When you hear or see the word “Everest Base Camp,” one thing definitely conjures up in your mind; the mighty Everest. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is the world’s best trek that takes you to the foot of Everest. This trek has long been on the bucket list of every trekker.
Thousands of trekkers flock to the Everest region of Nepal, flying to Lukla and trekking for at least a week to get a glimpse of the world’s highest peak and bag the bragging right of completing one of the most popular treks in the world.
If you are a traveler, chances are you have already done the trek, or it’s on your bucket list. Whether you’ve completed the trek or planning to do it, one thing is clear, that you have considered pondering the difficulty of Everest Base Camp Trek.
Trekkers definitely Google “How difficult is Everest Base Camp Trek?” before flying to Nepal. And in this blog, we will be answering that very question. So look for a cozy spot-whether recline or sit relax-and make yourself a cup of coffee and get along this blog to get the answer.
Everest Base Camp Trek is not just about Everest; it is much more. It is about the local people and their lifestyle, natural scenery, culture, camaraderie with fellow trekkers, Sherpa hospitality, mountain stories, monasteries, and the mountains. Travelers or, say, trekkers get to embrace the breathtaking views of some of the highest mountains in the world, including Everest. In short, it is a trek of a lifetime.
And this is the very reason why Everest Base Camp Trek is arguably the most popular trek in the world. People from around the world, be it a kid or an older person, wants to make it to the base camp of Everest once in their lifetime.
But one question definitely hit them: How Difficult is Everest Base Camp Trek? Let us give the answer: the trek is difficult for those who think they cannot do it. Otherwise, a person with average fitness and no prior experience can do it. In fact, they have done it. We have seen an Instagram post in which a happy kid poses at Everest Base Camp. This means you can do it.
Did you know, every year, thousands of trekkers-people of all ages from all walks of life-fly to Lukla from Kathmandu and walk for days in the Khumbu region to the base camp? This clearly means that with strong determination and proper planning, anyone can do the trek, provided that fact that he/she is in good health. Basically, Everest Base Camp Trek is a long high-altitude hike over 5600m.
Generally, the standard Everest base camp trek itinerary involves 14 days of trekking, including acclimatization days at Namche and Dingboche. You will be walking every day for 5-6 hours through rugged terrain. No technical skills are required to complete the trek, and trekkers with no prior high-altitude trekking experience can do the trek.
But, as far as the difficulty level is considered, there are certain things you need to take into consideration for a successful EBC trek. Without further ado, let’s look into the things that account for Everest Base Camp Trek's difficulty.
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Starting from Lukla at 2600m, the trek takes you to a soaring height of 5,550m at Kala Patthar. Every day you will gain about 400-800m, trekking for 5-6 hours. With this height comes Altitude Sickness, a sickness induced by high altitude if not properly acclimatized. Our bodies are not used to high elevation and are thus prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
It is a bodily disorder experienced at higher altitudes with symptoms like headache, breathlessness, and nausea. And it can be dangerous. Please remember that it is possible to get altitude sickness above 2500m. Since the Everest Base Camp trek covers an altitude above 5000m, you are more likely to develop altitude sickness. But with precaution and a better understanding of high-altitude trekking, you can enjoy a pleasant trekking experience even at a higher altitude.
Like we said earlier, anyone can do the trek. And altitude should be of least concern if you know what you are dealing it. So what causes Altitude sickness? To answer this, a quick ascent is a prime reason for altitude sickness. This is because if you ascend quickly, your body will not be able to adjust to the lower level of oxygen in the thin air at a higher altitude.
Remember, lack of sleep, dehydration, and alcohol consumption also leads to this fatal sickness in the mountains. You should be alarmed if you develop symptoms like headache, dizziness, mild nausea and descend immediately to recover. Walk at your own pace: don’t rush or ascend quickly in an attempt to finish the trek earlier.
Now, this could be a bit confusing to you! But wait, the length here refers to the total distance covered while trekking for days to the base camp; you’ll cover 130km in total. That’s huge! We know. Considering that you’ll walk for 9 to 10 days, the total distance covered in a day will be 7-15 km approximately.
