Consistently hailed as one of the world’s best (if not THE best) high altitude trek, the Everest Circuit just has to be on your bucket list.
So what makes the Everest Circuit so appealing and how does it differ to the standard Everest Base Camp trek.
Length: 18 – 19 days on the trail
Distance: approximately 130 kilometres
Highest point: 5550m
Best time: October – November, Feb – May
Stunning views of the world’s highest mountains
Sunrise over Mt Everest from the Everest View Hotel
Sunrise over Mt Everest from the summit of Gokyo Ri (5357m)
Sunset over Mt Everest from the summit of Kala Pattar (5550m)
Visiting the sacred Gokyo Lakes
Trekking to Everest Base Camp
Crossing the Ngozumpa glacier, the longest glacier in the Himalaya
How does it differ to the standard Everest Base Camp Trek
As the name suggests, this is a circuit, so you do very little back-tracking. From Khumjung, the trail leaves the main Everest Base Camp route and heads up the more remote Gokyo valley. Fewer people equals a much better experience in our opinion. This valley is also home to the beautiful Gokyo Lakes which you won’t see along the traditional route to Everest Base Camp. Not to mention the spectacular views of Everest from the summit of Gokyo Ri.
After leaving Gokyo, the trail crosses the Ngozumpa glacier which at 36 kilometres, is the longest glacier in all the Himalayas. This takes you up and over the famous Cho La Pass which provides another foray above 5000m. With that effort come more rewarding views! A day later and the trail merges with the main Everest Base Camp route at the mouth of the Khumbu glacier just before arriving at Lobuche.
From here on in, you get to enjoy all the traditional Everest Base Camp trip offerings. Be sure to ascend Kala Pattar for a sunset over Mt Everest you’ll never forget. After a night at Gorak Shep – the last permanent settlement along the route – you’ll trek your way into Everest Base Camp. Depending on the time of year it could be incredibly busy or incredibly deserted. The main Everest climbing season runs throughout April and May, so if you’re travelling then, expect lots of people and a hive of activity at Base Camp as all the climbing expeditions will be in full swing.
From Base Camp, the Everest Circuit winds it way back down the traditional Everest Base Camp route through Dingboche, Pangboche, Deboche, Tengboche and to Namche Bazaar. If you’re doing the circuit, these are all new scenery days. If you’re doing the standard Base Camp trip, you’re back-tracking the way you came up. Regardless, the scenery and views are stunning every step of the way but just that little bit more impressive when you’re seeing them for the first time.
When it’s all said and done, we rate this as the #1 high altitude trek you can do. It ticks every box you could want when it comes to trekking in Nepal and a few more. If your fitness is good and you can afford the extra 4 days then choose this trek over the standard Everest Base Camp route. It really is the experience of a lifetime.