With hundreds of Nepali companies running cheap treks in Nepal, numerous Western companies running expensive lodge and tea-house treks in the Himalaya, why trek in the Everest region with Kamzang Journeys?
Over ten years of local knowledge, lots of interaction with local Sherpas and Tibetans, friends and family in the Khumbu region, a Sherpa (AND Western sometimes) guide along with a great staff, a medical kit, mountain safety, yaks and porters to carry the bags and finally snacks, desert, a choice of herbal teas, hot drinks and freshly brewed coffee to accompany your choice of meals off the lodge menus. Our 'Kamzang-style' is known throughout the region ...
The Hillary & Norgay trek is the classic expedition route of Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzin Norgay in 1953 as they headed towards Everest on the first successful summit bid. To reach Jiri we drive along the Arniko Highway, passing under the spectacular Langtang & Ganesh Himals and through Nepal's timelessly beautiful green, terraced landscapes. The Jiri to Lukla route is still one of Nepal's least-trekked regions, and a great way to slowly acclimatize while trekking to Everest Base Camp. This is a trek which passes through traditional villages and lovely alpine forests, following glacial rivers and cresting ridges shrouded in clouds, with the chance to visit Buddhist monasteries and stay in hospitable Sherpa lodges en route.
Our Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal is a challenging trek to Everest Base Camp through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Himalaya with Doma, Thsering or Phu Tashi Sherpa, all our best Sherpa guides who have grown up in the Khumbu. Our Everest trek is a window into traditional Sherpa villages and 'gompas' (monasteries), their mountain Buddhist culture and their sacred peaks and valley.
Not only peaks, the Everest region is an incredibly spiritual place, and we have the chance to visit its many colorful gompas, and have tea with their monks; Tengboche, Pangboche, Namche, Khumjung and Khunde. Some of the highlights of our trek: the Chukhung Valley, Ama Dablam Base Camp, trekking to Everest Base Camp, climbing Kala Pattar peak and bustling Namche Bazaar. Throughout, we are surrounded by spectacular 8000 meter peak panoramas and hosted by welcoming Sherpas in their cozy lodges ...
Spring is the perfect time to trek in the Everest region, the peaks accentuated by clear, blue skies and Everest Base Camp alive with climbers and expeditions. Wildlife such as the Himalayan thar, musk deer, danphe (Himalayan pheasant, Nepal's national bird), blood pheasant, Himalayan snow-cock, snow-pigeon and chukkar roam the mountain-sides. March and April are rhododendron season, so the valleys are filled with reds, pinks and whites ...
Join us for this wonderful trek in the Solu Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalaya!
Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 - Kathmandu
Day 3 - Drive Jiri
Day 4 - Trek Bhandar
Day 5 - Trek Sete
Day 6 - Trek Jumbesi | Cross Lamjura La Pass
Day 7 - Jumbesi
Day 8 - Trek Nunthala
Day 9 - Trek Bupsa
Day 10 - Trek Phakepani
Day 11 - Trek Monjo
Day 12 - Trek Namche Bazaar
Day 13 - Namche | Day Hike Khunde & Khumjung
Day 14 - Trek Phortse
Day 15 - Trek Pangboche
Day 16 - Pangboche | Day Hike Amadablam Base Camp
Day 17 - Trek Dingboche
Day 18 - Dingboche | Day Hike Chhukhung
Day 19 - Trek Lobuche
Day 20 - Trek Gorak Shep | Climb Kala Pattar Peak
Day 21 - Lobuche | Day Hike Everest Base Camp
Day 22 - Trek Pangboche
Day 23 - Trek Namche
Day 24 - Trek Chhuserma | The Beyul
Day 25 - Trek Lukla
Day 26 - Fly Kathmandu
Day 27 - Depart
Add Ons | Per Person
+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
+ Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
+ Bhaktapur Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$100)
+ Patan Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$50)
+ Extra Day Chitwan (+$125)
+ Everest Sightseeing Flight (+$250)
+ Everest Sightseeing Helicopter Tour (+ $Inquire)
+ Shivapuri Heights Cottage (+ $Inquire)
+ Cycling Trip in Kathmandu Valley (+Trip Price)
Chitwan National Park | Maruni Sanctuary Lodge
Chitwan + Tharu Villages Wildlife Safari
+ Upgrade to Tharu Lodge Chitwan (+$300 Per Room)
Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip!
We STRONGLY recommend scheduling an extra day in Kathmandu in case of flight delays or cancellations out of Lukla. Please make sure you have travel & travel medical insurance!
Trip Advisor Reviews
Tsering Sherpa is marvelous, extremely responsible, serious, devoted, very thoughtful, discreet and very pleasant to trek with. He is very helpful, well travelled, speaks good English, is well-mannered and has a good experience as a mountaineer and a climber. He is very powerful, strong and quick, and smiles a lot!
He seems to know everybody on the trail, is active in his community and is respected by other Sherpas. On trek he was a good counsellor on food, and of course respectful of tradition and of the Tibetan Buddhist faith. With him we felt very secure as he knows the trail and all the short cuts.
- Nan & Odette, Private Everest Base Camp Trek 2014
Phu Tashi was the perfect guide for me. I was going solo, and looking mostly for solitude; Tashi's temperament was the perfect match for mine. When he had something to say, it seemed eerily to come right when I was about to ask him a question about the very thing he started to speak about! He has a real passion for the natural world he lives in and for the Sherpa people and their traditions, too. I ended up falling ill with something and here again Tashi was the perfect guide - helpful but not smothering or overly-solicitous. I will be back, and with my family and I'm certain to request that Tashi accompanies us when we return.
- Nick A-H, Private Everest Base Camp Trek 2013
Read More Testimonials
- Everest Base Camp & the Khumbu Glacier
- Classic route villages & panoramas along the Jiri to Lukla trail, the original 1953 Everest Expedition route of Hillary & Norgay
- Kala Pattar Peak
- Everest, Lhotse & Nuptse Views
- Chhukhung Valley & Chhukhung Peak
- Ama Dablam Base Camp & Sunset Views
- Tengboche, Pangboche, Namche Bazaar & Khumjung Monasteries
- Tibetan Buddhist Culture
- Cozy Sherpa Lodges
- The Beyul & Hermitage Lodge
- Namche Bazaar (Saturday Market: option)
- Rhododendron Season in the Spring
- Himalayan Wildlife
- The Best of Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya
Kim Bannister Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography
Kamzang Journeys | Country + Regional Photos
Kamzang Journeys Photos
Kamzang Journeys Group Photos
Himalayan Wildlife Photos
Market + Street Food Photos
Asian Markets + Street Food
Travel Reading | Enhance Your Trip!
+ Kathmandu Hotel Single Supplement - $150
+ Helicopter to/from Lukla - $500 Sector (depends on #)
- Kathmandu Guest House, Shangri La or Dwarika's in Kathmandu (Extra cost for luxury hotels: Shangri La, Dwarika's or your choice)
- Lukla-Kathmandu Flight
- Transport to Jiri by private vehicle
- Departure taxes
- Airport pick-ups & drops
- Sagarmatha National Park permit
- TIMS card
- Kamzang Lodge-style Trekking:
All meals from lodge menu, herbal teas and French press coffee, hot drinks (hot chocolate, lemon tea, milk tea, etc), filtered drinking water, double rooms at good lodges, small medical kit, Sherpa guide & porters, local support in the Khumbu with our network of Sherpa connections, office support in Kathmandu, local knowledge ....
- International flights
- Nepal visa
- Travel or travel medical insurance
- Rescue Service (cost)
- Meals in Kathmandu (while not on trek)
- Equipment rental
- Alcohol & soft drinks
- Hot water bottles
- Boiled drinking water
- Tipping & other items of a personal nature
Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $200 for meals (while not on trek), drinks (on trek) and tips. We recommend $150 per trekker thrown into the tips pool for the crew.