Covering this distance is daunting, making it difficult for some trekkers who are not used to trekking for hours. The fact that you’ll be walking on rough terrains, ascending and descending, gaining certain altitude daily tunes to the difficulty of Everest Base Camp Trek. This means you need to be physically ready to hike for hours in mountain trails carrying your light backpack. Rest assured, this is doable, even if you don’t have trekking experience.
Now that you know you will cover a total of 130km in about 2 weeks, that is certainly challenging. Not everyone can walk for hours in the mountains; not everyone can cope up with high altitude gain; and certainly, not everyone can cover 130 km in just 2 week.
Since you’ll be hiking upwards for many days, it could be a daunting task for you. But like we said earlier, with firm determination to do the world’s best trek and proper plan, you can do it. Consider walking for a couple of hours in your hometown, carrying a light backpack daily for a month or so. Consider a short hike around the countryside. Or maybe consider some daily exercise. And this brings us to another point: Training.
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Physical fitness is a must; you have to be physically fit in order to complete the trek. Otherwise, it is likely that you may find yourself in a terrible predicament. With poor fitness, you cannot even walk a day, let alone finish the trek. That said, for your EBC trek, you need some training.
But that does not mean you need to hire a physical trainer; you can do it on your own. The overall theme of the training is that you need to be fit for hiking for at least 5 hours per day. Yes, you can hit the gym daily or maybe hike near your house. We recommend that you involve in some exercises as well. The basic idea is that your body needs to be comfortable to trek for a couple of hours every day.
Training hikes are also ideal for testing your endurance. Make sure that you hike in varied surfaces (uneven) carrying a backpack of about 5 kg that includes a fair number of uphill and downhills. If you are comfortably able to hike for 5-6 hours, my friend, you are ready for the trek.
It would be a lot better if your hike is at a higher altitude, but it is not necessary though. Try to include some cardiovascular exercises like running, jogging, swimming, or cycling that will make you fitter for the trek. There’s no hard rule here; the point here is that you got to be physically fit. Period.
Your itinerary for the trek plays a vital role in determining the success rate of the trek. It is absolutely imperative that your standard itinerary entails at least one acclimatization day. Most of the EBC trek itineraries have acclimatization days in Namche and Dingboche. Now the following question can pop up in your mind:
If you have gone through several Everest Base Camp Trek itineraries offered by travel companies, you probably noticed an acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar. Well, it is for some good reasons! It is a popular Sherpa town and common resting ground for acclimatization. Most of the itineraries include two night here before ascending to Tengboche and further. From world’s remotest Irish pub to Sherpa Museum and Khumjung village, Namche has a lot to offer.
Namche Bazaar is the most popular landmark in Everest region brimming with café, restaurant, shops and atm booths and literally everything one can imagine at such height. It bestows breathtaking views of mountains including Everest. Trekkers can embark on a shirt hike to Sagarmatha National Park or Khumjung or Kundu village. An uphill ascent to Everest View Hotel is a good option for acclimatizing at an altitude above 3000m.
You are aware that acclimatization day helps your body adjust to the thin air at a higher altitude. It is also an opportunity to explore the place; you can go for an acclimatization hike-to the nearest landmark on that day.
Looking at the standard itinerary crafted by travel agencies, it is clear that they encompass acclimatization days, and every day covers certain-suitable distances, gaining appropriate altitude. This is ideal for novice as well as experienced trekkers.
However, you can customize your itinerary based on your preference. You can skip the acclimatization day and complete the trek in less than 14 days. But we do not recommend it unless you are a seasonal trekker.
If you have high-altitude trekking experience, it is likely that you don’t need acclimatization day for your Everest Base Camp trek. You can save the day! But for a novice trekker, we suggest a standard itinerary offered by the travel company. A wrong itinerary can cause complications and unfavorable circumstances.
Everest Base Camp trek is a doable trek. Anyone with good health can opt for this trekker, be it a novice trekker or experienced trek. However, you have to consider the above things before embarking on an adventure to the base camp of the highest mountain in the world. You can contact us for any questions you may have regarding Everest Base Camp Trek. Our travel consultant will help you plan and prepare for the trek to Everest Base Camp.