Everest Trekking -- The trek out to Everest Base Camp follows two main routes -- from Pelbar via the wretchedly poor village of Chay, and from Tingri via Lungjiang. The former route (113km/70 miles) is usually traveled by 4WD in 3 hours along a much-improved road. The latter is a tough 3- to 4-day journey, and the path is hard to follow in places. Gary McCue's Trekking in Tibet is a reliable guide for this route and for other hikes in the Qomolangma Nature Preserve. At ¥400 ($52/£26) per jeep plus another ¥180 ($23/£11) per person, the permit price matches the steepness of the mountain. Permits can be purchased at Pelbar, Tingri, or Chay. Accommodations are available in tents at Base Camp (¥25/$3.25/£1.65) at an elevation of 5,150m (16,890 ft.). The "real" Base Camp with real expeditions and mountaineers is a couple of kilometers farther on. There are also basic rooms at Rongbuk Monastery (¥40/$5.20/£2.60) and a new guesthouse right next door (¥40-¥60/$5.20-$7.80/£2.60-£3.90), both of which lie at an elevation of 4,980m (16,330 ft.).
The height of Mount Everest was recently fixed at 8,846m (29,015 ft.), somewhat lower than first believed, and a fact which some experts are blaming on global warming and the mountain's shrinking icecap. However, a few yards is invisible to the naked eye and on a clear day it presents an astounding vista, particularly from Pang La and Lamma La. Insistence on the use of Qomolangma (Zhumulangma) rather than Mount Everest to label the world's highest peak would have pleased Sir George Everest, who staunchly believed in using local place-names.