One of the remotest and mountainous regions on earth, the Khumbu Valley plays host to the tallest mountain in the world. Whilst some people seek to summit Everest, most trekkers simply enjoy the challenge of reaching base camp. But how difficult is that task? Below we have written a quick guide to help you understand.
The first and most important think to note is that the Everest Base Camp Trek requires zero technical climbing and can aptly described as a two week trek at altitude. Therefore in theory, almost anyone with some determination can potentially hike the trail. However, it is not a short hike and some basic level of fitness is required.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a 130km round trip and hikers generally walk for about 5-7 hours per day. You’ll usually walk for 9 of the 14 days you are on the trail. Depending on who you are, this may or may not seem daunting. We have seen people from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes complete it though and you should never underestimate yourself. The trails are occasionally steep and there is a fair amount of uneven footing, so you’ll need to be steady on your feet. Make sure to take regular breaks along the route to avoid over-tiredness and take the right gear.
Altitude is the real killer on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Whilst the paths are quite regular and not overly tough, the altitude means that your body is getting far less oxygen that it is used to normally. This essentially means that you feel more tired an out of breath you would back home. To avoid altitude sickness you’ll need to ascend slowly and make sure you don’t over exert yourself. There is no cure to altitude sickness and your only option is to descend quickly should your body develop the symptoms. There will be several acclimatisation days along the route and your advised to see your doctor prior to departure. Altitude sickness literally effects anyone with no relation to age, gender, weight or fitness.
There is no question that trekking the Everest Base Camp Trek requires a basic level of fitness. However, you certainly don’t have to be superman or in peak physical condition. The key to success is determination and training. We advise taking regular long day hikes in the months leading up to the trek to acclimatise your feet and body to the long days of walking. If you can hit the gym and do some swimming on top of this then you’ll definitely make life easier for yourself on the trek. Remember, the fitter you are, the more enjoyable the trek will be.
We hope this article given you some context as to how difficult the Everest Base Camp trek is and how best to prepare for it.
For great information on trekking to Everest Base Camp check out this site: //ebctrekguide.com/
So you are thinking of taking on a Himalayan Trekking Peak and are considering Island Peak or Mera Peak. Here are my thoughts on which to choose.
This April I was fortunate enough to climb both peaks. We started our expedition after an amazing flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, Hillary-Tenzing Airport. Instead of heading straight up the Khumbu Valley, we veered right out of Lukla and down into the Arun Valley. Its quiet, remote and beautifully scenic in the Arun, seriously amazing part of Nepal.
Mera is one of the highest trekking peaks in Nepal, standing at 6,476m. It’s defining features are:
Some operators take you directly over the Zatwa La, which at 4250m, is a big pass to cross early on in your trek. We recommend skirting around this to improve your acclimatisation chances and return via the Zatwa La!
Or in our case we took on Amphu Labtsa, the 5845m technical pass that sits north of Mera and drops you via abseil into the Imja Valley.
From here it is a relatively short trek to Island Peak base camp.
Here are the defining features of Island Peak:
So which to choose? Both really, but if you are more of a trekker than a climber then I would definitely say start with Mera and then build up your confidence from there.
Hope this provides some useful insights!
BTW, we used Kandoo Adventures as our tour operator and they were amazing. Incredible guides!
The tiny mountain nation of Nepal is famous for its trekking industry. With its gigantic peaks and rugged landscape, Nepal is a great option for any hiker out there looking for an adventure. In this article we will look at some of the most notable trekking routes in the country, particularly within the Everest region and the Annapurna region.
Everest Base Camp trek (EBC)
Drawing over 30,000 tourists a year, the classic Everest Base Camp trek is by far the most popular route for hikers in Nepal. The iconic route is full of ancient villagers, Buddhist monasteries and incredible vistas. Taking the route of Tenzing and Hillary, the trek takes you through Sherpa villages, past lovely cultivated land and up into the mountains proper where you can climb to the top of Kala Patthar and get the best views of Everest available in the entire region!
Gokyo Lakes trek
If you have some extra days on your hands then we would suggest hiking this route. Not only do you get away from the crowds, but you get the best of both worlds. Beginning on the same path as the classic Everest Base Camp Trek, the route diverges after Namche and heads towards the Gokyo Lakes on a circuit route. The beauty of this trek is that you’re not backtracking yourself like the EBC trek. The emerald green lakes are a true wonder of the Himalaya and should not be missed, as is the dramatic scenery around Cho La pass.
Annapurna Circuit trek
This is the most trekked route in the Annapurna and is considered to be one of the best treks in the world! The varied geology and stunning vistas it provides are simply breath-taking. You’ll trek along rivers, through huge gorges, over ancient bridges and over the Thorong La pass at 5,416 meters! Remember to check out the local teahouses along the route as they are a fantastic way to speak to locals and experience some authentic Nepalese culture.
Poon Hill trek
This is an easier option than the Circuit trek and is great for either beginners or trekkers that are pressed for time and need something slightly shorter. The trek winds its way along river and through gorges before finally ascending to the summit of Poon Hill where you are rewarded with some incredible vistas of the surrounding region!
Annapurna Sanctuary trek
Slightly longer than Poon Hill, the Sanctuary trek takes you up over Poon Hill and then down into the deep valley where you trek along the ‘sanctuary’ – a majestic route with towering mountains on all sides. You then trek on towards Annapurna Base Camp where you get beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains.
The question of what to bring on a trek to Everest Base Camp or on the Annapurna Circuit is oft-asked. Your packing list must be carefully considered given that there will be a weight allowance when you fly to Lukla or Pokhara (see: //www.taan.org.np/). Many people make the mistake of bringing too much stuff: there is nothing worse than carting clothing and equipment around for two weeks at altitude and not making use of it. You will feel even worse if it is a porter doing the carting. So here is a list of clothing for this trek that assumes the adventure will last for slightly more than two weeks.
Footwear, because your feet are critical here
And do not forget the inner and outer gloves and wooly hat.
Adhering to this list will allow you to be comfortable on your Everest Base Camp trek
You can find more information on the Everest Base Camp packing list and Annapurna Circuit packing list here: