The Path to Base Camp – Nepal
Let’s Go – Base Camp
How to Get There. Aim for Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where Nepalese visas can be obtained on arrival. From Kathmandu, there are two starting points to access the Everest Base Camp trail. The fastest option is to fly to Lukla. Allow a day or two before and after the hike in case your flight gets postponed because of the weather. From Lukla, the out-and-back hike takes 12 to 14 days for a casual hiker, but can be tailored to your fitness level. Regardless of fitness it is discouraged to ascend more than 300m per day.
The longer and cheaper option is to take a bus from Kathmandu to the town of Jiri where you can start hiking. This option will add at least seven days to your trek. People generally choose this option as a way to cut back on expenses, but it’s also the route that Hillary and Tenzing would have taken over 60 years ago.
Planning for the Hike. Anyone in good physical health can do this hike, although previous hiking experience is recommended. While there are a few stretches of the trail that contain challenging ascents, taking things slowly and breaking often at teahouses will help. Expect anywhere from four to six hours of hiking a day, increasing to more like eight hours a day on the return hike.
There are many companies that can organise a trip for you, but if, like us, budget is a priority over time, it’s best to wait until you arrive in Kathmandu before booking – organizing a tour in your home country will cost two or three times more than booking locally. Most tours include transport, a guide or porter, lodging and food. Make sure to check out a few tour agencies, as there are so many to choose from, to compare rates. And haggle – no matter what you are told, nothing is a ‘fixed price’ in this part of the world. If you book a porter/ guide remember that you are their employer so you should ensure that they have proper equipment and insurance.
Food and lodging are not planned in advance, even during the high season. There are countless teahouses to choose from. Food on the trail is expensive compared to Nepalese standards but still affordable by western standards.