Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About EBC & 3 Passes Trek – Part 2

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Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the breathtaking landscapes of the Everest region with the EBC & 3 Passes Trek. As the allure of reaching the base of the world’s highest peak beckons, so do countless questions about the trek itself. From the best time to trek to preparation tips and altitude concerns, navigating through the frequently asked questions is essential. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a first-time adventurer, understanding the intricacies of the EBC and three passes trek is pivotal for a safe and memorable journey. This comprehensive guide aims to provide clarity on the most common queries, empowering you to plan, prepare, and conquer this awe-inspiring Himalayan odyssey with confidence and excitement.

Did you read the frequently asked questions – part 1?

Table of Contents

Everest Base Camp & Three Passes Trek

Bridge crossing along the EBC trek

1. Where does the EBC trek start and end?

The Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek starts and ends in Lukla. Both the EBC and the three-pass trek have the same start and endpoints. If you take the traditional route via Jiri, the trek starts from Khari La.

2. Do I need to have a buffer day while planning the EBC trek?

Yes. It is better to have a day or two buffer days before booking your international flight tickets so that if the flights get delayed or canceled, you’ll be able to manage time accordingly. We had a one-day buffer period before our international flights.

3. Do I need sleeping bags and tents for EBC?

No! We always suggest that carrying sleeping bags and tents might not be strictly necessary unless you are trekking during the peak winter season. The blankets provided at the tea houses are enough to withstand the temperature, even at higher altitudes. Layer up if you’re feeling cold. You can also request an extra blanket if you wish to.

4. When is the best time to do EBC + 3 Passes Trek?

Two factors are important in deciding the best time to do the Everest Base Camp trekking – the weather and the crowd. Usually, EBC has two trekking windows – late April, May, and early June and the other in September, October, November, and December. October and November are the best months to see clear views on most days, followed by May, but this comes with a downside. They are also heavily crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, start your trek during April, June, September, and December, where you’ll get a good view from early morning until noon.

5. How is the NCell network reception along the trail?

The network coverage is poor or nonexistent on the EBC and three passes trail. When you reach the village, you will get intermittent to poor signals, and no signal can be observed while on the trail. You can recharge at the tea houses or shops at Namche, Dingboche, and Gorakshep.

6. What are the etiquettes to follow while trekking in Nepal?

Here is our list of the few basic etiquettes to follow while trekking in Nepal.
1. Firstly, do not go near the ridge and be on the mountainside while passing mules and yaks.
2. Ask the locals before taking their pictures. Being polite, never hurt anyone.
3. Do not litter. Dispose of the waste in the proper bins.
4. Avoid mineral water bottles and use reusable ones.
5. Do not harm or disturb the wildlife. 
6. Do not pitch tents outside of the settlements or the camping zones.

7. Is insurance mandatory for the EBC trek?

Insurance is not mandatory for the Everest Base Camp trek. But it is best to be insured to cover the emergency expense or in case of requiring helicopter rescue. World Nomads and ASC360 offer insurance to EBC for up to 6000 m. Also, please note that high-altitude trek insurance differs from your travel insurance.

8. What to wear on the EBC trek?

The mornings are usually cold, so it is better to layer up with a down jacket on top of your trekking clothes. Shed the layers as the temperature increases. You feel much warmer when you are hiking as compared to how you feel when you are at tea houses. It is best to change to thermals or a different pair of clothes after you reach the tea houses. Here’s a complete packing checklist for your EBC trek that weighs only 5 Kgs.

9. Is there an option to offload my backpack on the trek?

Yes, you can opt for a locker in Lukla to keep your belongings safe and collect them after completing the trek. In other villages, if you know you’ll be trekking on the same route on your return, you can request and keep your things inside the tea houses. Normally, they don’t charge you extra for this. For instance, people keep their things at the tea houses at Lobuche, trek to Gorakshep, EBC, and Kala Patthar, and collect them back at Lobuche upon their return.

10. How many liters of water should I carry?

If there are water sources or villages along your trail, the amount of water to be carried lessens. We only carried one liter of water per person when tea houses were present. The probability of finding water when crossing a high mountain pass is low. In such cases, carrying about 3 liters of water is better. We usually check the map and do the preparations the previous day. But it also depends on the season you are trekking in.

11. How many routes are there to reach Everest Base Camp?

There are 5 routes to reach the EBC. We have explained all of the possible routes to EBC in a detailed blog. Refer to that for more information.

12. What are the languages spoken by locals on the EBC trail?

The locals speak Nepalese and Sherpa widely. But most people can speak English and Hindi as well.

13. How do co-trekkers greet each other on the EBC trail?

Trekkers greet each other by saying “hello,” “good morning,” and mostly “namaste” while trekking on the Everest Base Camp trail. Be sure to greet the others with positive energy!

