Trekking to Everest Basecamp

Destination: Kathmandu and the Himalaya, Nepal

| Activities: Trekking and Culture

Himalaya! Just the name invokes images of ice and snow-clad peaks soaring miles into the heavens, as well as the high mountain villages en route. On this three-week trek we combine strenuous and invigorating hiking in one of the most beautiful places in the world with a chance to learn about Sherpa culture. And while the trekking is incredibly beautiful, it is the legendary warmth and hospitality of the Sherpa that make it special. Our challenging trek through the Himalaya to the Everest region is guaranteed to be the trip of a lifetime! Maximum group size: 12


  • Trekking through the Khumbu, world famous both for its sheer beauty and the hospitality of the Sherpa people who live there
  • Visiting mountain villages, including Namche Bazaar and Tengboche
  • Staying in tea house lodges and talking with the people who own them
  • Gazing at the mountains you've only read about
  • Chatting with the international trekking community
  • Having your gear transported so you only need to carry a daypack

Departures and Prices

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  • An Adventures in Good Company guide if over 8 participants
  • An English-speaking Nepali sirdar (leader) and all necessary trekking staff
  • 18 nights lodging
  • All meals except for lunches in Kathmandu and beverages and desserts during the trek
  • All transportation during the trip including airport transfers and the flight between Kathmandu and Lukla
  • Full day of sight-seeing in Kathmandu including entrance fees
  • All staff gratuities

Not included: airfare to Nepal, Nepal visa, guide gratuities, two lunches in Kathmandu, desserts and beverages during the trek, alcoholic beverages, and mandatory emergency evacuation insurance.

Please note: Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required for this trip. Since this is an adventurous trip in a very remote place, everyone is required to have "post departure benefits" which include emergency medical, evacuation and expatriation clauses. If you purchase complete trip insurance, these items are automatically included in your policy. If you do not purchase complete trip insurance, these items can be purchased separately either through your personal insurance company, adventure insurance online companies and through the company that we recommend – TravelEx. Your program director will request policy numbers prior to travel.

Trip Info

This trip requires being in excellent physical condition and having some hiking or backpacking experience. While any basically healthy woman can acquire the physical fitness necessary to enjoy this trip, please do not underestimate its difficulty. Not only are there some long days, it is a long time to be trekking and in a very different country. Previous high altitude experience is not necessary. What is most essential is a positive attitude, an open mind, and a sense of adventure. Women who do not have substantial previous hiking experience and excellent physical conditioning will find it difficult to both trek to the actual Everest Base Camp and climb Kala Pattar. This trip is rated 5 and requires a high degree of fitness. Adding some specific conditioning such as strength training, endurance training, and longer aerobic workouts is suggested. Rating: 1 2 3 4 [5].

This is both a strenuous trek in the Himalayas and a cultural exploration of the Sherpa community of Nepal, as well as cultural sightseeing in the Katmandu Valley. The length of the trek, altitude, the rustic conditions, and the limited food variety all combine to make the trek challenging both physically and emotionally.

Our lodging includes four nights at a 3-star Kathmandu hotel and fourteen nights in lodges along the trail. The lodges are very rustic, with two (occasionally three) beds per room and bathrooms down the hall or occasionally outside. Some bathrooms are squatting-style pit toilets. There is no heat in the rooms, so warm sleeping bags are essential. Dining rooms in the lodges will range from large airy windowed rooms with tables and Tibetan-carpet-covered seats around central heaters to roadside cafes.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Welcome to Nepal! It's been a long journey, but it will be so worth it! You will be met at the Kathmandu airport and transported to our hotel, located in the tourist area known as Thamel. Anything you forgot to bring, you can buy here. We'll gather at 6pm to begin getting to know each other, and then go out for a Welcome dinner together at a Nepalese restaurant.

Elevation: 4,500 feet. Overnight: Kathmandu
Today as we start to overcome jet lag and adjust to a very different time zone (yes, you will wake up early), we'll enjoy some sight-seeing in Kathmandu. We'll visit the giant Buddhanath Stupa, one of Asia's largest Buddhist shrines. From there we'll walk through neighborhoods to Pashupatinath Temple, one of the holiest Hindu Temples in entire South Asia. The temple is situated on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River, a tributary of the sacred Ganges. Admission to the temple is reserved for Hindus only, and we can have close up view of the temple from the other side of the river. Return to the hotel in the afternoon, our local partner will meet us to brief us about the trek and answer any questions we have about our upcoming adventure. There will then be time for last minute shopping for our trek and packing.

Overnight: Kathmandu
We leave early for the airport and fly to Lukla, the most renowned mountain airstrip in the world. The 40-minute flight is spectacular as we view the foothills all the way to snowline of the Himalaya, possibly including some of the world's highest mountains. We'll meet our trekking crew in Lukla (9,318 feet) and after packing our gear, we begin our trek with a fairly short day to Phakding to help with our acclimatization.

For anyone interested we can take a side trip to a nearby monastery. There are no roads or vehicles in the Khumbu so you can expect to see numerous other people on the Lukla-Namche "highway". This is the most densely populated area in the Khumbu, and we will go through numerous small villages

Hiking: 3 - 4 hours. Elevation at Phakding: 8,563 feet. Overnight: Phakding
We continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Koshi, crossing this roaring river on a variety of amazing bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagarmatha National Park, the trail climbs steeply, part path and part steps (over 2,200 feet). About halfway up the hill, a gap in the trees allows for our first glimpse of Everest. If the weather is clear, the top of the Southwest face will be just visible behind the long Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. A plume can often be seen stretching away from the summit.

We continue on to Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu region. Namche is the most prosperous and the largest town in the Khumbu. Thamserku (6,648 meters / 21,800 feet), Kwangde Ri (6,187 meters/20,299 feet) and Khumbila (5,707 meters/ 8,901 feet) surround the natural bowl in which Namche sits.

Hiking: 5 - 6 hours. Overnight: Namche Bazaar. Elevation at Namche Bazaar: 11,300 feet
We'll take today off to allow our bodies to adjust to the rarefied atmosphere before ascending to higher altitudes. The secret of safe acclimatization is to 'climb high, sleep low' so if you feel like some exercise, it is safe to hike up the hill behind Namche to the airstrip at Syangboche, perhaps even all the way to Khumjung, or stroll across to the excellent museum behind the police post. Or if you prefer, you can visit one of the lodges for a freshly baked cinnamon roll, spend time shopping or photographing, visit the Tibetan traders, or actually rest! Namche is a busy and bustling trading place and there is always plenty going on.

Overnight: Namche Bazaar
Today we really know we're in the Himalaya. As we set out for Tengboche, we'll enjoy superb views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Initially the trail has only short ups and downs and then goes gradually down to Sansa, the major trail junction to Gokyo valley or Everest Base Camp. Trekking through pine forests, we cross the prayer flags festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, and then reach Phunki Thenga, a small settlement amidst the alpine woods. After having a relaxed lunch at Phunki Thenga, we gear up for a tougher climb steadily up to Tengboche. Tengboche is home of the world-famous Buddhist monastery where the Rimpoche (lama reincarnate) resides.

If we arrive in time, we can choose to attend the daily 3 p.m. prayer service. This is a cultural and religious center for the people of the Khumbu region, and for the trekker, it is also the place to see one of the best mountain panoramas in the world. Kwangde, Tawoche, Nuptse, Lhotse, Kangtega, and Ama Dablam all loom high above.

Hiking: 5 -6 hours. Elevation at Tengbochez: 12,670 feet. Overnight: Tengboche
With mountains as backdrop, the monastery at Tengboche looks even more spectacular in the morning. We'll choose the upper trail for better views on the way to Pangboche village. We pass through several Chortens and Mani walls, and small villages. Our lunch stop not only serves delicious food but also allows a fantastic close-up view of Ama Dablam. In the afternoon, we might walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of 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 a beautiful array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat, and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals.

Hiking: 5-6 hours trekking. Elevation at Dingboche: 14,469 feet. Overnight: Dingboche
We spend our second day of acclimatization at Dingboche. A refreshing breakfast while admiring a looming Ama Dablam (6,856 meters/ 22,493 feet) to the south is really fantastic. To better appreciate Ama Dablam, Lhotse and numerous other peaks visible from Dingboche, we climb the ridge on the north behind the village. This will be an ideal acclimatizing excursion. Upon this juncture, we can see three of the world's six highest peaks, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. To the west, loom the towering peaks of Cholatse (6,440 meters/21,126 feet and Tawoche (6,542 meters/ 21,463 feet). 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 8,500 meters (8,501 meters/27,890 feet). 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. Our hike is about four hours so there will also be time to rest in the afternoon.

Hiking: 4 hours. Overnight: Dingboche
We start the day with a climb to Dughla through the Khumbu Khola valley. The walk along the arid terrace is rewarding with awesome views of mountains on all sides. As we come to a yak herder's place called Dusa, the valley begins to narrow and we continue through Phulung Karpo, the camp site of the first successful Everest Expedition in 1953. As we move on, the majestic view of Pumori (7,138 meters/23,418 feet) comes into view. As the trail descends and curves, Mount Pumori disappears from view and we come across a roaring stream. After crossing a small wooden bridge, we ascend to Duglha. We can see the tip of Nuptse from here as well as Cholatse, Thamserku, and several other magnificent peaks.

