Everest Base Camp Itinerary and Details

Everest Base Camp

In addition to our guide to hiking to Everest Base Camp without a guide or porter, this post will give you more detail on what to expect from day to day while hiking. Our visit was in early May, so we didn’t experience the huge crowds that come in November, or endure the rough weather of the off season. If you’ll be hiking in winter you will experience colder weather and larger crowds, so take that into account when planning. There are multiple ways of reaching Everest Base Camp and of descending, our itinerary is only one option. If you’d prefer an easier descent, once you reach Everest Base Camp simply descend the way you came up. Altitudes listed are the height of the town above sea level in meters.

Everest Base Camp
The scenery along the hike is absolutely breathtaking.

Itinerary

Day 1: Kathmandu to Lukla flight, hike from Lukla (2,850 meters) to Monjo (2,873 meters) – 3.5 hours with an hour lunch break included

Day 2: Monjo to Namche Bazar (3,440 meters)– 3.5 hours

Day 3: Acclimatize in Namche Bazar, Hike to Everest View Hotel (3,880 meters) and back – 3 hours round trip

Day 4: Namche Bazar to Pangboche (3,960 meters) – 5.5 hours

Day 5: Pangboche to Dingboche (4,349 meters) – 3 hours

Day 6: Acclimitize in Dingboche, Hike up Nangkartshang (5,073 meters) – 4 hours

Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche (5,000 meters) – 3 hours – Note we pushed on past Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5,175 meters) due to the short hike prior and only 1.5 hours between Lobuche and Gorak Shep, however this can be risky if you aren’t feeling 100% due to altitude

Day 8: Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp (5,364 meters) – 1.5 hours (add 1.5 hours if coming from Lobuche)

Day 9: Gorak Shep to Kalapathar (5,545 meters) and back – 2.25 hours, Gorak Shep to Dzongla (4,830 meters) – 3.5 hours

Day 10: Dzongla to Gokyo (4,750 meters) – 7 hours – Note we were held up at a town on the opposite side of Cho La due to a storm, which made our hike 5 hours this day and an extra 2+ the next day to Gokyo. Without the storm we would’ve preferred to do it in one shot.

Day 11: Gokyo to Namche Bazar (3,440 meters) – 6 hours

Day 12: Namche Bazar to Lukla (2,850 meters) – 6 hours

Day 13: Lukla flight to Kathmandu

Day 1: Kathmandu to Lukla to Monjo

When flying from Kathmandu to Lukla you’ll want to get the earliest flight possible since cancellations due to weather are common, and the weather tends to be best early in the morning. We booked our flight online with Tara/Yeti Air (they’re sister companies) for 7:15am and arrived two hours prior as directed. When trying to get our boarding pass we were told to sit and wait for an hour before we could check in. An hour passed as we observed the chaos that is the small domestic terminal in Tribhuvan Airport. After another half hour of arguing with the employees of Yeti Air, pointing out that our scheduled flight was leaving in less than a half hour, we finally got on a flight roster (which were hand written and seemingly random) and handed two blank boarding passes. Travelers with guides or locals were given priority and didn’t seem to have any issues, whereas independent travelers seemed to have to fight to get taken care of.

Lukla
Organization isn’t the strong point of the airport when it comes to getting to Lukla.

About a half hour after our scheduled departure time we were called over to get on a bus, which then sat on the tarmac for fifteen minutes before driving us to our small, 14 person propeller plane. A flight attendant explained the safety procedures as she stood bent over in the tiny airplane before handing out candy and cotton balls to use as earplugs. With a clear view into the cockpit, the fourteen of us watched the pilot and co-pilot join hands and push the accelerator until we took off in our tiny plane.

Lukla
We were finally heading to Lukla!

Flying over the green mountains below, we saw the snow capped Himalayas rising off to the left of our plane (sit on the left if possible). Massive white peaks sat looming over the valleys underneath us, and we all admired them out of the dirty and scratched up windows of our worn plane. As we approached Lukla we saw why the airport is considered to be the most dangerous in the world – a 500 meter long runway sat on a mountainside that angles up at a 10% grade and leads straight into a rock wall. Descending to land, we were at a sharp angle which appeared to be the opposite of the steep runway. With a hard thud we set down and immediately slowed down before veering for a hard right at the end of the runway to park. The flight into Lukla had been every bit as exciting as we expected, and was one of the highlights of the entire trip.