Doma, Tshering or Phu Tashi Sherpa
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361
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Kathmandu Guest House Single Upgrades | 4 Nights
Standard Single - $75
Garden Single - $150
Deluxe Single - $425
Kathmandu Guest House Extra Nights
Includes breakfast + 25% taxes
Book with Kamzang Journeys + save 10%
Standard Single - $80
Standard Double - $100
Garden Single - $120
Garden Double - $140
Deluxe Single - $200
Deluxe Double - $220
Extra Days in Kathmandu | Customize your Journey!
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.
Mountain biking, rafting, vespa tours or yoga retreats around the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a visit to the Newari temple of Changu Narayan and a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for sublime Himalayan panoramas, an Everest sightseeing flight, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa, paragliding, hiking or zip-lining in Pokhara, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, a weekend of adventure, sauna and pampering at The Last Resort or five-star treatment in historic Dwarika's in Kathmandu.
Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Health Information
Notes on Itinerary
Although we try to follow the itinerary below, it is ONLY a guideline based on years of experience trekking in the Himalaya. At times local trail, river or weather conditions may make a deviation necessary; rivers may be impassible, snow blocks passes, and landslides wipe out trails. The trekking itinerary and campsites may also vary slightly depending on the group's acclimatization rate or sickness.
The Himalaya are our passion, and we take trekking seriously. Although everyone is here on vacation, please come with a dollop of patience and compassion added to your sense of adventure ...
Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography
You'll be met at the airport by Lhakpa or Doma Sherpa (of Khumbu Adventures) or the Kathmandu Guest House van. They will bring you back to the wonderful Kathmandu Guest House, where your rooms have been booked for you.
NOTE: Let us know if you would prefer to book an alternative hotel for the start of the trip or instead of the Kathmandu Guest House We can also provide a range of boutique and luxury hotels, or budget hotels.
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Temperatures + Clothing
Kathmandu during trekking season, in the spring and autumn, is usually warm (t-shirt, sandals, light pants or skirts) during the day, and gets chilly (light fleece or windproof top) in the afternoon. Nights can be cold enough for a sweater or light jacket, or warm enough for t-shirts. Summer is hotter and wetter; you’ll need a rain jacket and umbrella. The winter months (November – March) are chilly in the mornings and evenings, cold enough that you might start the day in a down jacket, but often warms up enough to wear a t-shirt by mid-day. Nights get cold enough for a down jacket if you’re sitting outside in the spring and autumn, and much colder in the winter when you won’t leave the hotel without your down jacket. It never snows in Kathmandu, leave your snow boots behind. Keens or lightweight sandals great for wandering around Kathmandu, and for trekking in lower altitudes.
Trekking is a mixed bag of temperatures. LAYERS are the key as hot can change quickly to freezing crossing the passes and snowfalls are common. We often have some rain below 3000 meters in the spring and early autumn, and it can rain hard in the summer. Have a wide range of layer-able trekking clothes for summer to winter temperatures. Keep a lightweight down jacket or synthetic jacket with you at all times, available inexpensively in Kathmandu. A lightweight rain poncho and umbrella for trekking recommended spring and summer. Be prepared! See our GEAR LIST for full details on gear, shoes, clothing, electronics and meds for the trek.
There are lots of real gear shops (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Sherpa Gear) and of course many fake ones in Kathmandu, so if you don't think you have the right gear starting the trip it will be easy to pick-up stuff once in Kathmandu. We have sleeping bags, duffel bags down jackets to rent.
Dress conservatively in Kathmandu and on the trail as a rule. Shorts are okay if they aren't too short, mini skirts aren’t recommended. Sleeveless t-shirts are absolutely fine, but perhaps avoid tank-tops on the trail. Super tight doesn't go over so well with the village elders. Many of the younger generation in Nepal wear modern Indian or Western-influenced clothes, but remember that you haven't signed up for a beach or surf vacation. Use your good judgment, be an ambassador for western tourists! Please ask Kim or your guide if unsure about appropriate clothing.
We have North Face style duffel bags with Kamzang Journeys logos for sale (XL, orange). They are (mostly) waterproof, mid to lightweight (lighter than North Face) and good quality. Price 4000 NRP (about $40)
Nepalis are very open and welcoming, but there are a few issues you should be aware of to make your stay in Nepal more fulfilling. Use your right hand to pass things, shake hands or do most anything. Left hands are somewhat taboo. Nepali's often place their left hand on the right forearm when passing things to others, a sign of respect. Best not to pat kids on heads, or point feet ahead of you at monasteries. Don't walk over someone's legs or feet, but put your hand down in front of you to signal them to pull their legs to the side. Take off shoes and hats when going into Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples, don't use flashes inside monasteries or temples in general, be respectful of a puja (prayer ceremony) if attending one. You can talk, all religious are very tolerant, but be aware of your level of voice.
Nepalis don't anger quickly, so try not to raise your voice if exasperated or angry as it only will make a situation worse. Do bargain at shops, with taxis and rickshaws, but don't fleece them. They are poor and making a living, generally.
Give small donations on the streets if you choose, but try not to encourage begging too much. Be aware of who you are giving money to, and please only give small amounts. If you do want to donate to a cause, ask about our Kamzang Fund or other responsible organizations.
Pampering Yourself in Kathmandu
We’re happy to book your rooms before or after the trek (or upgrade during the trek) at other boutique or luxury hotels in Kathmandu. We recommend Dwarika’s, Shangri-La, Yak & Yeti or Hyatt. We can also direct you to wonderful spa & massage centers in Kathmandu.
Tips for Staff
We recommend at least $200 per person to go into the tip pool for the staff. Please bring Nepali Rupees (NRP) with you on the trek for the tips. It’s nice to buy the staff drinks on the last night. Or any other night that you feel like getting them a bottle of Kukure Rum!
Tips in General
Tips are always appreciated but they don’t need to be extravagant. 100 NRP to carry bags to/from your room is fine. The women who clean your room will be happy with 100-200 NRP when you leave, and 100 NRP is good for drivers to/from the airport. Round up taxi fares. A larger tip would be expected for a daytrip in a car, perhaps 500 NRP. 10% is included in most restaurant and hotel bills in Nepal, and if it’s not included it’s still expected. Check your bills, and still round up at restaurants. Feel free to give out small change to the beggars in the streets (5, 10, 20 NRP) but try not to give it out to the street kids who use it for glue to sniff.
Cash + ATMs
You’ll want some cash with you on the trek for drinks, snacks, beer, sodas, etc. There are often chances to during the trek, and usually local crafts to buy en route. (You’ll want your tip money in NRP as well). There are ATMs in KTM but they don’t dispense large amounts of cash (usually 10-20,000 NRP) so you’ll be best with currency or TCs to change.
International Medical Center Kathmandu
Kathmandu + Kathmandu Valley Information
Our personalized 'Insider' list of things to do, places to go, what to visit, the most happening restaurants + the best hotels in Kathmandu and the beautiful Kathmandu Valley.
Happenings in Kathmandu
Travel Photography Gear Guide
The Complete Guide to Gear for the Landscape Photographer
This is a guideline, not a bible, for the gear you will need on the trek. Ask if you have questions! One 15 kg (33 lbs) maximum weight limit for the duffel bag for flights. 20 kg (50 lbs) weight limit for treks.