Hiking: 3 - 4 hours. Elevation at Duglha: 15,100 feet. Overnight Duglha
DAY 10
Beyond Duglha, we climb up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass through boulder-strewn slopes as we ascend Chupki Lhara, an eerie ridge top with dramatic mountain views. At the top of the ridge, we will find many stone memorials built to honor fallen climbers, including those lost in the May 1996 Everest storm such as Scott Fischer, and 10 times Everest summiteer Babu Chiri Sherpa (a Nepali mountain guide) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. As the trail drops to the Khumbu Glacier moraine, we find ourselves facing several great peaks - Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal. We are now in the vicinity of Everest, but the great mountain still remains elusive. Mt Nuptse towers to the right as the trail crosses the Khumbu Glacier. As we pass along a murmuring stream leaving the Khumbu Glacier behind, we definitely will feel out of breath due to high altitude if we haven't before. We could have gone from Dingboche to Lobuche in a day but breaking it into two days will help conserve our strength for the arduous days ahead.

Hiking: 3 -4 hours. Elevation at Lobuche: 16,200 feet
DAY 11
Early this morning, depending on conditions, we continue up the moraine trails to Gorak Shep, the highest settlement in the Khumbu. You can stop here or, after a break, conintue on to the Everest basecamp area at the toe of the Khumbu Icefall. It will be a long day: the trail to base camp is challenging and affords magnificent views along the way. We may even see an avalanche! We aren't here during the main climbing season, so Basecamp is likely to be fairly quiet, possibly completely empty, which means we are free to walk through it. Only upon reaching the camp do we really appreciate the Everest climbers who brave the hazardous route through the Khumbu icefall. Nuptse, Khumbutse and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp; Everest actually is not visible from here. We'll spend this night in Gorak Shep. There is nothing like watching the sunset on the southwest flank of Mt. Everest from this spectacular vantage point.

Hiking Lobuche to Gorak Shep: 3 - 3.5 hours, Gorak Shep to Everest Basecamp: 5 - 6 hours. Elevation at Gorak Shep: 17,598 feet. Overnight Gorak Shep
DAY 12
Today is the high point (literally!) of our trip. We start early in the morning to catch the dramatic views from Kala Patthar and witness the first light of day caress the peaks of the mountains, particularly Mt. Everest. However, we need to be prepared for an early morning departure, amid predawn darkness and cold temperature (5- 15 degrees F). Further, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Khumbutse and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. During the ascent to Kala Patthar, we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding viewpoints from where we can snap great pictures. After several hours of ascent, we reach Kala Patthar. From Kala Patthar, we scramble up to the top of a rocky outcrop marked by cairns and prayer flags. A mind-blowing Himalayan panorama unfolds before our eyes as they wander from one mighty massif to another. We definitely want to take the time to imprint this vista into our mind's eye so that it lasts a lifetime. Upon return to Gorak Shep, we'll share a celebratory lunch together. We descend in the afternoon and arrive at Dughla in time for a well-earned night's rest.

Hiking: 8 - 9 hours. Elevation at Duglha: 15,100 feet. Overnight: Duglha
DAY 13
Since we are no longer worried about acclimatizing, our descent down the Khumbu is much faster. Continuing the descent from Duglha, we reach the village of Pangboche, the barley-growing center of the Khumbu area. Beyond Pangboche the trail descends past some magnificently carved Mani stones to the Imja Khola, which we cross via a steel suspension bridge high above the river at a spot where it rushes through a narrow cleft. Finally, we reach Debouche, a nunnery at the base of the mountain on which Tengboche sits. We'll enjoy breathtaking views of the sunset and sunrise, as well as a magnificent view of Everest.

Hiking: 5 - 6 hours. Elevation at Deboche: 12,533 feet. Overnight: Deboche
DAY 14
After breakfast, we continue to retrace our steps with a short steep climb to Tengboche through a forest of birches conifers and rhododendrons. We then continue through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the prayer flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, the trail follows the Dudh Koshi gorge, ascending rapidly through the pine forests. The path eventually reaches Sansa where we have lunch. After lunch we continue our trek to Namche Bazaar. After passing a Chorten, we reach the army camp at of Namche Bazaar. Here we'll stop to take a long last look back to Lhotse, the tip of Everest, and Tengboche as tomorrow we'll descend further, and they will no longer be in sight. Upon reaching our lodge, we'll enjoy a hot shower and undoubtedly will sleep deeply.

Hiking: 4.5 - 5.5 hours. Elevation at Namche Bazaar: 11,130 feet. OvernightL Namche Bazaar.
DAY 15
This morning after breakfast we retrace our steps down the steep Namche hill, along the Dudh Kosi and out of Sagarmatha National Park. The air feels rich with oxygen as we descend. Although we are traveling the same route down, the views are completely different. We reach Phakding in time for lunch and some afternoon rest.

