Everest Base Camp Trek

Trip Length 19 Days
Group Size 4-15
Difficulty
Starting from
$4,399 for REI Members
$4,839 for non-members
Departures Dec 2019-Dec 2020

Follow in the footsteps of legends on a 19-day journey to an iconic symbol of challenge and adventure.

Outside Magazine Award Badge

Selected by Outside Magazine as one of 28 Best Trips of 2016.

At 29,029 feet, Everest soars high against a backdrop of vast blue sky. Our expert staff has dialed in every detail of the journey; providing insider perspectives and supportive tips throughout the journey. The classic Everest Base Camp journey begins and ends in Kathmandu. Nestled between mountains and plains, the city is alive with energy. Explore villages dotted with fluttering prayer flags and become familiar with colorful Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

Spend several days hiking to surrounding villages, discovering remote monastic caves and acclimatizing the body to the elevation. See the fabled Khumbu Ice Fall and its towering seracs from a distance. From there, we hike to 18,519 feet to the summit of Kala Patthar for an unobstructed view of Everest's windblown summit. We return home to tell tales of our legendary adventure.

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Trip Highlights

  • Accomplish a true bucket list item: trek to base camp at Mount Everest
  • See stunning Himalaya views, including Khumbu Ice Fall, Makalu and more
  • Follow local guides with 25 years of experience on a fully-supported trek
  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage sites and learn Buddhist and Hindu traditions

Activities

This trip is rated Strenuous [5]. Participants should be strong, experienced hikers in good physical condition, comfortable hiking 5-6 hours daily over uneven, rocky and frequently steep terrain. Trip members should have prior experience camping and sleeping in a tent for multiple nights. No technical climbing or other special abilities are required.

Our route includes many sections of stone stairs; there is very little level walking. We?ll spend considerable time at altitudes between 11,000' - 17,100' which makes hiking more strenuous. A physical conditioning program should be undertaken at least 3 months in advance to prepare. A physician?s signature is required for participation on this trip.

  • Trekking

What's Included

National Park fees, 4 nights hotel in Kathmandu, meals as noted on the itinerary, Sherpa guides and porters, cooks and commissary crew, tents, foam sleeping pads, community cooking gear, baggage portage, and airport transfers to and from our host hotel.

Accommodations

City hotel, 4 nights; combination of camps and rustic mountain lodges, 14 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to vibrant Kathmandu where our Nepal adventure begins.

Our trip begins today in Kathmandu, Nepal. After clearing immigration and customs, we are met by our friendly staff and transferred to our host hotel in colorful Thamel, a city filled with restaurants, unique shops and outdoor outfitters to help you acquire any last-minute trekking gear. The afternoon is left open to rest and explore this unique area. Perhaps take a walking tour with our guide to become more familiar with the city. Meals on your own.

Day 2

Explore Swayambunath Temple, Boudhanath Temple and more.

Today we enjoy a guided tour of the ancient cities of Kathmandu and Patan that will last most of the day. Nepal is a country rich in religious diversity and our visits today to Hindu and Buddhist sacred sites including Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), Boudhanath and Patan's magnificent Durbar Square will open many windows into these fascinating and ancient worlds. If time permits, we'll take an optional side-trip to the Tibetan Refugee Carpet center in Jawalakhel. The rest of the day will be on your own to explore before our evening orientation to review the trip's itinerary and gather recommendations on repacking your bags for tomorrow's departure. Breakfast included.

Day 3

Fly to Lukla and hike through colorful villages to Phakding.

Early this morning (prior to 6am) we transfer to the airport to catch our scenic flight to Lukla. There our supplies and gear are loaded onto yaks for our hike down terraced hillsides and along stone fences to the Dudh Kosi River. We note a huge boulder inscribed with the Buddhist prayer, "Om mani padme hum." Throughout the trek we encounter the local Buddhist people reciting this mantra. Arriving in camp in Phakding, we receive a bowl of hot water at our tents after we arrive?great for washing up or for doing a bit of light laundry. Then there is time for hot drinks and well-deserved rest. This is our arrival routine in camp most afternoons/evenings, and we grow to appreciate these little extras along with the exceptional care we receive from our trekking staff. All meals included.

Trekking: 4.5 miles, 3 to 4 hours. From Lukla (9,320') we lose 920' over the first 3 miles, then hike a relatively flat final 1.5 miles to arrive in Phakding (8,560').

Day 4

Hike through fields and villages from Phakding to Namche Bazaar.

