Where is Mount Everest highest camp and how to get there?
Sitting on the border between Tibet and Nepal, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the worlds, at a massive 8,848 meters above sea level. A popular place to visit for hikers and climbers alike, this huge mountain has a number of base camps on its slopes, many of which have been in constant use for more than half a century.
Of these base camps, two are available for ordinary tourists to visit, while one is only available to access for advanced trekkers and intermediate climbers, mainly due to its extreme altitude. Getting to any of these three camps requires a lot of preparation, several permits, and the right visas and passes. Two of the camps lie on the northern side of the mountain, in Tibet. The third camp lies in Nepal, on the southern slopes of the mountain, and is the destination of one of the world’s most popular treks.
Everest Base Camp at 5200m in Tibet
The Everest Base Camp (EBC) in Tibet lies at an elevation of around 5,200 meters and is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Tibet. The first base camp ever to be set up on Mount Everest, EBC in Tibet was first used almost 100 years ago as the primary base camp for the first exploratory expeditions to the slopes of Mount Everest.
EBC in Tibet is actually the highest point that ordinary tourists can reach on the mountain, and for those that want to go higher, some high-altitude climbing experience is necessary. However, for the lower base camp, all that is required is the guided tour with a registered tour operator. The base camp in Tibet is visited by thousands of tourists every year, and has been set up to cater to these tourists, with a variety of tent guesthouses, latrines, restaurants, and other amenities.
How to Get There
Getting to the base camp in Tibet firstly requires you to be on a pre-arranged tour with a registered tour operator. In order to enter Tibet, several permits are required, and you need to be on a pre-booked everest base camp tour with a tour guide and driver.
Once we have booked your tour, we can help you apply for all travel permits that you need for an Everest Base Camp Tour, including the Tibet Travel Permit, the Alien’s Travel Permit, and the Restricted Areas Permit, as well as your entry ticket to the Chomolungma National Park, where Mount Everest is located.
Once you have entered Tibet, either from Kathmandu or through mainland China, your guide will meet you and your tour will begin. After acclimatizing to the altitude of the plateau, you will head for Mount Everest Base Camp. From Lhasa, it is a drive of more than 800 kilometers to the base camp, which takes a few days, stopping in Gyantse, Shigatse, and at Rongbuk Monastery on the way. From Kathmandu, once you cross the border and acclimatize for a day, your guide will take you to EBC first on your tour, via Rongbuk Monastery, which lies at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier close to the base camp itself.
Advanced Base Camp at 6500m in Tibet
In Tibet, you also have the second base camp, the Advanced Based Camp, which lies at an altitude of over 6,000 meters above sea level. It is one of the camps used by mountaineers on their journey to the summit, and it has become a must-do trek for advanced trekkers with plenty of experience at high altitudes. The base camp lies at the foot of the infamous North Col, the ridge on the north face of Everest that has claimed the lives of many mountaineers due to its hard ascent.
The Advanced Base Camp (ABC) is the highest point in the world that trekkers can reach, and while it is at an extreme altitude on the world’s highest mountain, the use of ice-axes and crampons is not necessary. The Advanced Base Camp requires no actual climbing, and while it is a hard route to get there, it is still just a trek along a well-used trail. Just one at the most extreme altitude possible.
Trekking Route from EBC to ABC
The trek from EBC to ABC is one that normally takes around five days, and you will reach the Advanced Base Camp on the fourth day. The first day of the trek takes you from EBC at 5,200 meters to Camp 1, also known as the Japanese Camp, which lies at 5,460 meters. On Day 2, you will head up to the Interim Camp at 5,800 meters, which is a steep and hard climb. However, the stunning views of Mount Pumori and Mount Nuptse make the hard work worthwhile.
Day 3 takes you to Camp 2, also known as Changtse Base Camp, at 5,970 meters. Mount Changtse is a mountain peak in the Everest Massif that lies on the north face of the mountain, and while the trek is short, it does require some technical skills. Day 4 requires an early start, to head up to ABC, as you will need to get back to Camp 2 before it gets dark. The route up to ABC is a gradual climb, and the base camp lies at an altitude of 6,340 meters above sea level.
ABC is the closest point a non-climber can get to the summit of Mount Everest, and the views from the camp are intense and mind-blowing. After spending some quality time at the camp, you will head back to Camp 2 for the night, before making the trek all the way to EBC on the fifth day.
