NEPAL’S KHUMBU region, located just south of Mt. Everest in Nepal, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The ‘best’ time to visit is from early March to mid-May, and early September to mid-November. Monsoon hits between June to August, which is when I went, and in my opinion this is actually the ideal time for the trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC). The rain tends to stay confined to the afternoons / evenings, leaving clear mornings with few other tourists.
To approach the trek, you’ll probably start by flying the 30+ minutes from Kathmandu to Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, with its 460x20m runway on a 12% gradient — the second-most dangerous airport in the world. The experience is unique.
Trekking to EBC takes you through some of the world’s most epic landscapes and gives you a close look at Sherpa culture. But it’s important to remember that a lot of the tourism infrastructure here has been built on foundations of injustice. On my visit, I couldn’t believe how many men and children I saw toiling under slave-like conditions. I’ve covered the sad reality of modern-day slavery in the stone industry in this part of Nepal on my website. The reality will be plainly evident to you on the trek.
If you choose to hike to EBC, I would encourage you to carry your own pack. Most of the guesthouses in Kathmandu can temporarily store any belongings you don’t need to take with you, so you can travel light — shoot for 10kg. You’ll be offered a guide and a porter, but the truth is neither is needed for this trek (maps are available in many shops in Kathmandu). If you decide to use a porter, keep in mind many of them are from the south of Nepal or India (especially the ones carrying goods to different villages) and work very hard for next to no money by Western standards.
On my way to EBC I read an amazing book that I extremely recommend, “Samsara” written by David Abramczyk, who I had the honour to meet in Kathmandu. Samsara details the tragic historical events surrounding the resistance movement of the Tibetan Freedom Fighters, a band of brave soldiers who fought against Chinese occupation of Tibet for over fifteen years. Trained in secrecy at US army bases through a covert CIA operation, they eventually established a base in Mustang, an isolated kingdom in the far reaches of Nepal. An abrupt shift in political climate suddenly left the Tibetan guerrillas abandoned. When juxtaposed agains current US policy, it echoes an all too familiar precedent. This novel is a commemoration of their remarkable yet heartbreaking tale. Just the perfect book for this trek.
Written by: Andy VC
“Made in the Earth!”