1. What is the best time of the year for the EBC hike?
There are two main hiking seasons for the EBC hike; spring season from March to May and autumn season from October to December when the skies are clear and the weathers are pleasant. During the summer months from June to September, the mountains will usually experience heavy rains. The winter months from late December to end February are harshly cold, windy and with thick snowfall so it is out of the realm for ameuter hikers.
2. Is there an age limit for the EBC hike?
There is no age limit for the EBC hike. However serious consideration should be given to anyone under the age of 16 and over the age of 60. Climbers on the extreme ends of the age spectrum should definitely consult their doctor. Children who are fussy about food and unaccustomed to exercise or long distance walking may not be suitable for this hike.
3. Do I have to be well-trained to take part in this hike?
Yes, the EBC hike is a strenuous multi-day hike over high altitude and with significant altitude gain in a relatively remote environment. The total round trip hiking distance is about 130km. You are expected to hike on steep slopes and uneven terrain for an average duration of 5-6 hours (or 12-15km) daily for 9-10 consecutive days. If you attempt to hike EBC without proper training, you may not enjoy the hike as much as you would have with adequate training.
4. How can I train up for this hike?
5. What is the highest point reachable for the EBC hike?
The highest point reachable during the hike is 5360m or 5545m if you are climbing up to Kala Pattar.
6. Is this a dangerous hike?
The route is generally safe as it is devoid of crevasses. Occasionally domesticated yaks may cross your path. If you see one, let it pass and do not provoke it or it may attack you. Otherwise the most probable risk of injury is high altitude sickness which can lead to death if not properly managed.
7. Do I need a VISA to visit Nepal?
Singapore passport holders and Malaysia passport holders require a valid Visa to enter Nepal. Visa can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu and at border entry points in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on Nepal-India border and Kodari on Nepal-China border.
8. Is travel insurance provided in the package?
Travel insurance is not included in the package. We strongly recommend you to procure your own travel insurance before embarking on the EBC trip. Do ensure that your travel insurance covers you for hikes up to 6,000m in altitude.
9. What are the accommodations like along the trail?
You will be staying in teahouses which are basically little huts or lodges owned and managed by local families. The accommodations are usually private rooms but without attached toilets. At lower elevations, the toilets are usually of western styles. Higher up the trail, squat toilets are more common. Toilet paper and toiletries are usually not provided so bring your own. Staying in teahouses offers you a rare glimpse into the culture and daily lives of the rural people in Nepal.
10. Is shower available at the teahouses?
Cold showers are available for free at the teahouses. Hot showers are available at some teahouses but chargeable at USD 2-5 per shower.
11. What are the meals like during the trek?
During the hike, meals will be served in the teahouses. Breakfasts can be pancake, Tibetan bread, toasted bread, chapatti, muesli or cornflakes with milk, oat porridge, eggs etc. Lunch and dinner are usually Dal Bhat (steamed rice with lentils), fried rice, fried noodle, momos, pasta, pizza etc.
12. Can I charge my electronic gadgets?
Most of the teahouses have charging points which are solar powered and therefore unreliable during cloudy days. Charging is usually not free (around USD 2-3 per full mobile charge) especially at higher elevations. We highly recommend you to bring extra battery packs or portable solar panels for your electronic gadgets.
13. Do I need any specialized equipment for the trek?
Except for a set of cold wear, a good pair trekking shoes, a headlamp, trekking sticks, sunglasses you do not need other specialized equipment for this trek. Upon booking confirmation, a detailed packing list will be provide to you to help you pack for your trip.
14. Can I buy or rent hiking gears in Nepal?
There are many shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara that sell all kinds of hiking gears. Apart from high end branded gears, many shops also carry non-branded or imitation brands that are cheaper but of unknown quality. You can also rent some of the gears (mainly sleeping bags and down jackets) from us. However for hygiene purpose, we recommend you to bring your own sleeping bag or at least a sleeping liner. Hiking sticks can be rented but the cost is almost the same as buying a new one.