Our morning wake-up call each day is delivered complete with a cup of hot tea and basin of warm water brought right to our tents. After a hearty breakfast, we set out on the trail as it wanders through rolling terrain, past traditional homes, plowed fields and forests. As we ascend slowly to the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park, the snowy peak of Thamserku (21,680') gives us a taste of the unmatched mountain scenery to come. Lunch provides fuel for the final push, a steep 2,000'-hike to the village of Namche Bazaar, a large Sherpa village and has long been the primary staging area for major Himalayan expeditions. It is a major establishment since it?s a source of abundant fresh water and because of its lively bazaar on Saturdays. We are certain to enjoy this very special place where we spend two nights on our way up the mountain. All meals included.

Trekking: 5.6 miles, 6 hours; elevation gain: 920' over the first 4.2 miles, then 2,000' in the final 1.4 miles for a total of 2,920 to reach Namche Bazaar (11,285').

Day 5

Day hike for our first views of Everest, then return to Namche Bazaar.

Temple horns and yak bells awaken us to a sunrise surrounded by snowy summits over 20,000' high! Today is an acclimatization day, meaning we plan to hike high to gain strength, then descend again to sleep low, enabling our bodies to better adjust to the altitude before we continue our ascent. A slow and steady pace with adequate time for acclimatization is key to an enjoyable trek. Peaks we view as we set out today include Kwangde (20,930'), Thamserku (21,680') and Kangtega (21,932'). And what's more, as we ascend to around 12,500' we earn truly stunning views of Nuptse (25,790'), Lhotse (27,605'), Ama Dablam (22,493') and even Mount Everest (29,029'). Tonight we overnight again in Namche Bazaar. All meals included.

Trekking: 3 to 3.5 miles, 4 to 5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,250'.

Day 6

Ascend to the village of Phortse Tenga through rhododendron forest.

From Namche Bazaar our trek leaves the standard Base Camp trail for the next two days. Crossing the valley, we ascend through a rhododendron forest traversing the beautiful southern slope of Khumbila, the sacred mountain of the Sherpas which cannot be climbed. We trek over Moung La pass (13,000') stopping for lunch with the spectacular peak of Thamserku looming in the near background. Then we descend to Phortse Tenga alongside the Dudh Koshi River, fed by the glaciers of the tenth highest peak in the world, Cho Oyo. Finally, we ascend another 45 minutes through picturesque birch and rhododendron forest to Phortse where we stay for the night. Watch for iridescent impeyan pheasants, tahr mountain goats, and possibly musk deer when walking through the forests and among the high farms today. All meals included.

Trekking: 5.3 miles, 6 to 7 hours; elevation gain from Namche to Moung La pass: 1,705' covered in 3.3 miles; elevation loss: 920' in 1 mile to the Dudh Koshi River. Crossing a bridge there, our final ascent to Phortse (12,500') gains 425' in just under 1 mile. Total elevation gain: 2,130'; total elevation loss: 920'.

Day 7

Half-day ascent to visit Pangboche's impressive monastery.

This morning we enjoy a leisurely half-day ascent to Pangboche. This gentle hike leads along a scenic contour, gradually gaining another 400' as we approach our Pangboche camp situated among small traditional homes and fields. After lunch and a bit of rest, we enjoy a unique opportunity to visit Pangboche Monastery, the oldest monastery in the Mount Everest region. Lama Sangwa Dorji, believed to be the reincarnation of Guru Rinpoche, founder of Buddhism in Tibet in the eight century and one of its most significant figures, is said to have founded Pangboche Monastery. The ancient and very special nature of this place is easily felt by visitors. Returning to camp for dinner, we enjoy sitting among the 400-year-old juniper trees as we gaze across the valley at the magnificent mountain scenery. All meals included.

Trekking: 3 miles, 3 to 4 hours; elevation gain: 400' to Pangboche (12,895').

Day 8

Hike to Dingboche, the highest permanent Sherpa village in the Khumbu.

Today's hike is an extended half day, with a challenging and scenic climb to Dingboche (14,400'). After ascending fairly gradually along the river Imja Khola for the better part of the morning, our trail swings off the main track to the east and climbs slowly up to the windswept potato fields of Dingboche Village, the highest permanent Sherpa settlement in the region. Ama Dablam's razor edges are particularly dramatic here. We expect to arrive and enjoy a late lunch by around 1pm, so consider packing an energy bar or snack in your daypack as we set out in the morning. After lunch the remainder of the afternoon is yours to rest, journal, read, enjoy the views or soak in your surroundings. All meals included.

Trekking: 4 miles, 4 to 4.5 hours; elevation gain: 1,575'.

Day 9

Day hike to remote monastic caves and views of Makalu.

