The focus of this trip is to reach Everest Base Camp and the higher vantage point of Kala Pathar. Words cannot explain the achievement; trekkers see a stunning panoramic view of some of the highest mountains in the world, of Everest itself, and of the Khumbu Glacier. Along the way, trekkers experience the best that the Khumbu and its Sherpa people have to offer.
Day 1. Depart Auckland
Day 2. Arrive Kathmandu
Day tour to discover the wonders of this 1,000-year-old city, including a visit to historic sites at Pashipatinath and Boudhanath; also the local market at Thamal.
Day 3. Depart Kathmandu
We depart Kathmandu on an early morning mountain flight to the Hillary built an airstrip at Lukla, altitude 2,840m. It is a short walk down the valley to the banks of the Dhudkosi River then a one-hour walk takes us on to Phakdingma.
Day 4. Phakdingma to Namche
A stunning seven-hour trek along the valley and up the famous Namche Hill to the Sherpa capital at 3,440m. We stay at Hotel Sherpaland the most modern and comfortable lodge in Namche.
Day 5. Namche
A rest day in and around Namche. We include a walk to the National Park Headquarters, where we are treated to our first view of Mt Everest and other great mountains of the high Himalaya. We also have time to spend in the Namche markets.
Day 6. Namche to Khunde
A walk above Namche to the airstrip at Shyangboche and on to visit the Hillary Hospital at Khunde. Through to the famous village of Khumjung and visit the home of Ang Dooli where Sir Edmund Hillary spent so much of his time.
Day 7. Khunde to Deboche
Drop down to cross the Dhudh Koshi river then ascend to Thyangboche – home of the famous monastery and down to Rivendell Lodge at Deboche.
Day 8. Deboche to Dingboche
Today we venture into the upper reaches of the Khumbu Valley and ascend above the tree line at approximately 4,000m. Whilst we are gaining altitude our pace on the trail is appropriately slow, giving us time to take in the stunning Himalayan vista that is opening before our eyes. We pass through the village of Pangboche and detour off the main trail to our peaceful lodge in Dingboche. Mingma Yanji is our Lodge Host and has previously been a Sherpa Sirdar for Everest Treks; she was also a climbing Sherpa who achieved Camp 3 on Mt Everest in 1998.
Day 9. Dingboche
A rest day in and around Dingboche. A peaceful day of acclimatisation, reading and relaxing in the warmth of the midday sun, replaced in the afternoon by the comfort of the Lodge lounge and its wood-burning stove.
Day 10. Dingboche to Lobuche
We set off early and make our way across the highest yak grazing pastures in the Valley to our lunch stop at Dugla, at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier. The scenery is simply stunning; we are surrounded by some of the most impressive summits in the world, including Cholotse, Taboche Peak and the twin Lobuche Peaks. We walk on to Lobuche itself and sleep at 4,910m.
Day 11. Lobuche to Gorak Shep:
We set off early to give ourselves the option of an ascent of Kala Pathar before lunch. Our initial target as we follow the route of the Khumbu Glacier is to reach Gorak Shep, the last village before Everest Base Camp. Gorak Shep is unique in its claim to being the highest populated settlement on earth. After a quick carbo-load, we set off to walk to the summit of Kala Pathar, the literal high point of our trek. Sitting at 5,550m, it is impossible not to be moved by the beauty of what surrounds us, and the emotion of achieving this significant physical feat. Mt Everest is directly in view and is simply awe-inspiring; it seems like we can touch it. We overnight in Gorak Shep.
Day 12. Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp and return
We continue to sidle the Khumbu Glacier for 3 hours until a descent onto the Glacier itself and directly to the site of Mt Everest Base Camp. The satisfaction of achieving this goal is indescribable; the Khumbu Icefall is clearly in view, as is the climbers’ route to the high camps beyond. We return to Gorak Shep and spend a second night at Ang Tsering’s Lodge.
Day 13. Gorak Shep to Dingboche
We retrace our steps as we head down valley, past Lobuche and Dugla, to Mingma’s hospitality at Dingboche. Trekking on the descent seems so much easier compared to the thin air that we have experienced for the last three days, even if we are still above 4,000m!
Day 14. Dingboche to Deboche
Rapid descent down the now familiar trail returning to Rivendell Lodge.
Day 15. Deboche to Namche
Back through the rhododendron forest, a famous apple pie at Kanjuma and on to Namche – hot showers!
Day 16. Namche to Phakdingma
A reasonably long day as we head back to our start point in the Everest Valley.
Day 17. Phakdingma to Lukla
Our penultimate day in the Everest Valley sees us back where we started. A time to relax in the extremely comfortable Himalaya Lodge, and after a hot shower we allow ourselves a cold beer or wine, steak or chicken sizzler, and the satisfaction that comes from the achievement of a major challenge.
Day 18. Lukla to Kathmandu
We are on one of the first flights out of Lukla and have our last close up views of the Himalayas. We land in Kathmandu and go straight to the Park Village Hotel. Rest and relaxation normally dominate the afternoon.
Day 19. Kathmandu
We take our choice from a shopping day in Thamel, a revisit of Boudhanath, or a day or relaxation. Final reflections on a great trip.