Is Everest Base Camp Trek Difficult? Can I do Everest Base Camp Trek? Do I need any Prior Trekking Experience? Or What to Expect?
These are the most common queries we often get asked by the trekkers about the Everest Base Camp Trek Difficulty before embarking on this lifetime experience. The name alone conjures the image of soaring peaks and sky-high altitudes in one’s mind. But just how difficult is the Everest Base Camp Trek for regular people?
As unnerving as it may sound, Everest Base Camp is not as difficult as one perceives in their mind. This is basically a long hike at high altitudes which requires no technical expertise or mountaineering skills.
While only a few daring man and women make their way to the Summit, more than 30,000 people make their way to the Everest Base Camp every year to revel in the grandeur of Mt. Everest. If you are an experienced trekker, or someone used to hiking for a long duration with a backpack, then this trek should be easy for you. While for a novice, completing the trek will take a bit of extra preparation.
Even though the results of the trek are amazing, there are certainly, some considerations to be taken before setting off for Everest Base Camp Trek such as Geography; Weather and High Altitude; Duration; Distance; Walking hours; Weight you are carrying, and the training that will enable you to better understand what you are getting yourself into before deciding. Don’t be dismayed though, the journey is very achievable!
People from all walks of life have completed this trek regardless of their age, gender, or shape. And we are here to support and encourage you to do the same.
Let’s have a look at these factors in detail so that you will get a better picture of how challenging the Everest Base Camp trek really is.
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Altitude is the most challenging factor of the EBC Trek as well as for any other treks in the Mountain regions. Most of the trekkers are from the lower regions or sea level. If you live very close to the sea level and have not experienced any high trek in your life, you need to familiarize your body to get into the groove of altitude there.
Altitude sickness is a major issue that can occur to anyone regardless of their age, fitness, health or gender. Even the Sherpas who have lived their entire lives there have difficulties coping with the climatic condition there.
The height of Kathmandu is already 1,300m, and Lukla itself is close to 3,000m, following the highest point of Kalapatthar 5550m! For someone who is not used to this kind of change, their body might not adapt quickly. The best way to put yourself fit at this height is to add some extra days for acclimatization.
So, you need to plan your itinerary with enough days of acclimatization in between. You can spend a few days on the outskirts of Kathmandu visiting the famous UNESCO World Heritage sites and probably spend a night at Namche before you can trek any further. Take as much time as you can for acclimatizing.
The more time you take, the better your body gets tuned to the tone of the Everest Region. As you will gain elevation gradually, the risk of altitude sickness will be minimum.
You might feel excited to scale as much as you can. This is when your group might have to come to the rescue. The key is to stick to the rule of “slow and steady”.
But in general, Trekking to Everest Base Camp is nowhere as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest. We have experience dealing with a lot of clients who are undertaking EBC as their first high-altitude trek with 98% success.
Duration and Distance
In general, there are many hiking routes to EBC. A typical EBC trekking route is 130 km (round trip) and completes within 12-14 days. This roughly translates to 65 km distance from Lukla to EBC, and vice-versa.
This will include 2 days of acclimatization each at Namche (3,440 m) and Dingboche (4,410 m), left with the remaining 9 walking days.
Is that a worry?
Absolutely not! A five to six-hour hike per day is something anyone can undertake with appropriate training and some endurance. Helpfully, most trekking operators offer mules and porters to help carry your luggage so you just have to focus on getting yourself up the way!
Weather and temperature
Another important factor that determines the difficulty of Everest Base Camp Trek is the climate and weather up there. Each trekking season brings different facets of the EBC weather and temperature.
The Autumn and Spring season are the best seasons for Everest Base Camp Trekking with regards to weather and temperature.
Summer-Monsoon comes with the challenges of frequent heavy rainfalls, leaving the trail muddy and slippery and making your trek to EBC more troublesome.
Likewise in winter, there will be heavy snowfall at the higher elevations and the temperature at base camp can drop to -25 degrees celsius during mornings and nights.
However, the views are crystal clear in the winter when the weather is clear. We must also bear in mind that the mountain weather is unpredictable and can change at any time.
Start training 6-8 weeks or a couple of months prior to the trek. This will not only help you to develop physical and mental strength but also helps in building endurance and confidence level to tackle the EBC Trek.
Additionally, this also helps your body’s ability to circulate oxygen at higher altitudes which will help keep away the effects of Altitude Sickness. Your body will get used to the long duration and be comfortable with trekking for a solid 6 hrs. This will give some idea as to how your body adjusts to trekking for long distances.
You can engage in various kinds of exercises to prepare for the uphill trek to the EBC. Walking, jogging, running, swimming, sprinting, cycling, and hiking are some of the popular exercises that will help you prepare for this trek. You can also join the gym in order to prepare.
Spend some time in the gym focusing on strength training for your legs. Do squats as you will be using your quads a lot in your trek. This will help you develop good thigh muscles. Thigh muscles are of utmost importance as the bulk of the load is in your thighs during the trek.
Also, remember to do shoulder training, as they also share the load of your backpack. If you don’t have a gym subscription yet, you can get one. Gyms have a great range of equipment and help you in developing specific strength for specific parts of your body.
So after training for 6 to 8 weeks, you’ll be good to go!