Lukla
The view out of the scratched up windows of our plane.
Lukla
The landing was a bit of an adrenaline rush and the mountains nearby were beautiful.

After watching a few more planes fly in, we started our three and a half hour hike to the town of Monjo where we planned to spend the night. Walking from Lukla we began to see why we had been told by so many people that a guide wasn’t necessary on this hike. The path was wide, well maintained, and plenty of porters, trekkers, and pack animals were walking past. A beautiful mountain (Nupla I think) loomed above us while we took the relatively flat and easy path, crossing a suspension bridge on our way toward Monjo. Due to the late arrival of our plane we didn’t quite make it to Monjo as the weather closed in and it began to rain. Instead of pushing on, we stopped just shy of Monjo and found a lodge that offered to put us up for free as long as we ate dinner and breakfast the next morning there.

Everest Base Camp
The first bridge we crossed with a cow carrying a load on it.

The lodge was our first tea house in Nepal and was nicer than expected. While the interior walls were made of plywood, making terrible sound barriers, we had a private room with a light bulb and the bathroom had a western toilet, so we were happy. As night came the temperatures dropped, roughly the same inside as outside since the insulation in the tea house wasn’t ideal. The weather cleared up and we noticed another massive mountain in the distance, watching over us in the night. Our pattern of going to sleep around 9pm and getting up at 6am began that night since it was too cold to stay outside of our sleeping bags late into the night.

Everest Base Camp
The rooms are basic but private, have mattresses, and a light bulb.

Day 2: Monjo to Namche Bazar

We had ordered breakfast the night before, which was to become our nightly routine, so after packing and eating we got onto the trail at 7am to begin our hike to the largest town we’d visit, Namche Bazar. As we passed through Monjo we stopped for a few minutes while some friends of ours got their TIMS cards since they didn’t have time in Kathmandu to arrange it beforehand. The process was quick, easy, and the same $20 fee as in Kathmandu. Passing through the permit control area shortly above Monjo we bought our hiking permit ($34) which was another short, painless process. We walked through the gate next to the office and found huge Nepali characters painted along the rocks and got a closer look at the Dudh Koshi River.

Dudh Koshi
The Dudh Koshi was a beautiful milky blue color.
Everest Base Camp
One of the huge rocks painted in the valley.

After a gentle ascent we saw two suspension bridges ahead, one reasonably high above the Dudh Koshi, and another soaring much higher above it. The trail leads up the mountainside to the higher of the two bridges if you’re heading to Namche. I was ecstatic to be able to walk across such a beautiful and precarious steel bridge so high above the river, however we learned that one of our friends has a deathly fear of heights and she didn’t appreciate the hundred meters or so across the bridge the way Sissy and I did. The rest of the hike to Namche Bazar was a bit of an uphill slog, but great views of the valley below and snow capped peaks as we approached the town made the day a lot of fun.

EBC Bridges
The two bridges hang high above the valley.
EBC Bridges
A shot of the bridges from above.

Reaching Namche Bazar we found a large village (over 1,000 residents and around 50 lodges) where movies are shown in different bars throughout the day and tons of shops line the streets. While 3,440 meters (11,286 feet) isn’t high enough to be a likely place to experience altitude sickness, Namche is a good place to acclimatize and get your body used to the thinner air, and also to soak up a bit of the EBC trail vibe. Most of the lodges we stopped at were asking $5+ per room, however a nice local showed us a newer hotel high up in the town (Namche Bazar is built on a terraced slope as many of the towns in the Khumbu Region are) called Mountain View Lodge. $2 per room plus one free service (Wifi, a hot shower, or a battery charge) sounded good enough, plus true to its name, there was a beautiful view of Thamserku Mountain from the rooms. Since Namche is above the tree line, the stoves from here on were fueled with dried yak dung as wood isn’t available.

Namche Bazar
The view out of the window of our room was phenomenal.

Our host convinced us to visit a nearby memorial to Tenzing Norgay, the first man to summit Mount Everest, which sits only 10 minutes from where we were staying and has a small view of the summit. The memorial was nice to see and the clouds parted for a while, giving us a view of the top of Everest in the far distance.

Namche Bazar
The Tenzing Norgay memorial was a nice short trip with our first view of Everest – just above the ice axe to the left.

