Taking on the Everest Base Camp trek is comfortably the most physically exerting, yet ultimately...
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Everest Base Camp
Transport - In country flights, bus, on foot.
Accommodation - Hotel (4nts), teahouses and lodges (12nts).
Meals - 16 breakfasts.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Fly to Kathmandu
After your flight, you transfer to your first night’s accommodation and check in. Please meet your Group leader in the hotel reception at 20.00. Your Group Leader will then brief you on arrangements for your trek. The evening is free to dine at one of Kathmandu’s many excellent restaurants. Hotel - 2 nights
After breakfast you'll take a half day guided city tour to see two of the spectacular sites of Kathmandu; Pashupatinath and Bodhnath. The city is a labyrinth of streets and markets, crowded with exotic produce and a bewildering mix of people. You're likely to see Gurkhas from the area east of Pokhara, Tibetan women in their striped aprons, traders from India, and sadhus - Hindu holy men - perhaps on pilgrimage to one of the many temples and shrines of the valley.
There should be time left in the afternoon to shop for any last-minute items for the trek or simply relax. Your Group Leader will be happy to assist in any way and will meet you on both mornings in Kathmandu to help with any queries. (B)
Scenic Flight To Lukla
Early in the morning you transfer to the airport to board your flight. This sometimes involves a period of waiting around, so remember to pack a book in your daypack! Once up and away, your destination on this breathtaking flight is the Sherpa village of Lukla, perched above the Dudh Kosi or ‘River of Milk’; so named because glacier melt-water makes it appear pale. Years ago, Lukla was a herding pasture (its name actually means ‘Place for Sheep’), but it is now the gateway to the Everest region and many trekkers pass through this prosperous village.
After a lunch you commence your trek with an afternoon’s downhill walking to reach Phakding. One of the first things you’ll notice as you start trekking are the differences between the Newari people of the Kathmandu Valley and the local Sherpa people, who migrated from Tibet 500 years ago. Sherpas dress similarly to the Tibetans and their language is closely related to, though not easily understood by the remaining ‘true’ Tibetans.
Along the trail are mani stone walls, made from hundreds of stone tablets and giant carved boulders, brilliantly decorated with brightly-coloured paints. Buddhists hold these sacred and believe they gain merit in their next life by praying as they go past. As a sign of respect to the local people, you must always pass these in a clockwise direction.
We stop at local lodges, better known as teahouses, where accommodation is comfortable without being luxurious, toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, you are provided with small private rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. At times, in high seasons, and in places where there’re limited number of teahouses, passengers have to make do with dormitories. In some places, teahouses don’t have access to electricity and depend on solar powered lighting. In remoter regions, teahouses don’t have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in the majority of the teahouses for a price and in most of the places, hot shower means a bucket of hot water, barely enough to wash your body. Teahouses - 12 nights (B)
Base Camp Trek
From Phakding the trail follows the river through stands of pine and oak as far as Jorsale, the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. Here the track starts to rise and rhododendron, magnolia and giant fir trees predominate. You start up the famous Namche Hill, your first big ascent, where you take a slow, steady pace. It is an excellent place to learn to walk from the masters - the porters. Their ability to climb such hills with enormous loads is all technique, and following them allows you to learn the rhythm that makes each ascent seem effortless. At the top you reach Namche Bazaar, a delightful mountain village and the Sherpa ‘capital’. It is also an important trading centre for the local people. Acclimatisation day here, you will walk in the morning ascending 300 to 400 metres, this is to get your body used to the altitude. You walk to the higher altitude but sleep lower, this will prepare your body for going to the higher altitude the next day. On this walk if the weather is clear you will have spectacular views of Everest, once you reach the 300m you will stop for a well earned cup of tea and then you will make your way back down. There maybe an opportunity to stop at Khumjung where you will get to see the Yeti skull. In the afternoon you will have free time to explore Namche Bazaar.
