How long does it take to trek to the Everest base camp?

How long does it take to trek to the Everest base camp? Ugen Tshering
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Everest Base Camp Trek Duration

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Mt. Everest in the backdrop

The Everest Base Camp Trek stands out as the most popular trek in Nepal and one of the most iconic and renowned treks globally. Sitting atop many travel bucket lists, the journey to Everest Base Camp often marks the initiation of dreams for a trip to Nepal.
Trekking to the Everest Base Camp offers an awe-inspiring experience for adventure enthusiasts. The trail to the Everest Base Camp winds through diverse terrains, forests, Sherpa villages, and numerous monasteries, showcasing breathtaking landscapes along the way.

The Everest Base Camp trek typically takes 12 to 14 days for a round trip, although most trekkers complete it in 12 days. But those who are physically fit and short on time, it is possible to finish the trek in 9 days.

However, we do not recommend this due to the increased risk of high altitude illness (HAI), including high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).
Altitude sickness results from ascending too quickly, which does not give the body sufficient time to adjust to the changing atmosphere. The symptoms of high altitude sickness include headache, vomiting, insomnia, and reduced performance.

If you have a reasonable number of free days, you can consider adding extra days for excursions to unique Sherpa villages, where you can witness their culture, tradition and distinct lifestyles.

Trekking Uphill

The one-way trek to Mount Everest Base Camp requires an 8-day hike from Lukla. To reach Lukla, you can fly from Kathmandu airport or Manthali airport in Ramechhap, which is approximately a 5-hour drive from Kathmandu.

Trekking Downhill

The return journey from Everest Base Camp takes 3 days to reach Lukla, the trail follows more or less the same trail that you hiked earlier.

The Trail

Lukla airport is situated at an altitude of 2800 meters above sea level. From Lukla, the trail descends to the Dudh Koshi river valley. The trail goes along the valley and ascends to Phakding at 2600 meters. The path goes over a rocky terrain with some uphill and downhill sections, taking you past canyons, high suspension bridges, and several Sherpa settlements.

Along the way, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Sherpa culture, learn more about their daily life. The trail also provides encounters with trekkers from around the world, and you’ll also witness caravans of yaks and mules transporting supplies for local settlements, trekkers, and expedition groups.
Taking on the journey from Lukla to Everest Base Camp in just 8 days, and returning to Lukla in 3 days before flying back to Kathmandu the following day, is indeed a remarkable adventure. The return journey is especially delightful, as stunning views unfolds as you hike downhill.

The Distance

The entire trek spans approximately 30 kilometers (80 miles) for the round trip, including the journey from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and back to Lukla. Several acclimatization days are incorporated into the itinerary to adjust to the altitude. Every day, you will cover 8-13kms on the way towards Everest Base Camp. However, on the return journey, the daily hike increases to 15-18 kilometers.

The Altitude

The true challenge of the trek lies in the significant elevation gain. Lukla is situated at 2,880 meters, while Everest Base Camp stands at a lofty 5,380 meters (17,600 feet). This substantial increase in altitude require gradual acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness. It’s crucial to pay attention to your body’s reactions to the decreasing levels of oxygen during the trek, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

The Experience

Reaching Everest Base Camp is not solely a physical endeavor; it’s a mental and emotional journey, offering a profound sense of achievement and reward. It’s a metaphorical victory at one of the world’s most coveted destinations.
Moreover, along the way, you’ll stay in rustic teahouses, traverse trails day after day, and experience the thin air at higher elevations. The companion of your fellow trekkers, fluttering prayer flags, and the breathtaking vistas all combine to create an unforgettable lifetime experience.

D3.14 A view at Shyangboche trekkers walking on the road and on the front having view of the mountain Range including Mt. Everest and Aamadeblam Windhorse Tours
Towards Everest View hotel

Some Important Tips

Altitude Considerations:
  • If you have experienced any previous altitude sickness or have concerns, it is advisable to add an extra day or two on the trek from Lukla to Gorakshep, probably at Namche and Dingboche, just before Lobuche. This precautionary measure could make the difference between a successful trek and an early return to Kathmandu, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience.
Helicopter Option:
  • You also have the option to shorten the return journey by 3 days if you book a Heli ride from Gorakshep to Lukla, but hiking back offers a more interesting experience. It allows you to savor the scenery, appreciate the surroundings, and relish the sense of accomplishment gained from completing the trek on foot.

In conclusion, the trek to Mount Everest Base Camp Trek is a harmonious blend of physical endurance, mental resilience, and natural beauty. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer, an adventure lover, a climber, a mountain enthusiast, or a first-time trekker, this magnificent adventure promises memories that will last a lifetime.


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