Everest Base Camp at 5364m in Nepal
On the southern side of the mountain lies the Nepali base camp at 5364 meters, which was used for the successful attempt to reach the summit by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. The southern EBC is not as easily accessible as the northern one, which can be accessed by road from Lhasa.
Located some 65 kilometers from Lukla, a small town with an airport in the Khumbu regions of the Solukhumbu District, a 45-minute flight from Kathmandu, EBC in Nepal is the harder of the base camps to get to. Without the road that leads right up to the camp that Tibet has, tourists wishing to visit EBC Nepal must trek the distance from Lukla to the base camp itself.
The trek takes around 12 days for the hike both ways from Lukla to EBC and back and includes two days for acclimatizing to the increased altitude. One of the most popular treks in the world, the route to EBC in Nepal is often very crowded in the peak season for trekking in Nepal.
How to Get There
The trekking route has to start from Kathmandu, with a 45-minute flight to the small town of Lukla, at an altitude of 2,860 meters above sea level. From Lukla, the route heads through several villages and towns on the route to EBC, with rest stops at two villages for acclimatization. The first days is relatively easy, and takes you to the village of Phakding, while day two takes you to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital of the Khumbu region and the first rest day to acclimatize.
From Namche Bazaar, the route then heads through Tengboche, where you rest for the night, and then to Dingboche, the second rest day stop to acclimatize. The final leg of the trek takes you through Dughla and Lobuche, and ends at Gorak Shep, the last night’s stop before EBC. The view from EBC does not allow trekkers to see the peak of Everest, as Mount Nuptse is in the way, but there is a side-trek to a ridge known as kala Patthar that most trekkers take before heading to the base camp, from where the best views of Mount Everest can be found.
Preparation for Getting to the Everest Camp
Before attempting the trek to EBC, there are some preparations that need to be made, most of which should not be avoided or skipped, as they are important to your enjoyment and even survival.
Required Travel Documents for Tibet Everest Base Camp Tour
If you plan to visit the Everest Base Camp in Tibet, you need to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit, the Alien’s travel permit as well as the military permit for your trip to Everest region from Lhasa. Also, the Chinese Visa is required for you to enter the mainland China and Tibet. And for further trekking or mountain climbing to the base camps higher than the EBC, you need to apply for an extra mountain climbing license before you go.
Required Travel Documents for Nepal Everest Base Camp Tour
Apart from a visa to get into Nepal, if you need one, there are several permits that you may need to obtain. The first is the Trekkers Information Management Systems (TIMS) Card, which all trekkers must have before being allowed to trek in Nepal. A permit is also needed to enter the Sagarmatha National Park, where Everest lies, and both this and the TIMS card can be obtained from the tourist office in Thamel, Kathmandu. Since it normally only takes around ten minutes to process the card, there is no reason not to do it before you leave.
If you are planning to trek to EBC, then you should be physically fit enough to do so. While the trek is not considered to be hard, there are a lot of uphill stretches, which may tire you out more quickly if you are out of condition. A good combination of cardiovascular endurance exercises, combined with strength training and hiking training with a heavy pack can help to get you ready. While this may seem extreme, you will be trekking at high to extreme altitudes, and will use up your energy faster than at sea level.
Avoid Altitude Sickness
As anyone who has ventured thousands of feet above sea level can attest, altitude sickness can be a real and uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous condition. The higher you go, the thinner the air. Get too high too fast, and your body does not get the oxygen it needs. Most people can reach 8,000 feet without experiencing altitude sickness, but the ailment can strike as low as 4,000 feet above sea level. The common symptoms are: headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, fatigue/loss of energy.
To prevent and reduce the risk of AMS, stay hydrated at all times, replenish the body’s potassium levels with vegetables and fruits, decrease your salt intake, do not overdo things on the trek, and make sure you get enough rest and sleep each night. And do not forget to spend the days acclimatizing on the way up. Learn more about how to avoid Altitude Sickness for an EBC tour
How Much Does It Cost to Hike Everest Base Camp?
High-altitude trekking in Tibet is one of the most popular places for treks, and the area around Mount Everest has some of the best trekking in the region. The cost of an organized Everest hiking tour largely depends on a number of factors, the time you are intending to stay in Tibet, the length of the trek and the time of year you are traveling.
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Can I Fly to Everest Base Camp?
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