Itinerary

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary - Spring

We enjoyed our trek immensely. There was lots of variety in both our surroundings and trail conditions and there was always outstanding beauty. We enjoyed passing through villages, crossing suspension bridges and walking on the lateral moraines of the glacier. The tea houses provided accommodation and food beyond my expectations. -Spring Trekker

This trip spends a night a base camp.

Day 1

Depart country of origin.

Day 2

Arrive Kathmandu.

Day 3

After breakfast we will complete a full gear check and trip orientation. Afternoon for trekkers to obtain any missing gear and prepare for the trek and/or explore Kathmandu. Welcome dinner.

Day 4

Kathmandu formal tour. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures that lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes three World Heritage Sights — 3,000-year-old Swayambhu (monkey temple), the Hindu temple and cremation site Pashupati, and the great Stupa of Bodnath.

Day 5

After final administration requirements, we’ll fly via Twin Otter to the landing strip in Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we 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. Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Day 6

We’ll follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300 ft./700m through Himalayan pine and Doedar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft./3444m). The village of Namche is an 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. On the hike, we’ll capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 7

In the morning, we’ll take an acclimatization hike, gaining 1,000 feet to take in the amazing mountain vista. In the afternoon, we’ll have time to visit sights in Namche Bazaar, including the local marketplace.

Day 8

On perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we’ll travel to the village of Thame (12,464 ft./3,800m), off the main trekking path. We’ll have the unique opportunity of visiting the home of Lakpa Rita Sherpa, our Sirdar (lead Sherpa) and Everest climbing guide. His family has been a mainstay of this small community, raising yaks and farming. This gives us an intimate view of Sherpa culture while visiting a traditional home. Interestingly enough, a number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from Thame. The Thame experience is one rarely afforded to trekkers. After lunch, we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We’ll tour this 400 year-old gompa (monastery) and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we view the monastery, we’ll discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 9

From Thame, we’ll walk to the beautiful twin villages of Khunde and Khumjung (12,400 ft./3780m), two of the largest villages in the Khumbu and home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital and school. The day’s walk is moderate and pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 10

We’ll continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683 ft./3865m), 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./6,185m), Tawachee (21,457 ft./6540m), Nuptse (25,843 ft./7876m), Lhotse 27,883ft/8498m, Everest 29,035ft/8850m, Ama Dablam 22,487ft/6854m), Kantega (22,235 ft./6,777m), Thamserku (21,674 ft./6,606m). Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Days 11-12

We’ll climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907 ft./4238m), which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high-altitude medical clinic. The clinic attracts world-renowned physicians who from time to time acquire data to analyze the effects of high altitude on human physiology. We’ll visit the clinic and learn more about the effects of high altitude on Himalayan climbers. Hiking time: 4 hours. We’ll also spend an additional day further acclimatizing and hiking.

Day 13

Above Pheriche, the character of the terrain changes, and we’ll begin to understand the starkness of the high alpine landscape. Our path climbs the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and continues to the settlement of Lobuche (16,174 ft./4,929m), where we’ll spend one night. This trail passes through a famous memorial that honors the many Sherpa who lost their lives in the high mountains. Lobuche is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 14

The trail winds through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924ft/5158m), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives the trekker the true flavor of the rigors of mountaineering. In the afternoon, depending on weather conditions, we will either make an ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300 ft./5577m), and return to Gorak Shep for the night. Kala Pattar is a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori and will be the highpoint of acclimatization before heading to Lobuche East and Island Peak. Many well-known Everest photos are taken from the summit of Kala Pattar. Base camp lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. Hiking time: 4-5 hours.

Day 15

This morning, we walk to Base Camp where we will sleep for the night. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 16

Waking before sunrise, we’ll make an early ascent of Kala Pattar (if not completed on the way in) about 3 hours from base camp , (18,300 ft./5577m), a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori. Many well-known Everest photos are taken from the summit of Kala Pattar. Then we begin our return to lower altitudes and quickly feel the difference in our lungs. This night is spent in the village of Dingboche (14,450 ft./4404m), a stunning village of stone huts known as the summer village for local herders. The mountain views are outstanding from the Imja valley as Makalu stands in the distance. Hiking time: 8-9 hours.

Day 17

(note – climbers may opt to heli back to Lukla on this day and heli on to Kathmandu on this or following day)

We’ll enjoy the downhill walks as we take our time and return to Namche Bazaar. This seemingly remote village is a center of commerce where we’ll spend the evening and morning shopping, drinking coffee, getting shaves, sampling food and enjoying all the thrills of “urban” life. Hiking time: 8 hours

Day 18

In the afternoon, we’ll descend the hill from Namche and enter the lower valley, returning to lush greenery and the Dudh Kosi river. This night’s stay will be in Phakding, just at the head of the lower valley. Hiking time: 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours

Day 19

Our final walk to Lukla usually has us arriving for lunch, with the afternoon available to explore Lukla. In Lukla, we’ll also begin the process of readjusting to the lowlands and prepare for the Heli ( included in price) or Air flight back to Kathmandu. It’ll be a memorable night of laughter and merriment. Hiking time: 4 hours

Day 20

Early morning flight (heli or plane) to KTM (weather permitting). We’ll spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the deluxe services of the Yak and Yeti hotel.

