this trek worth cherishing for the rest of your life.
- By Helicopter
Everest Heli Tour: Duration – Half day
Heli Tour is the easiest way for the travelers who wish to reach to the lap of this stunning mountain but have very limited time. It is a luxurious way to reach Kala Patthar (5545 m) and Everest Base Camp without trekking. The trip makes you marvel at the panoramic aerial views of astonishing mountains, tranquil valleys, quaint villages, glittering snow peaks, Khumbu glacier and many more. It not only gives you the thrill and makes your adrenaline rush but also offers you the next level perspective of the region which is not possible when you walk. Everest Heli tour starts from Kathmandu or Lukla and stops midway for breakfast with wonderful view.
Everest Base Camp from Tibet
Everest Base Camp on the northern side of Everest lies in Tibet. An easier way to get to the Base Camp is by car or tour vehicle. You can travel from Lhasa to the Base Camp along the highways having well paved roads. This is one of the fastest and luxurious ways to reach the Base Camp and visit the various attractions of Tibetan plateau. Some travelers also prefer trekking from Tingri over driving to the Base Camp.
- By car: Duration – 2 days from Lhasa
Many visitors who visit the Base Camp on north side usually get there by car. It is a two-day drive from Lhasa. However most travelers stop along the way in the locations such as Gyantse, Shigatse or Shekar (new Tingri) and Rongbuk that makes this tour longer and more exciting. There are very good roads which make the journey comfortable for almost everyone. The landscape that you can see is breath taking! If you wish, you can drive all the way up to the Base Camp but many of the travelers prefer to walk the last mile which is a bit off road. One needs to be acclimatized properly prior to the journey because of the time frame. Remember Lhasa itself is at an altitude of 3,656 m! And you will gain about 2000m + altitude within 2 days.
- By Trek from Tingri: Duration – 5 days
The trip starts with a drive to Tingri from Lhasa, which will be followed by a trek to the Base Camp. The adventure gives you an amazing experience of Tibetan plateau, small village communities and nomadic herders. This trip takes you to Lungtang which takes around five hours from Tingri and heads due south, by crossing the Tingri plain and on to the Ra-chu valley and so on. This trail is not commonly used and only attempted by the experienced well-acclimatized trekkers.