Everest Base Camp, Step 2: Time schedule
When I did my research about Nepal and the Everest Base Camp Trek, I realised that it would be possible to actually go through with this project – even as soon as this year! So my next step was to decide when to go. I use to say that the best way to make a dream that includes a trip come true is to book the flying ticket. Then the hardest step is made (to make the decision to go) and then the rest tend to solve itself.
So when should I go and how long was I gonna stay? While doing my research, I read an article that appointed Nepal the cheapest country in the world this year, so I decided to not think about money when planning my trip. I wanted to plan it as it I wanted to do it and then change it a little bit according to budget if I had to.
But how do you plan a hike in a country you never visited, at an altitude you never been at, on a trail you don’t even know how it looks? To even found out how long the distances was between the mountain villages on the trail turned out to be pretty tricky. I learned that when it comes to hiking in the mountains, it’s more common that you talk about the elevation gain rather than distance – and if you talking distance, you talk hiking hours rather than miles. I also found it hard to relate to these hours since everybody has their own pace and wants to take different numbers of breaks for rest, views, taking pictures etc. So even when I found out about the distances, I didn’t really knew how I would handle them, how I would adapt them to myself.
What I did to make my own time schedule was to look at some of the arranged trips up to Everest Base Camp. Swedish people like to feel safe and the trips that Swedish travelling agencies arrange are in my opinion very well planned with that in mind. Their focus is that as many as possible of the people in the group should reach Base Camp, rather than saving money on doing the hike in fewer days. It doesn’t look good if half of the group won’t make it because of a tight schedule. After looking at some different agencies it seemed like all of them almost had an identical schedule with basically the same stops. I therefor decided to make mine the same, but well on the trail have an open mind to change it a little bit while I’m there. Since I’m on my own I have the possibility to stay in smaller villages with smaller lodges since I only need one bed for myself, not a whole group.
But I’m not gonna start immediately from Lukla. First I want at least one day in Kathmandu to get a good night sleep after the flight and then also see the town and arrange the last things for the trip. Then I will take a bus or car to Jiri and then hike from there to Lukla instead of flying directly to Lukla which is the most common thing when you do this hike. To find out how long this hike was gonna take was a bit more difficult since there’s no other schedules to look at, but soon I found some answers in a guidebook that made it possible for me to figure out a plan. I decided to plan the days shorter than I think I can handle. Getting ahead of your schedule is always nicer than behind, then you have time to just enjoy your trip.
After reaching Base Camp, I’m gonna spend an extra day in Gorak Shep to wait for a Swedish group from the agency Swett. Meanwhile I’m gonna hike up to the summit of Kala Patthar at 18175 ft/5540 meter and back. After meeting the group, I’m gonna join them to make an attempt to climb Lobuche Peak (east) at 20075 ft/6119 meter! My choice to join a group to to this is because I don’t have enough knowledge or experience to make an summit attempt on my own at this level. I usually say that you should try doing things on you own and push your limits, but you have to stay safe too.
After Lobuche Peak, I’m gonna hike back to Lukla on my own and then fly to Kathmandu where I will spend some extra days before I’m flying home.
So after thinking through the trip, what I want to do and then researched some more, this is how my preliminary schedule looks like:
Day 1 : Departure Stockholm.
Day 2 : Arrival Kathmandu.
Day 3 : Kathmandu. Preparations for the hike.
Day 4 : Bus or car to Jiri. Hike to Shivalaya, 5 miles/8 km, 3-3,5 h.
Day 5 : Hike to Kenja, 10 miles/16 km, 7-8 h.
Day 6 : Hike to Junbesi, 10 miles/16 km, 8-9,5 h.
Day 7 : Hike to Manidingma ”Nuntala”, 8,6 miles/14 km, 6-7 h.
Day 8 : Hike to Puiyan, about 10 miles/16 km, 8-8,5 h.
Day 9 : Hike to Phakding (passing Lukla), about 9,3 miles/15 km, 6-7 h.
Day 10 : Hike to Namche Bazaar, about 6 miles/10 km, 5-6 h.
Day 11 : Acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar.
Day 12 : Hike to Thyangboche/Tengboche, 5,5 miles/9 km, 6-7 h.
Day 13 : Hike to Pheriche or Dingboche, 6 miles/10 km, 4-4,5 h.
Day 14 : Acclimatisation day in Pheriche or Dingboche.
Day 15 : Hike to Lobuche, 6 miles/9,5 km, 3-4 h.
Day 16 : Hike to Everest Base Camp! Then back to Gorak Shep, 7,5-8 miles/12-13 km 5,5-8 h.
Day 17 : Climbing of Kala Patthar, then back to Gorak Shep to meet the group from Swett.
Day 18 : Hike to Lobuche Peak High camp.
Day 19 : Climbing of Lobuche Peak/extra day
Day 20 : Climbing of Lobuche Peak/extra day
Day 21 : Hike to Pheriche or Dingboche.
Day 22 : Hike to Namche Bazaar.
Day 23 : Hike to Benkar.
Day 24 : Hike to Lukla.
Day 25 : Flight Lukla-Kathmandu.
Day 26 : Kathmandu.
Day 27 : Kathmandu.
Day 28 : Departure Kathmandu.
Day 29 : Arrival Stockholm.
I’ve chosen the dates I’m going after the group I want to do Lobuche Peak with. They have one trip in April and one in October and even if I would rather want to go in April when there is an actual camp in Base Camp with expeditions aiming for the top of Everest, it was a bit to tight for me to go in April this year and I don’t have patience enough to wait till next year!
To hike just a few days in front of a Swedish group is also a safety thing for me. It is a challenge to do this and IF something would happen it feels good to know that there’s a group from my country just behind me.
Images from google maps.