Day 3: Acclimatize in Namche Bazar – Everest View Hotel Hike

Our first acclimatization day was going to consist of a three hour round trip hike to a popular viewpoint next to the Everest View Hotel, about 400 meters above Namche Bazar. We stuck to our normal 7am start time since the weather had been closing in around noon each day so far and we planned to stay up there for an hour or so before the hour hike back down. We hung a left where the trail forked above Namche Bazar and headed straight up the hillside, walking among the local children who were heading to the nearby town Khumjung for school. After a steep part of the hike which gave us great views over Namche, the path evened out and we walked alone the rest of the way past the hotel at 3,880 meters. To the right of the hotel, a path leads to a large antenna with a nice view of the snow covered mountains in the distance, and when we arrived there was one other hiker in the area.

Prayer Wheel
A huge prayer wheel near the turn to either go up to Khumjung or onto Tengboche.
Namche Bazar
The view from the acclimatization point was great with Ama Dablam on the right.

We ventured down the hill to get a better view and spent some time exploring the small trails near the hotel. A half hour later when we returned to the antenna we found over a dozen hikers resting, and the hotel had become packed. Descending back to Namche we passed tons of hikers, heading up around 11am as the clouds were closing in and it started to look like the normal noontime rain was coming. There may have been 50+ trekkers all heading toward the hotel, which made us glad to have started early. The remainder of our day was spent in the world’s highest Irish pub watching a terrible adaptation of the famous Krakauer book, Into Thin Air, made into a movie in the late nineties. That evening we visited the Liquid Bar and watched the IMAX movie on Everest from 1996, narrated by Liam Neeson which touched on the events of the 1996 tragedy on the mountain. Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of the famous Tenzing Norgay, was the focus of the movie, and also the author of the book Touching My Father’s Soul that I had been reading that day. As the movie ended, we were told that Jamling was outside the front door of the bar, and sure enough as we exited the man from the movie was outside taking pictures with trekkers. It seems that during expedition season he can often be found in Namche Bazar.

Everest View Hotel
The hotel went from empty to packed in that short period of time.

Day 4: Namche Bazar to Pangboche

The hike from Namche Bazar to Pangboche sounds easy enough, with only 500 meters of elevation gain, however this section is built along a valley that requires you to descend a significant way before heading steeply uphill again. The rhododendrons were in bloom which helped distract us as we climbed up along endless switchbacks toward the town above. We reached Tengboche, the home of a famous monastery and the town we’d each lunch in, after four hours on the trail. The monks seemed to also be busy, possibly at lunch as well when we visited the monastery, so we missed out on seeing them before we found a nearby tea house for our lunch.

Everest Base Camp
On our way out of Namche Bazar we paused to admire the breathtaking scenery.
Tengboche
The monastery at Tengboche.

The hike from Tengboche to Pangboche was an easy hour and a half, and would have likely had nice views but a storm rolled in, covering the mountains. Every morning so far had been beautiful and blue without a cloud in the sky, but around noon the weather always took a turn for the worse. We were glad to have pushed on from Tengboche since Pangboche has more guesthouses and sits at a slightly higher altitude. We were back to free accommodation but wifi from here up would become an expensive luxury that we chose not to indulge in – $5 for 200mbs of data in the going rate for Everest Link internet. A fire was lit in the furnace at dinner time and we found the yak dung burning inside to be every bit as pleasant as a wood fire, with no additional smoke or smell to speak of.

Everest Base Camp
We found Pangboche to cater better to trekkers than Tengboche, plus it’s higher up!
Everest Yaks
Yaks are found at higher altitudes and replaced the cows from below as pack animals.

Day 5: Pangboche to Dingboche

We’d finally break the 4,000 meter mark just after setting off toward Dingboche, which signified the start of the high altitude portion of the hike for us. The hike was short at only three hours and very scenic – the gorgeous mountain Ama Dablam loomed over us throughout the brief hike and seems to rest just opposite Dingboche. When we reached the town we hiked to the top and found the somewhat hidden Valley View Lodge that had been recommended to us in Namche Bazar. The lodge has beautiful views of Ama Dablam, which has justifiably been called the most beautiful mountain in the world by many accomplished mountaineers.

Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam resting above Dingboche.

While we had met trekkers in Namche Bazar that failed to reach Everest Base Camp, in Dingboche we saw a group that had been hiking alongside us for a few days feel the effects of altitude sickness and they had to be helicoptered down. Although the hiking is relatively easy and the altitude wasn’t too dramatic yet, altitude sickness can be serious and can effect anyone as I had learned from firsthand experience previously on Kilimanjaro.

