So, in the last post, I gave you a little overview over my trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp, in this entry I’ll describe the trail in more details. How difficult was it? Was it hard to find, and how long did I hike a day?
Was it hard to orientate yourself?
As I didn’t have a guide and no porter who would know the right way, I had to figure out everything by myself. But it wasn’t hard at all, and I never went wrong. The most important help I had was the app maps.me. On there, you can download the region of Mount Everest and already mark the places you intend to stop along the way. While you are in the mountains, you don’t need any internet anymore, and the app will show you the way. The good thing is that the app also shows you the duration and even a graphic with the ascents and descents. The times were mostly wrong; however, on average, I only needed half of the time the app showed me. But the graphics were pretty accurate and a good source of motivation or depression – depends on how you look at it. On the first days, there were also more small towns and places you could take a wrong turn, but often locals would sit there and show you the way. From Lukla onwards, there were so many tourists; it was impossible to miss the way, and it was also mostly only one small path, so nothing to go wrong. And even if there would be an intersection, there was mostly a sign.
How was the condition and difficulty of the trail?
To begin with, this is in the middle of the Himalayas; there are rocks, water crossings, and whatever you can find in nature. Don’t come in high heels! But seriously I would recommend bringing hiking shoes which are also covering the angle, especially if you carry your bag. I had a few moments; my shoes save my ankle from breaking or twisting.
To describe the difficulty of the trail, I have to separate it into two parts:
Part 1: From Jiri to Namche Bazar
It was hard… Extremely hard. This, however, is the part that isn’t necessary. It’s possible to fly into Lukla and overfly the hard parts. If you go with the cheap and harder version like me, just be warned that it’s hard six days. The first six days are around 7 to 8 hours hiking (that doesn’t include the breaks) until you reach Lukla, and the last bit to Namche Bazar can be separated into two days or another 8-hour hiking day. Even crazier than the time needed was the crazy heights I ascended and descended in the first six days. It was 6300 meters up and 5450 meters down – that’s around 1000 meters up and down every single day. And the ascents and descents were extremely steep and rocky. There was one ascent on the first day, where it went up for 1200 meters in only 4 km length. I needed 3 hours to walk 4 km, that’s how steep it went up.
Part 2: From Namche Bazar to Everest Base camp
This part was a lot easier considering the length of days, steepness of ascends and descends, and the number of kilometers walked. However, the height made it not much more comfortable in the end. Most of the days were only around 3 to 4 hours walking. But then you had to do an acclimatizing hike in the afternoon, which usually took between one and 2 hours, however without the backpack and just water. And except for the first day from Namche Bazar to Tengboche, there were very few steeply ascends, and it was often flat with a slight climb. But again, because of the height, a 300-meter ascent felt worse than a 1000 meter ascent in low altitude. The way back to Namche Bazar was then mostly downhill, and because of the oxygen levels, which were rising again also a lot easier. I went down from Gorak Shep (5160 meters) to Lukla (2800 meters) in only three days.
In conclusion, I can say that the trail wasn’t easy at all. Especially the first six days were tough and a big challenge. But the views, especially in the end, are so spectacular that all of it is worth it.
- Total countries I visited until now: 42
- Planes: 32
- Busses: 51
- Trains: 23
- Boats: 25
- Km driving: 8000
- KM driving with my Tuktuk: 2000
- Km running: 3998