So how much does this epic hike cost?
There are two ways to hike to EBC: organize it yourself or pay a tour company to do it for you. Expect to spend at least $1,000 on a reputable local tour company. They’ll organize guides and porters to carry your gear, and take care of all logistics like accommodation and meals. If you’re hiking independently you can get by on $20-$30 per day, plus additional costs like permits (around $50) and transfers to and from Kathmandu (around $350). You may also want to hire a licensed guide (from $25 per day) and/or porter (from $10 per day). Their expertise can be valuable even off the trail. Our guide knew to call ahead when a tea house was likely to book out, and tipped me off to garlic soup as a salve for my altitude-induced headaches.
For DIY-ers, a good guidebook and thorough research is essential. This isn’t the kind of trip where a lack of preparation denotes a seasoned traveler; taking risks at high altitude is dumb, not funny. The biggest danger on the mountain is altitude sickness which, depending on the severity, can cause symptoms that can go from dizziness to diarrhea to death. If you ascend too fast and don’t give your body a chance to acclimatize, the altitude will fuck you up, like it fucked up the guy I saw being heli-evacuated off the mountain. The fool was hiking solo and didn’t have travel insurance. Luckily for him, the people who found him unconscious on the trail scraped together enough cash to airlift him to the nearest hospital. Not a cool story, bro.