14. Can I hire horses on the Everest Base Camp trail?

Absolutely! Horses are available for hire at different villages along the EBC trail. The price range depends on the distance and the altitude. Even at the highest settlement at Gorakshep, you can hire horses. You can also opt for it in case of emergencies like cramps or leg injuries.

15. What is the hardest part of the EBC trek?

For us, the hardest part was the glacier crossing. We had to stay overnight near the glacier to find a way to cross the Khumbu Glacier while doing the Three Passes Trek. The only saving grace was the spell-binding view of the stars above. The offline maps failed to work as the route changes frequently in the region, and we could find no tea houses nearby or any person to seek help. We were struck with the Kongma La on one side and the Khumbu Glacier on the other. Read more about the incident to know what went wrong and how we managed to cross the Khumbu Glacier.

16. How many kilometers are covered per day on the EBC trek?

On average, you’ll cover about 8 – 10 km of hiking daily. This takes between 5 and 8 hours. However, the altitude and elevation make the trekking much more challenging.

17. Are there any campsites along the EBC trail?

Yes, there are campsites along the Everest Base Camp trail. The campsites are marked on maps.me and other offline maps. But nowadays, trekkers prefer to stay in tea houses while trekking in Nepal.

18. What are the animals you can spot?

Some animals you come across are dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, mountain cows, and yaks. These are predominantly seen in the Khumbu region or Sagarmatha National Park. We also spotted a few birds whose names we weren’t familiar with.

19. Are there two Everest Base Camps in Nepal?

The Everest Base Camp rock is marked as the official Everest Base Camp. But that is not where the mountaineers start their expeditions to Mt. Everest. It is a bit further away from the Everest Base Camp Rock. You can spot several tents during the climbing season from late April to May.

20. What are the side treks to do beyond EBC?

Many popular day hikes can be done while trekking to the Everest Base Camp. These side hikes help you with acclimatization and offer great views. You can find the list of side treks in a detailed blog.

Trekking Permits

21. Do we need a permit for the EBC trek? Is it mandatory?

You need two permits for EBC and the three passes trek and it is mandatory to have both.
1. The Sagarmatha National Park entrance permit
2. The Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality tourism fee.

22. Where do you get the trekking permits for the EBC trek?

You can purchase both permits at Lukla or Monjo. You must get your permits checked at different checkpoints along the route. You can get only the Sagarmatha National Park entrance permit at the Tourism Board office in Kathmandu. 
It is better to get both at the same place at either Lukla or Monjo.

23. What are the documents needed for the trekking permits?

Your passport and VISA are all you need for obtaining the trekking permits. We were not asked for a photo, but having a couple of passport-size photographs is good, just in case. If you’re trekking in a group or on a package tour with any agency or company, you might be asked to provide photographs.

24. Do I need passport-size photographs for getting a permit?

Although we had passport-size photographs, we were not asked to submit one. But if you’re going with a group or on a package tour, you might be asked by your agency or company. It is better to have a couple of them with you. Like we always say, better safe than sorry!

25. How much does the trekking permit cost for the EBC trek?

1. Sagarmatha National Park entrance permit – NPR 1500 per person for entry for SAARC nationals while NPR 3000 for other foreign nationals.
2. Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality tourism fee (Trek Card) – NPR 2000 per person for entry for all nationalities.

26. Where are checkpoints located along the EBC trail? What do they verify?

The checkpoints are at Lukla, Monjo, Namche Bazaar, and Phunki Thanga (before Tengboche). The procedure involves verifying the permits issued, stamping them, and noting down your details like passport number, name, date of return, trek name, and emergency contact number (guide’s number or your Nepal number). You have to mark your exit at all the checkpoints mentioned above.

At Phunki Thanga, your bags are checked for flammable items, drones, and other harmful substances.

27. What Is a TIMS Card? Is it mandatory for the EBC trek?

Trekker’s Information Management System or the TIMS card is mandatory for the trekking agencies only. The agency will take care of the process, provided you give them a couple of your passport-size photographs and a photocopy of your passport. If you are trekking solo or independently, the TIMS card is not your concern.

28. What is a trek card? Is it mandatory for the EBC trek?

Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Permit referred to as the Trek Card, is the permit to trek in the Solukhumbu region. It is mandatory for everyone to trek to the Everest Base Camp.

Guides & Porters

Packing list for EBC and three pass trek - comparison between porter and our bag

29. Is a guide mandatory for the EBC trek?

Although the official government website of Nepal mentioned that a guide is mandatory for the EBC trek from April 2023, it is not strictly followed. We did the EBC and the three passes trek independently without a guide or porter in September 2023. We came across several checkpoints along the trail and were not questioned. They did note down our Nepal contact number to contact us in case of emergencies.