15. How to I remain contactable with my family during the hike?
There are a few internet cafes in Lukla, Namache and a few villages higher up the trail. Some of the teahouses also offer WIFI services at a surcharge (around USD 5 per hour or per stay). You can also purchase a local data SIM card which offers good 3G coverage in the Everest region. As per Nepali law, all SIM card purchase require registration with a passport photocopy. Sim card can be easily purchased at the airport or in city shops.
16. How do I get from Kathmandu to Lukla?
The quickest and cheapest way to get from Kathmandu to Lukla is via flight. The short 30 minutes flight is operated by a few Nepali airlines using short-takeoff-and-landing aircrafts like De Havilland Twin Otter. These small planes with two-engines and fixed landing gear are the work-horses of remote destinations worldwide. The weight limits for check-in and hand-carry luggage are 15kg and 5kg respectively.
17. Can the flight between Kathmandu and Lukla get cancelled or delayed?
Yes, the flight may get delayed or cancelled for any number of days due to bad weather conditions. If the delay occurs at the start of your trip and affects your schedule, you are free to choose an alternative trip. If you wish to wait for the flights to resume, we will provide you with accommodation and meals in a guesthouse in Kathmandu. Hence as long as you stick to the original trip period and duration, your accommodation and meals will be taken care of by us. However if you choose to amend the dates of your trip or lengthen it, then you will need to bear the extra cost for accommodation and meals by yourself.
18. How can I prevent altitude sickness?
- Stay well hydrated.
- Try to drink at least 4-6 litres per day.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and antidepressants medication like sleeping pills
- Take it easy. Do not over-exert yourself physically especially in the first few days.
- Ascend gradually.
- Adopt a “climb high sleep low” strategy to aid in acclimation
- Eat well with a carbohydrates rich diet during the trek
- Consider taking Acetazolamide (Diamox)
- Before your trip, maintain a regular exercise regime to keep your body fit and healthy
19. What are the effects of the sun at high altitudes?
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun can cause skin damage and sunburn to exposed skin. UVR cannot be felt and does not provide heat, so your skin can burn even if you feel cool. Skin damage and sunburn increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. UVR can penetrate through cloud, so even on a cloudy day, UVR is scattered on you. Far less UVR is being filtered out at higher altitude, making the sun’s rays much more damaging to the skin. It is strongly recommended to use a high SPF (at least 30) sunscreen lotion and a lip balm with SPF factor. Short-term effects of UVR on the eyes are similar to sunburn and can cause snow blindness. Snow blindness or photokeratitis (“photo” = light; “keratitis” = inflammation of the cornea) can cause painful eyes and temporarily blindness of up to 48 hours. The risk is higher at high altitude with highly reflective snowy terrain. You should protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that comply with the sunglass safety standard AS/NZS 1067:2003. Most sunglasses will have information about how much UVR protection they give. For maximum protection, make sure your sunglasses are a close-fitting, wrap-around style.
20. Where can I leave my extra luggage during the trek?
You can leave your extra luggage at the hotel or in our office in Kathmandu before the trek. After the trek, you can return to the hotel or office to collect back your luggage before your onward journey.
21. What kind of bags should I bring for the hike?
During the hike, you will need two bags to keep your belongings; a big backpack (or duffle bag) and a small daypack. The big backpack will be carried by the porter while the small daypack will be carried by yourself. The daypack should contain essential items which you need during the day such as water bottle, snacks, warm clothing, camera and valuables while the rest of your belongings should be inside the backpack.
22. How much load can I pass to the porter?
One personal porter will be provided for every two hikers. Each hiker is allowed to pass up to 10 kg of his or her personal belonging to the porter.
23. How much tips is appropriate for the guides and porters?
Tipping is highly encouraged especially for good service. A ballpark figure would be USD 10 per day to each guide and USD 5 per day to each porter for the whole group.