Everest. Named after Sir George Everest, the British Surveyor General of India at the time when the mountain was first identified as ‘Point XV’ on the border with Nepal and Tibet. To the Sherpas and Tibetans however she is ‘Chomolungma’ - Mother Goddess of the Earth. And the Nepalese have their own name, ‘Sagarmartha’. But there is no dispute about the mountain - the highest in the world. Every year climbers from nations all around the world rendezvous at the Nepalese Base Camp, just beneath the infamous Ice Fall to plot a route up the mountain and to dare to dream. Our trek to Base Camp as well as the simple peak just beside Base Camp, the point known as ‘Kala Pattar’, follows in the footsteps of these mountaineers up the Khumbu valley, home to the most famous people in the Himalayas, the Sherpas. Traditionally traders, they have been associated with Everest ever since the first attempts on the North (Tibetan) side of the mountain in the 1920’s. Nowadays, few expeditions attempt the summit without a cohort of Sherpas in support - and often out in front. Join us on this 18-day, Grade 4 (strenuous) trek; the most famous trek in the world.
This is intended to illustrate only an overall ‘feel’ for the route and does not show all the daily ascents & descents The conversion to feet is as follows:
3000m = 9840ft 4000m = 13,120ft 5000m = 16,400ft
Day 1 Kathmandu - Lukla (2880m) - Phadking (2743m).
Day 2 Phadking - Namche (3445m).
Day 3 Namche - Rest/acclimatisation day.
Day 4 Namche - Kumjung (3810m).
Day 5 Kumjung – Tangboche (3844 m).
Day 6 Tengboche - Dingboche (4280m).
Day 7 Dingboche - Rest/acclimatisation day.
Day 8 Dingboche - Dugla (4600m).
Day 9 Dugla - Lobuche (4931m).
Day 10 Lobuche - Gorak Shep (5170).
Day 11 Gorak Shep – Kala Pattar (5545m) – Gorak Shep
Day 12 Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp (5364m) – Gorak Shep.
Day 13 Gorak Shep - Pherich (4280m).
Day 14 Pheriche – Tangboche (3844m).
Day 15 Tangboche - Namche (3,445m)
Day 16 Namche-Phadking (2743m)
Day 17 Phadking – Lukla (2880m)
Day 18 Lukla- Kathmandu.
Day 1: Kathmandu - Lukla (2880m) - Phadking (2743m).
Our early morning flight by Twin Otter aircraft rushes us to Lukla, the most renowned mountain airstrip in the world. Originally conceived by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust as an emergency evacuation runway for casualties brought to the Trust’s hospital at nearby Kunde, Lukla is now one of the busiest runways in Nepal. On the flight we watch the rugged foothills give way to the snowline of the Himalaya; many of the world’s highest mountains, including Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu (the world’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th highest respectively) may sometimes be seen from the window of the plane. On arrival, we meet our Sherpas and after a cup of tea we pick up the trail out of high-altitude trek begins by descending to the river at Phakding.
Day 2: Phadking - Namche (3445m).
After a gentle trek torwards Chumoa and the entry way for Sagarmatha National Park, we begin the ascent to Namche Bazaar. At about half-way up the hill, a gap in the trees allow us to spy Everest for the first time. If the weather is clear, the top of the South-West Face will be just visible behind the long Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. A plume can often be seen stretching away from the very summit.
Namche is the most prosperous and the largest town in the Khumbu. A bazaar is held here every Saturday. The wares on display include meat, grains and vegetables, tennis shoes and trinkets as well as hand woven aprons and Tibetan boots. The Sherpas play host to traders from the foothills, as well as Tibetans from over the border. Thamserku (6648m), Kwangde Ri (6187m) and Khumbila (5707m) surround the natural bowl that Namche sits in.
Day 3: Namche - Rest/acclimatisation day.
We take the day off to allow our bodies to adjust to the rarefied atmosphere before ascending to higher altitudes. During our rest day, we can stroll across to the museum behind the police post or ‘chill out’ and visit one of the lodges for a freshly-baked cinnamon roll. Namche is a busy and bustling trading place and there is always plenty going on.
Day 4: Namche - Kumjung (3810m).
Today we hike up the hill behind Namche to the airstrip at Syangboche and on to Kumjung. Kumjung is one of the most beautiful villages in Khumbu. The Himalayan Trust has a school here, as well as a medical post (for locals and trekkers) in nearby Khunde.
Day 5: Kumjung – Tangboche (3844 m).
