They call it 'the gateway to the roof of the world'. And the view of the world's highest mountain over base camp is as exhilarating as the trek itself. The classic ascent, to 5,545 metres, is one of the world's ultimate trekking trails.
And while it's not for the faint-hearted or the foolhardy, the trek shouldn't be beyond most competent walkers with an eye for adventure. But prepare to feel pulsing muscles you never knew existed - you'll be walking for around six hours a day. And it's going to be cold at night. The type of mercury-revving temperatures that chill you to the bone.
Olly Burr, who became the youngest Brit at the time to summit Everest in 2004, said: “Everest herself was the biggest challenge of my life, and the trek to base camp is unforgettable. I'd recommend it to anyone.”
Begin your expedition to Everest with a journey into Kathmandu. It's a city of sensory overload, from speeding rickshaws and incense-burning temples to higgledy-piggledy workshops. Far from the calm of the Himalayas, it remains something of a backpacker's hub, where hippy types consult monks for spiritual enlightenment before drinking beers in backstreet bars. Steer clear of its hedonistic underbelly though if you're planning to scale the paths to Everest Base Camp.
A world away from this Himalayan hub lies Lukla airport, just a 25-minute flight from the capital. From here you'll begin the hike into mountain territory, where peaks disappear into bunches of low cloud and clusters of rhododendrons burst into bloom in April and May. It's a couple of days' walk to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar. Here, at around 3,790m, you'll soon feel the challenges of walking at altitude.
Stick around for a couple of days to acclimatise, before moving on with valleys, tiny villages and glacial rivers as company. Every step will be worth the effort. Especially after scaling Kala Pattar, the trek's highest point at 5,544m with views of the top of the world. From here, it's all downhill…
And with 2013 being the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hilary's pioneering ascent, what better time to plan your Everest pilgrimage than today?
How to do it
The best times to undertake the trek are from March to Mid-May and September to mid-November. To achieve your goal, you will be supported by an experienced team of Sherpas and a Group Leader to show the way and take care of day-to-day arrangements. See below for our trekking trips to Everest Base Camp.