If you are thinking of embarking on a journey to the Himalayas, Nepal must come to your mind. Why Nepal? Well, Nepal is an ancient Himalayan kingdom home to 10 of the 14 highest peaks of the world. It goes without saying that you must have heard of Mount Everest a lot. People who aren’t familiar with the infamous name are, you can count them on fingers. Everest is the world’s highest Himalayan peak, located in Nepal. For many adventure enthusiasts, summiting Everest is a dream come true. Even the base camp at more than 5000masl is a coveted glory for many and a dream come true. But, how hard is it to trek to the Everest Base Camp?
You may have encountered this blog because you could be determined to trek to the Everest Base Camp (EBC). If the journey is something you look forward to, you must also know that the Himalayas aren’t as forgiving as we think. Walking up in the mountains, high up in the Himalayas is not as easy as strolling on a beach. High altitudes aren’t something that we all are familiar with, and neither is walking on a rugged path. What makes your journey to Everest Base Camp so unique? The journey in itself is spiritual and the views you get, you have never seen before. The Himalayas will be watching over you as you embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
First of all, it is not a climb! The trek to Everest Base Camp is mostly on mountain trails, with the final two days on the lateral moraine. Even though there are a few difficult hills to ascend, the paths are zigzagged for convenience. There is plenty of opportunities to pause for a break and a chat. Although the terrain on the moraine occasionally has ice on it, there is no need for special equipment or expertise. The only thing you might want to bring is a pair of small spikes to put on your footwear when it's icy because the journey is straightforward.
Trekking in the Everest region is more than getting to see Everest. It’s also about exploring the culture of local people, the natural beauty you encounter on your journey and the friends you make on your way. Similarly, the Sherpa hospitality, spirituality and many other things and getting a close-up of the panoramic views of the Nepalese Himalayas are some of the regions why the trek to the Everest Base Camp is an adventure of a lifetime.
But, how hard is the trek to Everest base camp? This question is something you might be pondering again and again. We are writing this blog so that you get as much information as possible before your quest for the Everest Base Camp journey.
So, How hard is the Trek to Everest Base Camp?
If you think about it, for a journey that takes you to the Himalayas, the trek to the Everest Base Camp is not as hard as one might assume. You can do this trek with ease if you are in generally good health, can climb stairs, and can walk for a few hours without getting tired. The highest daily walking duration is 7 to 8 hours, with 3 to 4 hours being the least? The greatest elevation you will encounter on the trek is Kala Patthar, which is 5,550m. The path is pleasant, yet, there are occasional uphill climbs and downward descents. On an unpaved gravel path, you wander around the beautiful scenery. There are no complex movements required; merely easy walking.
Here are some Elements that may make your Everest Base Camp journey Difficult:
Length of the Trek
Your entire Everest Base Camp journey covers about 135km within 12 days. The length of the trek seems excruciatingly long. However, if you divide it by the daily average, you will only walk for about 6/7 hours a day with an average pace of about 5km per hour. This isn’t that bad, right? To top it off, you will also have occasional rests between the treks for a cup of tea/coffee or snacks. But, what you must keep in your mind is that the path is in no way an easy one. You have to hike on a rugged trekking trail with its form of ascends and descends. The terrain is also quite snowy sometimes, and you must know when to slow your pace down.
Altitude during the Trek
As you are traversing the Himalayas, no doubt, the altitude in the region is surprisingly high. Within your trekking duration, you will be higher by at least 800 metres each day. As we are not adapted to live in the Himalayas, unless we were born and brought up there, our bodies may not be able to adapt to the changing altitude.
Lukla is around 3,000masl in altitude while the highest point of your journey at Kala Patthar is about 5500m. The base camp lies around 5300m. Imagine the altitude difference! Compare it with the altitude from where you came! There is a considerable elevation gap. Thus, there is a possibility that you may catch Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or show some symptoms of other altitude-related illnesses. This might hamper your target to reach the base camp.
So, what must you do? It is always recommended to have plenty of acclimatization days planned for your trek. Acclimatization days are the resting days at higher altitude zones so that you adapt to the increased altitude. It is more like a resting period that will help your body adjust to the changing environment.
2 days are usually added to most guided tours to accommodate acclimatization. These days not only give you a chance to get adjusted to the higher than usual altitude in your body but also provide you with the chance to see some of the nearby locations without having to go trekking.
Because of the acclimatization days and the gradual ascent to higher altitudes, the outward part of the journey should take nine days while the return leg should only take three.
Why is Namche Bazaar the most revered Acclimatization Village in Everest Region?
You must have spotted an acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar if you have looked through many Everest Base Camp itineraries provided by travel agencies. Well, there are a few good reasons for it. Popular among Sherpas, it serves as a stopover for acclimatization. Before continuing to Tengboche and other destinations, the majority of itineraries involve two nights here. Namche has a lot to offer, including the Sherpa Museum, Khumjung Village, and the world's most isolated Irish pub.
The most well-known landmark in the Everest region is Namche Bazaar, which is teeming with cafes, restaurants, shops, atm booths, and essentially anything else one might imagine at such a high altitude. You can enjoy the awe-inspiring views of mountains, including Everest.
You can embark on a short journey to the Sagarmatha National Park, Khumjung, or Kundu village. A decent way to acclimatize at an elevation above 3000m is to climb the hill to the Everest View Hotel.
The Weather and Climate in the Everest Region
The Everest region does not always have the best weather for trekking. The trail becomes muddy and treacherous during the summer months when there has been a lot of rain in the lower elevation. Hiking through the trails may be more dangerous due to the misty and foggy weather that follows rain. The trail is also made sloppy by the constant snowfall, and at higher altitudes, breathing becomes difficult for hikers. Due to limited vision, even flight may be highly risky. Always obtain sufficient information on a hike before embarking on it, and always use guides who have the necessary training.
Spring (March, April and May) and autumn (September, October and November) are two of the best seasons to embark on the Everest Base Camp Journey! Make sure you bear that in mind when you plan your EBC trek.
Your Fitness Level
Your fitness level largely influences how difficult it will be trekking to Everest Base Camp. As you will be traversing the Himalayas, you need some level of stamina to complete your conquest! Get out trekking; it's the best way to prepare for your Everest Base Camp adventure. Find some nearby trails, go on a hike across your city, or go for a stroll. Get accustomed to long walks. Discover your body's weak points and how far you can push them. Once you get in the habit to push through the initial wave of agony, you'll be shocked at how far you can go.
Begin slowly, increase your stamina, and gradually increase your endurance. Become capable of walking continuously for five or six hours without stopping. After a few all-day walks, you will have an understanding of how your body will respond and how to handle an Everest Base Camp Excursion.
Even while you don't have to have a personal trainer or quit your work to be in shape for the trek, some time spent in the gym and a few longer treks can undoubtedly help you get ready for the mountainous trek up to Everest Base Camp.
The Level of Risk on the Journey
It can be if you don't stick with a professional guide who follows a proper itinerary in terms of rest days and acclimatization; good food and clean drinking water; but, there are no dangers in terms of hanging off ropes, exposed ridges, etc. Along the paths, you will run into yaks. They move quickly, and it's not uncommon for them to run into people and knock them over.
They are incredible creatures, and you can recognize them by the sound of their bells. It also signals you to stay off the trail and always err on the side of any slope. In case of an emergency when trekking to Everest Base Camp, the Everest trail is well covered and they have an excellent helicopter network for the trek locations in the Himalayas.
We hope this blog helped you with the necessary information regarding the difficulty that you might encounter during your trek to the infamous Everest Base Camp. Happy trekking!