Everest Base Camp Trek: The 12 Day Itinerary
With less than 7 months to go till I get to Nepal I thought I’d start researching the daily itinerary for my trek to Everest Base Camp. BIG mistake. For some reason I thought the trek was roughly 70km long, a little more than Kilimanjaro. I’ve read that of the two treks the EBC is easier so I assumed I wouldn’t need to train as hard or as long.
It turns out the Everest Base Camp trek is roughly 124 kilometers roundtrip from Lukla. Considering the Machame Route on Kilimanjaro was only 62 km it looks like I’ll be hiking twice that for this trip but with only an extra 5 days to do it. Still, the total elevation gain will only be 2,500 meters from Lukla to EBC, versus 4,095 meters from the Machame Gate to Uhuru Peak. So this trek might be a little more…leisurely? I guess that remains to be seen.
Day 1- Lukla to Phakding
Distance: 9 km Elevation Gain: +250 meters
After a hair-raising flight from Kathmandu to the most dangerous airport in the world, Lukla, we’ll take a short hike to our first village, Phakding. This is the day I’m most dreading because of the flight. I’m trying hard not to think about it as I prepare for this trek.
Day 2- Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Distance: 12 km Elevation Gain: +890 meters
Today we trek along a river flowing with milky glacier water, crossing over a handful of suspension bridges covered in prayer flags as we make our way to Namche Bazaar. The 890 meter elevation gain is the steepest we will climb in a single day on our journey.
Day 3- Namche Bazaar to Kyangjuma
Distance: 5 km? Elevation Gain: +50 meters
Today we trek to the small village of Kyangjuma, staying in accommodations with excellent views of Ama Dablam. It was hard finding distance information on Kyangjuma since most hikers go straight to Tengboche from Namche Bazaar, a distance of 10 kilometers which I just split in half. Additionally many resources measure the distances in the number of hours it takes to hike, not the actual distance. Not very helpful for a slow hiker like myself who never fits within that average.
Day 4- Kyangjuma to Tengboche
Distance: 5 km? Elevation Gain: +310 meters
Today we ascend a modest 350 meters to the village of Tengboche, home to one of the most important monasteries in the Khumbu region. Hopefully, if our schedule allows, I’ll get the chance to observe the monks’ chanting in the monastery.
Day 5- Tengboche to Pheriche
Distance: 6 km? Elevation Gain: +410 meters
Today we trek downhill in the beginning, crossing over the Imja River before climbing back uphill, passing the village of Pangboche before finally arriving in Pheriche. Another distance guesstimate as the only information I could find was that Tengboche to Dingboche was 12 kilometers.
Day 6- Pheriche to Dingboche
Distance: 6 km? Elevation Gain: +140 meters
Today’s trek seems a little confusing because according to the maps Pheriche and Dingboche lie on opposite ends of a fork in the EBC route. Climbers usually stay at one village or the other, but not both. Still, Dingboche is where we’re headed and I trust our guides to know what they’re doing! We should arrive in the town with plenty of time to spare so a short acclimatization hike is also planned for this day.
Day 7- Dingboche to Lobuche
Distance: 12 km Elevation Gain: +500 meters
Today is a long hike, flat at first but rising up a steep incline after passing the village of Thukla. At the top of the ridge is a memorial for the lost Everest climbers, a somber place to visit. After exploring the numerous plaques and engravings of the Everest victims we’ll continue our trek to the town of Lobuche.
Day 8- Lobuche to Gorak Shep
Distance: 4.5 km Elevation Gain: +230 meters
Today is a rather short trek to the last settlement before Everest Base Camp, Gorak Shep. Once we arrive, however, there will be no resting. It’s off to Kala Patthar, a small peak with some of the best views of Everest on the trail. The hike to Kala Patthar is roughly 3 kilometers roundtrip with a 410 meter elevation gain, a pretty steep acclimatization hike but one I’m told is well worth it.
Day 9- Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp to Lobuche
Distance: 3.5 km Elevation Gain: +220 meters
Distance: 8 km Elevation Loss: -450 meters
Today is the day!!! Everest Base Camp lies only a short distance away and now we’ll finally get to see the place where all the Everest expeditions begin. Since we’ll be hiking during the busy climbing season we may even get to meet some mountaineers who will be preparing for the summit, though I’m not holding my breath on that. I’m sure they’ll have better things to do than entertain tourists.
After a few hours at Everest Base Camp it’s time to head back down the mountain. A moderate hike of 8 kilometers will bring us back to Lobuche for the night.
Day 10- Lobuche to Shomare
Distance: 20 km? Elevation Loss: -900 meters
Today’s hike is a LONG one that will take us past Pheriche to the tiny village of Shomare. The hiking distance is merely an educated guess since most hikers don’t stay in this small town so little is known about it.
Day 11- Shomare to Namche Bazaar
Distance: 14 km Elevation Loss: -510 meters
A more moderate, less steep descent than the day before, passing through Tengboche and stopping for the night at Namche Bazaar.
Day 12- Namche Bazaar to Lukla
Distance: 21 km Elevation Loss: -640 meters
Today is our final trekking day but a very long one. By comparison my Summit Day on Mount Kilimanjaro was only 16 kilometers. At least it will be scenic, passing back over the swinging suspension bridges on our way back down to Lukla. We’ll be spending the night in town and flying back to Kathmandu the next day.
I’m not sure what my plans are after Everest Base Camp. I’m mulling over the idea of heading to western Nepal to spend a few days tracking Bengal tigers in Bardia National Park. I haven’t booked anything or made up my mind yet. In fact, now that I’ve written this post I realized I might be too exhausted for any sort of adventure afterward! I still have a few more months to decide. Counting down the days till April 2018!