Everest Base Camp
A helicopter being loaded with trekkers that fell ill.

We had passed a bakery on the way into town that advertised a free movie playing that afternoon, so we returned shortly before it was scheduled to start, only to be told they were unsure if they’d play it or not. Coming back a half hour later we found that the movie had already started and the bakery was absolutely packed. Grabbing the last two seats in the place, we settled in shoulder to shoulder with dozens of other trekkers to watch the 2015 Hollywood movie, Everest. Outside it was snowing heavily as yaks wandered by, while we watched the disastrous events of 1996 unfold on the screen before us.

Day 6: Acclimatize in Dingboche – Hike up Nangkartshang

Our second and final acclimatization day on the trip would be from Dingboche, which had become our favorite town so far on the trek. The easy to reach summit of Nangkartshang sits just above Dingboche at 5,083 meters (16,676 feet), making it a great morning hike to prepare for the higher altitudes to come. While it’s only 2.5 kilometers to the top of Nangkartshang from Dingboche, it took us just under two hours to get up the steep slope. The morning was absolutely beautiful due to the snowfall the night before and the beautiful blue sky we had come to expect from our 7am start time on. We encountered two other trekkers as we hiked up and happily sat just over 5,000 meters, admiring the incredible views of the giant mountains surrounding us from the top. On the way up we had to pause every few minutes, not solely to catch our breath, but because the beauty of the scenery kept us taking pictures and staring in awe.

Nangkartshang
The beautiful Himalayas on our way up Nangkartshang.

After resting atop Nangkartshang for 45 minutes or so, allowing our bodies to get a feel for the altitude, we descended and saw hordes of trekkers working their way up from below. It was just after 10am and there must have been more than 50 hikers just above Dingboche, resting and preparing mentally to begin the steep part of the hike up. The weather had started to close in earlier than normal that day, and after our hour long descent the entire valley was shrouded in clouds and it was sprinkling a bit. Those early start times may have meant a lot of down time throughout the day, but we were happy to continue with them and avoid the rough weather that always came later.

Nangkartshang
Prayer flags flying at the top of Nangkartshang and our first trip above 5,000 meters in over a year.

Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche or Gorak Shep

Saying goodbye to Dingboche, we started off toward the town of Lobuche with the intention of staying the night there. About half way up we came across a large memorial for deceased climbers. Dozens and dozens of stone shrines and various memorials for climbers from all over the world sat along the path, many of whom were still high up on Mount Everest and would not ever be descending. After just under three hours of hiking from Dingboche we found ourselves in Lobuche, significantly earlier than expected. A small shack was set up next to the trail where a young worker told us we would need to buy a ticket for $5 if we planned to stay in Lobuche. We then could take the ticket to whichever lodge we chose, and get a room that way. He informed us that every town along the Everest Base Camp route will eventually have a ticket process just like this, but for now Lobuche was the only one doing it. We had been told that accommodation in Gorak Shep, the town an hour and a half above Lobuche and the final town before Everest Base Camp, could be hard to find. The man at the ticket office had a walkie talkie though and told us that Gorak Shep was currently not full, so we decided to hike on to our final destination. Beyond the town having available beds, our hike that day had been exceedingly short and the plan for the next day would have been rather long and strenuous.

Everest Base Camp
One of the monuments to a fallen climber on our way toward Lobuche.

The hike to Gorak Shep gave us our first views of Everest Base Camp and the massive glacier it sits upon. An hour and a half after leaving Lobuche we were in Gorak Shep and easily found accommodation in the first of four lodges in town. The charged for the room was also $5, however Sissy talked them down to $3 if we stayed two nights, which was the plan so our friends could catch up to us and so we didn’t have to hike Kalapathar and to EBC the same day. Since we’d be sleeping more than 700 meters higher than the night before (we had acclimatized to 5,083 meters but still) we decided to hike 200 meters higher than Gorak Shep, partway up Kalapathar, so we could see how we felt and still sleep lower than we had acclimatized to. It started to snow during our hike, forcing us down faster than we would’ve liked, but with our diamox helping our very slight symptoms of altitude sickness we were in good shape.

Everest Base Camp
Sissy was fully covered up as we headed back to Gorak Shep due to the snow.

