Day 06: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding (2,652m): 3-4 hour trek
After breakfast, we get transferred to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Domestic Airport for an early morning flight to Lukla from where our Everest Base Camp trekking starts. After an adventurous 30 minutes flight above breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach the Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a dramatic landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains peaks. Here we meet our other crew members & after some packing and arrangements, we start our Everest Base Camp Trekking through the affluent village of Lukla until we reach Phakding. To assist in acclimatization, we only have a short hike today. However, if interested in additional activities we can take a side trip to a nearby monastery.
Day 07: Phakding – Namche Bazaar (3440 m): 5-6 hour trek
Walking through a beautiful pine forest, the track leads us along the Dudh Koshi River through many suspension bridges, one of which is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge. First, we catch wonderful view of the Mt. Thamserku (6618 m). Through the settlement of Benkar, Chumoa, Monjo, we come to the check post and entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. We pass through the last village of Jorsale before reaching Namche Bazaar. The trail climbs through the forests and bridges until we reach the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. After a final steep ascent of about two hours we get first sight fist of at Mt. Everest, peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. We still need to walk about 1.5 hours to reach Namche Bazaar, a gateway to Mt. Everest and main trading centre of this region. We stay overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 08: Namche Bazaar: Rest day
Health experts always recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest days instead of being idle. We either spend the day taking a day hike to Thame or visiting Khunde or relaxing and exploring Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazzar is the main centre of the Everest (Khumbu) region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, a bakery and a colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday. If we trek a few hundred vertical feet during the day, it will help us to properly acclimatize. Our guides will take us to the Tourist Visitor Center near the headquarter of the Sagarmatha National Park where we can observe an assortment of things related to the first Everest climbers, Sherpa culture and learn about the various plant and animal life of the Everest region.
Day 09: Namche Bazaar – Phorse Village (3800 m):5-6 hour trek
The trail to Phorse Village is rather steep but boasts great views over to Phorse and to the spectacular river gorge below, including an inaccessible natural rock bridge. Starting on a level trail, we trek up through the stone steps and reach Mongla pass (3975 m) from where we glimpse Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Mt. Khumbila. Sherpas regard Mt. Khumbila as sacred mountain of the patron god of the Khumbu area. Descending to Dudhkosi Khola (3250 m), we cross a bridge and again trek up through the rhododendron forest, a host for Himalayan wild deer and musk deer. Finally, we arrive to the walled fields of Phorse. Phorse is just under the snow dusted peaks of Tawoche and Cholaste. From here it’s a short trek to Phorse village where we rest overnight.
Day 10: Phorse Village – Dingboche (4,360 m): 6-7 hour trek
From Phorse Village we trek down the narrow trail through a Monastery. We continue our trek through lush alpine forests until we reach large village of Upper Pangboche, where we will get astonished by the dramatic views. We then continue through the villages of Shomare, Orsho, and Tsuro Wog. The trek goes further up through the Khumbu Khola Valley to the ridge top from where we witness spectacular views of the soaring mountains of Taboche, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Nuptse, Lotse, Cholatse, etc. We even can observe the beautiful Imja Khola valley to the east. Thereafter, we see sprawling fields and the settlement of Dingboche overlooked with Chortens and prayer flags as we gently ascend down to the Dingboche village. Overnight in Dingboche.
Day 11: Dingboche – Duglha (4,600 m): 3-4 hour trek
We start the day with a climb to Duglha through the Khumbu Khola valley. The trek along the arid terrace is awarding with awesome views of mountains on all sides. As we come to a yak herder’s place called Dusa, the valley begins to narrow and we continue through Phulung Karpo, of the camp sites during first successful Everest Expedition in 1953. Above Phulung Karpo is Chola Lake. As we continue our trek the majestic view of Mt. Pumori (7138 m) comes into view. As the trail descends and curves Mt. Pumori hides and we come across a roaring stream. After crossing a small wooden bridge, we ascend to Dugla. We can see the tip of Nuptse from here as well as Cholatse, Thamserku, and several other magnificent peaks. Spending a night in Dugla is ideal for acclimatization purposes. Overnight in Dugla.
Day 12: Duglha – Lobuche (4940 m): 2-4 hour trek
Beyond Duglha we trek up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We find our way through the boulder-strewn slope as we ascend Chupki Lhara, an eerie ridge top with dramatic mountains views. At the top of the ridge we will find an array of stones with prayer flags used as memorials to Scott Fischer (American mountaineer) and 10 times Everest submitter Babu Chiri Sherpa (mountain guide from Nepal) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. As the trail drops to the Khumbu Glacier moraine, we find ourselves right “in front of” several great peaks – Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal. We are now in the vicinity of Everest but the great mountain still remains hidden. Nuptse towers to the right as the trail crosses the Khumbu Glacier. As we trek along a murmuring stream we don`t see the Khumbu glacier because of its lateral moraine wall and we now begin to feel a little out of breath due to high altitude. Overnight in Lobuche.
