Mount Everest also known as the world’s highest mountain stands tall in this ancient land of Nepal. It is situated in the Mahalangur section of Himalayas. Standing tall with the height of 8,848m its massif includes the neighbouring peaks Lhotse, Nuptse and Changtse.
In 1865 upon the recommendation of Andrew Waugh who was the Surveyor General of India the Royal Geographical Society officially named the peak Everest. Waugh named the mountain after predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest. However, in Nepali language it is known as the mount Sagarmatha.
Mount Everest Base Camp is a phrase used to describe two base camps that face on opposite sides of Mt Everest. The Southern Base Camp is Nepal and lies at an altitude of 5,364m whereas Northern Base Camp is in Tibet in 5,150m. Gifted with springs, Everest Base Camp that lies 5150m was first used by the 1924 British Everest expedition. It is one of the popular destinations for trekkers since the very first expeditions to the Nepalese side of Everest in the 1953. To reach this part of the Himalaya within a limited time, we have devised this two week trek to Everest Base Camp which runs directly to and from Lukla.
Everest Base Camp trek is a well known mountain trek that starts at the upper Phakding and follows the Dudh Kosi Valley which climbs up to the Sherpa capital of Namche; a bustling bazaar that is a junction for trekkers, the local Sherpa and expeditions en route to the mighty Mt. Everest. During this part of the trail villages are spread with magnificent forests of rhododendron, magnolia and giant firs. In both the early autumn and late spring, the flowers on this portion of the trek make it the kind of walk you will remember for a long time.
Once set our foot on Namche then we trek along a high traversing path where we have our first good views of Everest and then head towards Thyangboche Monastery that takes around 2 Hours to climb. The monastery sits at 3867m in a clearing surrounded by dwarf firs and rhododendrons. It is structurally located on a ridge top with commanding views of the Everest landscape. The view from this place seen is magnificent in the morning and is absolutely mesmerizing and stunning.
After that we descend to the Imja Khola and continue to the villages of Pangboche and Pheriche before finally approaching the Khumbu Glacier. We then follow the glacier that is first to Lobuche, a vantage point for some spectacular views of the Ama Dablam, Taweche and other peaks and then hike to Gorak Shep for a breather.
We also have the opportunity to ascend Kala Patthar [5554m] from where we can get some awesome views of the Himalayan giants which literally numb your senses with breathless admiration that beholds the eye; and makes up for the lung-bursting climb that took you up there. You soon realize it was absolutely worth it. This also includes fantastic views of the south west face of the colossal Mt. Everest. We then trek down to Everest Base Camp at the foot of the Khumbu ice fall before finally making our way back down to Lukla.
We fly from Kathmandu to Lukla a small airstrip high above the Dudh Kosi valley. After meeting our trekking crew and sorting out our gear we then begin the trek by descending to Chaunrikharka and heading up the Dudh Kosi valley to Phakding. Overnight stay will be at the Lodge in Phakding on full board basis.
From Phakding, we cross and re-cross the river on high suspension bridges. Beyond the Monjo lies the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment. We then ascend up to Namche and along the way when the weather is clear we catch a first glimpse of Mt Everest in the distance. Namche is the main trading village in the Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market – a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La. Overnight will be at the lodge in Namche on full board basis.
Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu. It has an abundance of lodges, tea shops and souvenir shops. It is an ideal place to spend a rest day, acclimatizing to the new altitude before heading off towards Gokyo. Options for acclimatization walks include a visit to Khunde Hospital that was set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary. Around an hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche. From there we can watch the sunset over Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. There are also good views from the National Park Centre and Museum just above the village. Overnight will be at the lodge in Namche on full board basis.
The fourth day is a spectacular day in terms of scenery as we follow the main trail north out of Namche. A short climb to a crest reveals a wonderful view towards Everest and Lhotse. We follow this main trail for a while by passing many traders selling Tibetan handicrafts to a crossroads high above the Dudh Kosi. The trail to Everest drops down the hill but we turn off here and climb to cross the Mon La before reaching Phortse Tenga. From Phortse Tenga, the trail climbs steeply to Dole, through rhododendron and birch forest festooned with hanging mosses and lichens. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Dole on full board basis.