Hiking: 3 - 4 hours trekking. Elevation at Phakding: 8,563 feet. Overnight: Phakding
DAY 16
Compared to what we have just accomplished, the rest of our trek is relatively easy, and we'll have time to notice the impressive faith in Buddhism and the culture of prayer stones and prayer flags as we walk through the Sherpa villages. At Lukla we'll celebrate with dinner, say goodbye to the staff that has taken such good care of us, and undoubtedly have mixed feelings about the end of the trek - happy to have completed it safely and somewhat sad to say goodbye to the simplicity and beauty of the last 2 weeks.

Hiking: 3 - 4 hours. Elevation at Lukla: 9,300 feet. Overnight: Lukla
DAY 17
We prepare to fly out early. Back in Kathmandu by early afternoon, there's time for hot showers, shopping in Thamel, and relaxing at our hotel.

Overnight: Kathmandu. Elevation at Kathmandu: 4,500 feet
DAY 18
As is customary, we have put in an extra day here in case weather has delayed our return. But there is plenty more to see in Kathmandu and the day will not go to waste. We'll make a 40 minute drive to Bhaktapur, one of the three medieval principalities of Kathmandu valley and the best preserved one. Bhaktapur, with its Durbar Square and beautiful temples, intricate wood carving in the balconies and windows, fabulous stone sculptures, and clean, brick paved streets gives the impression of being an open air museum. There will be some time for last minute shopping or sightseeing before going out for our Farewell dinner at a Kathmandu restaurant.
DAY 19
Home, or on to your Next Adventure! We will get you safely to the airport three hours before your scheduled flight and on your way.


(9 reviews)
3.2 Food
3.3 Lodging
4 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Most Recent

Christy P.
7 months ago

Accomplishing such a significant trek with a great group of women, and skilled guides!

Cynthia C.
5 years ago

Helen R.
5 years ago

Ami R.
5 years ago

Since this was my first adventure vacation by myself, I was worried about every aspect! Immediately upon meeting our amazing guide Brenda Porter, all my worries seem to melt away. I enjoyed every moment, from planned trips in Kathmandu to dinners with the entire group. Definitely the highlight was visiting the villages where our Sherpas families lived. Being guided through this breathtaking landscape by Nima, Nima, Fura

Nimet J.
7 years ago

Everything was great, I just thought we were going to the new basecamp

Carolyn G.
7 years ago

I would have liked to do the Kahla Patar hike but the aggressiveness of the prior day made it a wiser decision to not do it. Feeling under the weather with a cold, I decided to eliminate that hike. I think if there was a way to not do the distance past Gorak Shep without a good meal and on to Base Camp and back, some of us would have maybe been able to include the hike. It was an aggressive feat at the highest altitude. We discussed it and it doesn't seem like there would have been a better option with the existing itinerary.

Jodi T.
7 years ago

I loved the trip! I wanted a challenge and, that is what I got. Anne was awesome as our guide. She was super-supportive and positive the entire time. Anything we needed, she was there for. Would not hesitate to do another trip with her in the future. I am glad we had Anne as a guide because our Nepalese guides, which were great, did not have the best English. So, Anne's presence was vital! I got pushed outside my comfort zone once we got up above 17,000 feet. Bit, like I said above, I wanted a number 5 challenge and got it. When will there be a 6?

Cynthia D.
7 years ago

The share beauty of the area and the magnitude of the effort to make the trek.

Katy G.
7 years ago

It was a beautiful trekking all the way with changing scenery.

  1. Where do we eat?

    All your meals will be served at the lodges where you're staying or trekking by. In Kathmandu you will have dinner at a restaurant where you can order off the menu.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Overall food variety on the trek is limited, with few fresh vegetables and no fruit. This is even more true for vegetarian and vegans; options are available but the variety of foods is limited. If you are concerned about having enough protein during your trip, please bring some plant-based protein sources such as nut butter, instant dried hummus, or high-protein energy bars. If you cannot eat gluten or if you have other dietary restrictions, you will need to bring some supplemental food with you.
  3. What are the chances I'll make it to Everest Basecamp?

    Typically about 50% of people make it to the actual basecamp. Aside from conditioning, the two primary factors determining the likelihood are whether you have acclimated to the elevation and whether you have stayed healthy. Our schedule had built in acclimatization time but 17500' is high, and many people have trouble with altitude or have gotten respiratory illnesses. This is truly a trip where the journey is more important than the destination.
  4. Why don't you spend two nights at Gorak Shep so there is more time to both go to Basecamp and climb Kala Patthar?

    At Gorak Shep, even people who are acclimatizing adequately are typically not eating much and not sleeping well, and therefore are losing strength while they are there. If you don't feel well enough to be able to do both in those 2 partial days, you are likely to feel worse the longer you stay there.
  5. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.