We've scheduled another important acclimatization day today. To this point in the trek, we've ascended over 5,150', and before we attempt to sleep any higher, we once again hike high today then descend to sleep low for one more night. There are many options available to us, and the most likely is one of our Sherpa guides' favorite hikes. Few visitors to the Everest region will ascend the base of Nangkar Tshang peak, and this 3.5- to 5-hour roundtrip leads past cliff-side, sacred sites to a stunning view of Makalu, the world's fifth highest peak at 27,762'. We hike as high as we reasonably can, reaching our top elevation somewhere between 15,700'and 16,400' before descending back to 14,400'. This should help our bodies acclimatize more effectively, as the next three days bring ever increasing challenges. All meals included.

Optional trekking: 3 to 4 miles, 3.5 to 5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,300' to 2,000'.

Day 10

Traverse the Pheriche Valley and ascend past the Khumbu Glacier.

Today begins with a gentle climb along the upper trail toward the Pheriche valley. Well above Pheriche and the valley floor, we hike through alpine scrub and yak pastures, enjoying panoramic views of Tawoche (20,890') and Cholotse (20,785'). Directly behind us, Ama Dablam appears to rise directly from the valley floor to its fullest, snowy height. After about two hours of gradual ascent, we reach Thokla Pass and begin a challenging but relatively short ascent of about 690'. The scenery becomes even more exceptional as we crest the pass to panoramic views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar and other 7,000+-meter peaks. We continue hiking beyond Thokla Pass to reach Lobuche, a sparse outpost set amid dramatic scenery where we'll stay tonight. The next two days will be very challenging, so we eat well and drink lots of water tonight. All meals included.

Trekking: 5 miles, 5 to 6 hours, elevation gain: 690' over 2.5 miles before ascending Thokla Pass, gaining 690' over a steep, short .5 mile section. Then, 265' over 1 mile to reach Lobuche (16,110'). Total elevation gain: 1,645'.

Day 11

Depending on the weather, climb Kala Patthar or hike to Everest Base Camp.

The next two days host some of our trek's most exceptional highlights. Today we pick our way through rocks and boulders while trekking about three hours to the small settlement of Gorak Shep, which rests in the shadow of Kala Patthar. We arrive in time for lunch and then evaluate conditions before moving on. If the weather suggests clear views, we set out for Kala Patthar to enjoy the exceptional view of Mount Everest (29,029') from its summit. If views seem less likely, we will instead head up on the three- to four-hour hike to Everest Base Camp, saving Kala Patthar for the following morning. In either case, we may descend in the dark back to Gorak Shep, so bring warm clothes, a headlamp and check your batteries before setting out. You?ll be glad you saved some energy for these optional but exceptional hikes. All meals included.

Trekking from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (16,865'): 3 hours; elevation gain to camp: 755'.
Round trip Gorak Shep-Kala Patthar (18,519'): 2 miles; 3 to 4 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,654'.
Round trip Gorak Shep-Everest Base Camp (17,600'): 4.5 miles, 3 to 3.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 735'.

Note: While we travel to the Everest Base Camp area, we do not visit the climbing camp out of respect for the climbers' health and privacy.

Day 12

Depending on our previous day, climb Kala Patthar or hike to Base Camp.

Today we pick up where we left off yesterday by completing the hike we haven?t yet attempted (although you may opt out of the hike this morning if you prefer). If we set out for Kala Patthar, we must start very early so that the light affords us the best views of Everest. We start hiking before sunrise with headlamps and return for breakfast. After breakfast, we have time to descend as far as Thokla or Phulung Kharka. If we instead hike to Base Camp, we'll set out in the morning twilight and will likely descend to Lobuche this afternoon. The specific site of tonight?s accommodations (Lobuche or Thokla) will depend on how the day unfolds. While we can celebrate some significant accomplishments tonight, there are still many highlights remaining on the descent, which will feature some different trails and very special sights along the way. All meals included.

Round trip Gorak Shep-Kala Patthar (18,519'): 2 miles, 3 to 4 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,654'.
Round trip Gorak Shep-Everest Base Camp (17,600'): 4.5 miles, 3 to 3.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 735'.
Trekking from Gorak Shep (16,865') to Lobuche: 5 miles, 2 hours; elevation loss: 755' to Lobuche (16,110') or from Gorak Shep to Thokla: 7 miles, 3 hours; elevation loss: 1,710' to Thokla (15,155').

Day 13

Cross Pheriche Pass and visit Deboche Nunnery.