From Dole then we climb steadily along the side of the valley where the rhododendron forests give way to scrub juniper as the altitude increases. The trail passes many summer settlements that are used when Yaks are taken to these pastures to graze in the summer months. Ahead of us are excellent views of Cho Oyu, while at the rear are the peaks of Kantega and Thamserku. We will arrive at Machermo in time for lunch. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Machermo on full board basis.
We head for the lakes at Gokyo and then we follow a very scenic path to Pangka and then descend slightly, following one of the rivers which flow down the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier. We climb a steep rocky incline into the valley by the side of the glacier, passing the first of the holy lakes. We soon arrive at the second of the lakes, crossing the path which heads across the glacier to Cho La – our route to Lobuche and Everest, later in the trek. The third lake is known as Dudh Pokhari and on its eastern shore is the settlement of Gokyo. Walking by the side of the lake, the scenery is breathtaking with the summits of Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang reflected in its emerald green waters. Overnight night stay will be at Lodge in Gokyo on full board.
Gokyo Ri looms above the village on the northern edge of the lake. Following a steep path up the hillside we climb the summits of Everest. Lhotse and Makalu slowly come into sight and the view from the summit of Gokyo Ri thatis one of the finest in the Everest region – some says it is even better than that from Kala Patthar. For those who still have some energy, there are more good views one can get by dropping back down to the main path and following it north to the fourth and fifth of the Gokyo lakes, the latter being about three hours from Gokyo. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Gokyo on full board.
Fit and acclimatized we then leave to Gokyo to cross the Ngozumpa Glacier. We descend to the second lake and drop down onto the glacier. The route across the glacier is marked by cairns and is generally quite well defined. We climb off the glacier by a small dwelling known as Tragnag and follow a shallow valley to our camp by a small Kharka. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Tragnag on full board.
An early start is necessary on the ninth day because we have to cross Cho La and make the long descent to Lobuche. Continuing up the valley we cross a ridge and an old lateral moraine before beginning the rocky scramble to the pass. From the pass there are excellent views, across to the Rolwaling Valley in the west and Ama Dablam to the south east. The descent from the pass involves the crossing of a small glacier which is fairly straightforward. There are more excellent views of Ama Dablam and the forbidding north face of Cholatse as we descend to the pastures below. The way to Lobuche contours the grassy slopes above a lake, the Tshola Tsho, to join up with the main Everest trail from Pheriche and Thyangboche. The trail flattens out and follows the valley on the west side of the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche. Overnight stay will be at the Lodge in Lobuche on full board.
To reach our next objective that is Kala Patthar the trail continues to follow the valley beside the Khumbu Glacier and offers superb views of the surrounding mountains especially where the path is forced to rise to cross a tributary glacier. Later in the afternoon, when the sun begins to set over the Everest, we make our way to the top of one of the finest viewpoints in the Khumbu, Kala Pattar [5549m]. As the light begins to fade we stroll back to Gorak Shep and have an early night in preparation for our trek to Everest Base Camp the following day. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Gorak Shep on full board.
For the trek to Everest Base Camp, a very early start is required. It takes several hours on a trail across the Khumbu Glacier which weaves its way along translucent ice pinnacles and past seemingly bottomless crevasses. At Base Camp, there will hopefully be an expedition ‘in residence’ and there are great views up into the Khumbu Icefall where there is often some climbing activity. On the return leg, we can take a higher route to get a spectacular view of the Khumbu icefall and the route to the south Col. We then return to Gorak Shep. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Gorak Shep on full board.
It is downhill most of the way today, past Lobuche to Duglha and Pheriche. The Himalayan Rescue Association has trekkers’ aid post here which is interesting to visit. After lunch we cross the Khumbu Khola on a wooden suspension bridge and follow the Imja Khola to the village of Pangboche. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Pangboche on full board.
We continue to follow the river and after crossing it we then climb up through birch and rhododendron forest to Thyangboche and its famous monastery. There are magnificent views from here and Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantega and Thamserku are just a few of the Himalayan giants which can be seen. From Thyangboche we descend to the bridge over the Dudh Kosi at Phunki Tenga, where there are water driven prayer wheels, before making our way back to Namche. Overnight stay will be at Lodge in Namche on full board.
Our final day’s trekking follows the Dudh Kosi back down to Lukla. Overnight stay will be at the Lodge in Lukla on full board.
We pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop in a flight back to Kathmandu.