Your quick guide to Everest Base Camp training
If you stumbled here looking for the short answer to the perennial question, Do I really need to train for Everest Base Camp? Here’s your answer: yes, yes you do.
And now that the short answer’s out of the way, let’s talk about what that means in practice.
How hard is the Everest Base Camp trek?
Base Camp offers budding climbers a much easier and more accessible way to make it to Everest. Because the reality is, most of us are never getting right to the top of Everest, no matter how much we love our mountains.
Aside from the fact that it costs a heck of a lot of money to make it to the summit. You also need loads of experience climbing all sorts of mountains if you want to do it successfully.
By setting your sights on Base Camp instead, you can still revel in Everest’s awesome heights, just from below, and experience a more doable, still-incredible mountain trek. But don’t let that fool you into thinking a Base Camp trek is a walk in the park.
Unless you mean Jurassic Park.
The trek takes around 12 days at just over 90km long. You will wind through the Khumbu Valley from Lukla all the way to Base Camp. The terrain? Well-trodden, along defined, rocky paths until you get to the final section of glacial moraine. But since that’s covered in crushed rocks you won’t need any crampons or other technical equipment there either.
How fit do you have to be for the Everest Base Camp trek?
The good news is that – relatively speaking – you don’t need to be that fit to get to Base Camp.
For starters, your big bags will be carried upwards by the porters; a massive weight off your shoulders from the get-go.
The pace of the trek is pretty slow and the itinerary gives you a chance to acclimatise as you go too. With no need to rush and only fairly short distances to cover each day, you shouldn’t find the physical challenge too taxing if you’ve got a decent basic level of fitness. That being said, you will be trekking 5-8 hours a day, gaining an average 300m per in elevation each day.
So what exactly do we mean by a decent basic level of fitness?
How hard should I train?
So you don’t need to be a marathon runner or a champion weight lifter to make it all the way to Base Camp. But should you spend the months running up to your trek in front of Netflix or baking banana bread? Not on your nelly.
The best preparation you can do for a trek to Everest Base Camp is to start walking regularly in the crisp air outside. Whip a weighted rucksack on your back and wrap up and you’ll replicate walking with weight through the cold as best you can.
And if you can be tempted to spend some time in the gym? Do some weights and don’t forget leg day! Jogging and swimming will do wonders for your aerobic fitness too.
With a bit of hill-walking practice and a decent pair of walking boots, you’ll make it to Base Camp. It will be a dreamlike experience of the highest mountain on earth. Where else can you trek among giants along remote, rugged trails without months of intensive training in advance? That’s just the magic of Base Camp.
How and when to train for Everest Base Camp
When it comes to Everest Base Camp training, there are a few simple principles to stick to that should help you make it there with little to no trouble at all.
Your Everest Base Camp training will ideally include exercises to improve your cardio endurance and strength. You need to get used to carrying the sorts of weight you’ll be expected to shoulder on the trek itself.
You’ll want to start your Everest Base Camp training at least 12 weeks before your trekking dates. Build up from at least one long walk once a week to a few serious hikes. By that we mean you’ll want to be able to complete a 5- or 6-hour trek with few breaks.
Hills really help when it comes to getting ready for Base Camp, so look for hilly or mountainous areas close to home where you can practise. Not everyone lives in the Lakes though, so if you’re in a relatively flat area, get an hour or two in on the treadmill and stair stepper a couple of times a week to start with, and gradually increase the amount of time you’re spending exercising this way.
A full-body strength workout once or twice a week won’t hurt either.
Our suggested Everest Base Camp training programs
The very best way you can prepare is to get out trekking, but like we said, gym sessions can really help if you don’t have the means or the hills to gain some elevation.
So we’ve put together two suggested training programs – one in the great outdoors and one in the gym – that you can follow to prepare yourself for the Bucket List trip of a lifetime to Everest Base Camp.
Whichever option you go for, the best thing you can do is start small without overwhelming yourself. Build up your endurance and gradually increase the difficulty over time. Your main target is to get a few all-day treks under your belt so you can see just how well your body’s going to perform on a real Everest Base Camp trek.
Great outdoors Everest Base Camp training program – do this twice a week
- Get into the fresh air and hike hard or take a long walk
- Gradually work your way up to being able to walk 5-6 hours in one go with minimal rests
- Walk on uneven terrain and up and down hills wherever you can
- Wear the walking shoes you’ll have on Everest and practise with your daypack too, slowly increasing the weight inside it up to 25lbs over time
Gym-based Everest Base Camp training program – do this twice a week
- 45 minutes on a treadmill with a hill setting on, at a walk or a slow jog
- 10 minutes stair-stepping machine at 30-45 steps per minute
- 5 minutes slow walk with no incline to catch your breath
- Do this all three times every session, and increase the amount of time you spend on each exercise gradually
If you’ve already booked your adventure of a lifetime to Everest Base Camp, be sure to start your training at least three months before the big date, and feel free to call us on 01769 309007 if you need any more advice.
If you haven’t booked you trek to Everest Base Camp yet, check our our trips to Base Camp by clicking HERE