We were standing at 5643 meters, in minus seventeen degrees temperature, facing winds blowing at a ghastly speed. Tears freeze the second they roll down from our eyes. Our sore feet start to shiver, not due to pain but due to joy. After six long days of walking, we had finally gotten what we came for. We were finally face-to-face with the tallest structure in the world. We were facing Mount Everest (Sagarmatha). The setting sun was behind us and its dying rays coloured this magnificent beast in a soothing shade of orange. At that very moment, all my fears were forgotten, all the worries of my day to day life were forgotten. This is my journey to Everest Base Camp, where I was finally at peace.
Everest Base Camp Trek (Lukla – Namche)
The Everest Base camp trek is one of the most famous treks in the world. Every year, thousands of people from all over the world visit Nepal just so that they can complete this trek. The beauty of this place has enslaved many into returning again and again.
The journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp starts from a little town called Lukla.
There are two ways to reach Lukla: you can either take a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla or take a bus from Kathmandu to Jiri which is a 6-8 day hike away from Lukla. The 30-minute long flight will give you a good view of all the grand Himalayas up close. The journey in a thirteen seater aeroplane is a fun experience in itself.
Lukla Airport has a short and slanting landing strip which requires a lot of expertise on the part of a pilot to land an aircraft here. Once you’re out of the Tenzing-Hilary airport you will be greeted by small souvenir shops.
If you want to buy any equipment needed for trekking you can rent them from these shops.
There are some good restaurants and cheap hotels in Lukla.
- This is the only town in this region where you will not have to pay for charging your electronic gadgets, so make sure you charge your power bank or carry a solar charger.
- Before you start your journey to the base camp, you need to get registered and get permits to trek in the Sagarmatha National Park. It hardly takes more than an hour.
Once you get your permit then you can start your march through the most beautiful landscape. The walk from Lukla to Namche bazar is around 10 hours. During this trek, you will come across beautiful snow covered mountains (that’s what you’re there for), many river streams (frozen and running), hanging bridges (loads and loads of them) and a lot of small village towns where you can sit and rest. You will also see a lot of mountain goats, Lophophorus (Danphe, the national bird of Nepal) and yaks in this region.
Five hours from Lukla you will come across Monjo, a small town right before you start your ascension to Namche bazar. A lot of people choose to rest in this town for the night and then move towards Namche the next day.
On this walk from Monjo to Namche is when you get your first ever view of Mt. Everest.
Namche Bazar is a small town located at a height of 3,440 meters. After a long day’s trek, you can find yourself a hotel to spend the night at.
This is the last spot where you’ll get the Internet so make sure to message all loved ones and share a few photos to let the world know where you are.
You can grab a beer, play some good music and sit down to just take a moment to enjoy your surroundings. Starry skies and silver mountains under the moonlight will surely recharge your soul. It is usually advised to spend a day at Namche to acclimatize. You can visit Hotel Everest View, which is the highest five-star hotel in the world. You should definitely carry extra memory cards for your camera because after every turn you’ll find a breathtaking view of the Himalayas.
From here my journey took me to Tengboche where I saw – believe it or not – a yeti skull.
Everest Base Camp Trek (Namche – Gorak Shep)
The next stop after Namche is Tengboche. You first have to trek down to the Phunki Thanga River and then from walk uphill to Tengboche. Throughout this trek, you should be prepared to walk down to lower heights and then trek uphill. Tengboche has a famous Monastery which has been there for a century now. Tengboche is located on a hilltop with no mountains protecting it against the harsh winds. So people usually trek to the next village called Pangboche.
This village is the base camp for climbing the Ama Dablam peak.
For all those who believe that Yetis are only part of tales told by your grandma to scare you, this town has evidence to counter your belief. Housed in a Monastery of Pangboche, is a Yeti skull. You have to see it, to believe it.
Throughout the trek, you will come across these rocks with strange scribbling all over them. On asking a local Sherpa what it was, we found out that they are prayers for the good health and safe return of people who are trekking the region and trying to climb Everest or any other peak in that region.
Next up on the trek comes the village Dingboche. The trek from Pangboche to this village is about five hours long. If you are lucky, on a clear night, you can see the reflection of the Milky Way in the starry sky from Dingboche. The sky is a beautiful amalgamation of blue and purple with millions of silver dots spread evenly across the horizon. With zero light pollution, you finally get to see millions and millions of stars in the sky. To get a view of this magnificent view, you will have to brave the cold night/nights.
From Dingboche you go to Lobuche via the Tukla pass.
This pass is the most testing walk you’ll have throughout your trek.
It tests you both physically and emotionally. Harsh winds along with a steep walk will drain your energy in no time. The only good part about this pass is that there are places where one can sit and catch a breath. Reaching Lobuche makes you realize how close you’ve come to the end of your journey. There is no clear view of the summit of Everest from here on. Lobuche has a weather pyramid that monitors the weather in the region and on Everest. Scientists study the data collected in this region to predict the weather on Everest and also to study the climate change phenomenon in the region.
Gorak Shep is the last stop with lodging on the trail.
From here you can go to the base camp and climb a small peak called Kala Patthar and is located at a height of 5643 meters. This peak is the only place from where you get a view of the summit of Everest.
There are two options, you can either visit Kala Patthar in the morning or in the evening.
People mostly choose the latter option because the sun is behind Kala Patthar when it sets and you get a beautiful view of Mt. Everest. Comeback to Gorak Shep and rest for the night. The next morning you have to start early and visit the Everest Base Camp. After this, your journey is walking downhill to Pangboche. Since you’re walking downhill this journey doesn’t take that long. You will be in Pangboche within seven to eight hours.
The walk down leaves you with plenty to think about. After reaching Namche you finally realize that your journey is going end in a few days. You see other people getting ready for the trek to the base camp. You feel like now you can advise other people on what to do and what not to do. The walk back to Lukla will feel the shortest you’ve ever had on the trail even though it’s the same distance. The only thought that’ll be running on your mind will be:
“There are little pieces of heaven scattered everywhere on this earth, and I just visited one”.
Some tips for your Everest Base Camp journey
Food on the Everest Base Camp trail:
You will come across plenty of restaurants on the trail. They mostly serve rice, dal, spinach and chicken. You can also order Italian or Chinese cuisine if you feel like it. I’d recommend you all to try the Sherpa stew and the delicious Yak steak. You get Chocolates in shops but they will be very expensive. It’s better if you buy them in Kathmandu and carry them along.
Prerequisites for your Everest Base Camp trek:
You need to be a little prepared for this trek because it’s not going to be a simple walk in the woods.
- You should have sleeping bags that can last you at subzero temperatures.
- A pair of reflectors to protect your eyes.
- Warm clothes.
- Even though during the day you can walk around in shorts, at night the temperature drops below zero, so be well equipped.
- For people who smoke, it is going to be a very difficult trek because the air is thin at higher altitudes and the walk is going to be very taxing.
Also read: Get closer to nature with a trip to Nagarkot