Day 21

Free time to tour the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the Thamel section. Here we’ll assist trekkers with their final shopping needs, and have a farewell dinner.

Day 22

Early morning departure

Day 23

Arrive country of origin

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary- Fall

Spring vs. Fall: Our Fall trip makes a side visit to the wonderful region of Thame, and we will have a short visit to base camp, as there are fewer trekkers and no climbers in the fall season.

Day 1

Depart Country of Origin

Day 2

Transit (overnight en route)

Day 3

Arrive Kathmandu. You’ll check into the renowned Yak and Yeti Hotel, a cornerstone of the Kathmandu scene, and attend a welcome dinner with other trekkers and climbers.

Day 4

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 that lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes three World Heritage Sights — 3,000-year-old Swayambhu (monkey temple), the Hindu temple and cremation site Pashupati, and the great Stupa of Bodnath.

Day 5

After final administration requirements, we’ll fly via Twin Otter to the landing strip in Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we 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. Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Day 6

We’ll follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300 ft./700 m through Himalayan pine and Doedar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft./3,444 m). The village of Namche is an 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. On the hike, we’ll capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 7

In the morning, we’ll take an acclimatization hike, gaining 1,000 feet to take in the amazing mountain vista. In the afternoon, we’ll have time to visit sights in Namche Bazaar, including the local marketplace.

Day 8

On perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we’ll travel to the village of Thame (12,464 ft./3,800 m), off the main trekking path. We’ll have the unique opportunity of visiting the home of Lakpa Rita Sherpa, our Sirdar (lead Sherpa) and Everest climbing guide. His family has been a mainstay of this small community, raising yaks and farming. This gives us an intimate view of Sherpa culture while visiting a traditional home. Interestingly enough, a number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from Thame. The Thame experience is one rarely afforded to trekkers. After lunch, we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We’ll tour this 400 year-old gompa (monastery) and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we view the monastery, we’ll discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Hiking time: 5 hours.

Day 9

From Thame, we’ll walk to the beautiful twin villages of Khunde and Khumjung (12,400 ft./3,780 m), two of the largest villages in the Khumbu and home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital and school. The day’s walk is moderate and pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 10

We’ll continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683 ft./3,865 m), 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./6,185 m), Tawachee (21,457 ft./6,540 m), Nuptse (25,843 ft./7,876 m), Lhotse (27,883 ft./8498 m), Everest (29,029 ft./8,848 m), Ama Dablam (22,487 ft./6,854 m), Kantega (22,235 ft./6,777 m), Thamserku (21,674 ft./6,606 m). Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 11-12

We’ll climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907 ft./4,238 m), which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high-altitude medical clinic. The clinic attracts world-renowned physicians who from time to time acquire data to analyze the effects of high altitude on human physiology. We’ll visit the clinic and learn more about the effects of high altitude on Himalayan climbers. Hiking time: 4 hours. We’ll also spend an additional day further acclimatizing and hiking.

Day 13

Above Pheriche, the character of the terrain changes, and we’ll begin to understand the starkness of the high alpine landscape. Our path climbs the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and continues to the settlement of Lobuche (16,174 ft./4,929 m), where we’ll spend one night. This trail passes through a famous memorial that honors the many Sherpa who lost their lives in the high mountains. Lobuche is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 14

The trail winds through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924 ft./5,158 m), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives the trekker the true flavor of the rigors of mountaineering. While at Gorak Shep, depending on weather conditions, we make an ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300 ft./5,577 m) This is a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori and will be the highpoint of acclimatization. Many well-known Everest photos are taken from the summit of Kala Pattar. Base camp lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. Hiking time: 4-5 hours.

