EBC & Gokyo Lake Trek

  Traveler visited Nepal in October 2016

“I'm planning a trip to Nepal next fall and I have some questions I hope you can answer! I would like to do the EBC trek. First of all, is it too risky doing it all by myself? I was looking to go with a guide but it seems to be kind of expensive from my point of view.”


Ngima Dorji Sherpa, a local specialist from Nepal, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on Everest Base Camp Trek - One of the World's Classic Treks.

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Trip planning highlights

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Trip planning conversation

Alex

A guide would cost around $1200, and would include your flights to/from Lukla.

Alex

But the main thing is being in tune with how your body is reacting to the altitude as you make your way toward base camp.

Traveler

Yeah I red a lot about the altitude sickness... So you would advice taking a guide?

Alex

Really, it's hard to say. It's good to take a guide for the following reasons:

- safety in case of emergency or altitude issues
- supports the local economy
- if you can afford it
- enriches the experiences by having someone who knows the area and history
- can ensure you get accommodation in the teahouses and they know the owners

That being said, I also like trekking alone so I understand your thinking. In the end, if you can afford it then I would recommend a guide; if not, you can also go it on your own.

Traveler

Yeah I can afford it! Do you have any agency you recommend? I think it's the most difficult part, choosing the right one...

Alex

I've worked with a number of agencies and local guides in Nepal over the years, so definitely can help here (plus it's our main service on kimkim).

Alex

Whenever you're ready to have it arranged, I'll bring in one of our local experts to our chat and they can go over the details with you.

Alex

Are you looking to book in advance for October?

Traveler

Yeah! I was looking to book it this summer, is it too late?

Alex

Not too late, no. When are you planning to book your flights? Best to book the trek after that.

Traveler

Haha yeah it would be best... I booking my flight at the end of the week!

Alex

Perfect. And you're going for 60 days? Any other plans besides trekking?

Traveler

Yeah, in fact, I would like to star the trip with the trek and then after being free as a bird. I don't have any itinerary but I would certainly like to visit Sarangkot, Patan, do some paragliding, maybe going to Tibet and Bhutan! But Nepal is my principal destination, any great ideas?

Alex

Good idea to give yourself from freedom to explore after.

For paragliding, see this article for some recommended companies:
http://www.trekkingpartners.com/2013/11/29/guide-to-paragliding-pokhara/

Tibet and Bhutan would both be amazing, and we're currently helping put together a few custom trips there. Getting a visa is the main hurdle for Tibet, but it would be great to go from Lhasa to Kathmandu by jeep or bike tour, maybe even stop in on Everest's northern base camp.

For Bhutan, as you may know, you have to go with a complete tour package in order to enter the country, so it's a little pricey.

Alex

If there's a chance you could get into Tibet, I'd try to make it work there as it's a unique country to visit. We'd have to see what the situation is like in October as it's always changing.

Traveler

I understand... First of, thank you so much for the precious advices Alex! I really appreciate it! I maybe have few questions more... Is hitch-hiking safe? (knowing I'm in solo). Is there any little trek I could do on my own? And finally, is camping food difficult to find? (Mountain House stuff and so) .

Alex

No problem. It's exciting hearing about your trip. Nepal is a great place.

Alex

For hitch-hiking in Nepal? Where to, were you thinking?

Alex

Generally, I'd say it's safe. But as with anywhere, anything can happen.

Alex

Camping food and gear is easy to come by in Kathmandu and Pokhara. And anywhere there's a village you'll be able to buy a meal or staples (rice, vegetables, etc.).

For a little trek to do on your own, I'd suggest the Khopra Danda or Pikey peak trek. Both off the beaten path with great views.

Traveler

I could say I'm a bit experience with hitch-hiking since I've hitch-hike from Alaska all the way to Quebec, I know how to deal with strange drivers haha! As for the trek, I will take a great look at your advices! Finally, for the EBC trekking agency, how and when could I talk to you about it to book it?

Alex

Any time you like. We can get started with the booking and arranging a guide any time, here.

Alex

Once you're ready, I'll reach out to one of our experts. Since you're not coming until October, it's probably OK that we don't know your exact dates yet. But the sooner you book your flights, the better.

Traveler

Hi! I just bought my tickets! I've decided to land in India, it's way cheaper than landing directly in Katmandu. I will have to work a couple of weeks more before having enough money to book my trek, though. My plan is to take buses/trains from Delhi to Katmandu!

Alex

Sounds good, Will. Just a heads up that it's $79 CAD one-way to fly from Delhi to Kathmandu, so don't let the price stop you from flying. Overland is definitely more of an experience, however. Especially if you'll visit Varanasi along the way. Whenever ready, let me know when we can be of service in helping organize a great trek.

Traveler

I'd be kind of ready to book my trek! My budget for the trek is about 1000$ to 1400$. I will probably be in Katmandu around the first or second of October. I read that those are the best dates to trek. So, are we getting started? :)

Alex

Yes, ready to start!