Day 13: Lobuche – Gorak Shep (5170 m) – Everest Base Camp (5364 m) – Gorak Shep : 7-8 hour trek
The trail to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass though the pyramid sign post. Ahead on the trail we the crest of north ridge of Everest along with Mt. Pumori, Mahalangur, Lingtern, Khumbutse, Nuptse, etc. A small ascent would take us to Thangma Riju from where we perceive 360 degree vista of snowy mountains. Climbing steeply up to the top through the torrent of Changri glacier, we catch our first glimpse of Kala Patthar, a grey-green knoll beneath the Mt. Pumori. As we reach Gorak Shep, we will be surrounded by snow-capped mountains looming all around us including the top of the world – Mount Everest. After a brief lunch and rest, we take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come through the Indian army mountaineers’ memorials. As we reach Everest Base Camp we cannot stop ourselves from appreciating the Everest climbers those take the hazardous route through the Khumbu icefall. Mountaineer’s tents stand out in bright colors against all the dull gray surroundings (especially in the Spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste, Pumori are the mountains we can view from base camp. Everest actually is not visible from here. By now we have met the ultimate objective of our trip. We get back to Gorak Shep for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep.
Day 14: Gorak Shep – Kala Patthar (5545 m) – Pheriche (4280 m): 7-8 hour trek
Today is the climax of our trip. We start early in the morning to catch the dramatic views from Kala Patthar witnessing the first light of day shining on Mount Everest. However, we need to get prepared for an early morning, dark and cold temperature (-10 to -14 C) departure beforehand. Plus there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself emerging between the west shoulder crest and Nuptse. During the ascent to Kala Patthar we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding view points to snap pictures. After several hours of an ascent, we reach Kala Patthar. From here we scramble to climb the rocky outcrop near to the summit marked by cairns and prayer flags. As we reach the top, we sit on the Kala Patthar rocks our eyes taking in the unbelievable Himalayan Panorama, wandering from one mighty massif to another. We take as many pictures as we can with our camera and take the in view with our mind’s eye to last lifetime. On being back to Gorak Shep, we have breakfast followed by a gradual descend down to Pheriche for a good night’s rest. Overnight in Pheriche.
Day 15: Pheriche – Namache (3440 m): 6-7 hour trek
After the previous day’s tiring ascent to Kala Patthar, today is an easier walk down to the lower altitudes. Following the same route back to the terminal moraines at Dughla and following the wide valley of Khumbu Khola we pass through the beautiful Sherpa villages of Pheriche, Orsho, and Shomare. If we wish to visit the Gompa in Upper Pangboche we can do so by taking a different trail from Shomare. Otherwise we take the regular trial to reach Pangboche. From Pangboche we retrace our footsteps down to the Imja Khola and up through the forest to Debuche or if interested, we might visit nuns at the Debuche monastery. Finally, we reach Tengboche. If we are trekking during the full moon of November or December, we might get and opportunity to witness the Mani Rimdu festival in the monastery at Tengboche. Overnight in Tengboche.
We will trek down through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees from Tengboche. If it’s Spring, pink and red rhododendron flowers ablaze our surroundings. After crossing the prayer flag festooned bridge over the Dudkoshi River, we reach Phunki Thenga. The trail then follows the Dud Koshi gorge descending rapidly through the pine forests. The path eventually reaches Sansa which is the major trail junction in the region. We stop at Kyangjuma (3570 m) for a relaxed lunch. We unknowingly appreciate the gorgeous Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Nuptese with every bite. Following lunch, the trail to Namche Bazaar clings to the steep wooded slope beyond Kyangjuma, winding through several bends. We keep a lookout for wild life such as mountain goats, snow leopards, colorful pheasants, etc., while we pass through the forest by the trail. After passing a Chorten, we reach the army camp at of Namche Bazaar. We want to take a long last look (and picture!) back to Lhotse, the tip of Everest and Tengboche from here. On reaching our lodge, we take a nice hot shower and have very relaxed sleep in our room in Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar
Day 16: Namche Bazaar – Phakding – Lukla (2,800m): 5-6 hour trek
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk slowly and under control as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast following Dud Koshi and its tributaries the trail becomes more level and natural. By today we start to get warmed up by the light breeze. Any remaining sore throats and colds will be gone by today as we pass through this charming mountain air. Although we are travelling the same route down, we feel completely different views. We snap a mixture of open plains, rhododendron and pine forests, and in the distance snow covered peaks. Overnight in Lukla.
Day17: Lukla – Kathmandu
We fly back to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. The early morning flight drops us at Kathmandu. We can rest and relax throughout the day in the hotel.
Day 18: Onward for next program.