Day 8: Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp

The walk to Everest Base Camp was a pleasant hour and a half stroll along undulating hills at the base of some of the largest mountains in the world. No one else was walking just yet, and when we reached the sandy but beautiful glacier where Everest Base Camp is set up no other trekkers could be found. I’ll distinguish trekkers from climbers since trekkers have the easy task of walking from lodge to lodge at relatively low altitudes, while the climbers are the ones living in base camp, risking their lives to climb the mountain. Sissy found a Everest Base Camp banner that someone had left and we made use of it before tying it back where we found it. At 5,364 meters (17,598 feet) Everest Base Camp was not the highest or second highest point of our hike, but it was definitely the highlight.

Everest Base Camp
We had made it to Everest Base Camp!

Wandering around the camp we found the famous expedition companies like Mountain Madness, Adventure Consultants, and Himex all set up with solar panels powering TVs and speakers, keeping the climbers relatively comfortable during their two month stay. Massive fingers of ice stuck high into the sky, many dwarfing us as we walked past.

Everest Base Camp
The most interesting looking spikes of ice stuck out of the ground.
Everest Base Camp
If you look at the bottom right of the picture you can see Sissy passing some of the huge ice formations.

The Khumbu Icefall appeared to be a few minute jog from base camp, although we had read and watched enough about Everest to know how perilous even reaching the foot of the icefall can be. Even the peak of the highest point on earth looked close from our approach to base camp, although it still sat well over 3,000 meters higher than us. During the three hours we wandered around Everest Base Camp we met three other trekkers, and finally pulled ourselves away from the historic site to head back to Gorak Shep before the weather closed in.

Everest Base Camp
The peak of Mount Everest just barely poking over base camp (center peak).
Everest Base Camp
A few of the hundreds of tents at base camp just below the icefall.

As we were heading back we again passed dozens upon dozens of trekkers, all just heading toward camp. We came across a few groups we had been talking to in the prior days and were alarmed by the number of hikers that had to turn back. One group of seven we had stayed with in a few lodges was now down to two, and another large group of ten we flew to Lukla with had lost at least two members, flown down by an emergency helicopter. Although our high level of hydration, the diamox we were taking, and some experience at altitude all helped Sissy and I, ultimately luck played a decent part of it as well since altitude sickness can strike anyone regardless of experience.

Everest Base Camp
Our time at Everest Base Camp was amazing and unforgettable.

Day 10: Gorak Shep to Kalapathar to Dzongla

4:30am rolled around pretty quickly and we were up and getting ready to head up Kalapathar for a sunrise we were told we couldn’t miss. Unlike everywhere else we had stayed, Gorak Shep doesn’t have running water in the lodges, and they limited independent trekkers on the amount of free, untreated water they can have to around a liter per day. This meant for our hike up Kalapathar we had to buy four liters of water (two each) at a cost of $14 just for the morning’s supply. Maybe the altitude had effected our ability to think a bit, since we hadn’t bought the water the night before, so we had to run to each lodge before finding one with someone awake to sell us the expensive bottled water. Come 5:15am we were heading up Kalapathar, a little bump of the edge of the massive mountain Pumori. At 5,545 meters (18,192 feet), Kalapathar sits about 400 meters higher than Gorak Shep and only 2km away. That 2km hike is pretty steep and gives great views of Mount Everest, along with of course beautiful Pumori, Lhotse, and the other giants in the area.

Kalapathar
Pumori keeping watch over the brown and black bump that is Kalapathar.

The hike was crowded (the masses didn’t sleep in this morning unfortunately) and steep, but really enjoyable due to the scenery. We ran into some friends, not the ones we came up with as they had to descend due to altitude sickness, and this couple was also feeling the pain of the thin air. Altitude sickness if a feeling you have to experience to fully appreciate how dangerous it can be, even at these altitudes that don’t come close to what the climbers reach. Reaching the top of Kalapathar we had our best view of Everest for the entire trip, and wished we would have been able to see it at sunset as well since Everest sits to the east, making it look nicer in the evening light.

Kalapathar
Sunrise on Kalapathar doesn’t cast a nice light, but was a great hike with our best view of Everest yet (high left).
Kalapathar
Sissy sitting at 5,545 meters atop Kalapathar.

After the hour and a half hike up Kalapathar and the hour back down we grabbed breakfast in our lodge and set out for our next stop, Dzongla. If you wanted the fastest, easiest, and most popular way back to Lukla from here you’d just continue back the way you came, however we veered right at a fork in the path, diverging after Lobuche and just before the climber’s memorial. The trail to Dzongla was much different than the trails we had been on in the Khumbu Region so far – instead of the wide, well built trail we were used to, we found a narrower, less used trail that cut into the mountainside and took us past even more amazing scenery. Huge mountains pierced sandy plateaus below and our heads constantly craned upward to admire the giant peaks that were closer than ever.