30. How much weight does a porter carry?

A porter usually carries 25-50 Kg. 2 or 3 trekkers can share their luggage with one porter.

31. How to hire a local guide?

You can hire freelancing trekking guides from Sherpana and Sherpahire, or you can seek help from a local agency after reaching Kathmandu. They usually charge $25 and $35 per day for each guide and porter. You can also go for a guide-cum-porter. The prices usually range between $35 and $50 per day, depending on the season.

32. How much to tip for guides and porters?

Beyond the package costs, it is customary to tip the guides and porters. Trekkers usually tip at least $10-$15 per day for each guide and porter.

Offline Maps & Navigation

Planning for the EBC trek, Nepal

33. How is the mobile network along the trail?

Ncell is the widely used network along the Everest Base Camp route. We got weak or moderate signals at the settlements. However, we did not get any signal for the most part while trekking. Wi-Fi facilities are available at all the tea houses.

34. Can I rely on offline maps on the EBC trail?

Offline maps are the only source of keeping track of the trail. The offline GPX files work well except while crossing the glaciers. The glaciers are melting rapidly, and the trail changes yearly, often not updated on the maps. So, if you’re doing the three-pass trek, it is better to enquire about them or even hire a local to help you cross the glacier part and pay a small fee.

We downloaded the GPX files on Waymarked trails and imported them to OSMAND and also used maps.me alternatively. Other popular offline maps include Gaia, Alltrails, Wikiloc, and Strava, to name a few.

35. What is the probability of getting lost on the EBC trail?

On a popular trail like the Everest Base Camp, the trail is frequented by trekkers and locals, and the probability of getting lost is relatively much lower.

In certain sections of the trail, like glacier crossing where the offline maps don’t work, hire a local or a guide for help or tag along with other trekkers.

The villages, cairns (stones piled up), the feces of the animals (horses, cows, and yaks), trekking pole marks, and shoe marks of the people also help you with navigation, besides the offline map. Nature helps and deceives in equal measure.

Mountain Peaks & Views

View of Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar
Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar

36. When can I see the first view of Mt. Everest on the EBC trek?

On a clear day, you can see the peak of Mt. Everest on your way from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, after a few meters from the Hillary Bridge or double bridge! Prepare to be amazed and humbled!

37. Can you see Mt. Everest from the Everest Base Camp rock?

No. Mt. Everest is not visible from the Everest Base Camp. You can see the mountain peaks of Pumori, Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse, Lobuche, Thamsherku, Taboche, Cholatse, Arakamtse, and Kalapattar from EBC. However, while trekking from Gorakshep to the Everest Base Camp, you can see a slice of Mt. Everest on the way.

38. When is the best time to get a good view of the peaks?

It’s early in the morning, for sure. The weather is pretty clear most of the mornings until noon, and you can enjoy the amazing views of the mountain peaks. Post noon, the mist and clouds might block the views around.

39. Where can you spot Mt. Everest along the EBC and three passes trail?

Here’s the list of places to spot Mt. Everest while doing the EBC and three passes trek, provided there are clear weather conditions.
1. Phakding to Namche Bazaar route (after the Hillary Bridge)
2. Everest View Hotel, Namche Bazaar
3. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa Heritage Center, Namche Bazaar
4. Namche Bazaar to Tengboche 
5. Pangboche
6. On the way from Gorakshep to the Everest Base Camp
7. Kala Patthar peak
8. Gokyo Ri Summit
9. Gokyo Lake Five (Ngozumpa Lake) Viewpoint
10. Renjo La Pass.

Others

40. Are drones allowed?

No. Drones are strictly prohibited in the Saragmatha National Park or Khumbu region. There is also a checking point at the Phunki Thanga village before Tengboche.

41. What is the Mani Rimu Festival?

It is a three-day festival celebrated at the Tengboche Monastery on a full moon day either in October or November. Lamas, Sherpas, locals, and people worldwide flock to see the monks performing masked dances and dramas, prayers, and other events happening as a part of the festival. And yes, it is as fascinating as it sounds!

42. Important contact numbers at the Khumbu Region

Be sure to note this down in several places!!!
Lukla Hospital: +977 38550119
Mountain Medical Institute, Namche Bazaar: +977 38540006
Khunde Hospital, Khunde: +977 38540053
HRA Aid Post, Pheriche: +977 14440293 (Kathmandu Office)
Lukla Police: +977 38550005
Namche Bazaar Police: +977 39540099
Lukla Airport: +977 38550044
Nepal Army: +977 38540120, +977 38540220
Lukla permit counter: +977 9801842386
Monjo permit counter: +977 9801845387
Sagarmatha National Park headquarters: +977 38540114

If you have any more questions, do drop them in the comment section below! We will answer them for you.

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