- Duffel Bag
- Day Pack (35-45 L)
- Sleeping Bag (-20F/-30C recommended)
- Down Jacket
- Trekking Boots
- Crocs (evenings, river crossings & washing)
- Trekking Pants (2)
- T-Shirts (2)
- Long-sleeve Trekking Shirts (2)
- Trekking Jacket
- Gortex (or light weight) Jacket & Pants
- Fleece or Thermal Top (evenings)
- Fleece or Thermal Bottoms (evenings)
- Lightweight Long Underwear (to sleep in or layer under clothes)
- Socks (4)
- Wool Hat
- Baseball Cap or Wide-brimmed Hat
- Camp Towel
- Trekking Poles (optional, recommended)
- Sunglasses (2)
- Water Bottles | Nalgenes (2-3)
- Bladder (optional, recommended)
- Toiletries, Sunscreen with SPF, Lip Balm with SPF
- Watch (with alarm)
- Extra Batteries
- Battery Chargers
- Head Lamp (2)
- Water Purifying Tablets, Small Water Filter or Steripen
- Laundry Detergent (Kathmandu) or Bio-degradable Clothes Soap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Small Solar Panel (optional, recommended for iPods, iPhones, camera batteries, Kindles)
- Zip-Lock | Plastic Bags
- Soft Toilet Paper | Tissues (we supply toilet paper but you will want something softer for blowing your nose)
- Baby-Wipes | Wet-Wipes (for personal cleaning)
- Handi-Wipes, J-Cloth or Chux (optional: easy for a quick daytime clean, fast drying)
- Rehydration | Electrolytes
- Personal Medical Supplies
Available in Namche Bazaar
- Snacks, chocolate bars, energy bars (Western brands), dried fruit & nuts
- Laundry detergent
- ALL trekking gear (Sherpa Gear, Mountain Hardwear, Tsetang's Gear Shop all have real gear), real & knock-offs.
- Lemon Tang (for water if you want)
- Trekking Poles
- Micro Spikes
We strongly suggest bringing Western meds with you as there are a lot of Indian fakes on the market!
Suggested: Diamox, Azithromyacin, Ciprofloxacin, Tinidazole or Flagyl & Augmentin. Bring COMPEED for covering blisters & good tasting electrolytes &/or rehydration salts (Emergen-C is a good American brand). The local versions aren’t very appealing.
We also recommend bringing strong knee & ankle supports & braces, ACE bandages for sprains & strains, Tegaderm &/or other would coverings. Duct tape is always useful. We're happy to take excess medical supplies off your hands when you leave if you won't need them and pass them on to others. We use lots of the large amount we have with us to treat locals as well as our own trekkers ...
Comments on Gear
Layers are essential for trekking. Quality is more important than quantity. It’s worth investing in some of the great, warm, lightweight gear available in all gear shops or online.
Kim's suggestions: I generally wear a trekking t-shirt, light trekking pants, a mid-weight trekking shirt, a lightweight synthetic jacket (instead of a fleece jacket) and always carry a wind & rain jacket (the same jacket, light weight). If the weather looks stormy, we're at higher altitudes, it's cold or it’s a pass day I carry a lightweight down jacket with me. I always have a pair of gloves, a wool hat, a baseball cap and extra pair of socks in my day pack. Good trekking boots are essential for passes although I mostly trek in low Merrill hiking shoes with socks. You don’t need climbing or plastic boots (for mini-crampons or micro-spikes).
Nights are chilly to cold, so a down jacket and warm sleeping bag are essentials. We recommend a DOWN bag of 0 to -20 F (-18 to -28 C). Mine is -20 F). At lower altitudes I open it and sleep under it like a quilt and up higher am toasty warm during the cold nights. Campsites near passes can get COLD. Rentals available.
Trekking poles are not required but strongly recommended, especially for going down passes which can be quite steep and are often icy. Bring gators if you tend to use them but they’re not required if you don't own a pair. Micro-spikes (mini-crampons) or YakTraks are almost always useful (or essential) for high pass crossings. It’s also good (possibly essential) to have a pair of plastic Crocs for washing and the evenings. Tevas take a long time to dry, not recommended. You can bring a pair of light sneakers or running shoes for the afternoons or easy days if you have room in your pack, or if you are used to hiking in them.
Good, polarized sunglasses are essential; please bring an extra pair if you tend to lose them! Don’t forget a sun hat or baseball cap and have plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF!
Bring extra large plastic bags or stuff-sacks in case of rain. You can pack electronics in them or stash your sleeping bag and clothes. The weather is changeable in the Himalaya, so again I recommend that everyone has a strong, waterproof duffel bag.
We recommend a 35-45 liter daypack (ask at your gear shop if you’re not sure of the capacity). Better to have it too large than too small as on pass days you’ll need to carry more warm gear. Most have internal water bladders built in, which are good for ensuring that you stay hydrated. Make sure it fits and is comfortable before purchasing!
In your daypack, you will be carrying your camera, 2 liters of water, a jacket, wind & rain pants, hat, gloves, extra socks, sunscreen, snacks, electrolytes, water purifying tablets, filter or Steripen (optional), camera, hand sanitizer, a pack-cover and often a down jacket. I slip my Crocs on the back for lunch. Lhakpa & I carry small medical kits in our daypacks.
We bring MSF water filters along on the trek for fresh drinking water, ecologically the best way to get water in the Himalaya’s fragile trekking regions. Bring your own filter pump, Steripen | UV purifier or iodine/chlorine tablets for fresh water while trekking. NOTE: To be extra safe with your drinking water, you can drop one purifying tablet into your water bottle after filling with our filtered water. Make sure you wait the required amount of time before drinking, and don’t add anything with Vitamin C as this negates the iodine.
Please bring at least TWO (and better three) Nalgene, Sigg or other unbreakable plastic | metal water bottles. Camelbacks and other bladder systems are good for trekking but can leak, so as a back-up it’s best to also bring a Nalgene or other water bottle.
NOTE: We do not provide boiled water for drinking on either our tea-house | lodge or our camping treks although there is endless hot water for herbal, black or green teas, hot chocolate, hot lemon as well as Indian chai and Kashmiri tea.
You will NEED snacks hiking at altitude, even if you’re not a snacker. People crave unusual foods at altitude! Energy bars, ‘GU’ gels, chocolate bars, dried fruit & nuts, beef jerky (or whatever) are important to have along for long days, pre-lunch bonks and passes. Lemonade mix, Emergen-C or similar drink mixes are great to have for hot days in your water bottles, and it is ESSENTIAL to bring electrolytes with you every day.
We have Western down jackets to rent for $1.50 per day. We also have good super-down sleeping bags to rent (0 to -10F) for $2.50 per day.
We have North Face-style duffels with Kamzang logos for sale, L & XL. They’re very good quality and come in Yellow (L) for $35 or Orange (XL) for $40.
Packing & Storage
It’s easiest to pack and unpack from a duffel bag, especially when the temperature drops, and easy for porters to carry. Inexpensive and decent quality duffels are available in Kathmandu. You can store extra gear in Kathmandu at the Kathmandu Guest House or your hotel's storage room free of charge.
Almost all gear is now available in Kathmandu, from real (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Sherpa Gear, Marmot shops in Thamel) to inexpensive knock-offs. The real gear shops take credit cards.
The Everest | Solu Khumbu Region
Nepal’s Solu Khumbu, widely known as the Everest region, is a diverse region of spectacular Himalayan panoramas, diverse flora including blue pine, juniper and silver fir, rare wildlife and some of the highest mountains on the planet. The Khumbu is the original Sherpa homeland, a region of Nyigma-pa Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, ancient chortens, lung-ta (prayer flags), glaciers, Himalayan passes, high pasture lands and once traditional villages which are now often (but not always) crowded with trekking lodges and colorful shops. The region is dominated by the sacred Khumbila peak, which rises above Khumjung and Kunde, two of the larger villages in the area, with Mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam towering over the village from the opposite side. The elevation of the Khumbu ranges from 2840 meters to the 8,848 meter summit of Mount Everest.
