Days 1-3: You’ll fly from the United States to Bangkok, then Kathmandu. (You’ll overnight in Bangkok and arrive in Kathmandu on Nov 9.) You’ll check into the renowned Yak and Yeti Hotel, a cornerstone of the Kathmandu scene, and attend a welcome dinner with other climbers. (Most climbers use Thai Airways via Los Angeles and Bangkok).
Day 2: In Kathmandu, we’ll do a final gear, orientation, and Leave No Trace discussion. From the centrally located Yak and Yeti, we’ll begin our exploration of Kathmandu. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures we’ll experience later. Kathmandu is prominently featured in Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes the 3,000-year-old Swamayabhu (monkey temple), the great Stupa of Bodnath, and the chaotic Hindu temple complex of Pashupatineth. This temple is home to many Hindu aesthetics, or Sadhus.
Day 3: After final administration requirements, we’ll fly to the landing strip in Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we’ll meet and join our Sherpa staff, load the yaks, and begin the ascent to Base Camp. Our first day is an easy walk to lush environs of Phakding, located on the Dudh Kosi river.
Day 4: We follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300 feet through Himalayan pine and Doedar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft.). The village of Namche is a historic trading post where Nepalese and Tibetan traders exchange salt, dried meat, gold and textiles. Besides being a superb place to shop for traditional crafts, Namche remains the central trading post in the Khumbu, attracting Himalayan and lowland merchants. Our group will spend two days in Namche, affording us the opportunity to acclimate, visit local markets and spend time with friends in town. Our camp is perched high above the city, and we’ll make our way to nearby high points to capture our first glimpses of Ama Dablam, Everest and neighboring peaks.
Days 5-6: We’ll see the sights in Namche Bazaar, including the Sherpa museum and local marketplace.
Day 7: We’ll trek to the village of Tengboche (12,683 ft.), the cultural and religious center of the Khumbu. At the monastery, we’ll attend Buddhist ceremonies and rituals performed by local monks. Vistas from Tengboche are spectacular. The jagged peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega stand to our south as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam are visible to the north. The Monastery at Tengboche is one of the most well-known in the world, as the Rinpoche is revered throughout the Buddhist community and has authored a number of books and essays. In the past ,our groups have had an audience with the Rinpoche and received his blessing. Views from this locale (one of the finest on earth), include Kwangde (20,293 ft.), Tawachee (21,457 ft.), Nuptse (25,843 ft.), Lhotse (27,883 ft.), Everest (29,035 ft.), Ama Dablam (22,493 ft.), Kantega (22,235 ft.), Thamserku (21,674 ft.). After visiting Tengboche, we’ll move to spend the night in Pangboche.
Day 8: We’ll remain in Pangboche, which is a small traditional Sherpa village and home to the Khumbu’s oldest monastery. We’ll make a day hike to the village of Pheriche.
Day 9: We’ll trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp (15,000 ft.).
Day 10: Rest day in Base Camp, and ceremonial puja.
Day 11: Another rest day in Base Camp, and a skills review.
Day 12: We’ll carry loads to advanced Base Camp/Yak Camp (17,200 ft.) at the base of the southwest ridge.
Day 13: Another rest day in Base Camp.
Day 14: We’ll move up to Camp I (19,600 ft.).
Day 15: We’ll carry up to Camp II (20,750 ft.), then return to Camp I.
Day 16: We’ll return to Base Camp and rest.
Day 17: Another rest day.
Day 18: Move to Camp I.
Day 19: Move to Camp II.
Day 20: Move to Camp III.
Day 21: Summit Day, followed by a return to Camp II.
Days 22-25: Extra days for summitting and inclement weather. Some earlier rest days also can be used as extra days.
Day 26: A rest day in Base Camp, and packing for departure.
Day 27: Move to Pangboche.
Day 28: Travel from Pangboche to Namche.
Day 29: Travel from Namche to Lukla.
Day 30: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu.
Day 31: Depart Kathmandu.
Day 32: Return to the U.S.
The expedition was incredible! It was extremely well-organized; we didn’t have to worry about any logistics, just putting one foot in front of the other. I feel spoiled after no having to lift a finger while camping. The 7-day schedule made a huge difference every day but the summit was easy and enjoyable.