Trekking routes to Everest base camp: comparing classical vs alternative routes

Everest base camp short trek

Trekking to Everest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should experience. The world’s tallest peak offers beautiful sceneries, deep cultural experiences as well a sense of challenge to ascend the mountain Everest base camp short trek.

Hikers in the Himalayas experience stunning alpine valleys, majestic snow-capped peaks, and vast, breathtaking glaciers. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a dream for adventure enthusiasts, offering a close view of Everest.

The classical route, similar to the Everest Base Camp short trek, is a popular ascent path. The classical route offers efficient, easy paths, allowing hikers to enjoy the beautiful Himalayas quickly. Trekkers can also choose the latter Everest base camp short trek which is also known for its easy and quick route.

This route suits travelers with time constraints, offering Everest’s majesty quickly without a full expedition. Despite the Everest base camp’s short trek route and the classical route has short duration it creates a sweet balance between the exploration and adjustment aspect giving trekkers a blissful and pleasant experience without compromising the accomplishment of conquering the summit.

 Although the alternative routes are a long and grueling ascend to the peak they also give the trekkers an immersive experience. Spanning several weeks the other routes to Everest have their amenities as they provide a different perspective and experience to its trekkers. In this article, you will through an in-depth discussion on the classical route as well as alternative route and make a comparison between them. So read until the end to know more!

Classical routes

The classical trekking route to Everest is a well-known trekking route that provides trekkers with an easy and accessible route making their journey pleasant and fun. Here are some key features of the classical route.

  • The journey begins from Kathmandu during which the trekkers travel through beautiful landscapes and mountains experiencing an immersive and pleasant experience and land on the short runway of Tenzing Hilary runaway of Lukla from where the real journey to the summit starts
  • The trekkers pass through the Sherpa settlements such as Namche Bazar, Tengboche, and Dingboche while experiencing the unique culture of the Sherpa and the mountains. They also make their journey through breathtaking neighboring mountain peak sceneries, vibrant marketplaces, and historic monasteries.
  • The classic trek route is also known for its lush valleys breathtaking sceneries and beautiful snow-capped mountains at every turn. This route, like the Everest Base Camp short trek, bustles in peak seasons, fostering camaraderie among trekkers.
  • Along the journey through the classical routes, the trekkers strategically plan their journey as they need to get accustomed to the high altitude and weather of Everest. Hence they make pit stops throughout their journey in Namche Bazar and  Dingboche where they experience the sherpa culture, hospitality, and settlement further uplifting their experience on the journey to the peak.

The classical trek route is the most popular route among all the routes as it is also the first ever route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa during their first British expedition in 1953. This route, akin to the Everest Base Camp short trek, is bustling in peak seasons. While it may detract from tranquility, it fosters camaraderie among trekkers, enhancing the journey’s enjoyment.

Alternative routes

While the classical route is popular, alternative routes offer unique obstacles, features, and cultural interactions. Below are some alternative routes and their features.

●    Rolwaling valley route

The Rolwaling Valley Trek passes through the west of the Everest region. This route one of the most secluded and unexplored areas to EBC. With the breathtaking scenery of Gauri Shankar (7,145m) and other stunning peaks, This tough and rugged trek gives a pristine wilderness experience as it crosses the high Tashi Lapcha Pass (5,755m). Hence this journey is renowned for its difficult terrain, abundant wildlife, and opportunity to engage with the Tamang and Sherpa tribes in the area.

●    Three passes route

An exciting substitute for the classical route, the Three Passes Trek is ideal for hikers looking for a more demanding physical and mental challenge. This path goes across three high passes, Renjo La, Cho La, and Kongma La. These crossings offer magnificent landscapes of the Everest region and tough terrain that puts a hiker’s fortitude and perseverance to the test.

●    Gokyo lakes route

There is an alternative trek known as the Gokyo Lake Trek for individuals who do not want to climb to Everest Base Camp. To reach the Gokyo Lake route trekkers should go straight west to Dole from Namche instead of turning towards Tengboche. After that, the journey spans for a few days, stopping in places like Machhermo and Gokyo before heading back to Namche.

The Gokyo Lakes Route, which heads out from Namche Bazaar heads towards the immaculate Gokyo Lakes which is a beauty on its own. Trekkers taking this route can view the pristine turquoise lakes of Gokyo, climb Gokyo Ri for sweeping views of Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Everest, and also climb the difficult Renjo La Pass.

●    The Everest View route

The Everest View route seems to be a great choice for those who are on limited time constrain. This route is comparatively easy and offers a chance to view the Everest region without going all the way to Base Camp. trekking starts from the capital Kathmandu to Lukla then make the journey through Namche Bazar as well as Tengboche Valley. Tengboche is famous for its monastery, offering close views of Ama Dablam, Everest, and other peaks.

Trekkers pass through monasteries with great religious significance in the local Buddhist community, emphasizing their importance. Learning about Sherpa customs and way of life enriches the experience, as they form the local majority.

●    Jiri to Everest base camp route

Jiri to the Everest base camp is an alternative to the classical route and as well as the longest route. This route begins in the village of Jiri and ascends steadily in the direction of Lukla. This route offers a gradual adjustment, with stops in scenic villages, lush forests, and remote mountain areas. Along the route, we witness stunning peaks including Mount Everest, Khumbila, and Ghyachung Kang.

Trekkers opting for less-traveled paths can immerse deeply in local culture, away from tourist hubs. Alternative routes provide trekkers with cultural insights, balancing Everest’s natural beauty with Himalayan customs and beliefs.

Comparing classical and alternative routes

Both the classic route as well as the alternative route provide beautiful and alluring Himalayan sceneries as the classic route is more popular it tends to be more crowded than the alternative route For hikers looking for a bigger mental and physical challenge, alternative routes can offer more difficult terrain and higher passes as classical routes are for trekkers looking for an easy route to the summit.

Classical routes are crowded in peak season, while tougher alternative routes are quieter and more peaceful. Because they are less traveled, alternative routes could present more chances for cultural immersion and engagement with local populations.


In conclusion, the Everest Base Camp trek offers incredible natural beauty and rich cultural heritage experiences. The trek offers stunning landscapes, tall mountains, rich culture, and warm hospitality, providing a unique lifetime experience.

Everest Base Camp routes vary, catering to trekkers’ preferences, skill, and experience, offering numerous options. Thorough planning and research are crucial for the Everest Base Camp trek to ensure a rewarding experience.

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