Everest Base Camp is made up of two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. The North Base Camp is situated in Tibet at 5,150 metres and the South Base Camp is situated on the Nepalese side at an altitude of 5,364 metres. The north face of Mount Everest is breathtakingly beautiful. Mount Everest is also called Mt. Qomolangma, which means the ‘Goddess the Third’. Tibetans are forbidden to scale Everest, as the mountain is sacred and integral to their belief systems. Viewing this epic mountain is a once in a lifetime opportunity that can’t be missed when exploring Tibet. Here’s some information about Everest Base Camp in Tibet to inspire you!
How to Get to Everest Base Camp in Tibet
You must visit Tibet through a registered tour company. There is no other way to obtain the Tibetan travel permit.
The trip from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp is approximately 600kms, and most tour companies will take a number of days to complete the journey. This also gives you time to acclimate to the altitude. The drive up in the minibus, over and through the mountain ranges is cumbersome and slow. The roads weave and twist their way across the face of the range, slowly building and rising in altitude. When you finally stop at a pass through the mountains, you will catch a glimpse of the mountain. Just a small sliver of the great mountain, but enough for your first viewing.
From your accommodation, you can either trek or be driven to Everest Base Camp site, it’s about 2-3kms. It sure beats a 10-day trek on the Nepalese side!
Where to stay at Everest Base Camp
Accommodation (even with tour companies) is very basic. In the summer, you will camp on site, and in the winter, you will most likely stay in Rongbuk Monastery, nestled between the mountains. Be prepared for extremely cold temperatures in the winter and at night in the summer.
Sunset in Everest Base Camp
After hiking from the accommodation, through rocky terrain, dominated by mountains, Everest will shine and glimmer in front of you. As you watch the sun set on the highest mountain on earth, you’ll feel in awe of its capability to make you feel non-existent. Its sacredness is overwhelming. When a sight this incredible looms in front of you, your life and your place on this planet feel insignificant.
At the same time, the energy vibrating off its north face will give you a sense of immense gratitude to be in its presence. A large monument marks your arrival, draped in prayer flags. In front of you is Everest, in her entirety. Unlike Everest Base Camp on the Nepalese side, where you can’t actually see the giant mountain, the Tibetan side reveals it in all its glory. Standing at base camp, as the sun dips below the mountains, basking Everest in a pink glow, you will feel overwhelmed by this truly defining moment.
Prayer flags litter the ground and skies throughout Tibet. The bright colours all have different meaning to Tibetan people. Each represents a different element on Earth – white symbolizes air, red is fire, green is water, yellow is earth and blue is wind. They also represent directions – North, South, East, West and center. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Therefore, they should not hang on the ground, but constantly flutter in the wind to spread these values.
Acclimatization in the Everest region
Everest Base Camp is over 5000m above sea level. This means that your body needs to adjust to the low levels of oxygen in the air. Your company will arrange a few days in the capital, Lhasa, before your venture to the mountain. Use this time to take it easy. You also have the option to bring altitude sickness medication and take extra oxygen if required. Take it slow, and drink plenty of water.
Author: Michelle Hyde
All images captured by: Benjamin Fehervary