Ah yes- Mount Everest, forever an enigmatic natural wonder that has captured the minds and hearts of millions of people all over the world! Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first conquered this colossal ice giant (the tallest on Earth) in 1953. Since then, numerous trekkers and enthusiastic mountaineers have ventured out to experience the wonders of this behemoth. The Sagarmatha Himal, as it is called in Nepal (which means “The Head of the Sky”) also acts as an international border between Tibet and Nepal. As such, there are two main climbing routes to the mountain- one approaches the peak from Nepal (referred to as “the South Face”) and the other from Tibet (“the North Face”). In Nepal, the Everest Himal is quite the attraction for trekkers from across the globe; the famed Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most sought after trekking journeys in the entire world. So between the North and the South faces of Mount Everest, which route do you prefer? If you are looking for information about how the two routes to Everest are different from each other, then read on! So, Everest Base Camp vs Advanced Base Camp – What’s the Difference?
The foremost difference when it comes to the Everest Base Camp vs Advanced Base Camp is the location itself. As mentioned, you can do the Everest Base Camp Trek from Nepal. Typically, this trek starts from Kathmandu with a flight to Lukla. As the trek progresses, you go through famous villages and destinations of the Khumbu region, like Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Gorekshep and many others.
The Advanced Base Camp on the other hand, is from Tibet. You reach the base of the North Col of the Everest summit via the Rongbuk Glacier. We at Nepal Hiking Team also offer the Advanced Everest Base Camp Trek directly from Kathmandu as well. You can fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa and along the journey to the base of the Himal- you can visit famous Tibetan highlights like the Pelkor Monastery in Gyantse, the Shakya Monastery and Mountain Passes of the Pang La and the Gyamptso La among others.
Many can point out that when the experience of trekking is taken into consideration while discussing Everest Base Camp vs Advanced Base Camp, both of the routes have equally amazing features and merits. From the South side in Nepal, you have to trek up and down mountain valleys and high wilderness terrains for several days before you reach the base camp. However, from the North Side in Tibet, you can arrive at the foot of the ridge of the Himalaya via car. There is a paved road on the Tibetan plateau all the way to the base camp. Although you can definitely choose to cover the distance via trekking, there is also the option of using a vehicle, unlike the South side in Nepal.
While both of the routes to the base camp of Everest are located at high elevations, you do not necessarily require any previous trekking or mountaineering skills to do the treks. Moreover, you also do not require the use of ice axes or crampons (unless you plan to go higher than the base camp all the way to the summit of the peak). Nevertheless, ample acclimatization time is required while trekking, as you gain elevation the further you progress along the trekking journey. Taking proper precautionary measures while trekking, like staying hydrated, acclimatizing and doing the trek at a comfortable pacing can help to reduce the chances of Altitude Sickness.
The common best time for trekking when it comes to Everest Base Camp vs Advanced Base Camp is during the autumn season. The Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal is suitable to do during the months of March to May and September to December. March to May in Nepal experiences the spring season, and the autumn season lasts from September to December. These months present clear views, suitable weather and ideal temperatures for trekking, unlike the summer or winter seasons. Likewise, the Advance Base Camp in Tibet is suitable to do during the months of April to June and September to November before the winter months disrupt the trekking passes with rampant snowfall.
When discussing about the Everest Base Camp vs Advanced Base Camp Trek, you must take into consideration the different highlights each trek presents. As mentioned before, the location of the routes determine the cultural highlights of the journey. If you prefer to experience the rich legendary Sherpa culture of the Khumbu, then you can do the Nepali route. The trekking journey from the South includes you trekking through the Sagarmatha National Park- one of the two UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Furthermore, you can also visit the popular and mesmerizing vantage point of Kalapatthar from where you can witness a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire Mount Everest massif. Correspondingly, you also visit many ethnic Sherpa villages and settlements along the way. Places like Namche Bazaar and Tengboche are quite famed and popular.
Similarly, from the Northern route, you can experience the Tibetan culture. You can visit the highlights of the Lhasa city, like the Sera Monastery with its whitewashed walls and golden roof, and the Norbulingka Palace and the Jokhang Temple. Destinations like the Shighatse and Tingri are also very immersive with amazing Tibetan traditions and practices. The Tibetan architecture is quite prominently displayed in the various monasteries along the journey, along with traditional nomadic herds in the mountain. Both of the routes have unique features and their own natural and cultural aspects.
Thus, which route do you prefer when it comes to the Everest Base Camp vs Advanced Base Camp? Do you want a traditional trek with natural highlights and the tenor of the Khumbu in Nepal, or do you prefer the Tibetan ethos? Whichever you prefer, you can count on Nepal Hiking Team to deliver you the best trekking and holiday experience of your life! Mount Everest is a wonder, and whether it be from its Northern Face or its Southern Route, it is definitely worth a visit at least once in life!