You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
We transfer to the airport for the 45 minute flight to the STOL airstrip at Lukla. This was the airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and his friends to service the Everest Region when he began his work of building schools and hospitals for the Sherpa people. It is a memorable flight, with marvellous views of the Eastern Himalaya. At Lukla we are immediately impressed by the scale of the huge peaks that surround the village but this is only a foretaste of what is to come. Our crew assemble and we head downhill towards the Dudh Kosi, a raging river that flows from the highest peaks. The broad and well-marked trail meanders around fields of potats and buck-wheat and passes through small villages, as we pass rows of tree dahlia to make our way to our first overnight stop at our private eco campsite at Ghat.
This morning we pass through the gates of the Sagamartha National Park. The establishment of this national park is a significant attempt to stem the use of fire-wood in the area and the few local people who have a permit to cut wood must gain approval from the authorities on the basis of it being primarily for their personal use. We follow the river course to the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and the Bhote Kosi, and cross a spectacular high bridge before commencing our ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa 'capital' of Nepal. It is a tough climb as the trail passes through forest of pine to a vantage point that provides our first view of Mt Everest. The trail continues to climb and meander to Namche, and the sight of this prosperous village spread within a horse-sh shaped valley opposite the beautiful peak of Kongde Ri is worth every step. After lunch you may wish to peruse the Tibetan trader's stalls or the Sherpa shops in search of a bargain. Our accommodation will be at our private eco campsite.
Sagarmartha National Park Headquarters just above our private eco campsite offers a very interesting display of photographs, memorabilia and information on the park, and the hill above is a wonderful vantage point for the spectacular view up the Imja Khola Valley towards Everest. The change from the narrow lowland valleys to the broad glacial ones is immediately obvious. The steep-sided glacial valley before us gradually winds towards the base of Everest, broken only by the moraines left by retreating glaciers. Its more gradual rate of climb is a blessing for those trekking higher. Towering to over 4000 metres above the valley floor, spectacular peaks seem to engulf us. Around us are Taweche (6542 m), Thamserku (6808 m), Kantega (6685 m), Ama Dablam (6856 m), Nuptse (7896 m) and Lhotse (8511 m). The greatest of all, Mt Everest (8848 m), rises at the head of the valley. The Sherpa Cultural Centre has an interesting collection of mountaineering items and photographs. Those who are fit and acclimatising well may wish to take the optional walk to the Everest View Hotel (4-5hrs) where spectacular views of Everest and Ama Dablam may be seen.
For those feeling well acclimatised there is also the option of a day walk to the pretty village of Khumjung. Khumjung is where Sir Edmund Hillary built his "Schoolhouse In the Clouds" and the famed Khunde hospital is close by. World Expeditions supports both of these famous community facilities, as well as the many other projects operated by the Himalayan Trust. There will generally be the opportunity for you to visit the hospital and school. We will also be able to visit the monastery at Khumjung where we may have the opportunity to see the "scalp of a yeti". Overnight accommodation will be at our private eco campsite.
We head west along the valley of the Bhote Kosi to the remote valley of Thame. The route is situated at an important junction along the old primary trade route to and from Tibet via the Nangpa La (Pass). We cross Phurte and Thamo villages. We descend down to the river and cross a bridge before making a final steep climb to Thame. There is a spectacular monastery on the way.
We ascend further up the valley towards the Renjo La. It is an isolated valley, and as we head further north the bustle of Namche feels far away. There is a chance we will meet Tibetan traders descending from the Nangpa La pass. This is an ancient trading route that leads through the Himalayas from Tibet. Traders still use this route today with their caravans of woolly yaks laden with goods. We can explore the Sherpa villages of Yellajung, Taranga and Marlung. Overnight wilderness camp. We will also have an acclimatization day the next day.
A day to rest and acclimatise as we build strength and energy for the weeks ahead.
A slow and steady climb today as we cross deserted yak pastures and climb high into the mountains. Keep an eye open for Himalayan Thar on the rocky slopes, which are often spotted in this region. There are great views today of Cho Oyu and Machhermo Peak. Our wilderness campsite is at the base of the pass, our goal for tomorrow!
Retracing our steps along the valley, we pass through a variety of settlements and forests before a gentle climb to Lukla. We savour our final mountain sunsets of the trek as we complete this exhilarating journey. Our last evening of the trek is a good time to have a small party for all the team, especially the porters who will return to their villages from here. There is usually lots of music, dancing and singing and if we are lucky, one of the superb cakes that our Nepali chefs are renowned for. Overnight lodge.
If the weather is clear, the mountain views from Thyangboche monastery as we pass through are outstanding - Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are at the head of the valley, their line of sight flanked by Taweche on one side and Ama Dablam on the other. Almost directly above us are Kantega and Thamserku. Completing a 360 degree panorama of mountains are Khumblia and Kongde Ri which encircle us from across the valley. It's a pleasant walk down to Namche and as we near the village we pass through terraced fields that are home to a brightly colored pheasant, the Danphe Pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. We will continue down the valley to our campsite at Monjo and enjoy a last evening with the entire team, celebrating the adventure we have shared. Overnight in private eco campsite.
Leaving the high mountains after three weeks of climbing and crossing high passes, we walk down the Gokyo valley on the high eastern trail. The climate will be appreciably warmer here after almost three weeks above 4500m. We will enjoy a good nights rest, plenty to eat and drink and time to reflect on our recent achievements in the mountains.
Contingency Day set aside for weather.
Crossing the Renjo La Pass will be exciting and challenging. From yak kharka we have a 3 hour ascent through boulders and a zig zagging incline to the top of the high pass at approximately 5340m. From atop the pass the views are truly spectacular, with panoramic views of giant Himalayan mountains in every direction.
High Camp will be established on the saddle between the two peaks of Abi Himal, Cholo and Kangchung at an altitude of about 5500m. The exact location of high camp will be dependent upon the condition of the icefall. We will launch our climb of Cholo from this high camp, which is situated in a truly spectacular alpine environment.
A day set aside to rest and for preparations at base camp.
There are great views today of Cho Oyu and Cholatse. A slow climb after lunch as we cross deserted yak pastures and climb high into the mountains. This is spectacular high alpine terrain and Base Camp will be in a secluded spot near a small lake at the base of the Abi Himal icefall. We follow the normal path to the Cho La, but turn north shortly before the base of the pass and follow a broad and easy angled ridge for a few hours to base camp.
This morning we fly to Kathmandu, a thrilling flight over forests, fields and villages, with the Himalaya in the background. On arrival, we transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
We have two full days set aside for climbing this magnificent peak that is hidden deep in the Everest region, in the shadow of Cho Oyu, just south of the Tibetan border. An alpine start will be required and the climbing is moderately angled with a few prolonged steeper sections, with some mixed ice and rock pitches.
Following a final breakfast together, the trip will conclude with a departure transfer to the airport for onward flights.