Trekking to the Everest Base Camp is a significant bucket-list achievement for many adventurers out there. It’s a thrilling challenge but one that can be achieved with a little determination and eagerness for exploration. In November 2015, I trekked to the Everest Base Camp in 12 days, witnessed rigid snowcapped Himalayan mountains, visited memorials for fallen climbers, stayed in teahouses, and successfully reached the infamous campsite where Everest Summiteers set as a home for months during their rotations.
If you’re interested in what this rewarding journey is all about, here’s what to expect when trekking to the Everest Base Camp.
Day 1: Departed from Abu Dhabi and arrived in Kathmandu in about 4 hours. All smiles as we waited to meet the guide at the airport. We transported to our hotel, the guide checked our gear in our rooms. Afterward were given a tour of the city and later at night had a team dinner in a popular restaurant in Kathmandu. The food was delicious!
Day 2: To begin the trek, you must first reach Lukla. Known as the gateway to the Khumbu region, home to Mt Everest. So, we hopped on a quick 30-minute flight to Lukla to begin the adventure.
The first trek was mild and only five hours long. We crossed tiny villages and forests throughout the route. We made it to the beautiful town of Monjo, where we spent our first night nestled in the cold mountains.
Day 3: After enjoying one night in Monjo, it was time to keep on moving. We navigated through the Sagarmatha National Park, crossed rivers and scenic suspension bridges before rising 3,440 meters to Namche, where I spent the next two days.
This sight of the Himalayas made my heart sink to my stomach. It felt magical and close.
Day 4: It’s essential to acclimatize yourself as the oxygen levels lower with the elevation. So, day four was dedicated to rest and acclimatization. Still an active rest day, we trekked up to see the Everest View Hotel from far and catch these magnificent picturesque views of the Himalayan range of mountains, including Amadablam, which I thought was the most glorious of them all. I could hardly stop myself from smiling for the rest of the day. Photos can’t even do these mountains justice to what it looks like in real life.
Day 5: It was time for another 6-hour trek as we left Namche early and headed for Debuche. Debuche sits at 3,710 m and is a lovely small village. It was quiet as fewer trekkers make their way to this area. It makes for a nice alternative stopover compared to more typical Everest Base Camp treks.
There was even some spare time for cultural experiences. At lunchtime, we visited Khumbu’s highest monastery in Tengboche and enjoyed the views surrounding it. The food in Tengboche was delicious, too. I highly recommend the German bakery located here.
Day 6: On day six, we trekked up to 4,410 m to Dingboche in around 5 hours. I finally witnessed the change in terrain, and I began to get so excited for the coming days. Fewer trees meant we were getting closer to Everest Base Camp as it’s more difficult for trees to grow at this altitude. Plus, when it began to feel even colder, it was clear we were getting close and higher.
Day 7: Another day was needed to acclimatize. We had gone from 3,440 m up to 4,410 m, and to prepare our bodies, we trekked up to a 5,000 m viewpoint where we saw Makalu and a few other mountains. Makalu was beautiful with its sharp edges and snowcapped tips.
Day 8: Most of our treks were between 5 and 6 hours. So, day 8 was another 6 hour from Dingboche up to Lobuche at 4,910 m, still lower than the viewpoint we visited the day before. On this trek, I began to notice that more life was starting to disappear. The grass
and shrubs were being replaced with even larger rocks. It was a sad moment passing by the memorial for fallen climbers at Thukla Pass. There were more than 100 small memorial signs with some reading, “Go to sleep forever in Everest” and “His soul will always remain alive.” It set a tone for the rest of the day’s trek, but regardless, it’s a special place, and a must-have experience when trekking to the Everest Base Camp.
Day 9: This was the final acclimatization day. It was the most relaxed day of the journey and a much-needed one after visiting the memorial and the hours of trekking done over the past week.
Day 10: I woke up early, ready to finally make it to the Everest Base Camp. But do you know what? It was empty. No tents. No campsites. Just memorials, photos of those who have passed away, and flags. It was beautiful, yet eerie in a way. Earlier in that year, there was the devastating earthquake, which took the lives of many.
It was an achievement in itself making it to the Everest Base Camp at 5,360 m, but it was such a long day of trekking. It took almost 10 hours to get to the base camp, and over to Gorak Shep, that same day we still had some energy and decided to check out Kala Pattar, it was well worth it as we finally got a closer look at Everest during the sunset.
Day 11: We helicoptered out early that morning as it was clear weather and made it back to Lukla. We had a celebratory dinner and slept the night, as the weather became too cloudy for any plane to land or take off.
Day 12: I woke up early, packed everything, and went to the small airport. We waited all day and finally got our chance to leave for Kathmandu, where I was then able to head back on a flight to Abu Dhabi.
If you’re considering trekking to Everest Base Camp, you’re in for a once in a lifetime experience. Prepare to feel free and on top of the world as you challenge and push yourself. Nights will be cold, and it will be tiring, but when you catch that first glimpse of Everest and finally make it to the base camp, it all feels completely worth it.