As the world’s highest mountain, the majestic Mount Everest has attracted more and more tourists from around the world. When doing a Nepal-Tibet overland tour, visiting Mount Everest is a high priority to road trippers. Regarding that, Everest Base Camp (EBC) seems a logical destination for an overnight stay. However, sleeping at EBC isn’t recommended for visitors heading from Kathmandu for various reasons. To learn why you came to the right place.
1.Sharp altitude increase from Kathmandu to EBC
En route from Kathmandu to Tibet, travelers typically spend a night in Gyirong Town after they cross the border at Gyirong Port. The next leg of the journey takes them through Gyirong County, from where they continue the trip to other attractions.
Kathmandu, the starting point of the overland tour, sits at 1,400m/4,600ft above sea level. Gyirong Port, the Nepal-Tibet border crossing, lies at the 1,850m/6,070ft altitude. When you arrive at Gyirong Town which sits at the 2,700m/8,850ft height, you won’t experience elevation increase symptoms.
However, on the following day from Gyirong Town to EBC, you will experience a sharp altitude increase. At first you will climb to the 4,200m/13,800ft height while traversing Gyirong County which is about 70km away from Gyirong Town. To get from the county to Everest Base Camp, you will get through various Himalayan mountain passes, such as Kongtanglamu Pass at 5,245 meters and Gawula Pass at 5,225 meters. When arriving at EBC at 5,200m/17,050ft above sea level, the high altitude and the the sharp altitude increase within a day can cause altitude sickness easily.
2. Entirely different climate between Gyirong and EBC
Gyirong and Everest Base Camp feature opposing climate conditions. And this is another reason why you should avoid an overnight stay at EBC during Kathmandu to Lhasa overland tours.
When traveling from the county to the base of Mount Everest, you may experience climate change from a pleasant spring to a freezing winter in just several hours. Additionally, take the level of oxygen content in the air into account, too.
Gyirong weather conditions
While you are in Gyirong, you are likely to experience balmy weather. Albeit the county doesn’t have distinctive seasons, it features a subtropical, mountainous climate. Winter tends to catch up at times, true, but it remains short.
Most of the days, South Gyirong features daily temperatures over 10°C/50°C. Sometimes, highs tend to approach 20°C/68°F. Furthermore, lush vegetation, consisting of dense forests and valleys with perennial flowers, is proof of high precipitation. On average, this part of Tibet receives 1,000mm/40in of rainfall per year. So, oxygen abounds in the air here.
From April to September, air temperatures are above 0°C/32°F at EBC, with the highs rising over 20°C/68°F in summer. In October and November, average temperatures fluctuate from -8°C/17°F to 17°C/63°F. The rest of the year, average lows drop down to -15°C/5°F, while highs are around -5°C/23°F. What’s more, the temperature at night is much lower than that of daytime.
As for rainfall, precipitation is insignificant most of the year. Only in summer, during the monsoon season, things change. From June to September, Everest Base Camp receives approx. 170mm/6.7in of rain per month.
With practically no vegetation and high elevation, oxygen is scarce at the base of the highest Himalayan mountain. The entirely different climate and temperate drop is more likely to cause a code. Tourists traveling from Gyirong to EBC and stay overnight there can catch a cold more easily than those visiting EBC from Lhasa. The likelihood of this increases after the entire day on the road and sleeping in poor conditions.
3. Basic accommodation at EBC
The accommodation at EBC is very basic. Given that you would be traveling the entire day to sleep in a company of several people in a room/tent should make you reconsider the intention.
You can stay at tent guesthouse or Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse. Upon arrival, you would quickly realize that the accommodation status at EBC are the most basic since Kathmandu, Nepal. What’s more, you won’t find a doctor on duty around, much less a hospital.
Tent guesthouse at EBC are tents made of yak wool on offer and are operated by local Tibetans. Usually a tent is shared by around 10 travelers and is heated by a yak-dunk dove.
Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse is opposite to Rongbuk Monastery, the world’s highest monastery. The guesthouse has about 30 rooms, and rooms come as twin or dorm rooms. There is not dove or air-conditioner in the room.
4. Stay in Tingri and still visit Mount Everest
Instead of putting yourself at health risk, think about staying overnight in Tingri after you take photo shots of snow-capped Mt. Everest. Located roughly 200km/125mi from Kathmandu and 350km/220mi from Lhasa, Tingri sits about 4,300m/14,100ft above sea level. From the highest Himalayan peak, the settlement is just over 100km/62mi distant.
So, by sleeping there, you would meet two primary objectives. The first is spending a night at a lower elevation from the highest you reached that day. The second would be sleeping at the altitude approximate to that of Gyirong County, which means higher levels of oxygen.
Speaking of accommodation status, Tingri offers the best lodging conditions between Gyirong Town and Shigatse. The accommodation is basic, true, but you will enjoy a greater comfort than around the base camp. Needless to say, the medical service in Tingri is much better than EBC.
What’s more, Tingri is an excellent base for experiencing the sunrise over the world’s highest mountain. And this would be among the highlights of your trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa. To do so, you will need to rise early.
Considering the sharp altitude increase, the cold weather at EBC, and the very basic accommodation status there, it is not advisable for travelers from Kathmandu to stay overnight there. However, during our Kathmandu to Lhasa tour, you will still visit the Mt. Everest and Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world. What’s more, you can have a sound and safe sleep in Tingri at a lower altitude.