Dzongla
The path toward Dzongla was stunning.

It took us three and a half hours to reach Dzongla from Gorak Shep – one and a half to Lobuche and two more to Dzongla – and wasn’t overly challenging beyond the final somewhat long and gradual uphill to town. We found the town to be our favorite on the entire hike, edging out Dingboche due to the close proximity of massive mountains. While Ama Dablam was near Dingboche, the mountains around Dzongla seemed to erupt from the earth and jut up toward the sky only a hundred meters away. Ama Dablam is still visible down the valley, and everywhere you look mountains tower over you. The crowds of Gorak Shep were gone, and the sleepy village had plenty of room for anyone who made the journey. Our free room at Dzongla Inn even had an attached bathroom, stone walls instead of plywood, and the sky high prices of Gorak Shep didn’t find their way here.

Everest Base Camp
The mountain peaks are just over the lodges in Dzongla.

Day 11: Dzongla over Cho La Pass

The biggest question mark for us on the trek was getting over Cho La Pass at 5,420 meters (17,782 feet). It ended up being the hardest part of the two week trip for us, and also possibly the most enjoyable as well. We had been told that crampons are often required and the pass can close at any time during the year due to the snow. The night prior to our hike over the pass it snowed, leaving a fresh layer of powder covering any footprints from hikers the day prior. We had been told by a few people that crossed that crampons weren’t necessary the day before, so we started off at 5am toward the pass, anxious to beat the weather as we had been told to expect a five to eight hour hike to the closest village, and an additional three hours to Gokyo, where we intended to spend the night.

Ama Dablam
As we set off at 5am we got to see the sunrise with Ama Dablam down the valley.

The first half hour of the hike was a gradual ascent across a valley toward a sheer rock wall ahead of us. As things became steeper we reached a point that appeared impassable, with a bench and trash can just below a solid rock wall. Double checking our GPS we saw a section that could be scrambled up, and we started with our hands and feet, half climbing and half hiking up the pass. Trickles of water and small streams had frozen along our route, so we made sure we kicked off the top layer of snow before putting too much weight down since the two of us were the first people over the pass that morning. We found plenty of ice along the path, and avoided it successfully until we finally reached the top, which was marked by tons of cairns in every direction.

Cho La Pass
Sissy scrambling up Cho La Pass.

The next 45 minutes or so on top of the pass was really beautiful despite the weather being very cloudy and grey. We walked alongside and then on top of a giant glacier, and stared up and massive glaciers hanging off of the mountain peaks above. For the first time on the trek we were completely alone for hours on end with no clearly marked path. Luckily this pass has one entrance and one exit and our GPS verified we were going the right way, so we didn’t worry about the lack of footprints in the snow and we eventually reached a steep descent on the opposite end of the pass.

Cho La Pass
Small pools of water just before we walked onto the glacier on top of the pass.
Cho La Pass
Passing a smaller glacier that hung above our path.

Looking out from the far edge of the pass, we saw a whole new set of giant mountains in the distance, a steep rocky drop off in front of us, and black clouds closing in. If it hadn’t been for the cairns every 50 meters or so we likely would’ve just guessed out way down since this side of the pass was almost entirely shale and small boulders with no defined path. The weather closed in fast and it began to snow before we reached the bottom of the rock pile, which took us another 45 minutes from the top of the pass down. A group of trekkers was being guided up, going in the opposite direction of us, and as we rested and put our rain flies on our bags a very fit hiker came up from behind us and thanked us for the footprints that we left so he could follow.

Cho La Pass
The descent down the pass was a big pile of loose rock.

We hiked for the next hour through a decently heavy snowstorm before stopping off in Thaknak to wait for the storm to clear. The conditions were approaching whiteout, and they didn’t seem to be letting up, so in the afternoon we chose to sleep in Thaknak and endure a 27 kilometer day the next day to Gokyo and then down to Namche Bazar. With good weather there’s very little reason to stay in Thaknak since the hike to Gokyo is only two and a half hours and is best done in clear weather, but for us that didn’t end up being an option.

