Solo trekking to Everest is NOT banned in Nepal – climbing might be

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ January 3rd, 2018. Published in: Travel blog » Nepal.
Mount Everest and Everest Base Camp

There is NO ban on solo trekkers to Everest Base Camp!

Nepal bans solo “climbing” of Mount Everest

Nepal has not banned solo trekking to Everest Base Camp or anywhere else! I’ve been getting a lot of emails over the Christmas and New Year holidays about big news media headlines announcing that Nepal has banned solo climbers from summiting Everest.

There is no ban on trekking.

Again, let me confirm the following:

  1. Solo trekking to Everest Base Camp is not banned – not banned for solo trekkers or hindered in anyway whatsoever. Go alone, go with a guide – there are no restrictions at all.
  2. Climbing up to the very top of Everest is under a “proposed solo climber ban” in the coming season.

What is the difference? Trekkers go to Everest Base Camp. Climbers (mountaineers) go to the very top of the mountain.

There is no solo trekking ban on Everest

A “solo climbing ban” on Everest means that the Nepali Authorities are “proposing” a new restriction on the climbers who want to go all the way to the top of Mount Everest. About 600 mountaineers do this every year … (think Edmund Hilary).

Trekkers flying to Lukla for their Everest trek

Trekkers flying to Lukla for their Everest trek – some have guides, some do not … and it’s all okay!

A “Solo trek to Mount Everest” means going on a trek (hike) from Lukla or Jiri to Everest Base Camp – this is what the vast majority of people do in Nepal and there is no solo trekking ban.

Why is there confusion over this?

It’s a mix of terminology (climbing vs trekking), big media selling headlines and a typical lack of communication from Nepal.

Earlier this year the Solokhumbu region (Everest region) introduced a controversial 2,000 rupee “foreigner” tourist tax for “anyone” in the region. I was the first to report the new Everest Tax here and have been keeping this updated for trekkers. While it’s been ruled as not applicable by Nepal, it’s still being collected. Read the link for updates.

A few years ago the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) – the quasi government agency that takes lots of money for mandatory TIMs cards from all trekkers and also takes vast amounts of money from trekking agencies and guides – wanted a ban on all solo trekking in Nepal. They failed miserably.

This year (2018) Nepal is proposing a ban on solo climbers who want to summit Mount Everest. This means that mountaineers who want to go all the way to the top of Everest as part of the big expeditions need to take a mountaineering guide. This proposal has not yet been 100% confirmed and the mountaineering associations around the world are generally not happy about it.

Again, there is no ban on solo trekkers to Everest Base Camp (EBC). You can still go alone or with a guide.

Why are climbers being banned from climbing Mount Everest alone?

It’s not just Mount Everest, solo climbing on all of Nepal’s mountains is banned. The official word is to increase the safety of the mountaineers. The unofficial word is so that a bucket load of money can be made.

Trek to Everest Base Camp alone, or with a guide

You can still trek to Everest Base Camp alone, or with a guide … there are no restrictions.

When the ban came in it also included double amputee and blind mountaineers. This, rightfully, created a bit of an uproar from the mountaineering associations and groups around the world. Nepali authorities have now clarified that double amputees and blind mountaineers can still climb but will been a doctors certificate saying they are capable.

To top it all off, the “ban” is still not 100% officially being enforced … yet.

If you are used to Nepali climbing and trekking laws then all of the above will come as no surprise to you and neither will the lack of confirmation or sense. If you are new to all this … just remember this does not effect trekkers in the least. At least, not yet.

Will Nepal ban “solo trekkers” in Nepal soon?

I have no doubt whatsoever that TAAN and the multitude of trekking companies that work and are a part of the profits that make up TAAN want a full ban on solo trekkers in Nepal. Every year they push and push for the ban. Why? So they can make a fortune from trekkers through fees via the companies they have ties with.

I wrote about this back in 2012 – Nepal to ban solo trekking. Thankfully international pressure stopped this from happening.

Now that Nepal is “booming” post 2015 earthquake, I have no doubt that TAAN and those who would profit from such a ban are gearing up for another shot at cashing in.

Can it be enforced? Well, just look at the “illegal” new Everest fee/tax. It’s officially not meant to exist, but try flying into Lukla and escaping it. Likewise when TIMs cards were said to no longer be needed in the regions … well, they are still mandatory. So basically… what a great testing ground.

For now, trekking solo is still 100% allowed in Nepal, everywhere (aside from culturally restricted zones like Upper Mustang).

Route to Everest Base Camp

Trekking to Everest Base Camp … can you find the route? It’s not that easy compared to what “some” people say. If you’ve never been trekking in Nepal before – my advice is get a qualified guide – if you have been trekking before, then the choice is yours … either way I also recommend you get my guidebook to Nepal and get the real insider tips to this awesome country you’ll be visiting soon!

Should you trek to Everest Base Camp alone?

No. Not if you are a first time trekker. That’s what I’ve said and written for years. If you have prior trekking experience in Nepal, then yes you could consider it. If you have never been trekking before then in my opinion it’s better and safer to go with a registered trekking guide.

I take the view that safety comes first alone with enjoying the trek. That goes for every trek, not just EBC.

Take a look at MissingTrekker.com (the yearly report is due out this week). You’ll see how many reported trekkers went missing last year.

A trek anywhere in Nepal is to be enjoyed. For first time trekkers, going with a guide will add to your safety and improve your experience, knowledge and understanding about not only trekking and how to trek but also about the mountains of Nepal.

Where do you find a guide for Everest Base Camp? Well, start by reading my free guides to trekking in Nepal – including –  how to trek to Everest Base Camp, how to find a trekking guide in Nepal and for all this and so much more my book on Trekking in Nepal!

