Mt. Everest

Overview

Overview

Mt. Everest is probably the most famous mountain on Earth, and, at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters), it is certainly the highest in the world. The peak sits on the border between Nepal and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, and is called Sagarmatha in Nepali and Chomolangma or Qomolangma in the Sherpa and Tibetan languages. 

The Basics
Catching a glimpse of Everest, trekking to its base, or even climbing to the mountain’s peak, is a bucket-list item for many adventurous travelers. There are a variety of ways to see Everest: Those who don’t want to trek can take scenic airplane and helicopter flights from Kathmandu or go overland to Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side of the mountain. 

Travelers looking for a physical challenge can trek to the base camp from the town of Lukla in Nepal; the trip there and back takes a couple of weeks. Mountaineers with a generous budget can also attempt to climb the mountain—an extreme challenge for even the most seasoned mountaineers. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Despite what some movies might lead you to believe, Everest is not visible from Kathmandu. 
  • Whatever your plans on or near Mt. Everest, you should be aware of the risks and signs of altitude sickness. The starting point for the trek on the Nepal side, Lukla, has an altitude of 9,383 feet (2,860 meters), and Everest Base Camp is 17,600 feet (5,380 meters) above sea level. 
  • It’s always a good idea to trek with a guide in Nepal, and the use of a guide is mandatory in Tibet. Guides will help you stay safe and will also take care of logistics.

How to Get There
Mt. Everest can be seen and approached from either Nepal or Tibet, but tours from the Nepal side are most popular as the country is more accessible than the western reaches of China. No roads lead to Everest on the Nepali side, so most travelers fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and start their trek from there. In Tibet, a well-maintained road leads to within a couple of miles of Everest Base Camp. 

When to Get There
Trekking conditions at Everest Base Camp are best in Nepal’s spring (March–May) and autumn (October–November). Temperatures are very cold in the winter (December–February), and trails—as well as access to Lukla—can be difficult during monsoon season (June–September). Sightseeing flights can be taken from Kathmandu in any season but are often canceled during the monsoons. Overland tours in Tibet can be taken at any time, but access is often restricted in the winter due to safety concerns. 

Alternatives to the Everest Base Camp Trek
While the Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal is a classic adventure, it is also extremely popular and can get quite crowded during peak seasons. To see Everest and experience the culture of the area with fewer crowds, opt for an alternative trekking route, such as the Gokyo Lakes, Three Passes, or Ama Dablam Base Camp treks.
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