Day 12: Thaknak to Namche Bazar Via Gokyo

The next morning there was a thick fog over the town, so following our GPS unfortunately wasn’t an option since it wasn’t picking up through the fog and between the mountains. An hour long search for a flag marking a pass toward Gokyo finally brought us to the point, roughly 15 minutes from Thaknak. We spent the next two hours walking on and next to glaciers, and power walking through the final section to Gokyo since it’s an area notorious for falling rocks. Pebbles rolled down the hill all around us from the loose mountain just before we reached Gokyo and unfortunately the fog was as thick as when we left Thaknak three hours earlier. Gokyo Lake is known for it’s incredible color and beauty, and people often trek only to Gokyo to enjoy the scenery, but this day it was barely visible.

The hike from Gokyo to Namche Bazar ended up being more grueling than we expected, since Gokyo is 1,300 meters higher than Namche and we figured the long distance would be easy enough since it’d be mostly descent. We were very wrong – the hike from Gokyo to Namche contained almost 800 meters of ascent to go with the 2km of vertical descent we’d cover. Every time we’d enjoy a long downhill section we’d find a big uphill climb on the other side of it. Six hours of hiking not counting our lunch break after the three hours we spent getting to Gokyo made for a tough day, but we made it to Namche Bazar before sunset about 11 hours after we set out at 7am that morning. Again, given the option, try to get to Gokyo after Cho La Pass if you’re intending to get to Namche Bazar quickly.

Himalayan Tahr
A few of the wild Himalayan tahr that we came across on our descent toward Namche Bazar.

Day 13: Namche Bazar to Lukla

Hiking directly from Namche Bazar down to Lukla was a 20km day without much uphill to cover, which made it easy enough to bypass any of the towns in between. Returning to Lukla we found everything to be much more developed than we had realized on the way up. The Starbucks in town was almost comical, and the bar scene seemed lively, although still expensive compared to Kathmandu and incredibly expensive compared to most of southeast Asia, where we had been for the six months prior to Nepal. We stayed in the Paradise Lodge which was really entertaining in the morning since the runway for Lukla Airport is about a dozen meters from the place. We watched airplanes coming and going as we ate breakfast and they looked like we could reach out the window and touch them.

Lukla
Scenery on the descent back to Lukla.
Lukla
The 500 meter runway at Lukla.

Day 13: Lukla to Kathmandu

We asked for a flight ticket back to Kathmandu from Paradise Lodge the night that we came down from our trek and were told we could fly the next morning without a problem. We paid $10 more per person than we would have by buying online, but this got us a local from the hotel pushing our way into line, getting our boarding pass, and making sure we didn’t have to deal with any hassle. Unfortunately the smooth, five minute process of getting a boarding pass and on a flight roster didn’t speed up our plane’s arrival. After an hour and a half past when we were told we’d fly, our Simrik Air plane showed up and we hopped on board. A few minutes later we were told Kathmandu Airport was closed for an hour without any further explanation, and we exited the plane and sat on the runway for the next hour, watching other planes take up every available parking place, and then park on the runway due to lack of options. Just before noon we were finally off, and luckily the weather held out longer than normal!

 

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what you may expect on this route to Everest Base Camp! Remember that our experiences could be very different from others, and our fitness level and experience will undoubtedly be less than or greater than yours, meaning hiking times and difficulty will not be the same. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and we’ll respond as we can 🙂

3 Replies to “Everest Base Camp Itinerary and Details”

  1. Hello, thank you for writting this!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your hike to EBC without a guide! I hope to do that within the next year or two as well. I understand you had made no prior reservations at any of the lodges on your way to EBC, did you have any fear that a village would be out of beds?
    Also what month did you hike, is there rain/snow almost every day around noon in the mountains?

    Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Thanks for reading! You should definitely make it out there, we enjoyed the EBC trek as much or more than any other we’ve done. That is correct that we made no prior reservations during our trek and we had no issues. The only village that worried us was Gorakshep as they only have three lodges and tend to fill up every night. We tended to start early every day and made it to Gorakshep before the lodges filled and didn’t have an issue, however a couple that was with us fell behind and had problems getting a bed when they arrived in the afternoon. Worst case you sleep on the ground or a bench in the common area. We were there this past May and there was generally rain or snow most days around noon. March through May is a good time to visit, as well as October and November, when the conditions are drier but colder, and also much busier with trekkers. EBC without a guide or porters was much easier and smoother than we could have hoped for, hope to hear about your experience when you finish!

      Thank you!

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