On leaving Namche the mountain views start to open up and become more dramatic as you approach the holy ground of Thyangboche, with its wonderful gompa (monastery), where the rimpoche (lama re-incarnate) resides. This is the traditional site where expeditions to the mountains receive their blessing from the High Lama. From the trekker’s point of view Thyangboche is the place where one of the best mountain panoramas can be viewed: Kwangde, Nuptse, Lhotse, Kangtega, Ama Dablam and Everest all loom above. The walk up the ridge behind the gompa is definitely worth the effort!
Carrying on from Thyangboche, you pass close to Pangboche whose gompa holds the famous ‘Yeti scalp’. From now on you are really in high altitude country, where agriculture is only barely possible and the lives of the local Sherpa’s are spartan by any standards. You walk on to Dingboche, a picturesque village just under Ama Dablam. Much of the walking in this area is over comparatively gentle gradients, although you proceed at a leisurely pace because of the altitude. You’ve now reached an altitude of 4100m and it’s time for another acclimatisation day.You will walk in the morning ascending to 300 or 400 metres, this is to get your body used to the altitude. In the afternoon you will get to rest. Dingboche is a ‘summer village’, used by Sherpas with homes lower in the valley to look after their herds in the summer months, and it offers outstanding views.
Then comes Lobuche, often reached by walking past frozen rivers where stone houses sit in an icy wilderness of stunning beauty. There are views of the Khumbu Icefall, Pumori and many smaller peaks from ridge tops on the track. From here you make the tough walk to Everest Base Camp at approximately 5367m. During the spring, the main climbing season, you’re likely to see the encampments of expeditions from all over the world, whose common aim is to make successful ascents of the world’s highest mountain. However, in the autumn this area will be deserted, with the only indication of mountaineering activity being the occasional memorial to lives lost on the mountain. Retracing your steps you’ll descend to spend the night at Gorakshep (5160m).
The next day there’s the opportunity to make the steady climb to the lofty summit of Kala Patar (5545m), the rocky outcrop which towers above Everest Base Camp. Most people who are fit and have acclimatised without problems - generally at least half the group - make this ascent. The views from Kala Patar are breathtaking – far better than Base Camp itself; Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and numerous other peaks are visible. After descending from the peak you continue your descent to Pheriche (4240m), rejoining any members of the group who opted not to climb today. NB: Depending upon prevailing conditions the ascents to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patar may be swapped, i.e. you may climb Kala Patar first, before trekking to Base Camp from Gorakshep.
Finally, the next four days are spent retracing your steps to Lukla. The continuous descent and loss of altitude allow you to do this with surprising ease. Your last evening in this spectacular area is spent in this wonderful village and a party in one of the lodges is not unknown! (Bx11)
NB: See our ‘Walking and Trekking’ leaflet for more information about walking at altitude. Anyone suffering adversely from the effects of altitude will have an assisted descent with a Sherpa guide until they feel more comfortable and wait for the group to rejoin them.
Return To Kathmandu
In the early morning you take off from Lukla airstrip for a spectacular mountain flight back to Kathmandu. After being met at the domestic airport terminal and transferred to your hotel, the rest of the day is free to explore this wonderful city; shopping for souvenirs, trying out the various restaurants in Thamel or simply relaxing. Hotel - 2 nights (B)
Today we visit two of the other fascinating landmarks of Kathmandu; the Buddhist stupa sitting on top of the hill at Swoyambhunath and the "City of Living Art" at Patan Durbar Square. The remainder of the day is then left free for you to explore this fascinating city by foot, auto-rickshaw or bicycle. Much of old Kathmandu is centred around the Durbar square. A medieval feel still pervades and there are temples at every turn. The streets all around the central square are full of colour. Market traders spread their wares before them, from vegetables and spices to pans and farming equipment. If time allows, and if you want to visit a picturesque, medieval town, then a short trolley bus ride to Bhaktapur is a must. (B)
NB: This day in Kathmandu may be lost if inclement weather delays your departure from Lukla; however this is unusual.
Depart Kathmandu/ Arrive Home
The trip ends for Land Only clients. Those on group flights transfer to airport and fly home. (B)
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* Please note prices shown in Dates/Prices page are before discount. Discount applied at checkout (step 3).
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