Poll: Which is harder: Grand Traverse or Everest Base Camp

A standard Grand Traverse
4 80%
Everest Base Camp
1 20%
Total number of voters: 5 ( antmanhowes, ahowes, kbresler, intrepid, ghaznavid )
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28 May 2012 14:44 #54104 by ghaznavid
GT or EBC was created by ghaznavid
I have been looking at a friend's pics of the EBC hike - I see you are in huts every night, have baggage porters/yows (a hybrid of a cow and a yak) and the daily distance isn't that bad. That being said, altitude is a killer, and it is for more days. So which do you guys think is the hardest?

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29 May 2012 10:37 - 29 May 2012 10:41 #54116 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Re: GT or EBC
Interesting one. The most direct way to EBC via the Khumbu Valley, staring from Lukla, is not difficult at all, and its not far, this is true. The valley is very populated and there is a constant buzz of trekkers, traders, porters and yaks (it is quieter in the off season though). Yes you can stay in lodges all the way, and portering is the norm. The Grand Traverse is a lot more physical, you're carrying heavy, exposed to the elements more and its more remote. In this sense I would say the GT is harder. Its sustained and intense.

However, when it comes to the challenge with altitude, the GT doesn't even make a dent compared to the EBC trek. And it is a major, major challenge. On a standard itinerary you spend the first night at Phakding which is about 2800m. Thereafter you are sleeping higher than Thabana Ntlenyana, culminating at either Lobuje (just under 5000m) or Gorak Shep (5100m) before you start heading back. You are sleeping much higher than a standard Killi trip even. Acclimatising can be very uncomfortable, even if everything is going well, and symptoms can so easily spiral and become life threatening if you're not careful. The nausea, headaches, appetite loss, lethargy, funky dreams and sleeplessness at 2am competes very strongly with the endurance of the GT.

And, if you don't have an iron stomach, you are normally fighting some sort of diarrhoea on top of it. This is the end of the road for many trekkers. :laugh:

You can make an EBC trek more challenging if you go another route, like Gokyo and crossing over the Cho La, and there is even the so called Three Passes trek where you cross 3 passes over 5000m and do EBC inbetween. And you can sleep in tents if you want.

But there you have it. GT is more physical I think.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 29 May 2012 10:41 by intrepid. Reason: typo

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18 Nov 2012 22:15 #55636 by kbresler
Replied by kbresler on topic GT or EBC
In my humble opinion it is hard to compare these two treks as it is so different. I fully agree with Intrepid, the GT is much harder. Or maybe I am just a sissy but my GT a few years ago was pretty tough. EBC does add the concern about altitude but I found this trip easy and extremely enjoyable, coupled with the privilege of moving amongst the largest mountains in the world. The only tough day for me was the trek to EBC and back to Gorak Shep. But then again I did break the rules and carried on past EBC for a bit (stupid idea if your not prepared and kitted).
Altitude seems to be a real concern for some in the Berg as well and not to be under-estimated. But then again, on the GT you can acclimatise as you remain fairly constant within a few 100 meters once on the escarpment. Either way, both should be on the bucket list.

Kobus Bresler

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