Everest Base camp trek notes by a Russian traveler Olga

I did Everest Base Camp trek four times since 2012, Twice through Gokyo lakes and twice just to EBC and back, My Everest trek Experience and some of pre-information for the travelers.

Hello and Namaste Everest Base Camp travelers!
I am Olga, an avid Russian traveler who likes mountains more than Russia. The trip notes are my EBC trek memory which I am sharing now with the public. I am not a good writer or a publisher, but I am an enthusiast who likes to share experiences among other enthusiast travelers.

When we arrived at Kathmandu airport (TIA), we applied for our visa and within a few minutes, we got our 30 days visa with paying $ 40 (Now $50). After that, we were picked up by my friend Mr. Bashu (Nepal Footprint Holiday) from the airport and were dropped in Hotel Mulberry, Thamel. It was our choice of hotel. We got a full day in Kathmandu to get prepared for a trek and the flight to Lukla to begin our trek to Everest Base Camo.

I have prepared the following trekking equipment for Kalapatthar and Everest Base Camp Trek.

Packing list for Everest Base Camp Trek recommended by Russian Traveler

One pair trekking pole.
A 700 fp. down Jacket.
North Face rucksacks (65 Lt.)
2 water bottles (Steripen Ultra UV)
Thermal inner wear (Ice Breaker)
A camper and 2 pair rechargeable batteries. (DSLR)
3 pairs of North Fake Shocks bought from Thamel.
A Polarize sunglass.
North Fake 3 layer glove.
3 pairs of trousers. (Nepali Brand)
4 pairs of my inner cloths
A travel towel.
A headlamp and 3 pairs of A3 batteries.
Ankle support trekking boots and a slipper.
Few candies and some chocolates which I brought from Russia.
1 raincoat.
Sun lotion and a Himalaya Lip guard.
An Oximeter (It help to check your pulse and breathe oxygen level in high altitude)
A small first aid kit bag (include Diamox and Vitamin C)
A -20 (Nepal made) sleeping Bag and very thin (silk liner)
Woolen hat and thin buff.
Lonely Planet travel book.

The tour starts from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It is a huge city, where it seems as if the entire country has moved to work. For a tourist, you have a few options about where to stay. Most foreigners prefer Thamel. Thamel is a tourist district of Kathmandu with lots of shops, nice restaurants, and hotels of different price ranges. For some foreigners, there is an area of Kathmandu designed specifically for Buddhist, it is called Boudhanath, or Boudhha. It is the place where Tibetans live, and the Buddhists from around the world come here to receive teachings from great Tibetan lamas. Boudha is quieter and cheaper than Thamel. In 2008, 2010, 2015, and 2019, I stayed in Boudha. I actually prefer Boudha over busy Thamel. But, only on my clients’ interest, I am staying now mostly in Thamel.

There are two seasons for mountain tourism in Nepalese Himalayas – from March till the end of May, and from September to the beginning of December. During this time, Thamel is crowded with tourists and has a very wonderful but, the specific atmosphere of people around the globe who are in love with mountains such as climbers, trekkers, journalists, and photographers.

There are three different trek permits (TIMS, Sagarmatha National Park entry ticket, and Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Gaupalika entry ticket) required for EBC trek. Bashu, Nepal Footprint Holiday can assist you to obtain all those tickets and much more.

I took the flight to Lukla (I have used SITA AIR and SUMMIT AIR flight to and return, Only 15 kg baggage limit including hand Carry) from where the actual trek begins. The flight is operated by a local airline and served by a one-engine airplane. These days such flights only run from a village called Ramechhap which is a few hours’ drive from Kathmandu.

Lukla is a nice little town on the elevation of 2800 m.  If I am with clients, I meet with a group of porters in Lukla who take care of our luggage for Everest Trek. From there, we walk for a few hours to Phakding village which is full of comfortable guest houses to stay. A typical guest in Khumbu valley consists of a big dining room with a kitchen in the back, and closely arranged smaller buildings with rooms for guests. These days, it is easy to find a guest house with a hot shower which wasn’t the case ten years ago. In Phakding and Namche, the restaurants provide delicious food of Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. Plus there are plenty of coffee and bakery shops. On the way from Phakding to Namche, the last part of the trek route is a bit steep otherwise the entire way is quite an easy walk. You will definitely have lots of fun over the suspension bridges including Hillary Bridge.

