EBC Independent Trekking Guide
I know what you are all thinking! Doing it without a guide... are you crazy? Well, actually no! We decided to trek to Everest Base Camp in February 2014, with no guide, no map, no compass, no porter... Just one spare change of clothes, rented coats and bags and each other. It is possible and can also easily be done, especially if you are on a tight budget. You can read our adventure here!
It is by far one of the best things we have ever done and one of our favourite places in the world. When I started, it was so difficult to find any information out there and it took me so long to actually plan the route. This guide will hopefully give you all the information you need to get going and start this awesome trek independently!
How Much Will This Cost Me, and How Much Will I Need To Save?
A lot of people believe that trekking to Everest Base Camp is incredibly expensive and this is because people are going by how much the tours cost. A typical 2 week trekking tour to Everest Base Camp will set you back a minimum of £1000 p/p. However, doing this independently in incredibly cheap, and perhaps one of the cheapest things we have ever done. Prices at lower altitude are incredibly cheap, and as you get higher, do does the price. For a typical budget traveller, at lower altitude you can expect to pay as little as $7 per day, and at higher altitude - $15 per day (click here for more detail on how much things cost). If you want to learn how to save money for your ultimate adventure, then click here!
Before You Leave
Before you embark on your adventure it is important you are prepared. Here is a list of everything you will need, fortunately everything can be obtained from Kathmandu, so no need to panic if it is a spare of the moment decision on your travels. You can also read our packing list right here!
Clothing and Equipment -
You can hire out almost everything you need in the various shops in Kathmandu. We hired out coats and rucksacks. We almost hired out a new pair of walking boots when a local laughed at us saying he had trekked to EBC barefoot, so we decided against this and it was fine. We would suggest hiring the equipment out for 2 weeks. A sleeping bag will cost 80 NPR (although one of these is not really needed), a rucksack 90 NPR and a down jacket will cost 100 NPR. Prices may vary depending on how much you can haggle prices down with the seller. Other items you will need include a weeks worth of good walking socks, waterproof trousers, walking trousers, 2 T-shirts, a fleece and at least a weeks worth of underwear. You should also bring hand sanitizer, toilet roll, suncream, sunglasses, a good camera, a thermal flask (very important so as you can take boiled drinkable water with you everywhere). As well as this you might want to (but don't need to) bring things like dry shampoo, luxury items, things to keep you entertained like a book and some playing cards.
Trekking permits (TIMS) -
You don't need to purchase any trekking permits before beginning your trek, but you will need to bring with you a passport sized photograph to purchase your trekking permits (TIMS) along the way. It will cost you about $20 and the entry to Sagamartha N.P will cost $30.
The Route To Follow
There are a number of ways you can get to Everest Base Camp. The first question you need to ask yourself is - how long do I have? If you have a lot of time, you may want to consider taking a bus to Jiri or Shivalaya and trekking from there. Or if you have limited time, or just want to skip to the best bit, then you can take a flight to Lukla.
The overland option - This option will take you about 26 days, there and back, or you can get a flight out of Lukla, which will take you 21 days. In order to get to Jiri, you will want to get the microbus that departs at 6am from Ratna in Kathmandu. It costs roughly $5 - $6 dollars and should arrive in Jiri at 3-4pm. If you plan on taking this route, be prepared for an incredibly bumpy ride. If you are hardcore, there is also a local bus going to Jiri, although I am not sure on this route or cost!
The flight option - We bought a return flight to Lukla and back as we wanted to skip right to the main trek and we were limited for time. This is a great option to take! The flight is incredible, you sit in the tiny plane, watching the pilot in control at the front and fly over beautiful mountainous scenery. It is also incredibly cheap at $232 return ($131 one way). This option will typically take you about 11 days, although this can depend on how fit you are and whether or not altitude is affecting you. When you book your return flight, we would recommend giving yourself 14 days for the trek. It is possible to bring the flight forward if you arrive early, but if you arrive late, then you will have to purchase another ticket.
