Top 2 EBC Trekking Routes in Tibet
Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tibet. For those who love trekking, there are two major treks to Everest Base Camp (EBC) that can make a guided touring vacation more interesting, as you trek along the trails and across the plains and valleys, to the spectacular views of the mighty Everest from EBC.
4-Day Trek from Old Tingri to EBC in Tibet
The trail to EBC from Old Tingri is an average high-altitude trek with elevations ranging from 4,400 meters to as high as 5,300 meters. En route across the expanse of Tibetan Plateau, you will see a host of wildlife that lives in this high-altitude region, such as onagers and gazelle, and if you are lucky, a Tibetan brown bear ambling through the pastures.
Our clients completed the trekking from Old Tingri to EBC.
The trek covers a distance of 70 kilometers over four days, and is done solely on foot, with the tour vehicle meeting you at the base camp itself, while you camp for the three nights of trekking. On the route to the base camp, you pass through some stunning valleys and see some of the world’s highest mountain landscapes.
Day to day trekking routes
Day 1 Old Tingri to Lung Thang
After getting your entrance tickets to Mt. Everest Nature Reserve at the ticket center at Tingri, the trek starts a few kilometers outside Old Tingri, at an elevation of 4,348 meters. The trail first heads south from Tingri, towards another of the high peaks of the area, Cho Oyu Mountain, which sits at 8,188 meters above sea level. After crossing some of the lush pasture of the valley, you will reach the checkpoint for the Mt. Everest Nature Reserve, and then on to Che Village.
After Che Village, there are two paths to Zhaka, and the east path is the shorter of the two. The path leads to the Ra-chu valley, and then on to a nomadic camp before you ascend to the mountain pass, at 5,170 meters. Once over the pass, it is downhill through Chholong Village to Lung Thang, and you will pass a small gompa on the route, surrounded by bleak, barren flatlands. You can spend the night at the campsite of your choice at Lung Thang Village.
Day 2 Trek to Lamna La
The second day of the trek is the start of the rally challenging part. Much of the route is uphill, and in high-altitude conditions, this can be extremely tiring. Be sure to take regular breaks to replenish lost energy, and be aware of your condition in case of altitude sickness. The trail to Lamna La Pass, at 5,150 meters, is a strenuous trek, but the view from the top makes the climb worthwhile. Once over the pass, it is a short walk to the campsite for the night, just below the pass in the valley.
Day 3 Trek to Zommug
From the campsite the next morning, the walk gets easier for a while, crossing number of spread out creeks on the soft grassy meadow after getting on the bottom of the valley. During summer, high altitude blue poppies and Gentian Violet dot these rocky slopes, and the Tibetan gazelle may be grazing along the high ridges near the pass. You may also pass herds of yak grazing in the meadows, under the watchful eyes of the herders. The trail continues until you reach the village of Zommug, with its amazing views of Mount Everest in the distance, where you will camp for the night.
Day 4 Trek to Rongbuk
The final day of the trek sees you marching to Rongbuk, and the famous monastery and the Everest Base Camp. Rongbuk Gompa and its accompanying hermitage retreats were introduced to the world in the 1920s through the accounts of the first British mountaineering teams. It is situated 8 kilometres below the Base Camp and was reconstructed after the Cultural Revolution. After Rongbuk, the trek continues for the last eight kilometers to EBC, where you can take some afternoon photos of the sheer, north face of the world’s highest mountain as the sun sets, before setting up camp for the night at the EBC campsite.
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Travel documents needed
All foreign citizens (non-Chinese passport holders) need a Tibet Entry Permit to enter Tibet, as well as other permits to obtain access to other areas of Tibet, and to the area of Mount Everest. The other permits required are the Alien’s Travel Permit, for travel outside Lhasa, and the Military Permit, for locations of military sensitivity, such as Everest and Kailash.
All of these permits are obtained by Tibet Vista and your guides for you, and cannot be obtained personally. Permits can also only be issued to visitors with a pre-arranged tour with one of the registered Tibet tour operators, such as Tibet Vista.
Best time to enjoy EBC Trek in Tibet
Tibet has four seasons; however, weather patterns are not always predictable, given the effects of climate change. Temperatures at North Base Camp do not typically fall as low as other areas on the Tibet side, and makes almost the whole year available for trekking. Generally speaking, spring (mid-April to mid-June) is the ideal time to visit Everest Base Camp. Ice is melting, roads are open, the area is not as cold as in fall and winter, and there are clear views of the mountains. You need to be prepared, however, for if the snow has not cleared on the passes, as can often happen in early spring, driving or trekking can be quite difficult.
