We often get asked how difficult the Everest Base Camp trek is and how it compares to other popular treks or climbs, such as Kilimanjaro.
The Everest Base Camp trek might sound daunting, but it isn’t one of the more difficult treks than you can take part in here at Mountaineerin.
In fact, we have seen people of all ages and fitness levels complete the trek to Everest Base Camp over the years. With some preparation and some determination, you too will be able to conquer the trek and see the tallest mountain in the world.
The difficulty of any trek comes from a number of different factors, including the length of the trek, the altitude and the technical expertise required. Thousands of people make the trek through the Khumbu Valley to Everest Base Camp each year and the trek is completely achievable for someone with a basic level of fitness. However, there are some considerations that you need to take into account before you embark on the Everest Base Camp trek.
How Long Does It Take To Trek To Everest Base Camp?
The Everest Base Camp trek takes 12 days to complete (with 2 nights in Kathmandu), starting from Kathmandu and ending back in Kathmandu once the trek is completed. The 80-mile round trip might sound long, but you will only be walking 9 out of the 12 days, which means you will be covering on average 9 miles a day. That sounds much more manageable.
Of course, it is important to remember that you will not be walking on a flat paved surface. Instead, you will be trekking on rocky mountain terrain which could also be snowy depending on the season. This will slow down your pace, but the trek has been carefully planned to provide you with plenty of time to achieve each day’s distance.
The trek becomes more difficult when you realise that you will be combining the terrain with the fact that you will be generally hiking upwards while gaining altitude. Thankfully, while trekking to Everest Base Camp with Mountaineerin you will have access to experienced porters who will carry your kit, leaving you with only a small day bag to carry.
Everest Base Camp Altitude
Altitude is the most challenging aspect of the Everest Base Camp trek and what sets it apart from other treks of similar lengths. Altitude sickness can be a serious obstacle during the trek. The trek starts at the mountain airstrip of Lukla, just below 3,000m. You then make your way up to Everest Base Camp at around 5,400m. At the highest point of the trek, at Kala Pathar, you will be just over 5,500m high.
Thankfully, you will have ample time to acclimatise to the altitude during the Everest Base Camp trek. Most guided tours have 2 days built in for acclimatisation, as well as the time in Kathmandu before the trek begins. This will allow your body to get used to the higher altitude while also allowing you to explore some of the surrounding areas during the trek, such as Namche Bazaar.
A good way to prepare for the trek is to research the symptoms of altitude sickness and some of the acclimatisation techniques available before you embark for Kathmandu. It might also be a good idea to discuss the trek with your doctor, as high altitudes can sometimes bring underlying illnesses to the fore.
Everest Base Camp Technical Difficulty
The Everest Base Camp trek doesn’t require any technical expertise or mountaineering skills to complete. It is effectively a long hike at altitude. This being said it is not a tourist trek and it shouldn’t be undertaken lightly and without preparation. Some hiking or trekking experience will go a long way to helping you prepare for this trek and will make the experience much more enjoyable and easier.
The trek to Everest Base Camp might not be a climb, but there are a couple of steep hills that you will need to tackle. The paths are often zigzagged to make it easier and most tours give you plenty of time to stop and rest on the path. The path can sometimes be slippy with ice, but you won’t require any equipment for this trek.
Training For The Everest Base Camp Trek
Training for the Everest Base Camp trek is a great way to ensure you have an easier time on the trek and enjoy it more. While it is difficult to prepare yourself for the altitude, unless you already live somewhere with a high altitude, it is possible to prepare for the hilly trek itself.
We recommend that you take part in a few 4-6 hour treks near home so that your body can get used to hiking for that length of time. You should begin your training 6-8 weeks before you are due to leave for the trek. Build up the time and distance of your practice treks slowly so you are comfortable with trekking for a solid 6 hours.
One way you can help your body to handle the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes is to do some aerobic exercises, such as jogging, swimming or sprinting. This increases your body’s ability to circulate oxygen, which will become harder at higher altitudes.
The goal is to feel happy walking for 5 hours a day with a light day pack. You will rarely be walking for 5 hours during the trek and most of the walking is done in the mornings, leaving the afternoon free to relax and enjoy the atmosphere and rich culture around you during the trek.
When Is The Best Time To Trek To Everest Base Camp?
There are two main seasons for trekking to Everest Base Camp, pre-monsoon and post-monsoon in March-May and October-November. The weather starts cold in May and gets warmer, and the opposite happens in October with it starting warmer and getting colder towards the end of the year. Here at Mountaineerin, our guided Everest Base Camp Trek is organised for November.
In conclusion, with a little bit of training and some determination, the Everest Base Camp Trek won’t be that difficult for you and you will be ready to complete one of the most amazing treks of your lifetime! If you are interested in challenging yourself with this fantastic trek then take a look at our guided Everest Base Camp trek.