Everest Three Passes Trek, an ultimate trekking adventure

Posted Jul 13th, 2021 under Blog, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Everest Three Passes Trek

Highly popular for tallest mountains, breath taking landscapes, unique highland culture, beautiful forests and endangered species, Everest region is home to many incredible trekking routes from soft trekking in lower altitudes to longer treks along the high mountain passes. For travelers seeking more challenges, less crowd and journey of a lifetime with unparalleled views and fascinating culture, Everest Three Passes Trek is an ideal adventure that takes you to the off beaten path with some of the most astonishing sights Nepal has to offer. Even the experienced hikers find this trail a true challenge. So, if you are up to take the challenge, this trek has the best of Khumbu in reserve.

Three Passes Trek offers an amazing scenic trails and adventurous crossing of Renjo La (5340 m), Cho La (5420 m) and Kongma La (5535 m) passes that join the four valleys of Imja, Khumbu, Gokyo and Bhote Koshi. Besides the panoramic views of some of the world’s highest mountains such as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Ama Dablam and captivating valleys, you can also experience the rich cultural heritage of Sherpa people of the region during the trek.

Gokyo Lake

Considered as a longer trek, Three Passes Trek takes about 18 days to complete. This adventurous trek commences from Lukla towards the Dudh Koshi valley on a well-marked trail and crosses the green dense forest, scattered rhododendron bushes, beautiful flora and fauna, ever flowing mountain gorges and culturally rich villages like Phakding, Namche Bazaar to reach Tengboche, a hilltop settlement with its iconic monastery standing sentinel overlooking the valley. From Tengboche, the trail contours on the side of the valley which offers the stunning views of beautiful mountains of Khumbu including Mt. Everest (8848 m), Lhotse (8516 m), Nuptse (7861 m), and Ama Dablam (6812 m). The path descends downhill and crosses Imja Khola to reach the beautiful village of Dingboche and gradually hikes to the last village of Imja valley; Chhukung, which is famous for a marvelous view of Lhotse’s massive south wall.

Continuing from Chhukung, the trail passes through one of the three Everest High Passes, Kongma la (5535 m) and descends to the section of scree and boulder fields towards Lobuche. The trail then proceeds towards Cho La (5420 m) along the ridge curving towards west with amazing views of Arakam Tse (6423m), Cholatse (6335m), Taboche (6367m) and reaches Dzongla. Out of Dzongla, the trail heads northwest and descends to Dragnag and continues through the treacherous glacial walk across Ngozumpa glacier to a beautiful village of Gokyo, by the side of an enormous turquoise Gokyo Lake. Furthermore, path leads to Gokyo Ri, a perfect viewpoint of remarkable views of Gokyo Lake, Everest, Cho Oyu, Makalu and Cho-Oyu Base Camp.

Everest High Valley Trek

After the rewarding climb, the trail traverses through the northern shore and slowly ascends towards Renjo La (5340 m) which offers the astonishing views of Makalu and Rolwaling range. The last section of the trail, then, gradually descends on a flat trail marked with cairns and stony steps to the quiet village, Thame and passes through a steady trail strewn with prayer flags and mani stones to Namche Baazar, which then retraces back to Lukla completing the exciting Everest Three Passes Trek.  

 

 

 

How to reach Everest Base Camp?

Posted Jul 7th, 2021 under Blog, Travel Guide,

Everest Base Camp

It may sound like a cliché but we don’t mind repeating it! Yes, Mount Everest is more than a mountain and the trip to Everest Base Camp is more than just a trek. Reaching to the base of this world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848 m) is the dream of every adventurer. Many Himalayan adventure seekers have already ticked it off in their bucket list and many are yet to do so. As, this trip is one of the most talked about and sought after adventures, travelers and would-be travelers are well versed about the facts related to Everest Base Camp. However, many are not fully aware about all the routes and corresponding time required to reach the Base Camp.

There are actually two base camps on Mount Everest, on the South and North sides of the mountains. South Base Camp which is situated  in Nepal at an altitude of 5364 m, while North Base Camp is situated in Tibet, China at an altitude of 5,150 m. Most of the Base Camp trekking or Everest expeditions are operated on the Nepal side, i.e the South face of the Everest. In fact, when people say Everest Base Camp Trek, they normally mean Base Camp trekking on the Nepal side of the mountain. However, there are many ways to reach the Base Camp from both sides.

Everest Base Camp from Nepal

Everest Base Camp from Nepal is a popular trekking trail and easier to access than other routes. This trail gives you a chance to challenge yourself, discover the majesty of mountains, walk among the Himalayan giants and explore the highland cultures.

  1. Classic Everest Base Camp Trek : 8 days of trekking from Lukla to EBC

This is the most popular route to reach the Base Camp. It is a spectacular high altitude trek that starts at Lukla, the gateway of Everest region and winds through the floral and faunal richness of Sagarmatha National Park. You gradually hike through some of the beautiful places of Khumbu region such as Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche and return the same way.

  1. Alternate treks: 13 – 22 days

As Everest Base Camp route from Lukla is popular and most favored one, the trail and accommodation gets crowded during the peak seasons i.e. spring and autumn. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, then you can consider alternative trekking routes.

  • The route from Jiri is also a well-known Everest Base Camp trekking route. This is the same route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to reach Lukla for the Everest summit before airport was built in Lukla during 1960s. This trail adds several days in the itinerary as you have to trek around 6 days from Jiri to reach Lukla/Phakding from where you join the main Everest Base Camp trail.
  • You can reach Everest Base Camp through the trail of Three Passes Trek as well. One of the most challenging and thrilling trek in Everest region, Three Passes Trek offers an amazingly scenic circular route that includes crossing of challenging Renjo la, Cho la and Kongma la passes connecting to Lobuche to advance towards Everest Base Camp. The order of the Passes can be any depending on where you start from. The duration of this hard trek is quite lengthy (at least about 17/18 days) and only the trekkers who seek for more challenging adventure choose this trail.
  • Gokyo Lake trek can also be a better alternative to reach Everest Base Camp as this trek skirts the Base Camp and continues to the beautiful Gokyo Lake, one of the world’s highest freshwater systems. The views during this trek worth cherishing for the rest of your life.
  1. By Helicopter

Everest Heli Tour: Duration – Half a day

Heli Tour is the easiest way for the travelers who wish to reach the lap of this stunning mountain but have very limited time. It is also a luxurious way to reach the Kala Patthar (5545 m) and Everest Base Camp without trekking. The tour makes you marvel at the panoramic aerial views of astonishing mountains, tranquil valleys, quaint villages, glittering snow peaks, Khumbu glacier and many more. It not only gives you thrill and makes your adrenaline rush but also offers you the next level of experience. Everest Heli tour starts from Kathmandu or Lukla and stops midway for breakfast with wonderful view.

Everest Base Camp from Tibet

Everest Base Camp on the northern side of Everest lies in Tibet. An easier way to get to the Base Camp is by car or tour vehicle. You can travel from Lhasa to Base Camp along the highways having well paved roads. This is one of the fastest and luxurious ways to reach the Base Camp and visit the various attractions of Tibetan plateau. Some travelers also prefer trekking from Tingri over driving from Lhasa.

  1. By car: Duration – 2 days from Lhasa

Many visitors who visit the Base Camp on north side usually get there by car. It is a two-day drive from Lhasa. However most travelers stop along the way in the locations such as Gyantse, Shigatse or Shekar (new Tingri) and Rongbuk that makes this tour longer and more exciting. There are very good roads which make the journey comfortable for almost everyone. The landscape that you can see is breath taking! If you wish, you can drive all the way up to Everest Base Camp but many of the travelers prefer to walk the last mile which is a bit off road. One needs to be acclimatized properly prior to this journey because of the timeframe. Remember Lhasa itself is at an altitude of 3,656 m! And you will gain about 2000m + altitude within 2 days.