There are several ways to enter the Khumbu, the most commonly trekked part of the Everest region. Most people fly into the Hillary Airstrip in Lukla (2840 meters), and the second most popular route is via Jiri, a diverse trek of 7-8 days crossing numerous smaller passes and ridges, and trekking through traditional Hindu, Rai and Tamang villages. The third route is via the old mountaineering trail of Shipton, Hillary and all of the original mountaineers starting in Tumlingtar (or before that, way back when), following the Aun River for a few days before veering west and trekking in very hilly, beautiful country through sprawling Rai villages until the Jiri route is intersected. The last route is via the Rolwaling Tashi Laptsa Pass, a challenging six day trek from Barabise and Chariot, through the realm of the goddess Tashi Tseringma (according to Sherpa mythology), which crosses the somewhat treacherous Tashi Laptsa Pass (5755 meters) to reach the Thame valley. The last route is from Tibet, a trail not open to Westerners and often closed even for Nepalis and Tibetans. From the Tibetan side traders cross the Nangpo La (5710 meters) and trek down several days through a glacial valley where Sherpas have their ‘doksas’, or seasonal herding villages, to reach Thame and Namche Bazaar.
The Everest (Khumbu) region is entered through the Sagarmatha National Park at the top end of Monjo (where Kim taught school in 2001). The Sagarmartha National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979, an area of 1148 square meters which ranges from 2840 - 8840 meters. The buffer zone was established in the late 90s to give some income to the villages between Lukla and Monjo. Namche Bazaar is a bustling old trading village at the fork of three valleys, situated in an amphitheater of peaks. The far left valley leads to Thame valley and Tibet, the middle valley leads to Gokyo Lake and the far right valley leads to the Khumbu Glacier, formed during the last great Ice Age approximately 500,000 years ago, and Everest Base Camp. This valley branches off to the right about half way up and leads to the Chhukhung Valley and the base of the Island Peak climbing route.
The Khumbu region, with a population of about 4000, gets from 10-20,000 Western trekkers per year, and probably double that amount of Nepali staff and local porters coming to the markets at Lukla and Namche with their goods to sell.
Mount Everest, also referred to in Sherpa and Tibetan as Chomolungma, was recognized as the highest peak in the world in 1856 by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India (it was until then known as Peak XV). Everest was named after Sir George Everest, the British Surveyor General of India, by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865.
The first mountaineers to attempt to climb Everest were British, and the first attempt made in 1921 from the Tibetan side as Nepal was then closed to foreigners. This 1921 expedition reached 7000 meters on the North Col, the 1922 expedition climbing on the North ridge reached 8320 meters but tragically 7 porters were killed in an avalanche while descending. George Mallory & Andrew Irvine attempted to climb Everest on 8 June, 1924, perhaps even submitting before disappearing. Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999 on the North Face of Everest, at 8155 meters; the question of whether or not they summited Everest still remains a mystery.
Nearly 30 years later Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary succeeded in making the first official ascent of Everest, climbing on the southeast ridge route in 1953 to reach the summit of Chomolungma together!
Notable Himalayan peaks include Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7861m), Makalu (8462m), Cho Oyu (8201m), Ama Dablam (6812m), Mera Peak (6476m), Island Peak (6189m), Cho Polu (6735m), Khumbutse (6640m), Kwongde Ri (6187m), Thamserku (6623m), Kang Guru (6981m), Kusum Kanggaru (6367m), Changtse (7580m) & Cholatse (6440m).
Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu 1340m/16,350'
You'll be met at the airport by a representative from your hotel who will have a sign with your name on it. Transfer to your hotel where your rooms have been booked for you.
The Kathmandu Guest House and Kantipur Temple Home are located in the hub of Thamel, a myriad of banners, signs, music shops, bakeries, internet cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, shops of all imaginable varieties and eccentrically clad backpackers. Dwarika's is an oasis of calm near the airport. Relax by the pool, visit the spa and enjoy the historic and serene surroundings, dining at one of their world-class restaurants. Yak & Yeti is just off Durbar Marg, a tree-lined, upscale road of shops and hotels. Shangri La is in Lazimpat, just a few kilometers outside Thamel and features a lovely garden and outdoors cafe.
We'll need your travel medical insurance, a copy of your passport and Nepali visa and one (or more) visa-sized photo, so have them ready to give to your guide.
Day 2 - Kathmandu
Enjoy a free day to explore Kathmandu's many World Heritage sites, to decompress at your hotel or the spa, to head out shopping or to embark on a tour of the Kathmandu and the beautiful Kathmandu valley, surrounded by Himalayan snow-peaks.
Kathmandu | World Heritage Sites (Optional Tour)
Kathmandu is filled with World Heritage sites and sacred destinations, crowded with traditional neighborhoods and colorful festivals. Spend a few days exploring Nepal's exotic capital and the history-laden Kathmandu valley. We can arrange sightseeing guide, vehicles and guides as required. See Kathmandu Heritage + Happeningsfor more details.
We recommend beginning with Pashupatinath in the early morning, and moving on to Boudhanath mid-morning. Hindu Pashupatinath on the sacred Bagmati river and its sacred temple complex is one of Nepal's most important sites, a powerful cremation site and Nepal's most important Hindu temple. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating, when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Local guides can explain the significance of the complicated ceremonies. Please be respectful when taking photos.
Boudhanath, in the midst of traditional monasteries (gompas) and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the iconic stupa. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. There are wonderful spots for lunch at Boudhanath (Roadhouse Cafe has wood-oven pizzas and a breathtaking view of the stupa and colorful Nepals circling it), and it's a good place to learn the technique of thanka painting and purchase a thanka (Buddhist mural). See also Bhaktapur for more options for shopping for thankas.
Wander through the many temples, pagodas, courtyards and the museum at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a timeless gathering spot and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kathmandu Durbar Square, including the old royal palace, is Kathmandu's 'Palace Square', a showcase for the world renown artisans and craftsmen of Kathmandu and a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist palaces, temples, stupas and statues. The Malla and Shah kings ruled over the Kathmandu Valley during the centuries of the building of the layers of this Durbar Square. Along with their opulent palaces, the square surrounds numerous courtyards and temples, all works of art with intricate and often erotic carvings. Kathmandu Durbar Square is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace. The social, religious and urban focal point of the city, Durbar Square is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies such as Teej. Some important structures are Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju Temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages.
In the evening (take the interesting back streets from Durbar Square) climb the many steps to the gilded Swayambhunath stupa (known as the monkey temple) which rises from the Kathmandu valley floor at 1420 meters and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. . Swayambunath, the 'self created’ stupa, was founded over 2000 years ago at a time when the Kathmandu valley was filled by a large lake, with a single lotus in the center. Mythology says that Manjusri, a bodhisvatti, drained the lake with one cut of his sword and the lotus flower was transformed into the stupa. From its commanding views of Kathmandu, circumambulate Swayambunath's white-washed stupa, painted with distinctive Buddha eyes, the complex a unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Another interesting time to visit Swayambunath is in the mornings, when Nepalis visit the temple dedicated to the God of Smallpox to with colorful offerings for the goddess.
Stop to photograph reflections in Kathmandu's many pokhari's, or ponds, including the beautiful Rani Pokhari (queen's bath) near New Road, and the Naga Pokhari (pond of the snake gods of the underworld) just beyond the palace gates. The many bathing ghats, square enclosures with steps leading down to water spouts, often decorated with naga heads, are also interesting and colorful gathering spots.
Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
Day 3 - Drive Jiri 2370m
You will board your private vehicles for the beautiful drive to Jiri along the Arniko Highway, passing under the spectacular Langtang & Ganesh Himals and through Nepal's timelessly beautiful green, terraced landscapes. Once in bustling Jiri, you will spend the night at a 'rustic' lodge with the possibility depending on road & trail conditions to hike a few hours today. (8 hrs drive)
Day 4 - Trek Bhandar 2190m
The trekking begins! This is the start of the classic expedition route of Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzin Norgay in 1953 as they headed towards Everest on the first successful summit bid. The Jiri to Lukla route is still one of Nepal's least-trekked regions, and a great way to slowly acclimatize while trekking to Everest Base Camp. This is a trek which passes through traditional villages and lovely alpine forests, following glacial rivers and cresting ridges shrouded in clouds, with the chance to visit Buddhist monasteries and stay in hospitable Sherpa lodges en route. (5-6 hrs)
Day 5 - Trek Sete 2575m
The next week will be beautiful ridge hiking, ascending and descending through lovely, forested valleys, passing through Rai, Sherpa, Tamang and Chhetri (Hindu) villages as you trek towards Lukla. You'll have plenty of time to meet locals, try some of the local dishes, rest at small tea houses as you hike through some of the world's most beautiful hills. The clouds will often move in by early afternoon, so have the appropriate gear in your day pack. (4-5 hrs)
Day 6 - Trek Junbesi 2680m - Cross Lamjura La (3530m)
More hills covered in wild forests of rhododendron, Himalayan birch and other evergreens as you trek through yet more small villages with terraced fields and local architecture, passing school kids in their uniforms en route to their classrooms, and heavily laden porters carrying their baskets (dokhas) with head straps and a large, worn stick. You'll cross the only real pass of this route, the Lamjura La, with twin otters heading to Lukla flying just overhead. Enjoy the views! (6-7 hrs)
Day 7 - Jumbesi - Rest Day
We've scheduled an optional rest day which you can use to hike up to a nearby Tupencholing Gompa, one of Nepal's most spiritual monasteries in a wonderful setting, perhaps arriving in time for the daily Buddhist puja, or prayer ceremony, with the maroon-clad monks and lamas. Or you could keep in hand in case you need later on in the trek.
Day 8 - Trek Nunthala 2330 m
The higher mountains of the Khumbu appear tantalizingly in front of you as you trek towards scenic Nunthala village, another somewhat challenging day of hill walking through diverse and scenic villages, with corn drying in raised racks adorning the villages and terraced fields providing a beautiful patchwork in the hills below. (5-6 hrs)
Day 9 - Trek Bupsa 2300m
We continue with the hill walking, following the Dudh Khosi in the valley far below, and finishing the day with a large hill to reach ridge-top Bupsa, today is a shorter day through more scenic Sherpa, Rai and mixed villages, so enjoy the interactions with Nepal's friendly inhabitants as you pass through, and sample the local fare. (4-5 hrs)
Day 10 - Trek Phakepani 2775m
Snow peaks in the distance as you continue to climb and descend through forest, now slightly thinner, heading towards LuklaThe largest village you'll trek through today is Kharikhola, with your first view of the sacred Sherpa peak, Khumbu Yul Lha (Khumbila), and Gyachen Kang, and then Kusum Kangaru en route. Soon you reach the charming village of Puiyan where you may stop for lunch at the Beehive Lodge. Another enjoyable hour of hiking along a wide trail with broad views and over a small ridge brings us to Phakepani, where we'll bed down at Ang Dali's Mountain View Lodge for the night, a real Sherpa experience. Showers, cold beer and tongba are available, so clean up and head to the warm kitchen table for the evening. (4-6 hrs)
Day 11 - Trek Monjo 2835m/9300'
Leaving Surkhe you'll have a steep, hour-long climb up to the quaint village of Chaunrikharka, with Lukla and its famous airstrip above us to the our right as we trek north, with snow-capped Karyolung peak in the distance.
The trail takes us above a rhododendron-choked forest, over the school and gompa and past the checkered fields of barley, spinach and potatoes of the village. We are trekking along the Dudh Kosi (river) on a centuries-old trading trail from Nepal to Tibet. It is well traveled by stout, heavily loaded Nepali porters and Tibetan traders (Khampas, most distinguishable by the length of red or black tassel wrapped around their heads) conducting business between the weekly markets of Lukla and Namche with Chinese and Tibetan goods brought over the 5700m Nangpa La (pass) from Tibet.
Half an hour out of Lukla we reach the idyllic hamlet of Chheplung. Up valley rises the sacred peak of Khumbila, a black triangle that dominates the valley. From the small hamlet of Thado Kosi, while crossing the metal bridge, we have our first view the three sister peaks of Kusum Khangkaru to the east. Half an hour of lovely trekking over cobbled trails brings us to Ghat and the best-maintained cluster of mani stones and prayer flags in the Khumbu. The local lama, owner of the Lama Lodge in Ghat, is responsible for this magical setting. Once at Phakding, a lively village a half hour's walk from Ghat, we will stop for lunch at Ang Sani and Jangbu's Shangri La Lodge. Their son, Nawang, has just opened a stylish cafe with great cappuccinos from an Italian coffee maker!
Hiking by the small tea-houses servicing the locals and workers in Phakding, we cross a long suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi and trek above the river, climbing through evergreen forests to reach the first lodge of Benkar. Look up on the protruding rocks for Himalayan thar. Continuing over a small bridge, we continue through larger Benkar, the first village to attend the Monjo school. Another suspension bridge, several small tea houses serving local fare and another climb, and we reach Chumoa, with apple and peach trees which bloom in the springtime. One more small bridge and a last climb on uneven stone steps to reach Monjo, where we stop at Top Hill Lodge for the night, owned by Domey and Pasang Dawa.
Monjo is a small Sherpa village tucked away in the forests high above the Dudh Kosi where Kim taught English years ago, only the newer part of the village visible from the trail. There is a newly reconstructed gompa above the school, and above than a steep drop off and good view of tomorrow's hike. (6 hrs)
Day 12 - Trek Namche Bazaar 3465m/11,365'
After a short walk past the school with Khumbila (or Khumbu Yul La) looming majestically ahead of us, we enter the gateway to the Sagarmatha National Park. Descending steeply on a stony trail to the river, we cross a long suspension bridge to reach the hamlet of Jorsale, and then cross one more long bridge before continuing along the sandy riverside trail, still amongst the pine forest, the shores peppered with large, rounded river rocks. We continue along the river for about 45 minutes, with two large ascents on steep, stone staircases. Hike carefully as these steps are a bit precipitous.
Bring your five-colored Tibetan prayer flags to hang on the long (new in 2013) suspension bridge over the confluence of the Dudh Kosi (milk river) and the Bhote Kosi (river from Tibet) and send prayers out into the Everest region! The steep hour and a half climb to Namche on a dusty, rocky, switch-backing trail is broken half-way up the hill by our first view of Everest, Lhotse & Nuptse. Local women sell delicious oranges at this resting point, which we'll share for sure with other trekkers. Another 45 minutes of climbing, mostly off the main trail amongst the evergreens, we arrive at the old trading village of Namche Bazaar, now a thriving trekking metropolis. We'll have a short tour of the shopping and bakeries in Namche before heading up steep stone steps to our guest house, Natang & Pemba's idyllic Moonlight Lodge, scenically situated at the top of Namche.
Namche Bazaar, once called Nauje and now the most prosperous trading village on the old trade route with Tibet, sits in an amphitheater surrounded by mountains. From Namche we have perfect views of Kongde Ri in front of us, Kangtega, Thamserku and Kusum Khangkuru to the east and Khumbila to the back. Down-valley the hills and valleys along the route from Solu to Khumbu from Jiri sit shrouded in hazy shades of steely-grey and blues. (3 1/2 hrs)
Day 13 – Namche Bazaar | Day Hike Khunde 3855m/12,638' + Khumjung 3800m/12,465'
This is your acclimatization day in Namche. If it's Saturday (or Friday) Market day we we'll take the morning to explore the bustling market, a feast of colors, smells (not all of them appealing), and colorfully-clad Sherpa women up from their villages for the weekly event. It’s as much a social gathering as a produce, meat and essential goods market, so the atmosphere is spirited and lively.
People are free to relax and explore the crowded main streets of Namche, the Sherpa Cultural Center (photographic museum, fantastic), the reconstructed traditional Sherpa house (next door), the National Park Headquarters Museum (where you'll have easy views of Everest, Lhotse & Nuptse+), colorful Namche Gompa with its own new museum and the Tibetan market. The Tibetans are often encamped in the center of town in a muddy bazaar (potato fields in the summer) touting their goods from China. Indulge yourself at one of the many bakeries, shop for some yak bells or hand-woven Himalayan hats, chat with the sociable Sherpas in the village, or just relax in preparation for the trek. There are now new Mountain Hardwear and Sherpa Gear shops as well as Tsedam's Gear Shop with a great variety of real trek gear if you find that you're missing warm clothes. All often have gear on sale, bonus! Watch out for dzobkios and cows wandering the narrow streets.