Alex

I'm going to bring in one of our local experts, they will be able to take over from here and help choose and organize the best trek for you. All of our experts have spent years to decades in Nepal, so you'll be in good hands

Alex

Given your budget, EBC is an option, but you'll have a few other options, as well.

Alex

Here's a couple (including EBC):

Alex

If you have 14 days (or more), these would be my two top choices...

EBC = high-altitude, historic trek up to Base Camp; amazing views along the way; however, more crowds than most treks
Manaslu = a newer trek without the crowds of EBC (although getting busier these days), with amazing views as well and great culture. You don't get as high as the Everest trek (although the highest pass is above 5000m)

Both are great!

Alex

Let me know which one you might be leaning towards, and we can go from there

Traveler

I red so much about the Everest base camp, I think I just cannot choose another one haha! But I appreciate the alternative though... And I got a lot of time, two months. The EBC will be just fine with me! I like the challenge of getting close to 6000 meters (Kala Pathar I think)! And do you know if I will be trekking alone with the guide and the crew or with some random dudes? Both are fine with me!

Alex

Sounds good. Plus it's hard to beat the view from Kala Patthar. I invited one of our local experts to join us in the conversation who can help answer questions and organize the trek. His name is Ngima Dorji Sherpa, and should be online in the next few hours here.

Traveler

Awesome! Thank you very much Alex, appreciate all you're doing for me!

Alex

Just a heads up - expect to hear from Ngima Sherpa in the morning; he wasn't able to make it online tonight (his time)

Ngima

Hi, It's a pleasure to be here to help you for your trek planning to EBC for coming autumn. Please have a look over our proposed itinerary below for your kind reference.

EVEREST BASE CAMP - DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01 Flight to Lukla - Trek to Phakding [2656m]
A flight to Lukla and a landing on a steep mountain runway brings us to the start of our trek at the village of Lukla [2850m]. After meeting the crew, we head up the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail and then stay overnight in Phakding.

Day 02 Trek to Namche [3450m]
From Phakding, we cross and re-cross the river on high suspension bridges. Beyond Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment. We then take a steep hike to Namche. If the weather is clear, we get the first glimpse of Mt Everest. Namche is the main trading village in the Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market - a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La.

Day 03 Rest day in Namche
Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops and souvenir shops. It is an ideal place to spend a day, acclimatizing to the new altitude before heading off towards Tengboche. To acclimatize, you visit Khunde Hospital set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or take a one hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for the sunset view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. There are also good views from the National Park Centre and Museum just above the town.

Day 04 Trek to Tengboche [3867m]
From Namche, the trail contours on to the side of the valley, high above the Dudh Kosi. We get our first really good views of the great peaks of the Khumbu including Mt Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. Passing by several villages and numerous tea shops, we descend steeply to a bridge over the river at Phunki Tenga. The village is an ideal stopover for lunch. Here we can rest before making the steep climb to Tengboche. Although the hike up the zigzag path is tiring, it presents us with many beautiful sights of rhododendron bushes with beautiful birds and superb mountain scenery. Tengboche is famous for its legendary monastery, the largest in the Khumbu. A spectacular panorama of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam rising in the horizon can be seen from the campsite.

Day 05 Trek to Dingboche [4360m]
With mountains at its backdrop, the monastery at Tengboche looks more spectacular in the morning. At this juncture, we can take pictures of the monastery and the scenery around and as usual start the day journey. We choose the upper trail for better views on the way to Pangboche village. We pass through several Chortens and Mani walls and small villages. The place where we stop for lunch not only serves delicious food but also allows a fantastic close-up view of Mt Ama Dablam. In the afternoon, we walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Mt Ama Dablam. From here onwards, the walk is fairly moderate as we enter the Imja Valley. The valley gradually unfolds as we approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. We descend into the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche. On arrival at Dingboche, we will see beautiful array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals.

Day 06 At Dingboche
We spend our second day of acclimatization at Dingboche. A refreshing breakfast while admiring a looming Ama Dablam (6856m/ 22493 ft) to the south is really fantastic. To better appreciate Mt Ama Dablam, Mt Lhotse and numerous other peaks visible from Dingboche, we climb the ridge on the north behind the village. This willbe an ideal acclimatizing excursion. Upon this juncture, we can see three of the world's six highest peaks, Mt Lhotse, Mt Makalu and Mt Cho Yu. To the west, loom the towering peaks of Cholatse (6440 m/21,126 ft) and Taboche (6542 m/ 21,463 ft). As we look northwest, we see an array of peaks rising at the head of the Khumbu Khola valley. The Lobuche West and Lobuche East peaks are most dominant along with Lhotse which stands over 8500 meters (8501m/27, 890 ft). From a vantage point high on the ridge, we can scan the sweeping Imja Khola valley as well as the picturesque fields and pastures of Dingboche.

