Being the tallest mountain in the world, Everest is the center of attraction for people around the world. Its magnificent height at 8,848 meters above sea level is really a matter of fascination. Yearly hundreds of tourists make their way towards the challenging route of Everest, taking all the risk just to have that one moment of pride standing atop the most majestic peak in the world.
Obviously, scaling this towering peak is not an easy task and takes all that’s worth. Choosing a traveling agency and having enough budget is one part of climbing the mountain, but knowing all that it takes is another part you must not miss. From the time to reach the peak of gathering information about past data for precautions, it is best to prepare yourself from every aspect.
How long does it take to reach the peak from base camp?
Getting to the base camp alone can take 7-8 days, starting with a flight to Lukla from Kathmandu. Located at 5,364 meters/17,500 meters, Everest Base Camp in itself is a challenging journey, scaling further needs more patience and confidence along with physical strength.
From base camp, it doesn't take long as you have expected. Our past climbers have scaled the summit in 26 hours, which has been the greatest record. The main thing while climbing this majestic peak is proper acclimatization and excellent physical fitness. Even after the base camp, there are several landmarks while scaling towards the peak of Everest.
Camp I (6,065 meters/19,900 feet)
You will reach Camp I after passing Khumbu Icefall, which is one of the dangerous points of Everest expedition. Camp I is a vast and flat area of endless snow, several deep crevasses and mountain walls that are frequently washed by avalanches. You will find many fellow mountaineers in here. For your next stop at Camp II, you can stay a day for acclimatization.
Camp II/Advance Base Camp (6,500 meters/21,500 feet)
It is Camp II where climbers spend most of their time in this expedition and establish their main camp as its location is safe and sheltered. For every climber, there will be tents including kitchen and dining tents. It serves as the base for Camp III and main acclimatization point, where climber typically stays two or more night for acclimatization.
Camp III (7,470 meters/24,500 feet)
As every climber start feeling the altitude symptoms and they aren’t yet using the supplemental oxygen, ascending the Lhotse face on fixed ropes towards Camp III is a challenging phase. After, Camp III, you will move towards Camp IV and enter the death zone, so proper acclimatization of at least three nights at this stage is a must.
Camp IV (7,920 meters/26,000 feet)
The distance from Camp III to IV is only 500 meters, yet the journey is one of the most challenging. Camp IV is on the South Col, a sharp-edged col between Everest and Lhotse, from where climbers enter death zone. Climbers cannot endure more than two or three days at this altitude that’s why favorable weather and low wind are critical factors in this point; otherwise, climbers are compelled to descend.
From Camp IV, climbers began their journey around midnight with a hope of reaching the summit of Everest within 10 to 12 hours.
Towards the summit
It is another 1,000 meters until the peak from Camp IV. At 8,400 meters, climbers arrive at a place called “The Balcony,” where they rest and get immersed looking at the peaks to south and east; however it is still a long walk till they arrive at the summit.
After arriving at the peak, climbers spend less than half an hour there to allow time to descend to Camp IV before darkness sets, to avoid afternoon weather hazards and to be in a safe zone before supplemental oxygen runs out.
What is the “Death Zone” in climbing Everest?
Death zone in Everest Expedition is referred to the altitude higher than 8,000 meters, where climber face significant challenges for survival. Temperature is extremely low, which can result in frostbite if any body part is exposed. Also, well-frozen snow in certain areas can result in death or injury by slipping or falling. High wind and low oxygen is another difficulty in the death zone.
It takes up to 12 hours of walk to fulfill the distance of 1.72 kilometers; now you can imagine how strenuous and risky is the death zone.
South or North? – Which is the best route for climbing Everest?
Based on statistics, the South route from Nepal is the best option for reaching the summit and returning safely. From the south side, time spent over 8,000 meters is less as the last camp (Camp IV) is just under 8,000 meters.
While from North route of Tibet, the last camp its at 8,400 meters, meaning you are exposed in extreme altitude for a longer period of time. From the south side of Nepal, you can start from 8,000 meters to the top and get back in Camp IV in one go.
In recent years, the north ridge has become more accessible, mainly because it is relatively cheaper than to climb from Nepal. But now it is cost less to climb from Nepal than from Tibet. In Nepal, the median price for a low-end climb is $42,500, while in Tibet it's $43,900. And similarly, top end costs $67,000 meters in Nepal and $85,000 in Tibet.
Medical evacuation flights, rescues are now available from Camp Two and Base Camp of the south side, while there are no helicopters operating on Northside.
Also, from North route, there is always a greater degree of uncertainty. Chinese authorities can close the border any time with a small notice.
Looking over all the issue of both side, Southside from Nepal is more cost-effective, reliable, and safer with a greater chance of success.
What is the best time for climbing Everest?
Looking at the pace of Everest climbers in the past, May, June, and October receive the highest influx of mountaineers because every year in mid of May, monsoon moves north from the Bay of Bengal and pushes jet stream ahead of its further north, which creates favorable climbing weather for about 20 days. During this time, the wind is light making a summit bid possible. After this, monsoon arrives closing down the climbing season.
Then in October, the exact reverse situation happens, opening another short duration of about 20 days for climbing.
An attempt to climb during monsoon is extremely challenging and possess a high risk of causality. Similarly, winter is way too extreme in such high altitude. As per the record, about 300 climbers have attempted to climb Everest in winter; seven died in the attempt, only 15 has reached the summit so far and rest had to make return journey.
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