For some peak-spotting at sunet, hike up 15 minutes from the lodge, the intersection to the left of the trail, just past the National Park headquarters. For a higher viewpoint, climb steeply to any of several viewpoint an hour+ walk straight up the ridge (above the huge mani stone at the top of the steps). Continue just past Syangboche airstrip, worth the effort for the panoramic views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Thamserku, Kantega, Kusum Khangkuru, Tarboche and Ama Dablam.
Moonlight Lodge has a great hot shower, a large library, beer and wine in the cabinet and delicious home-cooked food so there is really no reason to leave at all if you're feeling lethargic, or enjoying basking in the sunny dining room. Later in the afternoon you might spot yaks wandering into the back yard of the Moonlight Lodge. They will be ours, with our yak-drivers Pasang & Mingma, and will all accompany us for the rest of the trek.
DAY HIKE KHUMJUNG + KHUNDE
Your guide will lead whoever wants to join on a scenic and cultural high loop through the Khunde and Khumjung valley. Taking advantage of the crisp morning light we hike up the steep hill in back of Namche (the same as towards the viewpoint) towards the lively, old Sherpa villages of Khunde and Khumjung, passing through the old airstrip at Syangboche en route. The first section of the climb is steep and sandy, and we will break the climb with great photos from the large mani stone hung with colorful prayer-flags. On the ridge above the airstrip we climb gradually on tundra to a large, whitewashed chorten to the right of the yak-breeding center. From here we climb briefly to a small hill topped with chulung (memorial chortens) for fabulous views of Kumbila, Tabuche, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kangtega, Kusum Khangkuru, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. We trek down to Chhukhung along a small, scenic trail through rhododenrons. We may spot Himalayan tahr grazing on the hillsides, and possibly iridescent danphe and chortling chukkars.
Descending into magical Khumjung (marketed as the Green Valley), we walk through the entrance chorten and past a long, beautiful mani wall and the old Khumjung school, established by Hillary in the 70s. We'll contour through ancient rock walls through the lower half of the village to Khumjung Gompa, one of the oldest in the Khumbu (approximately 500 years) and home to the only existing Yeti scalp on the planet ...
The adjoining villages of Khumjung and Khunde are some of the original villages of the Khumbu region, both about 600 years old and wonderful examples of local Sherpa architecture with their winding stone walls, yak paddocks, potato patches and wood and slate houses. Perhaps we will run into Sherpa friends who will invite us in for some salt-butter tea, climbing up a wooden ladder over the straw-lined manger to get into the main house on the first floor. Both villages sit below Khumbila, the sacred Sherpa peak surrounded by lhaso (shrines to mountain deities), above a famous rock-mural of Guru Rimpoche. The views of Ama Dablam from this valley are breathtaking. Heading up the valley to neighboring Khunde, we continue to trek through trails lined by lichen-covered stone walls, past traditional Sherpa houses, to Khunde Hospital, where Lhakpa's uncle Kami is the head doctor.
Next door, at Khunde Guest House, we'll have lunch with the lovely owner Doma Tseri and her daugher. Their lodge has expansive mountain views from the warm, glass dining room. Satiated, we'll hike through Khunde's entrance kane and back up the small ridge, where more Himalayan vistas await. Way down below us, along another magical trail, is Namche and a warm and cheerful dining room.
The side trip to Hillary Memorial (4200m), locally referred to as Gong Ri, is a relatively easy hike (approximately 45 minute) along a gradually ascending through a hillside lightly wooded with fir and juniper above Khunde Monastery. Just before reaching the monastery, take the intersecting trail heading left to a scenic ridge with a nearly 360 degree view of Himalayan peaks. The dramatic ridge top setting was dedicated as a memorial to Edmund Hillary’s wife, Louise, and his 16 year old daughter, Belinda, who died tragically in a plane crash just outside of Kathmandu in 1975. The plane was heading to Phaplu Airstrip. Just above the memorial to Louise and Belinda Hillary is a chorten built by local Khunde inhabitants to honor Sir Edmund Hillary.
Views from the memorial include Everest, Lhotse, Nupte, Tabuche, Ama Dablam, Kangtega, Thamserku, Kusum Kangkaru, Kwongde and Pharchamo, as well as the twin villages of Khunde and Khumjung just below Khunde Gompa, Shyangboche, Namche and Monjo down valley, and Tengboche and Pangboche to the north. From the ridge, look to the west to the Thame valley leading to the Nangpa La, once an important Tibetan trade route. The narrow valley before the Thame valley is rumored to be the home of several yetis. Descend from the memorial along the same trail, or head straight down the ridge towards Shyangboche, cutting back towards Khunde to meet the main trail back to Namche as well as the trail leading west towards Thame. You can bushwack your way directly down to Namche but it takes some work, and the trails are only for wood cutters or musk deer. On the plus side, you’ll encounter the many colorful Danphe en route! (6+ hrs)
Day 14 - Trek Phortse 3780m/12,398'
We start the day hiking up to the same large mani stone, turning left and hiking along the well-used trail heading east. We stay high, contouring around several hillsides far above the Dudh Kosi and stopping for views of Everest and Lhotse at the two whitewashed chortens. (The first chorten is a newer memorial to Tenzin Norgay). Two hours after leaving Namche we reach Tashi & Lhakpa's Ama Dablam Lodge in Kyangjuma, perched dramatically on a steep hillside overlooking the peak of the same name. Tashi has the best jewelry shopping in the Everest region so we'll have a short stop at her lodge. Continuing along the main trail through a lovely rhododendron forest we take a sharp left at the intersecting trail leading to Gokyo and ascend the steep trail up to the bridge which intersects the old trail from Khumjung. Along the way we are likely to see wildlife such as himalayan tahr and the spectacularly-hued danphe (the Nepali national bird). We climb gradually for another hour to Mong La, where we will stop for a scenic lunch at Boudha Lodge, perched spectacularly on this (nearly) 4000 meter pass. Across the valley sits Tengboche Gompa, its gilded rooftops glittering in the afternoon sun.
We have a steep descent through pine and rhododendron forests on a switchbacking trail, with stone steps hugging the cliff side on the lower half, to Phortse Tenga. Just past the lodges and ancient mani walls, hiking through woods of birch, we cross the river on a steel bridge and start the short but steep climb up to Phortse, one of the oldest villages of the Khumbu region. Keep your eyes open and cameras out as there are many musk deer, danphe and blood pheasants hiding in the rhododendron forests bordering the trail and the village. The danphe dig for potatoes in the lower fields of the village in the mornings and evenings, near the ancient chorten at the end of the fields. We'll bunk down for the night at Phortse Guest House, which has a wonderful dining room, great views and good electricity. The lodge is run by a lovely Sherpa couple, Ba Nuru and his Sherpani wife Pasang. Ba Nuru is a many-time Everest climber and one of the main participants in the Phortse Climbing School, founded by Conrad Anchor and his wife. (6 1/2 hrs)
Day 15 – Trek Pangboche 3900m/12,792'
Leaving Phortse on the northeastern side and climbing for 20 minutes to the small chorten which signifies the top of the ridge, we look across the Imja Khola towards Tengboche Gompa across the deep river gorge. Our trail skirts the high ridges of Tabuche Peak, often precipitous but always safe, with fantastic views around every corner and more thar grazing along the steep hillsides. Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse dominate the northern skyline, while Ama Dablam is close enough to touch to the east and Kangtega and Thamserku grace the valley below us. After an hour of scenic walking we climb a few hundred meters to a small pass (4080m), descend with a few dips on stone staircases, and soon reach Upper Pangboche. We'll take 20 minutes to wander the old alleys and take a look inside Pangboche Gompa, at approximately 500 years old one of the four oldest gompas (monasteries) in the Khumbu.