If you plan to travel more of Nepal, then check out the book below which includes the trekking book as a dedicated chapter.


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The most up-to-date, popular and dedicated guidebook to Nepal in the world. Take a look below and you’ll find out why!
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Find out more here!

 


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28 Great responses to Solo trekking to Everest is NOT banned in Nepal – climbing might be

  1. Karla says:

    It’s all a money game to them. Shame. I wonder if Pakistan is benefiting from this in terms of mountaineers going there?

  2. Sandi Bergen says:

    Great news but sad news. Why does every Asian country need to squeeze tourists out of money?

  3. Anna's World says:

    Thanks for clarifying all this. Why can’t the Nepalese just announce these things properly!

  4. Jose Janson says:

    I’m sure they make these announcements just for PR! haha

  5. Amy & Tim says:

    We went to Nepal 5 years ago and had a great experience on the Annapurna Circuit. We always planned to go back and do the EBC trek by ourselves. We train every day and we took a guide for the APC trek. We are very capable. But if Nepal bans solo trekking then we might just consider going to Chiral in Pakistan or India.

    • There’s not much evidence to say Nepal will ban solo trekking. It’s only being pushed by private tour companies who wish to profit from it. Many of these companies are apart of TAAN who were the last organization to push for a ban on solo trekking in 2012. It failed. Solo trekking is not banned in Nepal.

  6. Kevin R says:

    I saw this last week and thought it was no longer allow to visit Everest Base Camp, nearly cancelled out trip until I saw this! Are you 100% sure we can still trek?

  7. Timothy Farmer says:

    How dangerous is it to trek alone? I now it’s not banned, but are there really that many people that go missing every year?

  8. Rebecca Kennedy says:

    Thanks for this update. So am I right in saying we still need to pay and extra $20 for the everest trek? I thought the fee was stopped?

  9. Mark Sanders says:

    Interesting to see this happen. I wonder if they will do the same with trekking soon. IF they do, I won’t be going back to Nepal.

  10. Hari says:

    Thanks for the update. This is right information on right time. A lot of foreign travelers are asking about this issue on social media.

  11. vinod kakarla says:

    Thanks for the update. i came by to find out many things of help in this article. i like this

  12. Phong says:

    can anyone confirm this? I will trekk to EBC on Feb by just myself (( no guide no porter) ). If you also trekk at the same time, join with me : (edit-moderator:email address removed for privacy reasons)

  13. Kev says:

    It’s sad that Nepal feels the need to do this re fees etc. I first trekked end from jiri solo in 1990 and have repeated it over a dozen occasions via goyko, Cho la etc. I don’t agree with the ” if you’ve never been trekking in Nepal don’t go alone” thing. The route is effectively a motorway through the hills and lost or missing trekkers probably got stoned and wandered off or pushed off by a yak because they stood on the outside of the path. Sorry but this smacks of health and safety nonsense oh and that is my profession too.

    • Yes, I agree this is a sad route for Nepal to follow re the fees. To be fair the authorities have said the fee does not have to be paid. But, regionally you are force to.

      “The route is effectively a motorway through the hills and lost or missing trekkers probably got stoned and wandered off or pushed off by a yak because they stood on the outside of the path”

      The latter is just one of many reasons why I recommend first time trekkers to take a guide. However it’s not a motorway, far from it. There are people from all walks of life who want to go trekking to EBC. Just last week someone asked if they could shorten it to 5 days … Another if it was okay to trek at night to speed it up and so they can save money.

      I will always air on the side of caution in offering advice to first time trekkers. One doesn’t know them or their background so airing on the side of sensible caution is the right approach.

      Take a wanter over to https://www.missingtrekker.com when you get a chance.

      • Kev says:

        By motorway I mean the primary artery by which people and goods get to the solo khumbu region. If people from all walks of life include those examples you mention then basic Darwinism will eliminate them from the gene pool. To ask questions as assinine as those beggers belief. Yes there are people from all walks of life doing both Everest and other treks but to me the advice of using a guide smacks of safety for no good reason. Given the information now available on the web anyone entering into a trek without knowing the details shouldn’t be either travelling or on holiday in Nepal. I looked at missing trekkers website before my original post. Yup folk go missing.

        • As many people come here looking for information and ask questions with varying backgrounds and experience, I will always air on the side of safety. While Darwin plays a part in life, I’d rather not be the one to pull the plug on anyones gene pool.

          Some people come with a lot of knowledge, others zero.

          As such, in general I advise:

          – If they’ve never been trekking before, I advise people to read up and research plus take a qualified guide.

          – If they have been trekking before elsewhere, I advise people to read up and research plus consider a qualified guide.

          – If they have been trekking in Nepal before I advise people to read up and research plus make their own judgment call on taking a guide.

          At the end of the day everyone needs to make their own call. And yes, sadly there are people who don’t research enough. I try to inject safety into things so some of it might sink in for them. The people that research and read about the trek before hand are already one step ahead.

          There have been several people over the years who’ve written in here and not known the basics of trekking while sounding knowledgeable in many respects. People have come back to me before, during and after their trek with thanks about either money saved, a better trek and perhaps most importantly a safer trek that could have ended as something else. It’s those few, that make it worthwhile to air on the side of safety. To those with plenty of trekking experience it can often be irritating to hear the basics repeated over and over, but there are forums and places they can go for more technical discussions etc.

  14. Andrew Curtis says:

    Yes, it is true that solo trekking in Nepal is not banned and I don’t think that in the future they will ban because as far as I know trekking is the major tourist attraction in Nepal and for sure they will not put a full stop on this activity.