Last Updated on: 23rd October 2023, 06:08 am

Do you want to know what are the 3 hardest days on Everest Base Camp trek? I hope you do understand this is a highly subjective matter.

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In this article I’ll share the three most difficult days on my EBC trek. My advice is to check out other blogs about Everest Base Camp trek, to see what other people have to say about their experience.

My EBC Trek Personal Facts

We are all unique human beings. My experience of the trek to Everest Base Camp is one of a kind. My bodily reactions to high altitude, to sustained effort, to low temperature, to monotony, and to frustration aren’t necessarily the same as yours.

The Long EBC Trek Route with Cho La Pass & Gokyo Lakes

As I felt it, the hardest day on Everest Base Camp trek was Day 13th, the Cho La pass crossing day, when we walked from Dzongla to Thangnak (alternative spelling Dragnak).

Funny enough, crossing the Chola Pass wasn’t the hardest part of the day.

It was strenuous and icy, but the scenery was impressive, I was wearing microspikes for the first time in my life, and I was excited to have reached the top of the Cho La Pass (5420m) feeling well, with no acute mountain sickness symptoms. I knew that from that point on I was out of danger in regard to AMS, HACE or HAPE, as we were going to start the long descent to Lukla.

The descent on the western side of the Cho La Pass is much steeper than the ascent on the eastern side. As there was still some snow on the trail, we wore our microspikes for about 30 minutes more, until the terrain got too rocky and we had to remove them.

If you also want to do the EBC trek, check out my article about the best time to hike to Everest Base Camp.

Climbing the edge of the glacier is another tough nut to crack. Fortunately, the trail is well-maintained, with ropes and cable to hang on to, therefore not requiring any technical skills.

Top of Cho La Pass

The prayer flags at the highest point of Cho La Pass (5420m)

Once you’re off the glacier, you’ll think the hardest part is over. That was my thought, anyway. Oh, boy! How wrong I was!

Out of all 16 days or trekking to Everest Base Camp and back to Lukla, the 3-4 hours from the Cho La glacier rim to Thangnak were the most difficult.

Emotions and frustration started to take their toll. The foggy weather and the menace of the dusk made it impossible to stop for a proper rest.

Never in my life I wanted so much to arrive to a rundown village in the middle of nowhere, a village hidden behind several hills, a Fata Morgana in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal, a village I’m not sure how to properly spell. To me, Thangnak, Dragnak, Thragnak or whatever other bunch of syllables may form this name is synonymous with frustration.

The Cho La Pass day was my hardest of the entire EBC trek.

The second hardest day on Everest Base Camp trek is the one from Tengboche to Dingboche.

  • Distance Tengboche (3,860m / 12,664 ft) – Dingboche (4,410m / 14,470 ft): ~ 10.5 km / 6.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 420 m / 1,380 ft
  • Trekking time: ~ 6 hours with one stop for lunch

Tengboche is a cold place. This has a negative impact on the quality of sleep. The lack of oxygen is another sleep deterrent. The long trekking day calls for an early wake up. As in 6am early.

As altitude gets higher and higher, oxygen gets scarcer.

That’s going to slow you down. As if you weren’t slow enough due to the poor night sleep.

All cells in your body fight for oxygen. As a result, your limbs start getting numb. As if you weren’t already exhausted.

Pressure inside your skull increases. It feels as if your eyeballs pop out of the orbits. As if you weren’t already worried about the dreaded altitude sickness.

The rapid deliberate breathing method can help you get rid of the pricking and tingling on your skin, as well as of the intracranial pressure sensation.

On top of all of the above, the distance between Tengboche and Dingboche is long. More than 10km long.

Tengboche Monastery

Tengboche Monastery

The last hill before Dingboche, with its two white stupas, is the place where you’ll feel the joy of the arrival more than in any other moment on the EBC trek.

The third hardest day on Everest Base Camp trek is the last one, from Namche Bazaar to Lukla

When starting the EBC trek, most people stop either in Phakding or in Monjo. Downhill, though, it’s easy to go from Namche to Lukla in one go.

I consider this last day to be one of the 3 hardest days on Everest Base Camp trek for several reasons:

  • It is a long day, with about 8 hours of trekking
  • Trekking to EBC is spring means getting closer to the monsoon season. To us this meant trekking on dull, rainy, foggy weather.
  • Knowing that’s the last day of the trek can make you sad. I know I’ll be back, but who knows when?

How Hard Does EBC Trek Get?

Not as hard as in “I’m never going back again!”

Nepal is an addictive place. The people, the culture, the scenery, the excitement are all good reasons for trekkers to wish to return. I know I will. Stay tuned and subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know.




Violeta Matei