This is the route we followed, although you may want to take this route slower and have an extra acclimatization day in either Dingbosche or Dughla. We had some pretty bad altitude sickness symptoms whilst at Dughla and it was quite terrifying. Make sure you are always safe whilst climbing up, and don't continue if you are experiencing severe altitude sickness.
Day 1: Kathmandu - Lukla - Phakding
Day 2: Phakding - Namchee Bazaar
Day 3: Acclimatize / Rest
Day 4: Namchee Bazaar Debosche
Day 5: Debosche - Dingbosche
Day 6: Dingbosche - Lobuche
Day 7: Lobuche - Gorak Shep - Everest Base Camp
Day 8: Gorak Shep - Dingbosche
Day 9: Dingbosche - Namchee Bazaar
Day 10: Namchee Bazaar - Lukla
Day 11: Lukla - Kathmandu
Know The Signs of Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness can happen to anyone, it happened to us and it can happen to you. It is a sensible idea to know what the signs and symptoms are to stop you getting seriously ill. If you have any of these symptoms then you should stop climbing higher, or even climb back down to a lower altitude.
-nausea and vomiting
-tiredness and wanting to sleep all the time
-loss of appetite
-feeling unsteady and weak
-shortness of breath
-increased heart rate
-Don't climb higher than 1000 feet / 305 meters per day, walk slow and steady
-Water does not boil properly past 5000m, so ensure you have water purification tablets with you.
-bring a thermal flask so as you can get your host to boil water and you can take it with you and drink water with no extra cost
-Bring teabags or something to flavour your water
-write a journal of your trek
-bring enough dollars with you
-don't panic if you get a little lost... ask the locals and look out for the prayer flags which guide you on the tracks!
-Bring snacks with you - these can be expensive while on the trek
-rent or buy your gear in Kathmandu
-try and avoid eating meat past Namche Bazaar
-If you have long hair, plait it before you go
-be prepared for cold showers or no showers
-bring basic first aid. Medical items can also be purchased in Namche if need be.
-Return micro bus to Jiri = $10 - $12
-Dal Bhat = 200 NPR at start of trek - 600 NPR higher up
-Food per day = 450 NPR - 1500 NPR (More expensive higher-up)
-Twin Room P/N = 100/150 NPR at start of trek - free when food is very expensive higher up
-Boiled water = Usually free when staying somewhere
-Toilet roll = 200 NPR
-Sagamartha N.P entry = $30
-Trekking Permit = $20
-Rucksack hire from Kathmandu = 70 - 90 NPR per day
-Down Jacket hire from Kathmandu = 90 - 110 NPR per day
TOTAL COST OF OUR TREK = $410
Total cost of food spent = $70 each
Total cost of Accommodation = $14
Total cost of extras along the way (loo roll, antibiotics, mars bar) = $11
TIMS and N.P entry each = $50
Equipment hire each = $26
Flight cost = $232
Q’s and A’s for EBC Our EBC Packing List EBC Independent Trekking Guide Back to Nepal As crazy as it sounds, we decided to do the Everest Base Camp trek in February with No Guide, No Map, No Compass, No Porter. Just one spare change of clothes, rented coats and equipment and each other! I had no idea what to expect for this ultimate adventure, but …read more →
It’s always a daunting question for any adventure you are about to embark – What do I pack? Ensuring you have the right gear and not too much gear is essential when trekking to Everest Base Camp. If you have too little gear, you’re going to have some problems, and if you have too much gear, you are probably going to have even more problems. …read more →
What equipment will I need for the trek? As little as possible! You can read our packing list here! … Also you will not need any sleeping bags. All tea houses provide bedding 🙂 How long does the trek take? It depends on many factors, but roughly from Lukla to Everest Base Camp at a safe pace should take you roughly 8 days. Remember not to …read more →