Today we cover significant ground and descend thousands of feet into far more oxygen-rich air. We enjoy a stop at the Himalayan Rescue Association clinic in Pheriche, which is an important medical facility for trekkers, climbers and local people. Staffed by volunteer physicians, it is an interesting waypoint on this remote trail. After lunch we emerge from the valley and climb a short distance to Pheriche Pass before descending to cross the river Imja Khola. Climbing on through the park-like rhododendron forests, bursting with flowers on spring departures, we eventually reach Deboche, our destination for the night. Deboche is situated in a picturesque setting and boasts a long and significant religious history. This afternoon we have the option to visit the site of an important nunnery. All meals included.

Trekking: 7.5 to 9 miles, 5 to 6 hours. Groups setting out from Lobuche (16,110') descend 3,970' to the Imja Khola River (12,140'). Groups setting out from Thokla (15,155') descend 3,015' to reach the same point. From the river, the way is mostly flat to Deboche (12,170').

Day 14

Trek to Namche Bazaar, with views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam.

Today is another full day of descent with a healthy dose of uphill hiking mixed in. We depart Deboche and climb a short 330' to Tengboche Monastery. This Tibetan Buddhist temple sits at 12,685' and offers us a glimpse into monastic life. After our visit, we continue descending to the Dudh Koshi River then climb for about 90 minutes to Kyangjuma for lunch. We finish our hike with a gradually descending walk from Kyangjuma to Namche Bazaar (11,285') where we'll once again enjoy the unforgettable panoramic views of Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam and Everest. We spend the night in Namche Bazaar where we can enjoy amenities like local bars and souvenir shops, as well as internet access. There will likely be time to explore Namche Bazaar on your own before dinner. All meals included.

Trekking: 6 miles, 6 hours. Groups setting out from Deboche ascend 495' over 1 mile to reach Tengboche (12,665'), then all groups descend 2,005' in 1.25 miles to the Imja Khola River (10,660') before climbing 985' in 1.75 miles to Kyangjuma (11,645'). After lunch, we hike 2 miles to reach Namche Bazaar, losing another 360'. Total elevation gain: 985' to 1,480'; total elevation loss: 2,365'.

Day 15

Leave Namche Bazaar and descend to Phakding Village.

Leaving Namche Bazaar, we have a big descent today to Phakding. If the weather is clear, take plenty of photos of your final views of the great peaks we've enjoyed so much along the way, including Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. We'll not see them again after reaching camp tonight. In Phakding we'll camp by the Dudh Koshi River and enjoy another spectacular Himalayan sunset before turning in. All meals included.

Trekking: 5.6 miles, 4 to 5 hours. Descend 2,000' in the first 1.4 miles, then descend 920' over 4.2 miles. Total elevation loss: 2,920'.

Day 16

Hike to Lukla and enjoy a final night in a comfortable lodge.

Today is a challenging final day of trekking from Phakding. We begin with a descent before a 600'-climb to Lukla, where we leave the long trail behind. After the climb, we enjoy a night in a small lodge where we can shower and then look forward to a truly memorable farewell party with all of the wonderful support staff who have contributed so much to the success of our great adventure. Overnight in Lukla. All meals included.

Trekking: 4.5 miles, 5 hours. Hike from Phakding (8,560') is a relatively flat 1.5 miles before gaining 920' over the last 3 miles to arrive in Lukla (9,300').

Day 17

Return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, weather permitting.

We prepare for our return flight to Kathmandu very early this morning. Taking off from the Lukla airstrip is an exhilarating experience, and our last look at the snowy Himalayas is bittersweet. After the flight, we are met by our ground staff and transferred to our hotel for hot showers, clean clothes and a relaxing day. Our staff will have double-checked our flights out and will update us on any important changes. Then the balance of the day is free time. Breakfast is included.

Note about flights: Flights to and from Lukla are not always dependable; weather conditions may cause flight cancellations. Delays are possible any time of year but are more typical on summer departures. Most treks run during the best weather conditions of the year; however, our final full day is designed to accommodate some weather delays (or sightseeing and shopping if all goes as planned).

Day 18

Free day to explore more highlights of the Kathmandu Valley.

Enjoy a free day exploring on your own or join us for an optional city tour. The tour is likely to feature Kathmandu Durbar Square or the ancient city of Bhaktapur. The reminder of the day is at your leisure to shop or relax before your journey home. Breakfast included. (Note: reserve day for return flight from Lukla in case of inclement weather).

Days 19

Our Everest Base Camp trekking adventure ends today in Kathmandu.

We transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights. A transfer is provided and will be tailored to suit your scheduled departure.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose the proper equipment. Try to bring only what is necessary; this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Copy of Passport (2 Copies, First Page Only)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Nepal Visa Form (May be Obtained at Kathmandu Airport)
  • Passport Photos (4)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.