  1. By Trek from Tingri: Duration – 5 days

Trek from Tingri to Everest Base Camp gives you an amazing experience of Tibetan plateau, small village communities and nomadic herders. This trip takes you to Lungtang which takes around five hours from Tingri and heads due south, by crossing the Tingri plain and on to the Ra-chu valley and so on. This trail is not commonly used and only attempted by the experienced well-acclimatized trekkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manaslu Trekking, an authentic Himalayan adventure  

Posted Jun 25th, 2021 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Manaslu Trek
Nepal, a highly diverse country rich in beautiful destinations and multitudinous gift of nature, is a dream of any trekking and mountain lovers. While most of the tourist destinations of Nepal get busy during the peak seasons, it’s always a good idea to travel to the places that are less explored if you love solitude and want to have more relaxed holidays. There are numerous unique trekking destinations in Nepal that are quieter, yet equally beautiful. Manaslu region is one of them.

Tucked away from civilization, Manaslu region, the home of Mt. Manaslu (8163 m) – the eighth highest mountain in the world, is extremely beautiful snuggled amid snowcapped mountains where you can find beautiful landscapes and feel at home with the typical culture of Tsum and Nubri people. Trekking in Manaslu region takes you through the diverse and impressive sceneries, snowcapped mountains, pristine glacier lakes and rich flora and faunas. Starting right from the green paddy fields and subtropical forests, the trail slowly meanders through higher landscape to reach mountain passes and arid cliffs surrounded by breathtaking views of Mt. Manaslu (8163 m), Mt. Himlung (7126 m), Mt. Kanguru (6981 m), Mt. Annapurna South (7937 m), Himlung Himal (7126 m) and Cheo Himal (6820 m). Not just nature, you can also get insightful cultural experiences that include Tibetan Buddhist traditions, exquisite Buddhist art, monasteries and festivals of different ethnic groups.

Manaslu Trek

Manaslu Circuit Trek is one of the popular treks in this region. This trek encircles Mt. Manaslu. The trek normally begins through the rugged path across the hilltop of Dhading towards the green terraces, lush hillsides and heads up to Budi Gandaki Valley. The trail passes through several small villages, widened valleys, terraced cultivated fields, steamy lowlands, and amazing waterfalls. At Lokpa, you also have the option to go towards Tsum Valley, one of the remotest Himalayan Valleys. The Valley is especially known for its rugged inner terrain and authentic trans-Himalayan culture. Some travelers combine this trek with Manaslu Circuit trek. After completing Tsum Valley trek, they join the Manaslu main trail again, from where the path  descends down across the wide sandy river bed and go after steep, craggy valley side and eventually crosses the Tharo khola to reach the beautiful settlement at Namrung. Furthermore, you pass through lovely monasteries, beautiful chortens, manis and get the opportunity to enjoy the stunning landscapes of many mountains such as Himlung Himal (7126 m), Cheo Himal (6820 m) and Annapurna II (7937 m) as soon as you reach Samagaon. The trail then circumvents gigantic Manaslu peak (8163m) and crosses Larkya-La pass at 5106m which follows the narrow path that finally emerges into Marshyangdi Valley along the main trail of Annapurna circuit. The trek traces towards Tilche along the pasture of Sangure Kharka through rhododendron, oak and pine forest and finally concludes at Jagat. So, trekking in Manaslu region is a complete Himalayan adventure that offers not just a regular trekking but also a life changing experience infused with diverse natural and cultural insights.

Manaslu Trek

 

All you need to know about Island Peak climbing

Posted Jun 17th, 2021 under Blog, Climbing & Expeditions, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

Island Peak Climbing
If you are in search of more than just a scenic trek and daunting escapade among the stunning Himalayas, then climbing Island Peak is exactly what you are looking for. Island Peak, also known as Imja Tse, is situated in Nepal’s Everest region and stands at an elevation of 6189 meters above sea level. It stands somewhere between Mount Ama Dablam (6812 m) and Mount Lhotse (8516 m) and is considered one of the challenging yet achievable trekking peaks, possible even to novice climbers with proper acclimatization and trainings. From afar, this snow-capped mountain seems like an island rising tall in the center of the Chhukung Valley, surrounded by a sea of ice. Hence, the peak is known as Island Peak. Most people combine an expedition to Island Peak with the famous Everest Base Camp trek because of its ideal location and acclimatization purpose. If someone wants to stretch the adventure a bit, then they also choose to trek via Kongma La (5,535 m), one of the three popular passes of Everest Region. Opting the Kongma La route provides an opportunity to experience glacier walking prior to Island Peak climbing.

