Daily distances and height gains on the Everest Base Camp trek
The journey you take to Everest Base Camp begins when you arrive in the crazy and amazing city of Kathmandu. Kathmandu itself lies at 1,400m/ 4,593ft and spending a couple of days here before the actual trek starts is perfect for acclimatisation and also preparing your body and mind for the journey ahead.
When you’re at Kathmandu we do like to keep you on your toes and recommend you get out and about in the city. You may choose to spend your time there relaxing, exploring the Kathmandu Valley or just walking around the trekking equipment hub, Thamel. This place is great for picking up any last minute gear you might need for the trip and there are some great coffee shops where you can relax for an hour. !
Once you leave Kathmandu, you take the 25-30 minute flight into the depths of the Himalayan mountains and the start of the trek, in the little village of Lukla 2,850m/ 9,350ft.
On the trek, you will be walking for 12 to 16 days, depending on your chosen itinerary with EverTrek. Our classic Itinerary has 3 nights in Namche Bazaar. 2 nights at the critical acclimatisation point on the way to Everest and 1 on the return journey. Spending 2 nights here gives you the best chance at making it safely to Everest Base Camp. In total you will be covering over 8000m/ 26,500ft of ascent and decent. This is physically demanding and in a low oxygen environment so staying here has many, many benefits. Make sure you check out the local bakery too!
These are the daily distances on our classic itinerary. Let us walk you through the challenging Everest route.
Day 1). Normally Nepalese time runs a little bit behind schedule so although flights are normally planned to leave KTM around 7am, it’s likely you wont leave until around 9am. Ideally, you will arrive in Lukla (2,850m/ 9,350ft) between 8 – 10 am, so that you can have a breakfast in one of the lodges in Lukla before we make our way downhill towards Phakding. The first day is a relaxed walk taking in the surrounding valley views and getting used to being on the trail. The total hike should take 3-4 hours, depending on how many stops we make and how many delicious cups of tea you drink. We don’t rush, taking our time as we descend. Phakding lies at 2,650m/8,694ft so a little lower than Lukla and this is a common theme as we ‘hike high but sleep low’. When you arrive, you will check into your room and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and starting the acclimatisation process. Make sure you keep well hydrated, drinking 4 to 5 liters of water a day. In my experience this is an essential part of acclimatisation and you should drink this amount daily all the way through the trek. 9km/ 5.6 miles to Phakding.
Day 2). One of our favourite days for sure! For the first couple of hours on day 2 you will get to cross some of the famous suspension bridges, while gradually moving up-hill towards the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park, the official entrance to the Everest Region. You continue downhill on for a short time before it levels out to flat ground on mixed terrain. The trail then follows the river to the final high suspension bridge before you begin the challenging ‘Namche Hill’. This can take around 2 hours which is all uphill, where you will finally reach the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar. Our itinerary keeps us in Namche Bazaar for for 2 nights at 3,340m/ 11,286ft. The total time for today’s trekking is usually around 5 hours long with plenty of breaks and rest along the way. There are many amazing views on day 2 but there are exposed parts on the trail so be aware of your surroundings and stay away from drops. The best view is from the amazing Hilary suspension bridge. I wont spoil the surprise but crossing this with the wind in your hair is truly breathtaking. Phakding to Namche is 9km/ 5 miles
Day 3). Today is your acclimatisation trek day around Namche. As you trek up behind Namche Bazaar, the trail is quite steep and you can feel the lack of oxygen while you ascend 460m/1,509ft to Shangbouche Airport, then cross the runway and head another 100m/ 328ft up to Shangbouche Hill at 3,900m/ 12,795ft. We will enjoy the stunning views and head to Hotel Everest View at 3800m with a tasty tea and biscuits and the amazing view of Mt Everest. Take in the views and think about where you are. This is one of my personal favourite views on the entire trek. We will return to Namche after around an hour or so but there is no rush. This trek is an essential part of the acclimatisation process as we once again ‘hike high and sleep low’ and it usually takes approximately 4 hours. On the return to Namche we can also visit the mountaineering museum and Tenzing memorial before we head back to the Lodge. 3km/ 1.8 miles
