EBC Trek – MUUK-Adventures

EBC Trek – MUUK-Adventures

This blog is based on our 2022 EBC Trek

Is the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Trek and Back and easy hike?

I had read and heard a lot of accounts and most said the trek is easy, but the altitude makes it difficult. I can see what they mean, but in my opinion the altitude is part of the trek so therefore it’s not easy.

However, the trek is achievable for most hikers, who have a good level of walking fitness. But most importantly you will need, A strong sense of determination Because the EBC trek will ask questions of you!

The Planning

Personally, I believe it’s good to take on something as magnificent challenges with as much of the unknown being left to discover out on the trails. This is pretty much was the case for the EBC Trek. Some expereinces are just too difficult to put into words, video and photographs.

Personally I had heard about it, researched it, watched videos, and spoken to those who had gone before. And as much as they said,

“The Journey to Base Camp is the real highlight.”

You never fully appreciate or understand what they are saying, until you are there. The diversity of the trail, the villages and people that you pass by and the smells that you encounter are special. Whilst you are alsop trying to comprehend the scale of the valleys and Mountains around you Then you understand what you have been told and understand where they are coming from.

The Dangers

Trekking in Nepal can be dangerous, to state the obvious, you are in the foreign land, a 3rd World Country and high up in the highest of Mountains.

It is remote and you must be prepared and have contingencies. One of these contingencies is also a condition on the permits that allow you to Hike in Nepal, which is that you must have your own insurance. This insurance requires you to have helicopter evacuation cover, in case of a medical emergency. Such as altitude sickness and due to the altitude you will be living at, this is a real threat and can be a life threatening.

Prior to going on our adventure our insurance company informed us that since covid, the amount of helicopter evacuations had risen by 80% and that there was a current investigation into this. They believed it was down to local porter/guides purposely leading people up the mountains and into altitude too quickly with a view to making them sick. And if this did not work, they were using baking powder in the food to make their clients sick.

The purpose of this would be to enable them to call a helicopter to evacuate the casualty. The purpose of that is Money! It is a straightforward scam, where the helicopter companies are paying local porters/guides for referrals! Which allows the local porter/guides to make almost half a year’s wage in one referral! So, this gave us another thing to think about.

To combat this, I can say that I was confident in the local company that we were using (buy cheap run the risk) and I was also confident in our own knowledge and awareness to manage our ascent and wellbeing!

The EBC Trek

We started our trip early doors, 0500hrs from our Kathmandu hotel for a 20 min drive to the Airport. The plan was to catch a Helicopter to the Sagarmatha National Park landing at Lukla Airport (described as the world’s most dangerous.) The airport experience was a strange one, of moving from one place to another to have our bags searched, weighed and us weighed All for no apparent reason. Then being asked to hand over some money to a bloke who said it was “Tax” In reality it was only £3 for the grouo, so we thought no worries!

Then this bloke took us out outside and squashed the 4 of us in the back of a van, with a load of Nepalese workers, we drove to the real arse end of the airport, to what looked like a plane graveyard. Here stood several Helicopters. We tried to work out which was ours. We all agreed the one having the work done on it i.e., being banged with a hammer and jumped start by a generator was surely not ours. It was!

We squeezed into the chopper, which in the most surreal moments took off and headed east towards the sun rising over the Himalaya Range and with peaks of Everest to our North. I think it’s fair to say we were all speechless, with a nervous energy partly from the flight and definitely from what laid ahead.


On touch down in Lukla, it was straight into the important things. Breakfast and hot chocolate as we met our porters for the journey.

Now one of our porters (Chimee) was a young land (20 years Old) who stood no more than 5ft 3” and weighed about 8st. Chimee was in training to be a guide, so spent his time with us to improve his English. But his job was to carry two of our full rucksacks to Base Camp and Back. Weighing about 40Kg! However, just to get to work Chimee had to walk for two full days over the Himalayan Valleys to meet us at Lukla Airport. Once finished, he’d have the same two day walk home. But fair play Chimee proved to be a funny guy, full of life and a bit of a card shark!

There are no motor vehicles at all in the National Park. Transport is by foot, horseback, or helicopter. Which is great for hikers and tourists like us looking to escape, but practically for those who live there, it must be difficult.

The Hike

Now I am not going to bore you with the detailed hike to Base Camp, this is for several reasons

1) I would run out of words to describe how surreal it all was

2) I can’t remember the running order of the details!

But these are the main points.