The trail this morning descends to the Dudh Khosi. There are spectacular views of Ama Dablam (6696m) and Kantega (6779m) as well as Everest (8848m) and Lhotse (8501m). Keep a look-out too for pheasant in the undergrowth. We cross the river at Phunki Thanga and climb through the afternoon amongst rhododendron forest to the saddle at the top of the hill. Suddenly in front of us is Tengboche, the principal monastery of the Khumbu area; the views from here are unforgettable.
Day 6: Tengboche - Dingboche (4280m).
We follow the path down from Tengboche through the rhododendron forest to Deboche and cross an exciting bridge with the boiling, roaring Imja Khol beneath our feet. A gradual climb takes us to the village of Lower Pangboche. We are now in the heart of the Khumbu, with spectacular views across to Ama Dablam. The afternoon stroll takes us along a path that hugs the valley wall and then across wide plains to a split in the valley. The Khumbu breaks right, up to Dingboche.
Day 7: Dingboche - Rest/acclimatisation day.
Rather than just sitting around in the tea house, we encourage you to attempt one of two hikes. The shorter option ascends the hill immediately behind Dingboche, to drop steeply down to Dingboche. The Himalayan Rescue Association operates a medical post here and the western doctors conduct excellent seminars on Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) here on most afternoons.
The longer option is to trek from Dingboche and trek up the Imja Tse valley towards Island Peak. The views of Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Cho Polu from here are outstanding. After a few hours the trekker terminus of Chukung is reached, and after a rest we return down the valley.
Day 8: Dingboche - Dugla (4600m).
We climb up to the ridge behind Periche and stay high, mesmerised by the views of Tawoche and Cholatse, until we reach the tea houses at Dughla. Many people continue from here to Lobuche. But, it makes for better acclimatizing to ascend slowly. There are basic lodges here offering accommodations.
Day 9: Dugla - Lobuche (4931m).
From Dugla we continue our stiff ascent to the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier. The top of the climb is marked by a series of stone monuments to commemorate some of the climbers that have not returned from expeditions to this region. Loboche is a windswept collection of huts tucked in a narrow meadow between the glacier and the Loboje Peak (6156m). The Lhotse ridge is simply awesome from this angle.
Day 10: Lobuche - Gorak Shep (5170).
We trek along the rough path along the side of the Khumbu glacier to the tea houses at Gorak Shep. The afternoon if for relaxing and preparing oneself for the trek to Kala Pattar the next day.
Day 11: Gorak Shep – Kala Pattar (5545m) – Gorak Shep
Behind Gorak Shep rises the attractive 7000m peak of Pumori which dwarfs our trek’s summit of Kala Pattar. The route up is straightforward and takes most people between 90 minutes and 2 hours. All the peaks - Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam and scores of other lesser peaks can be seen from this wonderful vantage point. We return to Gorak Shep for lunch. We’ll spend the afternoon relaxing before our trek to Base Camp the next day.
Day 12: Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp (5364m) – Gorak Shep.
In the early morning we follow the Khumbu Glacier into Base Camp. Although the views are not as good as from Kalla Pattar, we can have a chance to get to the foot of the Khumbu Ice Fall from Base Camp. We will also have a chance to meet the trekking expedition advance parties. After visiting Base Camp (about 2 hrs from Gorak Shep), we’ll return to Gorak Shep.
Day 13: Gorak Shep - Pherich (4280m).
We retrace our path to Dugla, but from Dugla, we follow the river valley to Periche.
Day 14: Pheriche – Tangboche (3844m).
After departing Pheriche, we climb a ridge before rejoining the route to Tangboche, from which we came.
Day 15: Tangboche - Namche (3,445m)
Our route starts off as it was when coming from Khumjung. To reach Namche, we contour around the side of the mountain until finally reaching the top of the village.
Day 16: Namche-Phadking (2743m)
This morning we descend thru Monjo and continue to Phadking.
Day 17: Phadking – Lukla (2880m)
Most people head towards Lukla with a heavy heart. There is something very special about the setting, the villages and the people of the high Khumbu hills and valleys and our memories help us up the deceptively long, final climb into Lukla.
Day 18: Lukla- Kathmandu.
Today is another chance to enjoy this great flight. Please note that flights into Lukla are sometimes delayed due to un-flyable conditions either in fog-bound Kathmandu or windy Lukla; be reassured that our staff in Lukla and in Kathmandu will be doing everything possible to minimise the inconvenience caused if this happens. Your patience in the trying circumstances which can occur will be greatly appreciated.
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