Why climb Island Peak?
Simple answer is it is a Himalayan peak but an achievable one. However, climbing Island Peak is not limited to this only. Trip to Island Peak offers an awesome views of Himalayan ranges, forests, valleys, beautiful landscapes and amazing glaciers. Island Peak not only provides you a tremendous chance to experience all the aspects of Himalayan encounter that takes you through remote villages and rugged trails but also offers you the pleasure of climbing a Himalayan peak at the close quarter of the mighty Everest with an acclimatization trek to Everest Base Camp, which is a reward in itself. Another important thing is the peak is 6000 m +, an achievement you can really be proud of.  Finally, the ultimate joy you get after the successful climb is beyond imagination. So, no doubt it’s worth it!

Is it difficult to climb Island Peak?
Climbing a Himalayan mountain is a challenging sport due to altitude and extreme geographical condition. So, Island peak is also a technical climb. It has everything of a Himalayan mountaineering – altitude (at the height of 6819m, there is just about 47% oxygen of the sea level), steep ascent, rock shambles, glacier fields, and what’s more crevasses as well. So, the bottom line is it requires basic mountaineering skills and it definitely should not be your first Himalayan adventure. But the good news is anyone with little mountaineering experience or no experience can do it. The only thing required is proper acclimatization and training from experienced Sherpas. However, prior mountaineering experience is always an advantage.

Let’s have a look at the general overview of the climb. The beginning part of the ascent is strenuous as the terrain is rough and it’s over 5000m. As you climb higher, you reach the glacier field from where you need to use climbing equipment like rope and crampons. As there are also some crevasses en route, there is also the need to use ladders. The final 150 m stretch is a straight wall and is very strenuous. However, summit push won’t be very difficult as after you cross the wall, the summit ridge is short and comparatively easier.

What are the trainings required for Island Peak climbing?
Now you know that Island Peak is bit demanding. For this adventure, you need to be in good shape with proper physical trainings of at least 3/4 months with prior trekking experience. Focus on strength and endurance training like hiking, running, cycling etc. Hitting gym is a good idea. Keeping positive frame of mind during your training is a must. The summit day is very strenuous as one has to walk approx. 12-14 hours for summit and back to base camp. You will also be carrying a backpack of 5-7 kg during the trip. So, while practicing simulation hiking in wilderness, do it with at least 10 kg pack. It is also necessary to train yourself with the hiking and mountaineering boots you are going to use in the trip. Remember, they should be well-worn! Regarding the mountaineering skills, you will get required trainings by your Guides once you reach the Base Camp. However, it is always an advantage if you are familiar with the skills prior to your trip.

Island Peak Climbing
What to eat and where to stay during the trip ?
Good food and comfortable accommodation is very important in every trip. During the journey, you can remain in one of the many tea houses along the way. The majority of teahouse lodgings have shared rooms and good toilet facilities. You can get any of your calorie replenishment food choices such as potato dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, dal bhat, egg dishes etc. during your stay in teahouses. While you are in Base Camp or High Camp, you will stay in tented camps and your kitchen team will prepare your healthy and nutritious food for you.

Clothing and Gears
Every trail and elevation needs different types of gear. Right clothing and gears are always the gateway to your success.  So, it is mandatory to have good clothing and gear for your trip to Island Peak. Comfortable hiking and climbing boots, good gloves to keep your hands warm, a good fleece and down jacket, light weighted trekking pants and climbing gears such as Harness, axe, crampons etc are some of the important gears you need during the climb. And yes, make sure that you have a sleeping bag that can keep you warm in a -30-degree centigrade weather. All clothing gears and equipment are easily available in Kathmandu and surprising at Chhukung as well. It is not necessary to buy all the gears, you can hire them. At Chhukung, the approx. cost could be USD 100 for all set of gears for a period of 2 days. We recommend you to have your own jacket and boots because of the size problem (and boots are to be pre-worn). Your travel company will help with the full list of required clothing and gears.