Dealing with Altitude

If you are unaware of altitude and the risks, all I can say – It is real!

I had a plan to deal with it, which was very scientific!

The altitude we were operating in was giving us 59% to 51% oxygen. This level really did affect us, you felt it as you moved and even talking was a strain at times.

If you did find yourself breaking into a free-flowing conversation, it wouldn’t be long before you started wheezing or gasping for breath, which acted as a little reminder of “take it easy”

The daily hiking distances on the way to basecamp are not overly far (10K to 15K) and you have all day to get there. Therefore, the secret is to use this time wisely, take it easy, move slowly. There are some big hills to go up and down. And a Himalayan Hill, which could seem like a small insufficient climb is actually the size of Cadair Idris or Snowdon! So, it’s about taking your time, spend the days on the trail rather than rushing to get to the accommodation. Don’t burn yourself out.

Advice I was given and stuck to was, “Don’t waste energy” It was little things like, I only moved when I had to and, in the direction, I needed to go!

When we got to our accommodation/village for the evening, I didn’t go exploring, I went for a lie down, to raise the legs and rest up, I only got up for food and the toilet. It might have seemed a bit anti-social, but my aim was to get to Base Camp with as little altitude sickness as possible and it worked.

Listen to the Warnings

I reached Base Camp without taking medication and without a headache. A few of our party had headaches and had to take over the shelf medication. The headaches actually acted as a warning sign to them, they got them, and they slowed their pace down. It was great that we all managed ourselves well and made it to Base Camp together.

Not everyone was so lucky, Along the hike up and down we met several other groups, many or which had tales of the issues they had with altitude, with group members having to be airlifted to safety. The most notable of these was a group of ex-military personal. A group of 16 which saw 4 of their members being airlifted at different points in the hike. With one of them spending over 3 days in hospital, with Oxygen Saturation levels of 35! These guys were speed marching it!!

The other “secret” was, staying hydrated, we were drinking not far off 5 litres a day each.

The Weather

Everyone knows weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and unforgiven. But someone was watching over us. For the entire walk we had glorious sunshine, not a cloud in the sky and any clouds we did see were below us! all meaning not a drop of rain.

I think it’s also fair to say that we didn’t face any wind of note either, I seem to recall for an hour or two on one of the days we had a stiff wind, but it was short lived.
All of this meant that the day hiking temperature was high, most of it was spent in T-shirts, with the highest factor sun cream and sun hats on.

But once you stopped and the sun went down, it was cold, extremely cold. Again, we met a few people coming down as we were on the way up, who were telling concerning tails of almost freezing to death!

Yes, it was cold, but as always, the secret is, Have the right kit!

I slept most nights in my long johns, thermal top, hat and on one occasion gloves. Yes, it was cold getting in and out of bed, your clothes and water were freezing, in the mornings and getting up in the night for a wee wasn’t pleasant. But to combat some of this, I slept on the clothes I was going to wear the following day and your water bottle inside your sleeping bag. Needs must. But all in all, we could not have had better conditions.

Accommodation food and facilities

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodation. The eating rooms were warm and vibrant, the bedrooms were basic. But I’ve had worse in the UK.

The lower down tea houses (accommodation blocks) had electric points and ensuite and that really is all the luxury you need.

The Food, we were advised not to eat meat in the Mountains. We followed this advice and the boys survived on the local Veg Curry dish. there was plenty of it. Personally I opted for the pasta or noodle soup, and they did a job. I thought the food might of been a problem, but it wasn’t. And also found a new favourite thing. Lemon, Ginger, Honey Tea. (Very much like a lemsip)

The Facilities – All I can say is bring your own tissues and practice your squatting whilst holding your breath! Not the greatest experience, but still better than Glastonbury!!

EBC TRek – The Culture

One of the highlights of the trek, was walking through the many Mountain villages, seeing the daily lives close up and the multi colours of flags, banners and houses. Whilst the smells and aromas that surrounded the towns were quite something.

Seeing how the locals trade or get supplies from village to village. All without the use of vehicles, with the endless yak or mule trains. Or even more impressive, the men and woman who carry the items. I think the most impressive I saw was a guy carrying 8 tables on his back. I’m not sure how far he was going but we passed him on a 500m climb.

The Trails

I had heard a lot about the trails, that they are not technical, and that the gradient was easy. In my opinion 95% of the trails are not technically, the final day as you approach Base Camp, you walk over the old glacier grounds, this gets a bit more difficult, still manageable but certainly more care, thought and effort. But most of the path is nice, It’s a mixture of dirt trails, cobble stones and sandy paths! It really is a mixed bag.

