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 from 6.30 7.15pm for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
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 (sit on the left side of the plane for the best views). 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 commence our trek 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 camp site at Ghat.
Today we cross and re-cross the thundering glacial river, named "Dudh" (milk) Kosi (river) because of its colour. Sections of today's walk are through pine forest and cleared areas reveal terraced fields and a variety of crops. We pass small groups of donkeys, yaks and dzopko carrying trading goods and trekking gear along the trail. A dzopko is a yak-cow crossbreed while a yak is a full-blood long haired male, more commonly found at higher altitudes. Spectacular mountain peaks unfold above us and seem to hover above the tree-line as they rise above the deep river valley. Shortly after leaving camp we cross the Kusum Khola, a tributary stream to the Dudh Kosi, and the peak of Kusum Kangru (6369 m) can be seen to the East, at the head of the valley. Further along the trail, across the valley to the North-West, Nupla (5885 m) and Kongde Ri (6093 m) rise above the forested ridges. At a turn of the trail, Thamserku (6808 m) rises majestically, seemingly from the river floor. We will see our first Mani walls today. These stone structures are a compilation of many stone tablets, each with the inscription 'Om Mani Padme Hum' which translates to 'Hail to the jewel in the lotus', and is mantra (chant) venerated by Buddhists and Brahmans alike. Budhists will walk to the left of these Mani Walls and chortens, but you may notice that people of the lowlands who have no knowledge of Buddhism do not follow this practice. The allure of the mountains is hard to resist, but we must be patient, as it is very important to acclimatise slowly and thereby fully appreciate our time at higher altitude. Today's walk is not a long one, and you will be eager to press on. Slow down, and enjoy every step of the way. Our camp tonight is at our private eco camp site located above Monjo.
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 next to our hotel has an interesting collection of mountaineering items and photographs or those who are fit and acclimatising well may wish to take the optional morning walk to the Everest View Hotel where spectacular views of Everest and Ama Dablam may be seen. Overnight at our private eco campsite.
The walk to Deboche is one of the most spectacular trekking days in Nepal. The trail meanders easily around the ridges and Everest can be clearly seen on the horizon ahead before we descend through splendid rhododendron forests for lunch. After lunch we cross the Dudh Kosi and begin the ascent to the top of a long ridge which flows from the summit of Kantega. Our trail takes us through pine and rhododendron forest, and, as this is a devout Buddhist region, the wildlife is unharmed and not too shy. As a result there is a possibility that we may see Himalayan Thar, Musked Deer or pheasants in the forest and around our campsite. As we approach the ridgeline we pass through a traditional gateway and around a chorten before cresting the ridge onto a wide grassy meadow at the monastery village of Thyangboche. The monastery was re-built with the assistance of Sir Edmund Hillary after it was destroyed by fire in 1989. The views of the Everest massif, as well as all the other major peaks of the area are astounding. After a rest and visit to the monastery we head downhill to our private eco campsite at Deboche.
Leaving the main trail in favour of isolated trails we trek above Thyangboche and into the conifer forest. The views back to the monastery with Tawatse rising beyond are excellent. We follow paths through the forest that lead above the tree line to summer yak pastures and contour around the ridge lines of Kantega. Settlements that are a hive of activity in the wet summer months are deserted and we have these paths to ourselves enjoying the solitude of the walk. We pass through the small settlement of Omoga and travel onto Mingbo for, high above the valley floor. At this altitude, with the clear air, we can look across at the highest peaks, at their level, and only a few kilometers distant. Overnight eco lodge.
Today we make our way up the ridge high in a sheltered valley. We may see many climbing expeditions on our arrival in the base camp as Ama Dablam is one of the world's most beautiful mountains. It means "Mother's necklace"; the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (Ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of the gods, worn by Sherpa women. We have lunch in the Base camp and walk towards Deboche. A lot of up and down on this section, with another crossing of the Imja Khola on a steel suspension bridge. Overnight private eco campsite.
We make an early start for the ridge high above our camp for a superb panorama of the high peaks of the Everest region. An early start will get us to the ridge for sunrise as the dawn illuminates Lhotse and Everest. We have time to soak in the view and enjoy the quiet isolation of this, one of the best vantage points to view Everest. Later in the morning we descend to camp and continue on a short steep descent to the Imja Khola, followed by a gradual ascent to Pangboche Monastery. The isolated trail to Phortse is undulating with magnificent views of Kantega, Thamserku and Cho Oyu. Overnight private eco camp site at Portse Tenga.
If clear the mountain views from Thyangboche monastery on our way 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 is a comfortable day's walk, with time to explore these unique and more traditional villages. As we near the villages we pass through terraced fields that are home to a brightly colored pheasant, the Danphe Pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. 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". It is not so far now to reach Namche where we will stop for the night at our private eco campsite.
Today we continue down through the forest to the valley floor to follow the Dudh Kosi downhill and out of the national park to our private eco camp at Ghat.
Retracing our steps along the valley, we pass through a variety of settlements and forests before an undulating climb to Lukla. We savour our final mountain sunset 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.
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.
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 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.
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport and assisted with check-in procedures.