everest base camp phortse tenga to dhole

Phortse Tenga to Dhole – Day 5 – Trek to Everest Base Camp

It’s Day Five of our trek to Everest Base Camp and we’re leaving the nicely maintained trail and heading from Phortse Tenga to Dhole.  It’s a shock to the system.

You have got to be kidding me would be the first words that would pass my lips if I had the breath to utter them.  And so, I think this is real Nepal.  Not a well-maintained trail.  Not a trail at all.  No cut steps.  This is scramble up rocks, grabbing tree roots, offered poles, and often a push from behind.


Read a Day by Day Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Logistics

If you’re interested in the details of how far we trekked each day and what the altitude gain is, here are those details.

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Distance

The distance between Phortse Tenga and Dhole is 1.9 miles or 3.1 kilometers.

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Altitude Gain

The altitude of Phortse Tenga is 3680m, and the altitude of Dhole is 4200m.  Today we gained 520 meters in altitude.

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Phortse Tenga to Dhole Time Trekking

It took us 2.5 hours to walk from Phortse Tenga to Dhole.

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Trail Map

It might not look far on the map, but if the first 30 minutes are anything to go by, then it’s going to be a long day.  We don’t talk in terms of how far it is, it’s always how long it will take.  And the altitude that we gain becomes more important to us.   

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Trail Map

At least, we reason with each other, we don’t have to go back down this way.  The route that this trek takes us is almost circular.  We’ll head over the Cho La Pass, up through Lobuche to Gorakshep, and then from Gorakshep to Everest Base Camp.  Then we’ll go back down, and then via Dingboche to Lobuche and down “the other side”.

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Prayer Flags

Once we’ve scrambled up this first bank, there’s a trail again.  As we look back, the campsite already seems a long way away and we’ve got another glorious day.  It feels like the sun always shines in Nepal, but I suspect that might change soon.

Phortse Tenga camp

Nutrition on the Everest Base Camp Trek

I’m finding it hard to eat now.  One of the side effects of altitude is a loss of appetite.  We’re burning more calories as we exercise here now at 3680 meters above sea level and it’s important that we maintain our calorie intake.  Considering the facilities and the fact that everything we’re eating is carried in on someone’s back, we’re eating really well.    

Breakfast on EBC Trek

What Are We Eating?

Breakfast includes eggs of some form (Nigel can’t take them anymore).  I think boiled eggs are the hardest to digest.  I don’t think I can force an omelet down.  There’s bread too, either white sliced or Indian chapati or roti.  Our lunch and dinner always include a soup, which always contains garlic, sometimes noodles and veg.  Then there’s a variety of carbs – we’re a team of chip eaters.

There are even cheese pasties!

Pasty on Everest Base Camp Trek

They always go down well.  We’re not so keen on the whole boiled potatoes, but always seem to manage most of the pasta.    There’s chicken often, hot dogs, and there’s always a veg alternative.  There’s way too much tinned tuna for some tastes.  You definitely don’t go hungry on this trip.

But it is hard to eat.    And you’ve barely made a start on what’s already on your plate before our Sherpa guides are doing the rounds again trying to convince you to eat more.

It’s hard to comprehend how these guys do it.

Sherpa Guides on the Everest Base Camp Trek

Lapka, Meg, and Moni are up long before we are.  They wake us up and bring hot black tea.  Ramesh is with them, almost insisting on the sugar to add to it, and also doing a visual confirmation that we’re all OK.   10 minutes later, the guys are back with our hot washy water in our dog bowls.  

room of the lodge.  Meg is our cook as well as our guide.

Sherpa Guide Mek

And as we sit on tables that line the walls of the dining room, they serve us our breakfast.  And seconds.  And bring us hot tea, hot water, and hot milk.  They fill up our water bottles.

Our Guides on the EBC Trek

We seem to barely have time to visit the loo before they’re all ready, their FULL packs on, plus the medical pack while we carry the minimum in our day packs.


And then they’re off.  They take turns in leading.  The front, middle, and back of the group.    They not only show you the way but point out the peaks and the wildlife.  They help you reach your water bottle and of course, they pull you up the hill when you can’t quite manage it.  If you’re not feeling so good, they’ll take your day pack (and your heavy camera and lenses) for you too.

Mek our Sherpa Guide

When we stop for lunch, we barely make it to slump in the lodge, and yet they’re running around us all over again. 

Leaving the Main EBC Trail

The trail is much quieter today, we’re off the main route to Everest – so there are few folks that we meet.  There’s a desolation, a wilderness, and a glorious peace, especially in the middle of this group where I find myself.    I get the now familiar feeling that we really are the only people in the world here.

Phortse Tenga to Dhole Trail

At least as we’re gaining in altitude it keeps us warm, and while we’re now above the snow line in a lot of places, it’s still warm. Our day packs become increasingly full of layers.  It’s a sunny, warm campsite that we find when we arrive at Dhole.

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Dhole Campsite

We have company again – the family of Australians (although Dad is a Brit transplant) with two young girls is here. They’re taking a similar route to us, but leaving us at Gokyo.  They’ll then be heading through the Ren Lo pass.  So we’ll also have company this afternoon when we hike up one of the neighboring hills in our quest to “climb high, sleep low”.

Afternoon altitude hike at Dhole
Dhole Campsite

Toilets on Nepal Treks

The lowlight of Dhole is the toilet block.  Not only do we have to hike up to them, over a gap in the wall, but they’re pretty damned scary.

There are holes in the floor, there’s a plank of wood to scrape down old leaves on top of what’s down the hole.  But perhaps it’s the dark, perhaps it’s gastro problems but there’s not a lot that makes it down the holes.    It becomes an ongoing internal battle, drink more to hydrate or try not to avoid the toilets.    It’s almost a relief when we leave the next day.  Surely there will be better facilities when we reach Machhermo.

Essentials for an Everest Base Camp Trek

And… the most important thing…

Travel Tips for Exploring Nepal

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