The trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC) is a spectacular high altitude hike in Nepal. This is the camp where serious mountaineers stay in preparation for climbing Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
Everest Base Camp is located about 150 kilometres (90 miles) northeast of Kathmandu in the Khumbu region of Nepal at an altitude of 5,364 metres.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a serious commitment at high altitude and a bucket list item for many hiking enthusiasts. The standard trek itinerary to EBC takes 11 to 14 days.
Everest Base Camp Itinerary
The trek to EBC is a teahouse trek. Trekkers stay in teahouses, which are guesthouses designed for this purpose in small villages along the hiking trail. The path to EBC is a well trodden trail and most people follow an EBC trek itinerary similar to the following route; Lukla – Monjo – Namche Bazar – Tengboche – Dingboche – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Pangboche Gompa – Namche Bazar – Lukla.
There are variations on the most common route with spectacular peaks to explore and mountains to climb as additions to your EBC trek.
See the cost of an Everest Base Camp trek with a company, guide or independently. Curious about what you will eat on the EBC trek? See our complete Everest Base Camp trek packing list and video for some valuable tips when preparing for the trek.
Trekking all the Way to EBC – no flying
Lukla is the place where most people start the EBC trek. This small village high in the Himalayan mountains has no roads reaching all the way there, most people fly from Kathmandu to Lukla to start the EBC trek. It is possible to reach Lukla by a combination of jeep rides and hiking from Kathmandu. This is much cheaper than flying and the slow ascent is fantastic for climatization.
The three main alternatives to flying to Lukla are to drive to Salleri, Jiri or Thamedanda by Jeep and start trekking from one of these towns to the Everest Base Camp trail. Prepare for a long slow bumpy drive on a jeep track. Trekking the whole way to Everest Base Camp takes more time, but the slower ascend is much better for acclimatization and since the flight to Lukla is expensive, saves you a lot of money!
You can off course trek the whole way return or opt to fly one way. Stuck in Lukla with limited time before our expensive international flights departed we had to walk down after visiting EBC a couple of years ago or risk missing our flight. Due to weather our flight from Lukla kept getting moved.
Important Update for 2022 – All plane flights to Lukla will be operated via Ramechhap Airport from the 1st of October 2022. Flights won’t depart from Kathmandu to Lukla anymore, but Ramechhap (a 4 hour drive from Kathmandu).
Everest Base Camp trek from Jiri
- 6 Days trek to the traditional EBC trail
The trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp follows the classic route to the Everest Base Camp first mapped by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa during their historic climb. The trip starts by driving to Jiri (2,860 m) in a jeep from Kathmandu (about 8 hours), followed by trekking 50 km to Phakding (about 6 days) from where the classic trek to Everest Base Camp Trek starts. The total time of this trek is about 22 days if you fly back from Lukla to Kathmandu. This is the slowest option to get to Lukla and EBC, but is a beautiful route and great for acclimatization.
Everest Base Camp trek from Salleri
- 3 to 4 Days trek to the traditional EBC trail
Salleri is around 265 km away from Kathmandu and a 20 minute walk from Paplu. Salleri/Paplu is a 8 hour drive by jeep. Paplu also has an airport and it is possible to fly here from Kathmandu. From here it takes 3 to 4 days to reach Phakding and continue on the EBC trail. We have walked back from Lukla to Salleri when our flight was delayed. It was not as commercial or touristy as the normal EBC trek. We walked from Lukla to Salleri in two days, from here we took a jeep to Kathmandu.
Everest Base Camp trek from Thamedanda
- 2 Days trek to the traditional EBC trail
The jeep tracks from Kathmandu have been extended to a village called Thamedanda. This is 6-7 hours drive further than Phaplu/Salleri. You can fly or go by jeep to Phaplu and then take another jeep to Thamedanda. From here, Phakding is only 2 days walk, saving you two days.
Hiking to EBC via Gokyo Lakes
An amazing side trip to consider for your Everest Base Camp trek is going to Gokyo Lakes. These six spectacular glacial lakes, located between 4,700m and 5,000m, are situated in the beautiful Sagarmatha National Park along with Mount Everest. Add three or four days to your itinerary, challenge yourself by hiking this ‘off the beaten track’ route. If you are trekking in season escape the crowds by hiking the more quiet way. Climb the tough Gokyo Ri peak for spectacular panoramic views of famous mountains such as K 43, Taboche, Cholatse, Nuptse and Everest and the famous glacial lakes, cross the beautiful and challenging Cho La Pass. Go to EBC and Gokyo lakes with Get Your Guide!
How to hike to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes
You have three options for a route if you want to hike to the Gokyo Lakes and EBC;
- hike to Gokyo lakes first and then on to Gorakshep and EBC
- hike to Gorakshep first and go to the Gokyo Lakes on the way back
- hike up and down to Gokyo Ri followed by trekking to Everest Base Camp in which case you will not trek over Cho La Pass.
Trek to Gokyo first followed by EBC – Hike to Namche Bazar, instead of going to Tengboche head west via Dhole and Machherma towards Gokyo Lakes. The route is circular joining the main trek up to Gorak Shep, you will thus not do the same route up and down.
Trek to EBC first followed by Gokyo lakes – When returning from Gorakshep (EBC) go to Dzongla (west) after passing though Lobuche instead of walking to Namche Bazaar through Periche. Go over the Cho La Pass, finish the circular route to Namche Bazar by trekking via Machherma and Dole.
Trek up and down to Gokyo Ri followed by trekking to Everest Base Camp – Hike to Namche Bazar, instead of going to Tengboche head west via Dhole and Machherma to Gokyo Ri, walk back the same way, from Phortse Tanga go east to Dingboche and continue with the standard Everest Base Camp Trek.
Climb Island Peak and Trek to Everest Base Camp
Do you want to add a couple of days to your EBC trek itinerary, do some real mountaineering and climb a peak in the Himalayas above 6000m? then Island Peak is just the climb for you!
Island Peak (6,189m/20,305ft), known in Nepal as Imja Tse, is the peak most often climbed in Nepal. It is a real climb, serious mountaineering, meaning it is not trekking, equipment and some technical skills are required to climb this peak. The peak is considered the perfect choice for a novice climber since it is not very technical, but it does require some mountaineering skills since moderate climbing on ice and snow is involved. Island Peak is usually climbed as part of an Everest Base Camp trek expedition as a three day extension. Before your summit attempt the climbing crew will teach you the mountaineering skills required to climb Island Peak. You should receive ladder training and practice abseiling and Jumaring. You should be physically fit and master these skills during training before the final ascend. Do not take this peak lightly it is a serous climb and mastering a 6000m peak in the Himalyas is a great achievement, pick a company with a good reputation for this excursion, read reviews and make sure you are physically in good shape. Climbing Island peak is not a cheap trip, expect to pay between $3000 and $5000 for a 19 to 23 day trip including trekking to Everest Base Camp, training and attempting to climb Island Peak.
Insurance for the Everest Base Camp Trek
I will recommend getting proper insurance for any high altitude trek. Trekking to EBC altitude sickness is very common and since there are no roads in these mountains if you get seriously injured or sick. Evacuation by helicopter is the only way to get to a medical facility in Kathmandu and is expensive. Most travel insurance will not cover extreme activities like high altitude trekking. Get a quote here for World Nomads hiking insurance for Nepal that covers you to 6000m (that is a ‘yes’ for Everest Base Camp at 5364m).
Always read the small print and be sure you buy the correct policy. Be properly covered for injury, evacuation, gear loss, trip cancellation and trip delays.
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