If you’re getting ready for a trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and are curious about the mystery of what lies ahead, look no further. Here are some frequently asked questions to get you understanding the trek of a lifetime. Learn all about what lies ahead for your journey to reach 17600ft (5364m).
1. Where does the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek start?
Your amazing journey will start in the Kathmandu domestic airport. You will enjoy a very exciting flight to Lukla airport on a tiny propeller plane fit for 8-14 people. If you can manage it, sit to the left of the plane when going to Lukla and right on the back. This will ensure you have the fantastic Himalayan views to your side.
The Lukla airport is unlike any airport you’ve ever been to, with only space for 4 small planes and situated on a mountain cliff. You’ve probably heard that it is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world. However, don’t worry about this too much as there are a lot of rules for flying in and out of there. In fact, the weather have to be pristine to be flying to and from Lukla. When the weather is bad, flights can be delayed or even cancelled for days. Generally the very early morning flights are pretty safe, so book an early flight, if possible. Bring a book and some snacks to pass the time in case your flight is delayed! Another thing that may put your mind at ease: there are only few pilots who are specialized to land at Lukla. They have tons of experience, so they got your back!
Check out this video below of a flight getting onto the runway and taking off from the Lukla airport. If you’re interested in learning more about the day to day itinerary and route, check here: https://www.steponhimalaya.com/blog/everest-base-camp-trek-route-on-google-maps
2. What kinds of food will I get to eat during the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
Even though you are high up on the mountains, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice on your food options. Some items may differ from one teahouse (B&Bs where you stay overnight) to another but generally stay the same in along the route to EBC. Your food is most likely already included, if you’re going through a tour. However it’s good to verify with your guide. If you’re doing the trek by yourself, it’s good to know the prices will increase as you get to higher elevation. So make sure you bring enough cash to cover your whole trip.
Here are examples of items you’ll encounter in the teahouses:
- Rice and curry, aka “dhal bhat”
- “Momos” aka dumplings
- Noodles and pasta
- Breakfast items: porridge, bread, eggs
Dhal bhat is the national food of Nepal. Nepali people enjoy it on a regular basis and many visitors are also a big fan. It consists of a bowl of rice (bhat in Nepali), lentil soup (dal in Nepali), generally a green veggie (such as spinach), and veggie curry. There are also options where you can get eggs, chicken or other meats with the meal. The best part of dal bhat, besides being a delicious meal, is that you can generally get free refills. And you really need those refills on some days when your body exerts so much energy on the trail. You may hear the Nepali people say the phrase “dal bhat power, 24 hour.” It’s become such a popular slogan that you can get shirts with this on them and show your love for dal bhat!
I would do myself a disservice if I did not mention “momos” in a text about Neapli food (and not just because it resembles my name. Haha). Momos are savory dumplings, found in the Himalayan region. It is another super popular item for locals and visitors. I personally could enjoy momos with every meal (and probably nonstop…). These steamed or fried dumplings come in many styles, such as veggie, chicken, beef (often referred to as buff), potato, cheese, etc.
The food items at teahouses are generally served all day, without time restrictions. So, if you’re in the mood for “breakfast for dinner,” go all out! Also, if you’re a meat fiend, you can generally find all kinds of meat options along the route. Chicken, beef and yak are typically very common. You may encounter more meats along the route. Some people suggest staying away from meat on the mountain, since they have lesser ways to deal with refrigeration. However, I did not notice this to be a problem with trekkers along our route. Although, it may not hurt to reduce your carbon footprint by eating less meat starting with EBC!
3. Is water readily available during the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek? Can I get clean drinking water and take showers while on our way to Everest Base Camp?
Water is generally available at all the teahouses. They have different methods of getting the water, such as having lines from waterfalls/rivers or pumping. As you go higher in elevation, water can become more scarce. So, this is a great time to be more aware of your water consumption and manage your water waste.
This doesn’t mean manage your water intake! You must be keeping yourself well hydrated during your whole trek. It is generally recommended that each person drinks 2-3 liters of water every day during the trek. This will ensure you’re staying hydrated and your body is getting all the water that it’s losing from sweat and workout. You should bring a water filter or Iodine tablets to make sure the water is purified. Be careful not to drink regular water, as this is a real good way to get sick and make your trip much less enjoyable. I recommend bringing a 1L bottle or two half liter bottles. You will be able to get water along the way from tea houses and sometimes waterfalls. This will ensure you’re not carrying a lot of water and making your day pack unnecessarily heavy.
In terms of showers, yes, you can definitely take showers along the way up to Everst. But the question is do you like cold showers? Like very cold showers? The water on the mountain is quite cold and is generally not heated. You can opt in for hot showers for an extra cost, which will vary by the teahouse and altitude. They heat up the water by solar panels or gas. You can imagine both of these are fairly limited. Also, since the gas tanks are carried up the mountain by people or animals, it is not cheap. Generally, the showers can be anywhere from 200 to 500 NPR.
