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 4.30-5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. This evening we will head out for dinner, this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members.
Overnight: Radisson Hotel
Today you have a full day to explore Kathmandu’s bustling streets and significant landmarks. You may wish to start by exploring the city’s two most important World Heritage Listed spiritual sites: Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and an important cremation site; and Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and the most sacred Tibetan Buddhist shrine outside of Tibet. Alternatively you could wander through the markets and shops of the busy Thamel precinct or explore some more of the city’s significant sites such as Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) or the World Heritage Listed plazas of Patan, Bhaktapur or Durbar Square.
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 river earns its name "Dudh" (milk) Kosi (river) because of its colour. 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 private eco camp 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. buddhists 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, slow down, and enjoy every step of the way. Overnight private eco camp.
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. 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 at our private eco campsite.
The walk via Thyangboche 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 camp at Deboche.
From Deboche we cross the Imja Khola before an easy climb along a wide, open trail to the small village of Pangboche (3901m). We may take a slight detour to visit the Pangboche Gompa - the oldest monastery in the Khumbu, said to be over 300 years old. The views today of Ama Dablam, one of the Himalaya's most stunning peaks, are spectacular. Continuing on, we cross the river again and trek up to Dingboche, situated just beneath the impressive Ama Dablam. Overnight private eco camp.
An important acclimatisation/rest day today with the option of hiking high up to the ridge overlooking the village, or perhaps up to Chhukung Village. We spend the day exploring or relaxing and taking in the mountain scenery. Excellent views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Chhukung Peak and Imja Tse (6189 m) are had from both in the valley or from the ridge above the camp. Massive glaciers drape beneath cliffs that soar up to 3,500 metres in this dramatic valley. It is from here that we will prepare to make our first crossing of a high pass, the Kongma La at 5300 meters. Overnight private eco camp.
We trek towards the pass, a gentle strong along the valley at first, followed by a steep ascent into the deep valley between Pokalde Peak and Chhukung. We set camp below the pass, ready for an early start the next day. Overnight wilderness camp.
The trail takes us down the Dudh Kosi valley to Lukla airstrip for the flight back to Kathmandu. This is a time to reflect on the past days and an unforgettable journey we have undertaken into the high Himalaya. 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.
Turning south we return to civilization and no doubt there will be earnest celebration of a challenging but satisfying expedition, the likes of which has been enjoyed by very few people. Our accommodation will be at our private eco campsite.
The crossing of the Renjo La Pass will be exciting and challenging as we descend into remote northern valley where access is restricted, and the landscape is progressively that of the Tibetan Valleys beyond the border. There is a chance we will meet Tibetan Traders descending from the Nangpa La pass that leads through the Himalayas from Tibet with their caravans of woolly yaks laden with goods. Overnight wilderness camp.
An early start is best for the opportunities that the early morning views offer. The steady and unrelenting ascent of Gokyo Ri will take around two hours. You will be elated when you reach the summit with it's spectacular view. Probably the most comprehensive view of 8,000 metre peaks inNepal, many people consider it to be Nepal's best. Surrounding us are Cho Oyu (8153 m), (a mountain that defeated a British Expedition of climbers, including Hillary, in their lead-up to their successful assault of Everest), Gyangchung Kang (7922 m), Lhotse (8501 m), Makalu (8475 m), Cholatse (6440 m), Taweche (6542 m), Kantega (6685 m), Thamserku (6808 m), Lobuche (6145 m) and Mt Everest (8848 m). Hundreds of other unnamed peaks fill the scene, whilst below us the Ngozumba Glacier, the largest in Nepal, stretches through the valley. The striking color of the lakes below completes the picture. The only way to get a better view of the entire Everest region would be to climb an 8,000 metre peak! We trek around Gokyo Lake to set up our wilderness camp at the Renjo La base.
We cross the glacier and ascend the lateral moraine valley past beautiful lakes with Siberian ducks swimming across the mirror-calm surface to the village of Gokyo. Today is an easy day and for those with the energy levels a sunset walk to the summit of Gokyo Ri (5400m) may be in order, for those not so inclined we will make the climb early the next morning. Overnight lodge.
This will be a big day as we ascend to the Kongma La pass amid the crags of this outlying ridge from nearby Nuptse. From the pass we descend steeply to the Khumbu Glacier which we cross, clambering up the moraines on the far side to reach the meadow by the Italian high altitude research pyramid where we plan to camp the night. The difficulty of today's trek should not be underestimated, particularly in snow conditions where the trek across the glacier at the conclusion of the day can be quite exhausting. Our camp is at the village of Lobuche. We enjoy spectacular views of Pumori and Nuptse. The hill above the town affords fine sunset views of Nuptse. Overnight lodge.
An early start early to take advantage of the stable early morning weather pattern that prevails in the Himalayas. The views of the peaks are excellent all day and words fail to describe the beauty and the sense of achievement. Our camp is beside the steep north face of Cholatse and also offers views of Ama Dablam. Overnight at private eco camp .
We need to get a very early start to avoid the "crowds" that can converge on Everest Base Camp, and to get the clearest views. We trek alongside the Khumbu Glacier as the path winds over the rocky moraine. We descend back to our campsite in Gorak Shep for lunch and start descending down to our camp at Lobuche. Overnight lodge.
We trek over rocky moraine towards the settlement of Gorak Shep. We are high, among the glaciers and peaks of the world's highest mountains. At the junction of two large glaciers and nestled in an amphitheatre of peaks, this location is spectacular. Pumori (7145 m), Lingtren (6697 m), Nuptse (7745 m) and of course Everest (8848 m) surround us. The air is clear and the sun is strong but as the sun sets it becomes very cold. Sunsets here can be stunning. In the afternoon there is the option to trek to Kala Pattar or you may prefer to just sit back, relax and take in the mountain scenery. Kala Pattar is not a Nepali name but a Hindi name and translates to "black rock". From these black rocks atop the hill the views are spectacular. Most eyes are locked on the mass of Everest, its rocky buttresses immediately before us. Overnight lodge.
We usually travel by twin otter aircraft from Lukla to Kathmandu, the flight lasts approx one hour and takes us before many of the well known peaks of the Himalaya including Cho Oyu, Numbur, Gauri Shankar and Langtang. We are met on arrival and transferred to our hotel.
The views today are magnificent as we leave the Everest watershed and enter that of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. The crossing is hard work, involving a steep scramble up rock boulders and then a walk across the gently ascending, snow-covered glacier that caps the pass. However, the views of the route ahead, and of the glacier itself, are breathtaking. We descend steep boulder strewn slopes to the Gokyo valley below. This is a valley of turquoise lakes and great glaciers. For the first (and steepest) part of the descent there are discernible paths that zigzag down the mountainside – slippery in snow! The ground then levels out and the path all but disappears as we hop across a field of boulders. Finally we climb a gentle slope to the top, from where its all downhill (for today at least!), following a narrow river valley all the way to its base where we overnight at Thagnak, a small Sherpa settlement nestled beneath great rock walls, just a stone's throw from the Ngozumba Glacier. Overnight lodge.
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport.