Climbing to the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,848 meters, is something many people can only dream about, yet it is also something that thousands of people have accomplished over the years. Up to the end of 2018, more than 8,000 people had reached the summit of this massive peak, and in the first weeks of the 2019 mountaineering season, lines to the summit formed due to the huge number of climbers heading for the peak of the highest mountain on the planet.
Climbing Mount Everest, however, is no mean feat. It takes months of planning and preparation, acclimatization to the increased altitude of this massive mountain, physical preparations for one of the most daunting climbs in history, and the right weather window to be able to make it to the top. And all of this has to be financed and arranged, with the correct permits, so that you actually have the opportunity to make it to the top of Mount Everest.
Where is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest, also known in Nepali as Sagarmatha and in Tibetan as Qomolangma, lies on the border between China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and Nepal in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas at 27°59′17″N 86°55′31″E. In Nepal, the southern slopes of the mountain lie in the Khumbu Region, while in Tibet the northern slopes are located in Tingri County of Shigatse Prefecture, in the far west of the region. The summit of this huge mountain lies directly on the border between China and Nepal, which allows climbers to ascend from either side with permits from only one of the two countries in which it lies.
Mount Everest Peak View in Tibetan Side
While climbing the mountain from Nepal is often one of the more popular routes to take for experienced mountaineers that are following the route taken by the first people to reach the summit, it is actually a better option to take on this mountain from the northern side in Tibet. The northern base camp in Tibet was the first base camp set up by climbers in 1920, and still remains in the same place at 5,200 meters above sea level. And, if you are a first-time climber, the northern route to the summit is more suitable, as the Chinese government provides mountaineering guides that have plenty of experience of scaling the mountain. The weather is also better in the northern slopes, sheltered a little from the biting winds by the mountain itself.
There are also other advantages to climbing from Tibet. There are fixed ropes that run all the way to the summit, making it possible for even a novice climber, with a guide, to make it to the top. A team of local rangers under the guidance of the Qomolangma National Nature Reserve authority also make sure that the route to the summit is kept clear of litter and detritus from the mountain itself, making the route more pleasant than that in Nepal. All climbing on the mountain is also controlled, and the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association provide transport to the base camp from Lhasa for all registered mountaineering expeditions.
Getting to the base camp of Mount Everest is much easier in Tibet than in Nepal. In Nepal, it takes around ten days to trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp (EBC) on the southern slopes of the mountain, after a flight from Kathmandu to the small airport at Lukla. In Tibet, however, there is a long road that runs all the way to the base camp, making it an easier route to travel. Whether you enter Tibet from Nepal or from mainland China, you can drive all the way to the base camp, first along the G318 Sino-Nepal Friendship Zhufeng Road that takes you all the way to Rongbuk Monastery and EBC.
What Permits are Required to Visit Mount Everest?
In Tibet, there are a few more permits required to climb Qomolangma than in Nepal, though with the system that is currently in place for these permits, getting them is completely hassle free. What’s more, whereas in Nepal you have to make all the permit applications yourself, in Tibet the permits are applied for by the tour company that you are using for the expedition. The permits that you require include:
●Tibet Travel Permit – This is required for entry to Tibet and to travel around in the area of Lhasa.
● Aliens’ Travel Permit – Required for travel to the “unopened” areas of Tibet outside Lhasa, including Shigatse.
● Restricted Areas Permit – This is often called the “Military Permit”, and is required for travel to military-sensitive areas such as Ngari, Nyingchi, etc.
● Frontier Pass – While most tours will not actually cross the border out of China, the Frontier Pass is required for all tourists traveling in the areas of the Chinese border with India, Nepal, and Bhutan, which includes Mount Everest and Mount Kailash.
On top of the permits and passes required for travel to Everest Base Camp in Tibet, potential climbers are also required to have a Qomolangma Mountaineering License, which is issued by the Chinese government for all foreign climbers. As with all tours heading to Tibet, whether for climbing or tourism, a pre-arranged tour with a registered tour operator is required for all international travelers, who will make all the arrangements for the permits, licenses, transport, guides, drivers, hotels, technical support, logistic supply, etc. for the entire trip.
How to Climb Mount Everest from Tibetan Side?
In Tibet, you have three options for trekking and/or climbing when visiting Qomolangma. You have the option of taking the roped northern route to the summit, a shorter climb to the Advanced Base Camp at more than six thousand meters, or taking the exciting and scenic trek from Old Tingri to EBC.