Day 4). Today you will hike towards Tengboche, at 3,900m/ 12,795ft. After ascending out of Namche, the first 2 hours are very relaxed walking and traversing the left hand side of the valley, high above the Dodh Kosi River. The trail then descends down toward the river for our lunch stop. From here it will take 2 – 3 hours to hike up the long hill to the village of Tengboche. This is a gradual but long ascent and the total time will be 5/6 hours of hiking today. Upon reaching the beautiful Tengboche monastery you will see the huge towering Ama Dablam mountain. It’s a great spot for some photos. 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day 5). From Tengboche, we will travel to Dingboche, at 4,400m/ 14,436ft. The trail starts down-hill and continues very gradually up and down hills before crossing the river and gradually head up hill towards Pangboche for lunch (Pangboche was one of the villages on the trail that suffered most from the recent earthquakes), which usually takes 2-3 hours. From there it is a gradual up-hill trek towards the Imja Valley looking towards Island peak , and an hour later arriving in Dingboche. The total trekking time today will be 5 to 6 hours. 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day 6). Today, we spend our second night of acclimatisation on the trek with another night in Dingboche to further the acclimatisation process. From here we will aim to reach the height of 5,000m/ 16,100ft, gaining 600m, in this acclimatisation trek which should take approximately 3 hours. We will aim to summit Nangkartshang peak. This is a tough climb but will aid you in acclimatisation immensely. Looking out from the summit over to Ama Dablam is mind blowing. Once we reach this summit, we will descend and relax for the afternoon whilst you can walk around the valley. 4km/ 2.48 miles and 600m/ 1,800 feet of ascent and descent.
Day 7). From Dingboche we will head to Lobuche, at 4,900m/ 16,077ft. The trail heads back towards the Khumbu valley and continues on a long and slow trek across a beautiful elevated route towards Dugla, where we will stop for a while to eat lunch and rest. This stretch usually takes 2 hours and after lunch, from Dugla to Lobuche, will be an additional 3 hours with plenty of rest stops. After stopping at Dugla we have a long up hill section over the Thukla Pass to top out at the Everest Memorial, before heading on to Lobuche. Many trekking and climbing enthusiasts will recognise many of the names on this hill and we will stop here for a while to pay our respects. We will be trekking for a total of 5 hours today. 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day 8). Today we travel from Lobuche to Gorak Shep and our final goal of Everest Base Camp at 5,180m/16,995ft. Today’s trek is very beautiful and unique, crossing a lot of loose rock and Glacial moraine. The up and down trail into Gorak Shep takes approximately 3 hours and is very tough on the knees. We will have lunch here before continuing an additional 3 hours to reach Everest Base Camp, where we will spend some time enjoying the Base Camp. If you are trekking in the spring you will also meet many of the Everest climbers who all have a story to tell. The hike back to Gorak Shep is a another 2 hours, bringing this long day to end after a total of 7 or 8 hours of hiking. The last couple of hours is a tough walk back to Gorak Shep especially due to the high altitude. Today is very challenging day for most people. 10km/ 6.2 miles
Day 9). After a good nights rest in Gorak Shep, those who feel ready and able, will wake up very early and hike up Kala Phattar to see the sun rise over Everest. This is a difficult 3 hour up-hill hike which is very hard work, but well worth it for the amazing views of Everest in the early morning. Once you return back or Gorak Shep, you will have breakfast and return all the way to Pangboche at 3985m 13,874 ft. which can take around 6 hours, making the total amount of time walking of 9 hours today which is tough hike. 18km/ 11.2 miles
Day 10). Today we will trek from Pangboche back to Namche Bazaar. Today is another long day and can take approximately 6-8 hours. As you are heading down-hill, to lower levels of altitude, and you can cover the ground quicker than on the way up. When you get back to Namche you will get to enjoy the delights at the Namche Bakery or play a few rounds of pool at Cafe Danfe before we rest up for the long walk back to Lukla tomorrow.22km/ 13.7 miles
Day 11). This is yet another long day and can be one of the hardest as your body is tired after the trek. You start the day going back down Namche Hill and then the long stretch back to Lukla. You will pass Phakding before starting the last up hill section into Lukla where we will sleep for one more night. Today’s trek can take 7 to 8 hours. 21km/ 13 miles
Day 12). Today your legs get a break as you only have to trek to Lukla Airport and fly back to Kathmandu, which is only about 10 minutes walking!
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