Everest Base Camp Elevation – How Hard Is It To Trek

By Glorious Himalaya on July 19, 2023 in Travel Tips, Trekking

Everest Base Camp is among the most popular treks, attracting many worldwide trekkers. Often, there is a risk of altitude sickness, mainly because the Elevation of Everest Base Camp is over 5364m. In this blog, we will discuss the impact of Elevation on the Everest Base Camp Trek and how hard it is to trek.

Everest Base Camp Trek is a high-altitude trek that comes with specific challenges. One of the challenges is the high elevation, where the oxygen is lower, and the weather is dynamic. Furthermore, trekking in such high elevations increases the chance of altitude sickness, a big challenge every trekker faces.

For some experienced trekkers, trekking EBC is not as hard, but for beginners, other difficulties, like elevation, raise the challenges of the trek. The terrain is rough and rugged, and the distance and duration are long, which may tire you. Despite these many challenges, EBC attracts many trekkers worldwide. During the journey through the trek, when you reach the destination and as you stare at the peak of Mount Everest, every challenge is worth it.

Everest Base Camp Trek Elevation

You can visit the Everest Base Camp Trek from two opposite directions. The South Base Camp trek is from Nepal, whereas the North Base Camp trek is via Tibet, China. Most trekkers from Nepal, India, and the rest of the world visit Everest Base Camp via the Southern end. Others will need to issue visas from China as well. Everest South Base Camp is at an altitude of 5364 in Nepal. The journey offers stunning views of mountains views like Mt Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Nuptse. The EBC camp starts with the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, and then you will pass through Sherpa Villages until you reach Namche Bazaar, the home of Sagarmatha National Park.

North Base Camp of the EBC trek is in Tibet at an elevation of 5150m. From the tibetian side, the base camp is easily accessible by road so that you can take your vehicle. However, it doesn’t provide the fun and adventure of the actual Himalayan trek. However, from the northern end, you can see Mount Everest’s different perspective. Trekking via the north side is difficult simply because the Chinese government has issued strict rules and regulations.

Elevation table:

PlacesElevation in meter
Kathmandu1,400m
Lukla2,850 m
Phakding2,652 m
Namche Bazar3,440 m
Khumjung village3,790 m
Tengboche3,860 m
Dingboche4,410 m
Lobuche4,910 m
Gorak Shep5,140 m
Kalapathar5,545 m

Everest Base Camp Elevation Map

Everest Base Camp Trek Route Map

Difficulties in Trek Due to The Elevation

Trekking at Everest Base Camp is fun and challenging, but most trek challenges come from the high elevation. The increase in elevation causes many challenges, such as elevation sickness or acute mountain sickness, which is the main challenge that the trekkers face. Generally, the risk of altitude sickness increases from the altitude of 2500m, but after the altitude rises to 3000 m, the risk is maximized if the trekker suffers from altitude sickness; symptoms include headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The cause of altitude sickness is the decreased oxygen level at high altitudes.

When the elevation increases, the temperature rises, and sometimes, it reaches well below the freezing point in the evening. Furthermore, the increase in elevation also brings dynamic weather. There is a considerable risk of heavy snowfall, avalanches, and sudden storms. Moreover, the terrain is very complex, and the trails are also very strenuous. You’ll have to climb the steep climbs, rocky paths, suspension bridges, rivers, streams, and waterfalls. Furthermore, trekking in high elevations also takes energy out of your body and deteriorates your physical condition.

Effects of Elevation on the Human Body

Trekking at High elevations impacts the human body. As the altitude increases, the air becomes thinner, and the oxygen levels also decrease. This means you will inhale less oxygen but pass out the same amount of carbonation. Due to the lower oxygen level, it has specific effects on the human body.

Hypoxia:

Hypoxia is a condition that can be caused by high-elevation trekking in the EBC trek. It occurs when your body tissues have a comfortable low oxygen level. The symptoms of Hypoxia are the same as acute mountain sickness, like dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath.

Faster Breathing:

To compensate for the reduced oxygen, your body increases your breathing rate to deliver more oxygen to your bloodstream.

Increased Heart Rate:

Your heart rate can also speed up to pump more oxygenated blood around your body.

Altered Sleep Patterns:

High altitudes can disrupt sleep patterns, causing insomnia. This can further contribute to feelings of fatigue and disorientation.

Fluid Loss:

The low humidity and increased breathing at high altitudes can cause dehydration, as more water vapor is lost from the lungs.

Changes in Blood:

Over time, the body adapts by producing more red blood cells to carry oxygen. However, this can also increase the risk of blood clots.

Managing the effects of Elevation

Managing the effects ofElevationvation involves careful planniElevational acclimatization, and maintaining good health. Here’s how to control these effects:

Gradual Acclimatization:

Increase altitude slowly to allow your body time to adapt to the lower oxygen levels. Once you are above 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), the common rule is not to ascend more than 300-500 meters (1,000-1,500 feet) daily.

Hydration:

High altitudes can cause dehydration, so drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can increase dehydration.

Balanced Diet:

Maintain a balanced diet. Eating carb-rich foods can help, as carbs require less oxygen for metabolism.

Medication:

Some medications, like acetazolamide (Diamox), can help prevent altitude sickness. Always consult with a healthcare provider before taking any new medications.

Rest:

Ensure you get adequate sleep and rest days during your trek. This can help your body recover and acclimatize.

Monitor:

Continually monitor for symptoms of altitude sickness. If symptoms become severe, descend immediately.

Physical Fitness:

Increase your physical fitness before your trek. A body in good shape will more easily adapt to the strain of high altitudes.

Oxygen:

In extreme cases, supplemental oxygen can be used.

Everyone reacts differently to high altitudes, and even physically fit individuals can suffer from altitude sickness. The key is listening to your body and promptly responding to its needs.

How Many Days to Acclimatize the Everest Base Camp

Acclimatization is critical to successfully trekking to Everest Base Camp, and it varies from person to person depending on their physical fitness, overall health, and individual response to high altitudes.

The Everest Base Camp trek typically takes around 12-14 days round trip, excluding days spent traveling to and from Lukla, where the trek begins. Of these, 1-3 days are typically set aside for acclimatization. These rest days aren’t necessarily devoid of activity, often including shorter hikes to higher altitudes to aid in “climb high, sleep low.”

Some of our popular Everest Base Camp Trek packages are:

  1. 15 days Everest Base Camp Trek
  2. 14 days Everest Base Camp Trek
  3. 12 days Everest Base Camp Trek
  4. 14 days Everest Base Camp Luxury Trek
  5. 13 days Everest Base Camp Heli Return

Conclusion

Hence, Everest Base Camp Trek is one of Nepal’s most popular trekking spots. The trekkers in the high-altitude Khumbu region often reach an altitude of over 5000m. If you want to decrease the amount, you must either reduce the number of days or eliminate any side trips during your trek.

Altitude sickness is the most common challenge for trekking at such a high altitude, so trekkers must learn about acclimatization, gradual ascent, and descent. They must also always remain hydrated and eat nutritious foods so they don’t become dehydrated or malnourished. So enjoy your EBC trek, but always be careful about the high altitude elevation, especially if you are a beginner.

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