As for the gradient, I would not say it was easy, there were some big up hills, followed by some steep knee jarring down hills. It was physically tough.

The Views and Wonders

The views were such a mixture and far more than I’d expected. For a high-altitude mountainous area, there was so much greenery, forests, big rivers, and scary bridge crossings. It was hard to comprehend where you were and put scale to what was around you.

I remember standing on a green rolling hill and looking around at eye level and saying we could be in the Brecon Beacons. Then as we looked up and could see the snow-capped peaks, you suddenly felt very small.

At this point one of the boys said, we are at 13,000 feet. This led to a discussion about a sky dive that we had done, we jumped out of the plane at 10,000 feet. This in turn led us to go to the edge and look down, the drop was further than the eye could see. This really hit it home as to how high we were and how much higher we had to go.

From here on we really started to notice that the helicopters were flying below us, as were the birds. Again, so many surreal moment, where you really did feel like you were on top of the world. Until you looked up and saw the imposing 8000 metre plus peaks surrounding you.

Breath taking views and eye watering feelings

EBC and Back

Arriving at Base Camp is a bit surreal. Getting there in November means there is no life and no tents to be had. The area is baren as the climbing season is well and truly over. But I liked that. There were only about 4 other people there, with an atmosphere almost like Christmas day. Everyone joyous, friendly, and chatting away.

I think this came from a mixture of relief and amazement. Relief at the fact that we had got there and amazement at the location. With the knowledge of what it stood for and all the explorers/mountaineers that have stood there before. Their joys of success and the pain of paying the ultimate sacrifice in search of a goal. I could almost feel those emotions in the air.

The place itself might seem unremarkable to those who don’t know. (As one lady said on the trek, “it was just a bunch of rocks”!) and yes you will see many more spectacular places along the way. But to me it was a symbol of something far bigger than its appearance.

After about 40 mins or so at Base Camp, we had to start about moving out. Not for any other reason than, we wanted to get back before it got dark and cold. That trek back was a reminder of the dangers of where we were. As the sun literally passed over the top of the world, you could feel the coldest of air in the shade as the night was drawing in. All in all this added a little pace to my step and my legs suddenly didn’t seem so tired. By the time we got back to the “Tea House” it was cold.

The Descent

After a chilly night It was up and ready to face the journey back. We now had 3 days to cover the same distance that took us 8 to do on the way up. And as we sat there eating breakfast and visualising the route back. The climbs, the terrain we had faced on the way up now in reverse, I was having a bit of a downer.
I could see on the wall, a poster for a helicopter back to Kathmandu for $500 (£420) I was thinking about it. Then next to us was a lady and her partner who were waiting for their chopper (which had places on it)
For a split second I thought, this is my chance, if I set off from here on foot, that is it. 3 long days to Cover 55K across the Himalayas or leave by Helicopter and be having a pint in Kathmandu by lunch time!

But there was no choice really, I slowly put my ruck sack over my shoulders and shuffled out into the extremely frosty morning air. but after 5 minutes of walking, I was back in the zone.

The trek back was tough on the knees and legs, the downhills were slow and at times uncomfortable but there was one section we did, through a valley 3hrs of walking on flat ground next to a river with peaks as high as the eye could see on both sides. I loved this bit, and the nature of it allowed me to have a good chat with our guidee. So glad I didn’t take the chopper.

Is This for You

All I can say is, you have to like Hiking, you have to want to do it, you have to be prepared to live basic and off the grid. You have to be prepared for the physical and more importantly mental challenge. If that is, you then the rewards will well outweigh the effort.

We have done the EBC Trek a couple of times now and will return with a private group in April 2025. Then in November 2025 an open group, if you are interested, please see

And Finally – The EBC Trek

Beware of the Yaks, they will tell you that they are placid creatures and nothing to worry about!

Well as we walked down this rather large path (steep as!) I was at the back. The rest of my party were already sat at a river side cafe resting their limbs. When I heard a commotion, I looked up and was met by the sight of a Yak, which had lost its balance and was rolling towards me.

Once the dust had literally settled, my Nepalese guide stuck his head out onto the ledge and looked at me on the tree and said “Fintan that is not the way, it is dangerous come back”

I think he thought I over reacted! I did feel a bit silly, but I know what I saw heading towards me, and I did what I had to do!!