Enjoy the superb vista of Mt.Everest from Rongbuk Monastery
Mid-September to November, after the monsoon passes and before the harsh winter arrives, is another window of opportunity for magnificent views of Mt. Everest. The clouds have cleared, but there may be snow and temperature can drop quite low. Mid-June through August can be rainy at times, although nowhere near as rainy as in Nepal. Also, unlike Nepal, there are no leeches and roads and trails are free of snow and definitely passable. In summer, however, the mountain may be obscured by clouds, so there is a chance you may not get the clear view you came for. Provided the road to Rongbuk Monastery is open, visitors can actually get to the North Base Camp in winter, except for the month of February when Tibet is closed to Visitors.
How to get to Old Tingri from Lhasa or from Kathmandu
From Lhasa, you follow the Friendship Highway to Gyantse, up to Kambala pass, then along the mountain down to Gyantse, where you will stop for the night. From Gyantse, you continue the drive along the highway to Shigatse, which is normally another overnight stopping point. The next day, the route takes you further along the Friendship Highway to Lhatse, where you can stop for lunch, and on through Shegar Town to Tingri.
From Kathmandu, you need to take the bus along the narrow, rutted road that leads you to the border crossing at Gyirong Port. From there, a driver will meet you to take you to Gyirong Town, where you would normally spend the night. The next morning, you will drive towards the Friendship Highway, and then on east to Tingri, a trip of around 6 hours.
Accommodation and dining
On the long road from Lhasa to EBC - a journey that normally takes three days, with stops in Shigatse and Rongbuk en route to the mountain - is one that will tease your taste buds with the delights of Tibetan cooking. You will get the chance to try out some of the best of Tibetan dishes, including tsampa, momos, and yak meat, and will drink copious amounts of tea. While the food is tasty, it is also quite basic, and for some, not to their palate. However, with many travelers coming from overseas, a lot of Tibetan hostels provide a semblance of western cooking, as well as many Chinese dishes.
You will enjoy Tibetan dishes
Accommodation is similarly basic in the more remote areas of western Tibet. While cities such as Shigatse may have nice, three-star hotels to stay in, many of the places you will stay are basic guesthouses, or even tent guesthouses, such as those at Rongbuk and EBC. However, these “tents” are fully furnished with decent cots to sleep in, as well as chairs and tables, stove where food is cooked, and beautifully decorated with Tibetan Buddhist designs. Basic they may be, but they are an experience of the Tibetan lifestyle that you cannot get in a three-star hotel.
Anyone wishing to tour this region is going to need some very specific items that they would not normally take on a vacation, to make sure they are well prepared for the trip. The main things to pack for any trip to Tibet include:
• Hats, caps and woolen scarves of every type.
• Thick woolen sweaters
• Thick, warm pants
• Warm, fleece or down jacket
• Waterproof Jacket
• Warm hat or hooded jackets
Altitude sickness medications are also recommended in case of any illness from the extreme elevation, and remember to bring any medication your doctor has prescribed for you. Windcheaters or wind-proof jackets can be very useful here, and sunglasses, or snow glasses, are a good idea, even in the summer, as is sun block. For trekking, it is best to layer thinner clothes, instead of heavy, thick layers, as you will get warm trekking, and do not want to overheat. A good sleeping bag and high-altitude tent are essential, and can often be bought or hired in Lhasa.
5-Day Trek from EBC to Advance Base Camp in Tibet
Of all the trekking routes in Tibet, the Everest Base Camp (EBC) to Advanced Base Camp(ABC) trek is one of the greatest journeys in the world, and combines the awesome Tibetan culture with the highest trekking route on the planet. ABC can be reached without the need for crampons and other climbing gear, and is ideal for those who want to get closer to the summit.
EBC to Advanced Base Camp Trek
The trekking route starts at EBC, at an altitude of 5,200 meters, and reaches its zenith at the Advanced Base Camp at 6,340 meters, the highest point in the world that trekkers can achieve. The same route is typically used by climbers attempting to summit the mountain, and the trek is not one for the faint-hearted. The route to Mount Everest Advance Base Camp is a challenging but beautiful trek through a stunning mountain landscape. It is approximately 22km of trekking from Everest Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp but you gain 1,310 meters, which is substantial at this already high elevation. The trek is usually divided into two days, with an interim camp being setup in between the two base camps.
