Everest Base Camp is in the bucket list of millions of adventurers worldwide. But given the dangers and difficulties of walking to that altitude, very few undertake the odyssey. In case you are someone planning to trek there, here are some facts you don’t want to miss.
First, the boring ones:
Fact #10 Where is Everest Base Camp?
For starters, there are two Everest Base Camps, one in Nepal and the other in China. The one in Nepal is located at the Khumbu Glacier in the eastern part of the country. The one in China is located at the Rongbuk Glacier in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
We will concern ourselves with the base camp on the Nepali side for the remainder of the post.
Trekkers in Khumbu Glacier
Fact #9 How High is Everest Base Camp?
5,364 metres or 17,598 ft above sea level. To put that number in perspective consider the altitudes of the following popular mountains:
- Mont Blanc- 15,771 feet / 4,807 metres
- Matterhorn- 4,478 metres / 14,692 ft
- Mount Rainier- 14,411 ft / 4,392 m
- Mount Cook- 3,724 metres / 12,218 feet
Indeed, Everest Base Camp is at the very edge of habitable altitude, and prolonged exposure above 5,500 meters gradually deteriorates the human body.
Fact #8 Is it dangerous?
Yes. First, there is the altitude. It places limitations on how fast and how much you can ascend in a day. Anyone who doesn’t understand this gets a rude awakening in the form of Acute Mountain Sickness. Then, there is the cold and strenuous walking.
Combine them all and a trek to Everest Base Camp can seem pretty dangerous. Does it mean that it takes a superhuman to reach there? Hardly so. With the right preparation and mindset, a reasonably fit person can easily overcome the difficulties.
Fact #7 Is it expensive to go there?
No. You can spend as little as USD 900 to reach there or spend as much as USD 10,000. It is entirely up to you. Here is a breakdown of the cost if you are planning to go there.
Fact #6 When is the best time to go to Everest Base Camp?
For sheer mountain views, October to February is the best period. For flowers, birdlife, and jollier vibes, April to May is the best period. If you are looking to decide on the best time, make sure to read a series of posts we have on the topic.
And now, on to more interesting facts. But before that, here is an Everest Base Camp Trek video we made in collaboration with the talented travelers at Ghumante.
Fact #5 There is a fake Everest Base Camp
A lot of trekkers stop when they reach a rock that has been spray-painted in red with “Everest Base Camp 5364 m.” While this is the fabled base camp for some people, no one headed for the summit of Mount Everest camps there. Is it the real deal then?
The spot where expeditions stay is actually around half a kilometre up the glacier. The reason for the ‘fake’ base camp is to ensure that the expeditions that camp here from around April to June are not disturbed by the trekkers.
Fact #4 Only Climbers get to stay there
While this is mostly true and you cannot buy a night at the Everest Base Camp, there might be a few ways to do it. First, walk to the base camp during the spring climbing season and befriend a climber or a support staff. Alternatively, join the Everest Marathon, the only group other than climbing expeditions allowed to camp there.
Fact #3 You cannot see Mount Everest from EBC
This one hits trekkers hard. As seen from base camp, Mount Everest is hidden behind its eastern ridge. However, you will have a fantastic view of the notorious Khumbu Icefall.
This piece of information might be especially relevant if you have to choose between the two side trips from Gorakshep: Kalapathar and Everest Base Camp. Of course, it is Kalapathar that has a fantastic view of Mount Everest.
Fact #2 The Everest Base Camp is continually moving.
Given that the base camp is actually on top of the Khumbu Glacier, this one is obvious. Hence, the expedition crew has to come months in advance to stake a claim to the best real estate for the season.
The fact that the base camp is on top of a glacier also means that you see interesting features like ice pinnacles, sinkholes, and meltwater pools. And if you are lucky, you might even be able to see an avalanche.
Fact #1 It should be called Everest Base Town
The reason? It has a hospital, helipad, telecom tower, waste management system, hot shower, and electricity. And at any given time, at least a thousand people live there. It is indeed quite a sight. Come see for yourself. 😉