Contouring above the newer Lower Pangboche, we trek to the left of an ancient mani wall and contour above the newer lodges before dropping down to our lodge at the end of Lower Pangboche. Pangbohe is a lovely village with views across the Imja Khola to the trail to Ama Dablam Base Camp, the old airstrip at Mingbo and Ama Dablam. We stay at Sonam Lodge, the last in the village, owned by Lhakpa's (ex) brother-in-law, Gyurme. Gyurme is one of the many lodge owners who has summited Everest and Ama Dablam many times. From the three-sided windows of the dining room we are treated to a magnificent sunset over Ama Dablam, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. (3 hrs)
As it's been a short day we'll enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Sonam Lodge. Feel free to enjoy the afternoon resting at the lodge, or take a hike through the trekking shops of Lower Pangboche or up to a strip of memorial chortens on the high trail from Upper Pangboche. One of the original partners of Project Himalaya, Joel Schone, has his memorial chorten at this beautiful spot. (3 1/2 hrs)
Day 16 - Pangboche | Day Hike Ama Dablam Base Camp 4580m/15,040'
We've scheduled an acclimatization day in Pangboche with a great hike up the Mingbo valley to Ama Dablam Base Camps (4580m & 4535m). Lhakpa's sister-in-law Nima Lhamo owns the Ama Dablam Support Lodge, popular with Ama Dablam climbers, at the lower base camp.
After descending to the river and crossing on a small bridge, we have a steep climb to the plateau above which has several doksas or summer settlements on either side. We continue to climb along a rocky, ridge line trail to reach lively Ama Dablam Base Camp, dominated by Ama Dablam. The views throughout the day are sublime, especially of Pumori and Tabuche which tower above us to the east. We'll visit the higher base camp first, ablaze with yellow and orange tents, and perhaps get to watch climbers ascending towards the snowy summit before descending to Nima Lhamo's lodge for a Sherpa lunch.
The descent is much quicker, and we'll be back at the lodge early afternoon with time for a shower. (5 hrs RT)
Day 17 - Trek Dingboche 4300m/14,015'
It's only a short trekking day today since we're gaining altitude, so enjoy the beautiful walk. Leaving Pangboche, we trek above the Imja Khola along a rocky trail to tiny Somare and then along wide yak trails past the one lodge of Orsho and then past the intersection to Pheriche (home of the the HRA health post). Just past the intersection we descend to the intersecting Chola Khola which we cross on a small, wooden bridge to reach the scree hillside leading to Dingboche. Dingboche is another old Sherpa village, now a primary stop on the Everest Base Camp route, a semi-permanent village whos inhabitants traditionally would stay in nearby kharkas, keeping their livestock away from their precious barley crops.
The lower half of Dingboche is a line of trekking lodges interspersed with a few local shops and internet cafes, while the upper half is still local Sherpa dwellings, fields, rock walls and yak enclosures, reminiscent of Sherpa villages of yore. Three whitewashed chortens with Buddha eyes lead up the ridge to the peak called Dolma Ri, topped with prayer flags. Look on top of the peak for the eagle, or 'lak', perched there. Above, nestled in the hillside, is an old Buddhist hermitage called Nangar Dzong, the summer meditation place of Lama Sangwa Dorje. We stay at the down for the welcoming Snowlion Guest House right at the bottom of the village ... (3 hrs)
Day 18 - Dingboche | Day Trip Chhukhung 4750m/15,580'
If we are all acclimatized we'll head up to Chhukhung for a day of mountain views. The trail ascends the grassy left bank of the boulder-strewn Imja Kola to Chhukhung, a seasonal herding village nestled under Ama Dablam, Lhotse, the Nuptse wall, Peak 38 and Island peak, to name just a few of the peaks that make this such a superb setting. The trek is only 2-3 hours so there is time to absorb the great views en route.
We'll have lunch at the Chhukhung Resort, owned by Chunti Sherpa, a lovely lodge with a warm sunroom and a slate deck, perfect for peak-gazing in the afternoon. You might want to hike up to 5000 meters on Chhukhung Ri, or to wander up the glacial morraines just north of the lodge ... Take it easy as we've gained quite a bit of altitude! (4 1/2 hrs RT)
Day 19 - Trek Lobuche 4935m/16,186'
After breakfast, we'll crest the chorten-topped ridge to the west of Dingboche and traverse the plateau for another three hours, looking down on the trail to the Cho La Pass and Dzongla. Walking along the flat, grassy grazing pastures, we pass the summer 'doksa', or yak-herding settlement, of Dusa before heading down to the stony river coming from the Khumbu Valley, and crossing it on a small bridge. A quick five minutes up the hill and we arrive at Thugla and Tsering Lhakpa's Yak Lodge, probably the most genuine alpine lodge in the Khumbu. And it's worth a trek up to Thugla just to meet Tsering, who often takes out his Tibetan 'damnye' to play some traditional Tibetan songs. We'll have lunch at Thugla before continuing up.
From Thugla, it's straight up the steep, yak-trodden trail to the memorials to the many climbers who have died attempting one of the many peaks in the area (including Babu Chiri and Scott Fischer's). The Sherpas call this place Chukpi Lhare, meaning 'wealthy persons' kharka'. Check the mountain views behind you when you reach the memorial crest, they're spectacular. Next, we head up-valley towards Lobuche, where we stay the night at the Eco Lodge. The views from the edge of the glacier down valley are superb, almost more so as the clouds move up the valley, so don't miss an afternoon walk up to the ridge with your camera. At Lobuche, almost 5000 meters, it is especially important to take it easy, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. (6 1/2 hrs)
Day 20 - Trek Gorak Shep 5180m/16,990' | Climb Kala Pattar Peak 5645m/18,516'
We leave Lobuche early, trekking up a rocky yak trail on the right side of the Khumbu Glacier towards Gorak Shep, a walk of about three hours. The walk isn't difficult, but there are a few hills to crest, more memorials along the way, and you should feel the altitude. The last stretch of the trail snakes up and down glacial scree, and just before Gorak Shep we get a view of Everest. Gorak Shep, with Kala Pattar just to the left, is a welcome sight; the Himalayan Lodge has expanded, the rooms are lovely, the toilets are inside and the dining room is always lively and warm. The food is even good, quite a feat at 5180 meters, many days walk from the markets! To the east of Gorak Shep, Nuptse looms magnificently above us, now a triangular rock face which turns pink with the evening light.
We have a chance to climb the 5645-meter Kala Pattar later in the morning, a steep, 2-hour climb from the lodge. From the rocky, prayer-flag strewn summit which is actually a spur from Pumori we are rewared with in-your-face views the 6, 7 & 8000 meter peaks as Everest, Lhotse (the tip), Nuptse, Amadablam & Kangtega to the south and Lhola Peak, Changtse, Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori & Chumbu. Changtse is fully in Tibet, and the others for the most part form the border of Nepal and Tibet.
Descending is much faster than the ascent, and hot drinks are waiting back at Ang Tsering's Himalayan Lodge. For the remainder of the day: a late lunch (if we didn't have it earlier), rest and lots of water! (3 hrs + 4 hrs RT)
Day 21 - Trek Lobuche 4935m/16,186' | Day Hike Everest Base Camp 5365m/17,597'
We have the morning hike to Everest Base Camp at 5365 meters, a 5-hour round-trip walk along the glacial ridge leading to the Khumbu icefall, descending right onto the glacier. At 'Korean Base Camp' there is a rock strung with 5-colored prayer flags which looks out at the Khumbu Ice Fall, a perfect spot for a group photo. If we have time, we can venture into the ice pinacles just a few minutes from the prayer flags, a sign of the melting glaciers and global warming ...
If you didn't do it yesterday do head up for a climb of the 5645 meter Kala Pattar in the morning. Rob Hall's memorial makes a nice side-trip up the valley if you're short on energy. Back at the lodge we'll have lunch and then head back down the glacial valley to the Eco Lodge at Lobuche, showers, a warm stove and a good dinner! (4 hrs RT + 2 hrs)
Day 22 - Trek Pangboche
Leaving Lobuche, we descend for an hour along the Khumbu glacier to the memorials above Thugla, and then switchback very steeply down the network of trails to Thugla that we climbed a few days ago. We'll keep to our right and take the lower trail to Pheriche and then climb the small pass and descend back to the wide valley of yak trails and along the narrow trail to Pangboche. We'll stay the night again at Sonam Lodge and enjoy the intimate dining room ... (5 1/2 hrs)
Day 23 – Trek Namche Bazaar
Continuing back down the valley, we leave Pangboche by passing by the numerous trekking lodges and shops of Lower Pangboche and exiting the town through the open chorten (kane). We descend, on a beautiful and well-worn trail lined with ancient mani walls and whitewashed chortens with Bouddha eyes, down to the Imja Khola far below. After crossing the river on a new metal bridge (look below to see the old bridge), we hike on wide yak-trails through the hamlet of Devoche, passing ancient, moss-covered mani stones and the ani gompa (nunnery) of Devoche on the right. Stop for a peek into this old monastery, the equally ancient looking nuns often perform mid-day pujas. Soon after passing the nunnery we pass the few small lodges of Devoche and then ascend a relatively steep, switchbacking trail through a dense rhododendron forest for a good half an hour to reach Tengboche (4000 meters), backed by the massive wall of Kangtega and well-known for its large monastery, Tengboche Gompa. Tengboche is the largest monastic community in the Everest region and one of the Khumbu's most important monasteries.
We'll take some time to visit Tengboche Gompa before the steep, hour-long descent on a dusty, hill-side trail to Phunki Tenga. From here, we cross the Dudh Koshi on a new bridge and heading back up steeply through pine forests, and past small local settlements to Tashi and Lhakpa's Amadablam Lodge at Kyangjuma. We'll stop for a scenic lunch on the terrace, gazing out on the majestic Ama Dablam. Don't miss the shopping; Tashi is famous for her jewelry which she also sells in Colorado in the summertime. From here, it's an easy hour and a half contour around many brushy hillsides to reach Namche, the Tibetan market, the Moonlight lodge, hot showers, good food and a glass of wine or a cold beer. (5 1/2 hrs)
Day 24 - Trek Chhuserma | The Beyul 2660m/8725'
Leaving Namche along the same trail that you hiked up over a week ago, you will hike down that big hill to Phakding from where you'll cross the bridge over the river and hiking along the opposite side of the river, well away from other trekkers. Your destination is Nima & Caryl's charming new Beyul & Hermitage Lodge where you will enjoy Himalayan views on their terrace, sit around the stove with the welcoming family, eat an organic meal from their own garden and enjoy true peace. This is a unique lodge and a chance to get to know Sherpa culture with some Western amenities! (5 hrs)
Day 25 - Trek Lukla 2850m/9350'
Trekking down to the river, you'll again cross on the bridge and start your hike uphill through Chharikharka. You will finish the trek back at Dawa Phuti & Ang Pasang's Eco-Paradise Lodge where everyone stays in the new en-suite rooms. In the evening you will have yet another Sherpa feast (after hot showers) and perhaps try some of Dawa's famous Sherpa tongba. This cozy dining room is one the nicest in the Everest region, so it's always an added treat to return there after the trek. Ang Pasang works for the airport, so you are in good hands for your flight out the next morning. (2 hrs)
Day 26 - Fly Kathmandu
Bags packed and ready to go before the sun rises as we fly out of Lukla to Kathmandu early; taking off from the Hillary Airstrip is just as exciting as landing! Flights our of Lukla are sometimes delayed by bad weather.
In Kathmandu, back at the Kathmandu Guest House, long, hot showers await, and grubby clothes can be dropped at the laundry. In the evening, you can get together for the best wood-oven pizza in town at Fire & Ice, followed later by coffee and drinks later at one of Thamel's many cafes ...
Day 27 - Trip Ends
Transfer to the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for your flight home. Namaste!
NOTE: We STRONGLY recommend scheduling an extra day in Kathmandu in case of flight delays or cancellations out of Lukla.
Kathmandu | Bhaktapur Sightseeing Tour
One more day in Kathmandu, with a sightseeing excursion by private vehicle to Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur which translates as 'Place of Devotees’ and is also known as Bhadgaon, is an ancient Newar city approximately 15 kilometers east of the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur is one of three ancient capitals of the Kathmandu valley, the capital of the Newar Kingdom and a city of artisans and craftspeople famous for its art and architecture: intricate carvings, sculptures, paintings, thankas, pottery, statues and temples, or pagodas. Bhaktapur has a well-preserved ‘durbar square’, or palace square, and has been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO because of its incredible temples, pagodas, wood carvings, stone carvings and metalwork. Bhaktapur is also famous for its yogurt, called curd in Asia, a taste which hasn’t been duplicated anywhere.
Spend a full day exploring Bhaktapur and its rich cultural heritage, where a majority of enthnic Newaris live in traditional ways, and life seems to stand still. There are many great restaurants and cafes to rejuvenate, and it's possibly the best spot in Kathmandu for purchasing a thanka after watching the technique, as well as shopping for endless other locally produced crafts. Bhaktapur is home to countless local festivals, so if you are lucky and arrive on a festival day, enjoy the timeless and colorful events unfold.
+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Bhaktapur (+$100)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person
Kathmandu | Patan Sightseeing Tour
Visit the third of Kathmandu's ancient capitals, known as 'The City of Fine Arts', best if you have an extra day in hand as Patan is also rich in cultural heritage, has many lovely roof-top cafes for lunch and world-class museums. Some of the highlights of Patan are its Durbar Square, the Krishna Temple within the palace complex of Patan (entirely made of stone, with 21 distinctive spires), and Hiranya Varna Mahavir, or the Golden Buddha Temple.
+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Patan (+$50)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person
Kathmandu | World Heritage Sightseeing Tour
Kathmandu is filled with World Heritage sites and sacred destinations, crowded with traditional neighborhoods and colorful festivals. Spend a few days exploring Nepal's exotic capital and the history-laden Kathmandu valley. We can arrange sightseeing guide, vehicles and guides as required. See Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings for more details.
In the evening (take the interesting back streets from Durbar Square) climb the many steps to the gilded Swayambhunath stupa (known as the monkey temple) which rises from the Kathmandu valley floor at 1420 meters and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Swayambunath, the 'self created’ stupa, was founded over 2000 years ago at a time when the Kathmandu valley was filled by a large lake, with a single lotus in the center. Mythology says that Manjusri, a bodhisvatti, drained the lake with one cut of his sword and the lotus flower was transformed into the stupa. From its commanding views of Kathmandu, circumambulate Swayambunath's white-washed stupa, painted with distinctive Buddha eyes, the complex a unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Another interesting time to visit Swayambunath is in the mornings, when Nepalis visit the temple dedicated to the God of Smallpox to with colorful offerings for the goddess.
+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
+ Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person
Everest Sightseeing Flight
An hour long extravaganza of the world's 8000 meter peaks, including airport transfers. (+$270)
Everest Sightseeing Helicopter Tour
Inquire for prices + options. Cost per helicopter.
Shivapuri Heights Cottages
A wonderful get away 20 km north of Kathmandu, Shivapuri Heights Cottages are stylishly designed and personal cottages built around a 'common house', where you can breakfast overlooking the stunningly beautiful Kathmandu valley. Massages available on request. (+$Inquire for Options)
Cycling Trip Kathmandu Valley
Many options for day trips, or extended trips, in the Kathmandu Valley. We can customize a cycling trip for you in partnership with one of our knowledgeable partners in Kathmandu. (+$Inquire for Option)
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.
Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!
Namaste & Tashi Delek!
© Kim Bannister