What is the best season to climb Island Peak?
The best season to climb Island peak can be considered in Spring (March-May) or Autumn (Mid-September-October). The weather in the Himalayan region and most places of Nepal stays stable throughout these seasons, which is ideal for adventure activities. The majority of the 8000+m expeditions in the Everest region takes place in the Spring, so expect crowds on the trails. However, once you arrive at your Island Peak camping spot, you can notice that the number of people on the trails has significantly decreased.

Winter climbing is still feasible, but we just recommend it to those who have a lot of mountaineering experience, nearly to the standard of pro athletes. The temperature is very cold, and the atmosphere is extremely harsh during winter.

What permits do you need to climb Island Peak?
Climbing Island Peak requires a climbing permit. Permits are also required to access Sagarmatha National Park. Standard security checkpoints are located along the road. To get through them, you must display your permits.

  • Sagarmatha National Park Area Entry Permit: Nrs. 3,000 NPR + 13% VAT, totaling 3,390 NPR (Approx. US $34)
  • Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality (Local Government) entrance fee / Khumbu VDC entry fees: Nrs. 2,000 (approximately $20)
  • Island Peak climbing permit cost according to the seasons:
  • March, April, and May: US $250
  • September, October, and November: US $125

Island Peak ClimbingHow to avoid altitude sickness?
When you are trekking in high altitudes, you are likely to get altitude sickness. Headaches and a lack of appetite are common among trekkers, but severe AMS symptoms can be fatal. To avoid having to turn around, many trekkers may try to conceal their worsening condition from their Sherpas and guides. This, however, can be life threatening, and you must be aware of when your body is asking you to avoid climbing further. The best practice to avoid altitude sickness is having a good itinerary that allows proper acclimatization. Here are some of the tips to consider while you climb Island Peak.

  • Climb slowly: Always remember, climb slowly while you ascend Island Peak. Doing this can help you adjust the level of oxygen in your body and there is a less chance that you could gain altitude sickness.
  • Drink enough water: If you stay hydrated, it may prevent you from altitude sickness. But drinking too much water is also not good as it dilutes your body’s sodium level that may lead to weakness or nausea which is similar to AMS.
  • Be psychologically prepared: If you fear that you might get altitude sickness while trekking in high altitude then sometimes the psychological factor may guide you to get altitude sickness. Always stay positive and enjoy the great picturesque during the trip.
  • Acclimatization: You should consider rest for 1 or 2 days if you are trekking in high altitude areas. Acclimatization helps you to adapt to the high altitude environment and assist you to avoid altitude sickness.


Island Peak Trek Distance, Time and Elevation

Day 1: Fly to Lukla & Trek to Phakding [2652m]

Distance       Flight Hours    walking hours     Elevation Gain

145 km       30 min                   4 hours            1400m-2610m

Day 2: Phakding to Namche [3450m]

Distance       walking hours      Elevation Gain

7.4 km               3 hours           2610m-3440m

Day 3: Rest day in Namche

Distance       walking hours     Elevation Gain

3.8 km         2 hours         3440m – 3840m

Day 4: Namche to Tengboche [3867m]

Distance       walking hours     Elevation Gain

6 km                  3 hours          3840m-3867m

Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche [4350m]

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

11 km         5 hours           3867m-4350m

Day 6: Rest day in Dingboche (Hike to Nangkartshang Peak)

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

1.5 km               2 hours               4252m-5050m approximately

Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche

Distance      walking hours        Elevation Gain

6.2 km                5 hours             4252m-4930m

Day 8: Lobuche to Gorak Shep

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

4.3 km            3 hours         4930m-5184m

Day 9: Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp

Distance       walking hours      Elevation Gain

3.4 km            2 hours            5184m-5357m

Day 10: Everest Base Camp to Dingboche

Distance       walking hours      Elevation lost

5.3 km         6 hours            5357m-4350m

Day 11: Dingboche to Chhukung

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

4.1 km           4 hours          4350m-4710m

Day 12: Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp

Distance       walking hours     Elevation Gain

4 km               3 hours         4710m-5150m

Day 13: Ascent of Island Peak

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

7 km                 11 hours          5500m-6189m

Day 14: Contingency Day

Day 15: Trek to Pangboche

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

12 km             5 hours             6189m-3950m

Day 16: Pangboche to Namche

Distance       walking hours    Elevation Gain

13 km              4 hours          3950-3450m

Day 17: Namche to Lukla

Distance       walking hours    Elevation lost

13.5 km             6 hours          3450m-2800m

Day 18: Fly to Kathmandu

Distance      flight hours       Elevation lost

145km        30 minutes       2610m-1400m

Island Peak Climbing

 

 

Cultural Tours, an enriching way to experience Nepal

Posted Jun 6th, 2021 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide,

Patan Durbar Square
Looking for an opportunity to savour the rich cultural heritage in the Himalaya? Nepal can be your dream destination. After all, Nepal is not just about mountains. Nepal, country of long history, fascinating art, distinctive and varied architecture is highly diverse in its cultural representation. Nepal is a home to about 101 ethnic groups with more than 129 dialects living from southern plains of Terai region to the foothills of the world’s highest peaks. Unique culture and tradition are the parts of everyday life of Nepali that will surely make you bedazzled. So, cultural tours in Nepal can be the best opportunity to explore the hidden gems of the country that offers unforgettable experiences of cultural bequest. These cultural tours do not only take you to the holy pilgrimage sites, historical monuments, UNESCO world heritage sites but also rejuvenate your mind, body, soul and makes your trip memorable one.  

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple

Nepal, especially Kathmandu Valley is one of the rarest places on Earth that showcases the exemplary fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism. This makes Nepal rich in cultural diversity with variety of gods and goddess, numerous temples of different styles, stupas, monasteries portraying the deep faith of people. The cultural tours provide you with the most satisfying experience of guided excursion and roaming in the old historic towns like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan providing live display of medieval art and architecture in its wonderful durbar squares. The insight of eye catching design of durbar squares glorifies the miraculous relation of Gods and humans that adds excitement and rejuvenate you spiritually. Also, the 3rd century Boudhnath Stupa, Swoyambhunath temple and the biggest Hindu temple in the world- Pashupatinath Temple allure you towards their pristine beauty.

Swoyambhu Stupa, an iconic heritage site of Kathmandu

Swoyambhu Stupa

Not just in Kathmandu Valley, wherever you travel in Nepal, you with encounter with various groups of people with different culture and lifestyles. Nearby places along the rim of Kathmandu Valley like Nagarkot, Dhulikhel and Namo Buddha, offer insights on the mid-hill life of Nepal with the eye catching views of the Himalayas.  In the eastern and central parts of Terai, resides a Mithila culture center, which is related to the great Hindu epic, Ramayana. The capital of ancient Mithila kingdom is present in heart of Mithila, Janakpurdham, where you can experience the touch of Mithila culture through different temples, ponds, foods, art, architecture, and cultural monuments there. The famous and only Hindu-Mughal style temple ‘Janaki Mandir’ is really mesmerizing and the numerous sacred and beautiful ponds there crown it as “City of Ponds”. Lumbini, Birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha is an important spiritual site and attracts thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. Other destinations to experience both natural beauty and cultural magnificence are Pokhara, Bandipur, Palpa, Nuwakot and Gorkha as well as Chitwan where you can also  enjoy wildlife experiences.

Nuwakot Durbar

Nuwakot Seven Stored Palace (Sattale Durbar)

Well, the list is long and choice endless. A wide variety of ethnic groups, all speaking their own language and practicing their own way of life is what makes Nepal unique from rest of the world. You can be rest assured that these places is tantamount to invaluable insight, unspoiled beauty through the enriched culture, charming people with varied lifestyle and valued customs and traditions. So, why wait?

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