Day 15

This morning, we walk to Base Camp as we reach our final destination. Afterwards, we will descend to Lobuche, where we will sleep for the night. The slightly thicker air and more comfortable conditions in Lobuche will be a welcome change after our night up high at Gorak Shep! Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 16

Waking before sunrise, we’ll descent to lower altitudes and quickly feel the difference in our lungs. This night is spent in the village of Dingboche (14,450 ft./4,404 m), a stunning village of stone huts known as the summer village for local herders. The mountain views are outstanding from the Imja valley as Makalu stands in the distance. Hiking time: 6-7 hours

Day 17

(Note – climbers may opt to fly back to Lukla on this day and reach Kathmandu). We’ll enjoy the downhill walks as we take our time and return to Namche Bazaar. This seemingly remote village is a center of commerce where we’ll spend the evening and morning shopping, drinking coffee, getting shaves, sampling food and enjoying all the thrills of “urban” life. Hiking time: 8 hours

Day 18

In the afternoon, we’ll descend the hill from Namche and enter the lower valley, returning to lush greenery and the Dudh Kosi river. This night’s stay will be in Phakding or Monjo, just at the head of the lower valley. Hiking time: 3 hours

Day 19

Our final walk to Lukla will take most of the day. In Lukla, we’ll begin the process of readjusting to the lowlands and prepare for the flight back to Kathmandu. It’ll be a memorable night of laughter and merriment. Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 20

Early morning flight to KTM (weather permitting). We’ll spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the deluxe services of the Yak and Yeti hotel.

Day 21

Free time to tour the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the Thamel section. Here we’ll assist trekkers with their final shopping needs, and have a farewell dinner.

Day 22

Early morning departure

Day 23

Arrive in country of origin.

A Brief Overview of Sherpa Life

Often inseparable from mountaineering, the Sherpas of Nepal inhabit much of the lower portion of the Himalayas known as the Solu-Khumbu or Khumbu. While their reputation as climbers is nothing short of historic, local Buddhist, animist and cultural traditions have equally nurtured and impacted a fascinating relationship with westerners and western thought.

Sherpas became prominent to the West when British mountaineers began to set their sights on conquering Himalayan peaks. With the first Mt. Everest expedition in 1921, the skill, expertise, honesty and dedication of Sherpas as guides and partners became an integral part of Himalayan climbing. The affinity of outsiders for Sherpa/ Buddhist civilization has blossomed into an ever-increasing sharing, understanding, and friendship between cultures.

Prior to British expeditions, Sherpas revered the great mountains of the region as dwelling places of gods and goddesses, to which the thought of climbing was considered blasphemous. (Chomolungma, the Tibetan name for Everest, is the residence of Miyo Lungsungama, the goddess of humanity and prosperity.)

Sherpas traditionally worked as traders, farmers and religious folk. Along with these ancestral roles, leading climbs and treks has recently become a mainstay of the Sherpa economy. “Sherpa” refers both to a tribal group and a job capacity as porter, climber or trek leader. The term “Sherpa” means easterner, referring to their origins in Eastern Tibet. The migrations of this Tibetan culture began sometime in the early 1400’s. Today the Sherpa population in the Khumbu is about 5,000 with a total of roughly 35,000 living in Nepal.

Sherpas on Everest

The first notable and successful Everest climbing Sherpa was Tenzing Norgay. In 1952, Norgay accompanied Raymond Lambert to within 800 vertical feet of the still unclimbed Mt. Everest. A year later Norgay was asked to join the British team led by Col. John Hunt, which successfully summited Everest, following the same route as Norgay and Lambert. Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary were the first climbers to reach the summit. By the mid 1980’s, Sherpas had summitted Everest many more times than Westerners. Ang Rita Sherpa, the most well known climbing Sherpa, had amassed seven summits of Everest by 1995. In 1993 Pasang Lhamu Sherpa became the first Sherpa woman to summit Everest.

The Name Khumbu

The name Khumbu comes from its guardian deity Khumbila Tetsan Gelbu. The literal translation is “Khumbu country god.” The teachings of Sherpa Buddhism talk of a spiritual understanding between all beings. This is probably why the level of hospitality and acceptance of westerners comes naturally to the Sherpa. It should, however be mentioned, that Tibetans are also considered fierce warriors.

Selected Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.

High Himalaya
by Art Wolfe, Peter Potterfield, Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Mountaineers Books
Everest; The Mountaineers Anthology Series
Foreward by Tom Hornbein, Peter Potterfield editor, Mountaineers Books
Everest
by Walt Unsworth, Mountaineers Books
Classic Hikes of the World
Peter Potterfield, W.W. Norton pub.
Fragile Edge : Loss on Everest
by Maria Coffey, Harbour Pub Co.
Coronation Everest
by Jan Morris, Burford Books
Everest : The West Ridge
by Thomas F. Hornbein, Mountaineers Books
Eric Shipton: Everest & Beyond
by Edmund Hillary, Peter M.D. Steele, Mountaineers Books
The Snow Leopard (Penguin Nature Classics)
by Peter Matthiessen, Penguin USA (paper)
Trekking in Nepal : A Traveler's Guide
by Stephen Bezruchka, Mountaineers Books

Overall, this was an experience beyond my expectations. In the past, I have found that an Alpine Ascents expedition, whether a climb or a trek, has been the envy of other groups – and this trek was no exception. Every aspect of the trek was first-rate

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