Climbing the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest is a dream of many people. For some, it was a dream realized at a young age while others realized their potential after years of challenging summit climbs. Regardless of where a person is on the long-haul hike scale, something to consider is the trek to Everest Base Camp.
Choosing to hike to Everest Base Camp brings with it the glory and the views without the potentially hazardous - and, at times, fatal - conditions that many climbers encounter on their way up to the summit of Everest. While Everest Base Camp is where many hikers begin their treks, it can also be the place where many end theirs. It's less demanding, requires less physical fitness, and sits at the foot of Everest, giving hikers the view of a lifetime at the end of it all. Here's what you should know about Everest Base Camp and why it's worth hiking.
What To Expect When Hiking To Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp, while it doesn't sit at the height of more than 29,000 feet as Everest does, is still no easy feat. Those who trek to this camp will still find themselves at a whopping height of 18,370 feet (5,600 meters), or so. This means that altitude sickness is a concern and requires that all hikers acclimate as they go, which means taking the trek slowly rather than racing to the top. The latter will, in all likelihood, result in a failed hike, as many climbers get too sick from the lack of acclimatization to finish the entire expanse of the trail.
On the bright side, hikers can expect incredible views not just of Everest but of the surrounding Himalayas. Monasteries, local teahouses, and Buddhist statues will line the trail, which is well-marked. The scenery is so beautiful that most days, hikers may even forget how achy they are thanks to the distraction of the beauty in the Solukhumbu region.
Hiring A Guide And/Or Porter, And How To Save Money In Doing So
Hiring a guide is one of the smartest things a person can do as a potential Everest Base Camp hiker. The cost to hire one per day will range from $20 to $30USD, which does add up - but it's a charge you'll be happy to accrue. Guides will know the area better than anyone, will be familiar with the signs of altitude sickness as well as remedies, and will be able to guide hikers in the event of bad weather or any other unforeseeable circumstances.
They're also a very valuable asset to any trip when it comes to learning about the sights as well as the culture of Nepal and Tibet. Alternatively or in addition to, many people also opt to hire a porter. For $10 to $20USD, porters will carry a traveler's things which helps to lighten the load quite a bit. A way to save money on both is to share one guide for a group and to share one porter for every two trekkers.
Preparing Mentally And Physically For The Everest Base Camp Trek
Just as one would prepare for a trek to Everest, preparing for the trek to the mountain's base camp is also important. Luckily, trekkers aren't required to be all-star athletes in order to complete the journey - but proper fitness and endurance should not be discredited. Trekkers can prepare by adding these types of fitness to their routines:
- Cardio: Incorporate running, cycling, or stair-climbing into a fitness routine at least 3x per week.
- Endurance: Hiking is a great way to prepare your body for different levels of terrain, and swimming or yoga will help potentially trekkers learn how to work with their breath and oxygen; do this 2x per week.
- Strength: Lifting weights isn't a necessity but it will help to build lower body strength.
How Expensive Is It To Hike Everest Base Camp?
The trip will not be cheap but it will be worth it to those who have always dreamed of reaching great heights (literally) in this region. Potential costs to consider are as follows:
- Hiring a porter and guide: Over the course of roughly two weeks (approximately 12 days for many), the cost to hire a guide and porter adds up, but it's practically a necessity - $400+ for a guide, $250+ for a porter (don't forget to tip!)
- Booking with a tour Package: Anywhere between $1,100 with a guide and a porter, to $1,600 with a local agency (food included).
- Booking an independent trek: Up to $700.
- Cost of teahouse accommodations: About $50 if trekkers eat at the teahouse.
- Cost of food for 14 days: Around $250 for one person, up to $300.
- Flights And Transportation: Both vary, but flights are up to $400, with local transportation ranging from $10 and up.
- Everest Base Camp Permits: TIMS permit is $10 per person in a group, $20 for individuals. Sagarmatha National Park permit is $30 for trekkers.
- Additional costs: Any medications for altitude sickness, supplies for the trek, clothing, boots, etc.