Mt. Everest View Everest View  from  Syangboche Everest Trek

Namche is just an unbelievable town on 3400 m, an ancient center of Khumbu valley with lots of hotels, local shopping stores, and few Buddhist monasteries around. Trekkers stay for two nights in Namche for acclimatization and do some side hiking trips up to Mt. Everest viewpoint, Khumjung village, and Syangbocheairport on the top of Namche village. The words cannot describe the beauty of the location. On the acclimatization day in Namche, we walk to Everest’s viewpoint on 3900 m and back. I really love Namche. When you get there you will understand what I mean!

The next day we go to Tengboche village with the biggest and oldest Buddhist monastery in Khumbu and few guesthouses. On the way, we will have such a wonderful view of Khumbu! And the next day we again continue along Khumbu to Dingboche village. While approaching to Dingboche village, people usually start feeling the high elevation. It is 4300 m, and the green hills are replaced by bare desert mountains with a strong sun shining straight to our face. If you are super fit or have spent more than a few days in Namche or Lukla in advance, then you will not need altitude pills (Diamox). But normally, a headache starts bothering you around Dingboche and it is better to take a half or a full tablet of Diamox. In here, trekkers spend two nights for the acclimatization reason. On a free day, trekkers can either go to a training walk up to a viewpoint on 4900 m (To see the great view of Mt. Amadablam and Face of Island Peak with Makalu Mountain) or they can stay and hang around the village. If you want to wash with hot water you can get a bucket of hot water in your guest house. Showers usually don’t run here. The food is less varied and more expensive than in the previous places because foods are mostly transported here by porters. However, here are a few nice bakeries and coffee shops that satisfy your sweet tooth.

After two nights in Dingboche, we trek to Lobuche village. During the walk, I usually experience the first wave of the shortage of air to breathe in. The trek runs through the beautiful valley with the scenic view of Crystal and Ice Himalayas peaks. It is one of the best hiking days before reaching Mount Everest Base Camp. On the way, people make a short stop at Tukla in a cafe to drink a cup of hot tea or eat fresh soup. Here is a memorial devoted to climbers who passed away on the Everest Expedition and around traveling time. We see more and more plates with the names of the climber’s list from different countries.  Lobuche is at 4900 m. Last time we were here just before the snowfall, and the next morning we woke up and noticed the whole village was white. In Lobuche and next place, Gorakshep, people prefer not to eat much and they do not feel that much hungry, because of high altitude and thin air pressure. It is better to drink tea or coffee or lentils, garlic soup instead of heavy food because it will not help the body to acclimatize.

Finally, the next day we walk to the highest places of the trek – to Gorakshep, 5230 m. On the way, we saw Mt. Everest for the first time very clearly and so close to us. It was right in front of us like we were facing a mirror. Khumbu turns to the glacier. By lunch or earlier we should be at Gorakshep. After checking in to our guesthouse in Gorakshep and having a small lunch there, we walk for two hours to Everest base camp which is our goal for this journey. In May 2018, there were about 1500 inhabitants in the Everest base camp including climbers, their guides, cooks, crew, and other servants for the expedition. Hundreds of teams from around the world were sheltered there attempt to climb Everest and Lhotse. On the way back from BC to Gorakshep, it may become very cold and windy, so it is better to have extra warm clothes.

Kalapatthar Everest View

In Gorakshep, usually, people never feel quite well due to the altitude. But then, next morning you have to get up at 4 am in order to walk to Kala Pathar’s viewpoint, 5545 m, the main destination of the trek where you can have a brilliant view of Mt Everest and Khumbu Glacier, including some of the snowy peaks of Khumbu Valley. It takes 1-2 hours to get Kalapatthar top, and people are rewarded with the fantastic view of MountEverest before the clouds start to blur the view. Trekkers spend some time photographing, then almost run back down to Gorakshep, have breakfast, and then walk for 4-5 hours down Khumbu to Pheriche village. It is very nice to have more oxygen in the air and to have a wonderful dinner at the guest house after a few challenging days at high altitude.

After Pheriche, it takes two more full days of the walk to Lukla via Namche Bazaar night stop. People almost run! Lukla and its amenities seem to me like a paradise of comfort after the simplicity of the villages above. Hot shower, variety of foods and drinks, and people enjoy here as last night mountain celebration. The next morning, we flew back to Kathmandu.

The trek overall is not very difficult but, one should be aware of the lack of oxygen and need to be prepared for that. Every next time we did the trek it was more comfortable than the previous time in terms of the accommodation standards and food. The negative side is, it is getting more expensive every time.