Undeniably two of the most illustrious treks in Nepal, both ABC Trek and EBC Trek are great ways to explore the majestic Himalayas and the beautiful cultures that the lands hold. Walking through the trails and traits of both these treks, this read can help you figure out the right trek that your heart, mind, and body are inclined to.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
Now, on to the comparison: Annapurna Base Camp trek takes you to the northern central region of Nepal where your journey begins from the lively city of Pokhara. The trails of the ABC trek starts from fertile lowlands and walks through blooming greenery of Rhododendron trees to the Himalayas where you get a panoramic view of the Annapurna massif, Dhaulagiri (8167m), and Machhapuchhre (6997m) among others. You come across settlements of different communities of Gurung, Magars and Thakali in the lowlands.
Everest Base Camp Trek
On the other hand, the Everest Base Camp trek starts with a scenic flight to Lukla, situated in north-eastern Nepal in the Khumbu region. Traversing across places such as Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, and the Sagarmatha National Park, travelers witness the Sherpa people who are renowned for their praise-worthy companionship to the Himalayas. Trekkers witness the Mt. Everest (8848m) while also reveling at the sights of other glorious peaks such as Lhotse (8414m), Cho Oyu (8188m), Ama Dablam (6856m), and Nuptse (7861m) to name a few. Khumbu Glacier, Sherpa culture, and ancient monasteries make the trek even more delirious.
In comparison, the EBC Trek takes a longer time to complete with 15 days on average while the ABC only takes around 12 days! However, trekkers can choose to shorten or lengthen the trip on their own will. Similarly, the prices of the treks also vary as per the route preferred by a traveler.
Weather in EBC and ABC
The ABC and EBC treks are considered high altitude trekking which implies the meaning that the climate in these regions is frigid. The EBC (5,364m) lies higher in altitude than ABC (4,130), thus the EBC experiences colder weather than ABC. However, the hidden benefit held by this fact is that EBC has a lower chance of receiving rainfall during the monsoon season. But in return, winters bring a temperature drop of as low as -20°C. On the other hand, ABC only faces a temperature drop to about -8°C and has a comparatively warmer atmosphere than EBC throughout. While winters favor trekking in the ABC and monsoons favor trekking in EBC; the spring and autumn seasons, which generally occur during the months of February to April and mid-October to November respectively, serve as the ideal time to trek in both these regions.
Altitude Sickness in EBC and ABC
Higher the altitude, higher the risks of altitude sickness! It is true that altitude sickness threats can be higher in the EBC trek; however, this does not rule out the fact that risks like these are always present when you are traveling above 3,000 meters, and ABC is no less. Therefore, it is highly recommended to not rush and cover high altitudes in a short time, instead spend time acclimatizing. With proper guidance and patience, these threats can be appropriately addressed. Both these treks incorporate mildly harsh geographical features that make them moderately tricky. Thus, individuals are required to undergo basic strength training to build up endurance for the hardships that may come across their paths. It is also essential that you take just the right trekking gears and equipment. Trekking gears must include multi-layered clothing that is waterproof to tackle the cold and in some cases, rain. It is recommended to carry some Diamox pills to treat altitude sickness, in addition to basic first aid kits. Overall, both these treks require you to carry the same gears.
Selecting between the ABC and the EBC trek is definitely not an easy task. Both these treks have features that set them a class apart from others. Singing lore of Himalayan glory, this treksboast of ethnic communities and culture which significantly add an extra layer of intrigue on the trek. No matter the trek, one is sure to be rewarded with genuine Nepali flavors and sublime Himalayan environs.