A Journey to Everest Base Camp in 2020
Everyone knows about Everest or has heard of it, making the Journey to Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most famous trek in the world. The trek offers many attractions, not least the chance to proudly say that you have been on the highest mountain in the world.
More than any other trail, this one takes you high into the heart of the Himalayas, where you will be able to admire picturesque villages and Gompas and become familiar with the Sherpa peoples of the Solukhumbu region. Much of the trek takes place through the UNESCO-protected Sagarmatha National Park inhabited by musk deer, red pandas, snow leopards, black bears, and spectacular species pheasants.
From the Lukla airstrip, the trek to Everest Base Camp takes at least 14 days, but it is worth planning an extra week to visit the beautiful and less-traveled side valleys.
In case of direct arrival in Lukla, the days necessary for acclimatization in Namche and Pheriche must be well calculated to avoid altitude sickness.
The highest point of the route is Kala Pattar (5545 meters), a peak from which the view sweeps over Everest and the Khumbu serac.
Stage Number 1
Once landed in Lukla, go down to the village of Cheung. The trail follows the slope of the Dudh Kosi Valley before climbing up to Ghat, from which it climbs again to Phakding, where there are several lodges at 2610 meters.
Stage Number 2
After crossing the river on a long undulating bridge, the path follows the bank and climbs up to Benkar (2700 meters); a little further on, the path crosses a suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi and moves back to the eastern bank and then climbs up to Chumoa.
To reach Monjo (2800 meters), which offers excellent accommodation for the night, you walk a short distance into the forest. At the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park, you have to show your ticket, or buy one, and register your TIMS card, then get off and cross the Dudh Kosi.
Once on the opposite bank, the stretch up to Jorsale, the last settlement you meet before Namche Bazaar, is short. The trail crosses the river again and returns to the east bank before climbing to the suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi.
From here to Namche Bazaar (3420 meters), it takes a good two hours of walking as it is the first stretch where altitude problems could arise. So pay attention, the trend must be slow!
Stage number 3
Namche Bazaar is the most important commercial and administrative centre of the entire Solukhumbu region, where there are hiking equipment shops, restaurants, bakeries, pharmacies, hotels, a post office, a currency exchange, an ATM and some internet bars.
The advice is to visit the office of the Sagarmatha Control Committee for information on the environmental protection activities of the territory organised in the region. Do not miss a visit to the National Park visitor centre located on the ridge overlooking the town.
Many activities can be practiced in this place, where you should stop at least one day to allow the body to acclimatize. Perfect for this purpose is a 6-7 hour walk back and forth to Thame, west of Namche.
Stage number 4
The slightly longer road from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche via Khumjung and Khunde is more interesting than the direct one. The route begins with the ascent to the Syangboche airstrip, above the Hotel Everest View, cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest hotel in the world.
The hotel or the airstrip, continue towards Khunde (3840 meters) and then Khumjung (3790 meters), and then rejoin the direct route to Tengboche. The famous Gompa, against the backdrop of Ama Dablam, Everest, and other peaks, was burned to the ground in 1989. However, like the phoenix, it was reborn from its ashes.
At the full moon of October/November, the courtyard of the monastery comes alive with the picturesque festival of Mani Rimdu, which includes performances of Tibetan opera and masked dancers.
Stage number 5
Beyond Tengboche, the altitude begins to be felt. The track descends to Debuche, crosses the Imja Khola river, and climbs again in the rhododendron forest, passing by beautiful mani stones, until it reaches Pangboche (3860 meters).
The Panboche Gompa is the oldest in the Khumbu, and until 1991 it housed what was believed to be the skull and hand of a yeti. A village is an excellent place for a lunch stop. The trail then climbs from Shomare and Orsho to Pheriche (4240 meters).
Stage number 6
A day of acclimatization should also be spent in Pheriche. As before, a walk at a higher altitude is preferable at rest. Among the possible destinations are the villages of Dingboche and Chhukung, with lovely walks. From Nangkartshang Gompa, on the ridge north of Dingboche, you can admire views of Makalu (8462 meters), the fifth highest mountain in the world.
Read More: The Beauty Conquered in 5 Days (ABC Trek)
Stage number 7
The trail climbs to Phulang Kala (4340 meters) and then to Duglha (4620 meters). It is only two hours of walking, but the doctor’s advice is to spend the night in Phulang Kala to help acclimatize.
Stage number 8
From Duglha, the trail climbs directly to the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier for about an hour. Then turn left towards a series of monuments erected in memory of mountaineers and Sherpas who died in the mountains, including the one dedicated to Scott Fischer, who lost his life in 1996. The view sweeps across Pumori. Finally, with a short climb, you reach the village of Lobuche (4930 meters).
Stage number 9
The return from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5160 meters) takes a couple of hours and leaves time to climb Kala Pattar (three hours round trip). At an altitude of 5545 meters, this peak offers some of the most spectacular views of Everest, without having to reach the top.
Gorak Shep was the base camp of the Swiss Everest expedition of 1952.
Stage number 10
From Gorak Shep, it takes 6 hours of walking along a circular route to reach Everest Base Camp (5360 meters). The two-hour return to Lobuche seems easy compared to the whole uphill road. You can decide to continue for another 3 hours descending to Dingboche or Pheriche in a single day.
The last few days (about three) are useful for returning to Lukla, touching Tengboche and Namche Bazaar. An excellent variant that offers stunning views is the 6-day detour that leads from Namche Baazar to the Gokyo Valley. It culminates with the spectacular scenery of the glacier and lake that can be admired from the 5360 meters of Gokyo Ri.
The best time to hike to Everest Base Camp is from October to December. The starting point and the ending point coincide in the city of Lukla. Most hikers heading to Everest prefer to travel by plane from Kathmandu to Lukla to maximize the time spent in the high mountains.
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