Day 07 Trek to Lobuche [4930m]
We continue up the wide valley beneath the impressive peaks of Cholatse and Tawache on the left. We then turn right and take a steep climb towards the foot of the Khumbu Glacier. The tea house at Duglha is a good spot to have lunch. The trail zigzags up through the boulders of the glacier's terminal moraine. At the top of this climb there are many stone cairns, built as memorials to the many Sherpas who have died while climbing Mt Everest. The path then climbs gently along the glacier, to eventually reach the cluster of houses at Lobuche.

Day 08 Trek to Gorak Shep [5184m]
To reach our next stop, Kala Pattar, we follow the Khumbu Glacier. The trail offers superb views of the surrounding mountains, especially where the path is forced to rise to cross a tributary glacier. We stop for lunch at our camping place: Gorak Shep. Later in the afternoon, we make our way to the top of one of the finest viewpoints in the Everest region, Kala Pattar [5554m]. As the light begins to fade we stroll back to our camp at Gorak Shep and have an early night in preparation for our trek to Everest Base Camp the following day.

Day 09 Trek to Everest Base Camp [5357m]
A very early start is required to reach the Everest Base Camp. It takes several hours as the trail weaves its way through ice pinnacles and past the crevasses of the Khumbu Glacier. On the return leg, we can take a higher route to get a spectacular view of the Khumbu icefall and the route to the South Col. We return to either Gorak Shep or Lobuche.

Day 10 Trek to Pangboche [3985m]
Today’s trek is mostly downhill. As we retrace our steps to Duglha and descend to Pheriche, we arrive at The Himalayan Rescue Association, a trekker’s aid post and worth a visit. After lunch we cross the Khumbu Khola on a wooden suspension bridge and follow the Imja Khola to the village of Pangboche.

Day 11 Trek to Namche [3450m]
We continue to follow the river and, after crossing it, climb back up through birch and rhododendron forest to Tengboche. Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantega and Thamserku are just a few of the Himalayan giants to be seen. From Tengboche we descend to the bridge over the Dudh Kosi. At Phunki Tenga, we get to see the water driven prayer wheels, before making our way back to Namche.

Day 12 Trek to Lukla [2800m]
Our final day's trekking follows the Dudh Kosi down to Lukla.

Day 13 Fly to Kathmandu
We pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop a flight back to Kathmandu. After arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to your hotel. Trip concludes !!

I hope above program is clear enough for you to understand. Please feel free to write to us incase of any confusions or any further queries.

Looking forward to hear from you.

Best wishes,
Ngima

Alex

Hi Will, let Ngima (and myself) know what you thought of the itinerary and if you have any questions/feedback that we can help with

Traveler

Hi guys! Itinerary looks fine with me! A little bit shorter than I expected but sounds good. As for my questions: am I trekking alone or with a group? How much weight (maximum) do you recommend for my bag? Am I choosing the departure date? And finally, how cold it could be during the trek?

Ngima

Namaste from Nepal !!

Thank you for your reply message.

Well, above proposed itinerary is programmed upto Everest Base Camp only. If you have enough time for trek, you can extend your trip upto Gokyo Lake via Renjo Pass from where you can have a majestic views of mountain ranges.

Meanwhile, you will be trekking alone as there is no confirmed group for Everest trek in autumn this year. Hence, you can give us your feasible date and we will make the service arrangements accordingly. Whoever have confirmed their EBC trip with us for next season have wished to do private trek. For your bag, you can carry upto 15 kgs. During trek, the day time is normally sunny and warm while during night the temperature might range from 0 - minus 5 degree.

Kindly do let us know if you wish to have a longer program with visit to Gokyo Lake too if EBC program is too short for you.

Looking forward to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Ngima.

Traveler

Everything's fine with me! So, how do I book this awesome trip?

Alex

Great - glad that you'll get to visit Gokyo, as well. I'll send you a payment form shortly for you to book.

Traveler

Sounds good! Thanks a lot again, for everything! :)

Alex

No problem :)

Alex

Here's the link to the payment form:

Alex

https://www.kimkim.com/charges/trip/k4zkjxw3

Alex

This is for the latest itinerary that Ngima provided above, for EBC + Gokyo Lakes.

Ngima

Hi William,

Thank you very much for confirming your trip. Once we get to know about your payment, we will proceed with your hotel and flight bookings as per your given dates and program below.

https://cdn.kimkim.com/trip_plans/kimkim-nmmt-nepal-william-desrochers.pdf

I want to confess my small mistake in my yesterday's program while typing. There is no vast change in the program but actually you will be trekking from Thame to Namche and then to Monjo. So sorry for that.

I have designed your program this way so that you can trek from Namche to Lukla directly incase if you need to have a spare day while doing Renjo or Cho La pass incase of bad weather.

I hope for your kind consideration.

Looking forward to welcome you soon.

Best wishes,

Ngima.

Alex

Hi William, hope it's clear with regard to Ngima's updated itinerary. Let us know if you have any questions

Traveler

Everything'fine with me! I'll book this awesome trip in a couple of hour :)

Alex

You're going to have a great trek! Let us know if you have any questions along the way. We'll be here to help with anything leading up to and during your trek.

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