North Route of Mount Everest Climbing in Tibet
The climb to the top of Mount Everest starts at the Everest Base Camp at 5,180 meters, which lies just below the Rongbuk Glacier. The Base Camp at Rongbuk is the furthest tourists can travel at Mount Everest. From there, climbers ascend over the glacial moraine to Camp II at 6,100 meters, at the base of Changtse. The next step takes you up to Camp III at 6,500 meters, just below the famous North Col, and Camp IV is on the North Col at 7,010 meters, which is reached by climbing over the glacier and using fixed ropes to ascend the rock face to the camp.
We have made it to the Everest Base Camp in Tibetan side, at 5,180 meters.
From here, climbers must ascend the rocky north ridge to get to Camp V, which lies at an altitude of 7,775 meters, and for Camp VI, the route crosses the North Face in a diagonal climb to reach the base of the Yellow Band at 8,230 meters. The final push to the summit starts at Camp VI, and must be reached and returned to the camp within a day, as climbers cannot survive overnight on the summit, at an elevation of 8,848 meters. The route is a straight run up the final ridge, over the First and Second Steps to the peak, which can normally be completed in around 4-5 hours in good weather.
Trekking from Old Tingri to Everest Base Camp
The trek from Old Tingri to EBC is one of the best treks in Tibet, and while it is not as hard as other long treks in the plateau region, it is arduous enough at this high altitude. Covering a distance of around 70 kilometers over four days, this unique trek to Mount Everest in Tibet is a lifetime adventure for high-altitude trekkers. With altitudes ranging from 4,400 meters to as high as 5,300 meters, it is a physically challenging trek that takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery in the Qomolangma National Nature Reserve.
The trek starts at Old Tingri, on the G318 Friendship Highway, and heads south through Rachu and Lungthang to the first campsite at Danak. From there, you head up to the Lamna La Pass at 5,150 meters, and down the other side to the village of Zommug, where you stop for the second night. In the morning, you will make the leg of the trek to Rongbuk Monastery, where you will get to tour the gompa and stay the night in the monastery guesthouse, before completing the last leg of the trek to EBC in the morning of the final day.
Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp
Recognized as the highest trek in the world, the Mount Everest Advanced Base Camp Trek is an amazing experience of trekking at extreme altitudes. The trek is not an easy hike like some of the treks in Tibet and Nepal, though it is also not an attempt to reach the summit. The Advanced Base Camp sits at an altitude of around 6,500 meters, and lies just below the North Col, being Camp III for those climbing to the summit.
Trekking the way to Advanced Base Camp
The trekking route starts from EBC at 5,180 meters, and heads up over the glacial moraine of the Rongbuk Glacier, following the same route that is taken by mountaineers to the summit. The first stop is at Camp 1, and then it is on to the Intermediate Camp. The Intermediate Camp for this trek lies at an altitude of 5,800 meters, just below the Mountaineering Camp II, and in clear sight of the summit of Mount Changtse, which looms above the campsite. From there, the push on the second day is all the way up to Camp 2, from where you will make the final push to the Advanced Base Camp and back on the following day. The Advanced Camp lies alongside the East Rongbuk Glacier. The descent from Camp 2 is done after spending the night in the tents, and as the sun rises, you get a great view of the North Col above you, and can clearly see the East Ridge Route of Mount Everest and the stunning sight of the East Rongbuk Glacier. On the descent, you will head straight back to EBC without stopping at Camp 1 along the way.
When is the Best Time to Visit Mount Everest?
For those trekking and climbing on Mount Everest, there are two distinct windows of opportunity for this experience, from April to May and September to October. In the spring, the weather is starting to warm up, and the skies are clear enough to make the trek to EBC from Old Tingri, though it is not usually until May that one can make the trek to the Advanced Camp or the climb to the summit. And even then, there are specific requirements with the weather before a climb can be attempted.
The autumn season also allows trekkers to make the treks to EBC and the Advanced Camp, and for the Advanced Camp trek, the weather is better in the autumn, with more windows of opportunity to make the ascent. However, there is normally only a period of a couple of weeks at the end of September and beginning of October that is ideal for climbing to the summit.
As the most revered mountain in the world by trekkers and climbers, Mount Everest is the pinnacle of trekking and climbing in the world. The highest peak on the planet, there is an intense sense of achievement to reaching the summit, or even just reaching the Base Camp after an arduous 4-day trek. If you are thinking of heading to Tibet to trek or climb, then our amazing tours can cater to everyone’s needs, and we can provide you with all you need to make your trip to Tibet for Mount Everest trekking and climbing the best experience of your lifetime.