The trek is one of rare beauty, and few people get to see the mountains from this height. The climb across the Rongbuk Glacier, the views of Mt. Pumori and Mt. Nuptse are stunning, and looking down into the valleys from on high is an amazing experience. And more than anything, the view of the summit, which can be seen more clearly than at EBC, is worth the hard climb. Compared to the trek from Tingri to EBC, the ABC trek is much harder and more exhausting, but well worth the effort.
Day to day trek from EBC to ABC
Day 1 Trek from camping site of EBC
After enjoying a rest and exploring around Everest Base Camp, your trek begins on the trail that goes along Rongbuk Glacier. The trail climbs steeply through the east side of the glacier to reach Camp 1 (5,460 meters), which is also known as the Japanese Camp, where you will stay overnight.
Day 2 Trek to Interim Camp
The next morning, you follow a slightly rising trail at first, which steepens as you head towards higher altitudes. The views of Pumori and Nuptse are stunning as you climb, and after several hours, you will reach the interim camp, at 5,800 meters.
Day 3 Trek to Camp2
After breakfast, you leave Interim Camp and trek further to reach Changtse Base Camp, or Camp 2, at an elevation of 5,970 meters. Mt. Changtse is located to the north of Mt Everest. The trek today is rather short, but technical trekking with amazing panoramic views of Everest and other neighboring mountains in the region.
Day 4 Trek to ABC
Today you start early, in order to get to ABC and back down to Camp 2 before dark. From Changtse Base Camp, your trail is a gradual uphill trek all the way to Everest Advanced Base Camp at 6,340 meters above the sea level. ABC is the closest to the summit of Everest that a non-climber can get, and the trek, although gradual, is tiring at this altitude.
Upon reaching the base camp, you are greeted with a mind blowing, up-close view of Mount Everest, which gives one an awesome feeling. You will spend some quality time at Everest Advanced Base Camp before retracing your steps back to Changtse Base Camp for the overnight camping.
Day 5 Camp 2 back to camping site of EBC
The last day of the trek is an easy trek back down to EBC. Going down is always easier than going up, and the two-day climb can be retraced easily in just one day, and you still get the amazing views you had on the way up.
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Travel documents needed
The documents needed to climb to ABC are the same as for EBC, with the exception of the Trekking Permit. While not needed for most treks, for anyone ascending above 6,000 meters, this is a requirement. Trekkers have to apply for the permit in before leaving China for Tibet, and it can be obtained from the Tibet Mountaineering Association (TMA). Moreover, the trip has to be organized and conducted by licensed travel agency with professional mountaineering qualifications, since it is below 6,500 meters.
Best time to enjoy EBC to ABC trek in Tibet
For climbing as high as the Advanced Base Camp, the best time to trek would be from April to May, once the weather becomes milder, although the most popular time would be from September to October. The weather patterns in April and May are more ideal for climbing this high than in the later period.
Accommodation and dining
While the accommodation on most of your tour is in hotels or hostels and guesthouses, once you get to EBC, those luxury home-comforts become a thing of the past. At EBC, the tent guesthouses have all the amenities, but are fairly basic, and once on the mountain, you will sleep in sleeping bags in tents specifically designed for high-altitude camping. Food on the climb is prepared by chefs organized from the tour operator, and is healthy, nutritious, and full of energy, so that you are ready for each day’s climb.
At EBC, the tent guesthouses have all the amenities, but are fairly basic
Apart from the normal Tibet packing, there are some things you need to add that would not even be on a packing list for a normal trek. Alpine trekking boots, designed for higher altitude treks, a thick down mountaineering jacket, hiking poles, good, warm headgear, sunglasses, thermal-lined gloves, and an arctic-style sleeping bag are a must. You should also add a good thermal flask, a headlight for dimmer days and evenings, and any medicines you need, including medication for altitude sickness.
While both treks are amazing experiences in Tibet, the trek to choose really depends on your requirements and ability. The EBC trek from Tingri is a pleasant, relaxed trek across some of Tibet’s beautiful countryside, with only a few slightly harder sections, such as the climb to the pass. This is ideal for those without trekking experience or want to take it relatively easy. The trek to ABC, however, is more designed for trekkers with some experience, who are physically fit, and who enjoy the thrill of climbing to the top of the roof of the world.
More Mount Everest Base Camp Travel Guide
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- Everest Trek: Trekking Routes along The Gama Valley
- Everest Base Camp Trekking Maps in Tibet
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