However, the cold showers are free! Did you know it’s pretty healthy to take cold showers? It’s a good opportunity to get try this out, if you dare! It’s also an opportunity to take on the true camping mindset and opt in for not showering every day or not at all. I personally did not shower while on my EBC trek, except for a waterfall that we ran into. Sexy, I know! It is not that big of a deal, just make sure to bring some body wipes and clean yourself regularly. You don’t wanna be that person who’s BO makes the other people sit at a different table at dinner.
4. Is it possible to summit Mt. Everest when you’re on your Base Camp trek?
Simply put, no. When I speak to people about having trekked up to Everest Base Camp (EBC), some think that it’s not much farther or difficult to go up to the top and summit. It couldn’t be far from the truth. EBC is situated at 17600ft / 5364m. Mt. Everest summit is at 29029ft / 8848m. While it’s true, it’s a 11429ft / 3484m difference, and one had made it “majority of the way there”, the rest of the way is a monumental challenge.
The Everest summit expedition to the top takes about 2 months to complete from EBC. One must be in extremely fit and healthy condition. And the high price tag of $40-60k isn’t something to shrug off either. The long time is for the purposes of getting used to the high altitudes and training before one can attempt to summit. There are actually 4 other camps on the way to the top. These people spend some time on the higher camps through the 2 month period to get used to the low oxygen level. We should pay our deepest respects to the brave people who have worked hard to attempt to reach the top of the world.
5. Will I be able to charge my electronics during my Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
I take pride in getting away, unplugging and enjoying the moment. So, I’m embarrassed to admit it: I am addicted to my electronics. I suppose as a former engineer, it will always be a part of me. And photography is one of my favorite interests, so I need to have my camera (and phone) battery charged at all times!
Generally, you do not get power in your room, while you’re staying at the teahouses (bed and breakfasts). This means you cannot charge your electronics overnight. However, all the teahouses offer charging your electronics or power bank for a fee. My recommendation would be to carry a good power bank, around 15000mAh (nice balance between power and weight), that you can use to charge your electronics through the day and get topped up every couple days.
And if you’re very addicted to social media: yes, you can get internet through a Nepali sim card (go for Ncell) or pay for wifi at the teahouses. However, I would recommend you to stay off of social media as much as possible and enjoy your trek. It’s such an amazing and spiritual experience, it’s best not to miss any moment!
6. Will I stay overnight at Everest Base Camp (EBC)?
When someone is attempting to summit Mt. Everest, they only get to stay on the top for a short period (maybe even just a few minutes). Similarly, when you reach EBC (17600ft / 5364m), you will get to stay there for a short period. Generally people spend about an hour. There are no specific restrictions that forbid you from staying and enjoying the view for a few hours, if it’s ok with your guide/group. However, this does mean that you are not allowed to stay at Everest Base Camp itself. The closest place to EBC you’ll stay is in the village of Gorak Shep, from where most people actually go higher in elevation than EBC to Khala Patthar (18519ft / 5643m). Even though you aren’t staying overnight at EBC, don’t be sad! If it’s one thing I wholeheartedly believe in, it is:
“It’s not the destination, It’s the journey.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
7. How should I prepare for the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
Alexander Graham Bell once said: “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” If you prepare for your EBC trek properly, you will have an awesome time and love it! But this preparation is not just physical, you have to be mentally/psychologically ready as well. If you go to the gym and do proper workouts 2-3 times a week, you will not have a tough time getting up to EBC. If however, you don’t, you should start at least 3 months before.
It definitely helps if you have mountains nearby where you can go on hikes before your trek, so you can get used to hiking and variances in altitudes. When I was preparing for my EBC trek, I was living in London. While London is awesome, you’ll quickly find out that England is fairly flat. So…one day I decided that running up and down my 6-story-flat stairwell would be a great way to be in shape for my trek. Yes, you bet people in my building were staring at me like I’m crazy. But I kept on going with it. Especially closer to the trek, I was doing an average of 1400 steps every couple days. Multiple people came to me with words of endearment and encouraged me to keep going!
Even though you’re essentially walking in Sagarmatha National Park, this is no regular “walk in the park.” You will be challenged physically by having to walk on average 7 hours a day, in some cases going up steep hills/steps. And most importantly, you will be challenged mentally. Sometimes you will feel tired and want to give up. Sometimes eating the same foods will make you feel bored. Challenge yourself to go farther, faster, harder at home. Then, it will actually seem like a walk in the park, when you’re on the trek! This is also another good reason to join a trekking group or tour, so you can support each other going to the top.
Have more questions?
I hope you found this info to be helpful. You likely have more questions about the EBC trip. Fear not, I’ve written more questions/answers over at the Step on Himalaya blog, such as:
- Where is Everest Base Camp (EBC) Located?
- How long is the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
- How many miles will I walk each day during the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
- What gears and equipment are needed for Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
- How is the climate during Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek? When is the best time to visit Everest Base Camp?
- Is acclimatization necessary for the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek?
- Do I need to bring tents for my Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek? Where will I stay during my Everest Base Camp trek?
If you have questions that are not covered above or on the Step On Himalaya blog, feel free to ask in the comments. If you are interested in going on a tour to Everest Base Camp, I recommend Step On Himalaya. Feel free to reach out to them: