A circuit encompassing stunning Gokyo Lakes, demanding Cho La Pass and wonderful glacial walk to Everest Base Camp
This ultimate challenge to Gokyo, Kala Pattar & Everest Base Camp Trek adds adventurous thrill to the regular Everest Base Camp Trek. Graded as moderate to challenging trek, it takes you to the base of Mt. Everest traversing across the high Cho La pass at an elevation of 5420m. Cultural encounter in the frequent Sherpa hamlets and the breathtaking views of five highland turquoise lakes in Gokyo Valley just before entering Khumbu Valley via Cho La are the early rewards of the trek. You also have the opportunities to trek to the summit of both Gokyo Ri [5340m] and Kala Patthar [5554m] for magnificent views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and Cho Oyu. A visit to Everest Base Camp gives you the chance to have a closer look at the spectacular Khumbu Icefall. Beginners or inexperienced climbers can also do this trek, but this trek requires one to be moderately fit. Considering the snow conditions over Cho La Pass, the trek is not advisable during winter [January & February] and the monsoon season [July & August].
It’s a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. And as your plane lands at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, our waiting support team will meet and greet you at the arrivals and escort you to your hotel. Overnight at hotel. .
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to Boudhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and after that to Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. We take a tour to Patan also called as Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square. Overnight at hotel. .
A scenic flight of thirty minutes from Kathmandu brings us to Lukla, cliff hanging airport in Khumbu from where the trek in Everest Region begins. After meeting the crew, we head up the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail and then stay overnight in Phakding. Overnight at lodge. .
From Phakding, we cross and re-cross the river on high suspension bridges. Beyond Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment. We then take a steep hike to Namche. If the weather is clear, we get the first glimpse of Mt Everest. Namche is the main trading village in the Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market - a meeting place for the locals, lowland traders and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La. Overnight at lodge. .
Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops and souvenir shops. It is an ideal place to spend a day, acclimatizing to the new altitude before heading off towards Tengboche. To acclimatize, we visit Khunde Hospital set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or take a one hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for the sunset view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. There are also good views from the National Park Centre and Museum just above the town. Overnight at lodge..
Today is a spectacular day in terms of scenery as we follow the main trail north of Namche. A short climb to a crest reveals a wonderful view towards Everest and Lhotse. We follow this main trail for a while longer, passing many traders selling Tibetan handicrafts, to a crossroads high above the Dudh Kosi. The trail to Everest drops down the hill but we turn off here and climb to cross the Mon La before reaching Phortse Tenga. From Phortse Tenga, the trail climbs steeply to Dole, through rhododendron and birch forest festooned with hanging mosses and lichens .
From Dole we climb steadily along the side of the valley, where the rhododendron forests give way to scrub juniper as the altitude increases. The trail passes many summer settlements [yersa], which are used when yaks are taken to these pastures to graze during summer. Ahead of us are excellent views of Cho Oyu, while at the rear are the peaks of Kantega and Thamserku. Today’s trek is a short one and we will arrive at Machermo in time for lunch. .
We are now approaching 4500m, so we will stay at Machermo for an extra day to acclimatize. There are plenty of possibilities for exploration around Machhermo and just above the village there is an excellent view encompassing Cho Oyu [8210m] and the mountains which flank the Ngozumpa Glacier. .
We head for the lakes at Gokyo. We follow a very scenic path to Pangka and then descend slightly, following one of the rivers which flow down the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier. We climb a steep rocky incline into the valley by the side of the glacier, passing the first of the holy lakes. We soon arrive at the second of the lakes, crossing the path which heads across the glacier to Cho La - our route to Lobuche and Everest, later in the trek. The third lake is known as Dudh Pokhari and on its eastern shore is the settlement of Gokyo. Walking by the side of the lake, the scenery is breathtaking with the summits of Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang reflected in its emerald green waters. .
Gokyo Ri looms above the village on the northern edge of the lake and we leave just after first light, following a steep path up the hillside. As we climb, the summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu slowly come into sight and the view from the summit of Gokyo Ri itself, is one of the finest to have in the Everest region - some say it is even better than that from Kala Patthar. For those who still have some energy, there are more good views to have by dropping back down to the main path and following it north to the fourth and fifth of the Gokyo lakes, the latter being about three hours from Gokyo. .
Fit and acclimatized, we leave Gokyo to cross the Ngozumpa Glacier. We descend to the second lake and drop down onto the glacier. The route across the glacier is marked by cairns and is generally quite well defined. We climb off the glacier by a small dwelling known as Thagnag and follow a shallow valley to our hotel in the village. .
An early start is necessary today as we have to cross Cho La and make the long descent to Lobuche. Continuing up the valley, we cross a ridge and an old lateral moraine, before beginning the rocky scramble to the pass. From the pass there are excellent views, across the Rolwaling Valley to the west and Ama Dablam to the south east. The descent from the pass involves the crossing of a small glacier [often snow covered] which is fairly straightforward. There are more excellent views of Ama Dablam and the forbidding north face of Cholatse as we descend to the pastures below. The way to Lobuche contours the grassy slopes above a lake, the Tshola Tsho, to join up with the main Everest trail from Pheriche and Tengboche. The trail flattens out and follows the valley on the west side of the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche. .
A very early start is required to reach Gorak Shep. The trail offers superb views of the surrounding mountains, especially where the path is forced to rise to cross a tributary glacier. We stop for lunch at Gorak Shep. Later in the afternoon, we make our way to the Everest Base Camp. It takes several hours as the trail weaves its way through ice pinnacles and past the crevasses of the Khumbu Glacier. On the return leg, we can take a higher route to get a spectacular view of the Khumbu icefall and the route to the South Col. We return to Gorak Shep. .
ln the morning, we make our way to the top of one of the finest viewpoints in the Everest region, Kala Pattar [5554m] following the Khumbu Glacier. After Kalapatthar, we trek back to Pheriche for overnight. .
We head down hill towards Tengboche and after crosssig the bridge over the Dudh Koshi river trek onwards to reach Kyanjuma the junction of the trinity ways to Gokyo Valley, Khumjung village and Namche Bazzar. Great view of Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Tawache and Lhotse as well as dense wildlife of some species of Pheasants, Beautiful Griffons, Musk deer and Wild goat can be found inside the rhododencdron forest. In the evening we can explore small surrounding area with magnificent scenery. .
Descending takes a lot less hours and effort and obviously AMS is no longer an issue. Enjoy the passes and forest until we reach Phakding once again for the overnight stay. .
Our final day's trekking follows the Dudh Kosi back down to Lukla. This last evening in the mountains is the ideal opportunity for a farewell party with the Sherpa guides and porters, where we can sample some chang, try Sherpa dancing and look back on a memorable trekking experience. .
We pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop a flight back to Kathmandu. On touchdown, the rest of your day is free to do your own things. You could do some last minute shopping and packing, or send some great pictures back home or even go down for a stroll at Thamel, an internationally known hub for tourists in Asia..
Our Nepalese support team takes you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking, etc- please ask us). .
Moderate to fairly challenging
Longer treks going right into high mountain country, to some of the famous mountaineering Base Camps over high passes. Physically quite tiring, involves approx 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges of high Himalayan peaks.
No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercises and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
We offer several options regarding the organization of your trek:
1) Guide, Accommodation and Porter trek (GAP trek)
Includes: Accommodation, guide and porters
This is an abbreviation of Guide Accommodation and Porters (GAP). This option of the trek is for those who want basic support from us. This is the most economic way to do trekking in Nepal. We provide an English speaking local Sherpa guide, book and pay for the accommodation in local lodges during trek and arrange required porters. Trekkers pay for meals directly to the local lodge owner. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
2) Camping trek
On camping trek you will be sleeping and eating on tents. A trekking crew contains one Sirdar, one cook and the numbers of kitchen crew, Sherpa assistants and porters depending on the size of the group. Under the leadership of the Sirdar (the local trek leader) the crew will ensure you take the right path. The kitchen crew will keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals. The porters shall transport the gear from camp to camp. Our main aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. Sirdar and his assistants speak basic English, good enough to explain to you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents
3) Lodge or tea house trek
Although simple, the teahouses or lodges do provide shelter and warmth and are normally run by friendly local families. The lodge or tea house treks are less expensive than camping trek and are largely suitable for small groups.
Includes: Accommodation in Lodge, guide, porters and all meals
YOUR TREK CAN BE ORGANIZED IN ALL THE 3 WAYS AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
Trekking in the Solu Khumbu region (Everest area) doesn’t need tremendous logistics in terms of accommodation as you will find plenty of clean and friendly Lodges along the trail.
You stay in single rooms where possible, but often you will have to share. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. A few have electric lights and all have a spacious dining room-lounge. We will accommodate you and your group in local lodge available each day. We send a porter ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot always be booked in advance).
Please remember that some of them are very basic and a sense of adventure is necessary. It is cheaper to stay in Lodge rather than organizing a camping trek.
Camping trek means sleeping in tents.
On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
Meals are included in our price and are taken in Lodges available along the trail. You can find a considerable variety of Nepali and Western food as well as drinks (coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer).
Meals are prepared by our cook. We provide three tasty and nutritious meals daily along with drinks.
You will have to make your own eating arrangements in the many Lodges available along the trail. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
On camping trek, our staff will boil water and cook meals treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. On GAP trek and Lodge trek, you will be able to buy safe hot drinks in the tea house.
We recommend you to bring water purification pills. On the trail, water from stream is safe if away from settlements.
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members while on GAP and Lodge trek 1 porter for 2 members.
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want.
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2 the maximum is 12 people.
Everest region is more expensive than the other regions in Nepal, as most of the goods have to be shipped by airplane and then carried to their final destination by porters.
Lodge trek and Camping trek:
You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking, tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
You need to pay for your meals and should expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for your food and snacks.
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips.
The starting point of the trek is in Lukla which is connected by a 45mins flight from Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu). On your return to Kathmandu, our bus will take you back to your hotel.
There are a couple of telephone facilities in the Everest region up to Namche Bazaar. Cell phones work fine up to Tengboche.
If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).
Trekking: You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.
Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip or check CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST LINK.
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.
Lodge/ Tea House Trek, GAP Trek & Camping Trek
Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day's walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon's walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day's adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.
However, on a camping trek, you begin your day with a hot cup of tea which will be served to you in the tent at 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. Other day activities are the same as mentioned above.
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
The best seasons to trek to the Everest base camp region is Autumn (from mid-September till November end), and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon and winter is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited, upper parts and high passes could be covered with snow in winter.
March, April, October and November are the most favored months. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.
Sherpas live in the upper regions of Solu Khumbu. They emigrated from Tibet about 600 years ago. The Khumbu region has provided a strong group of able bodied, hardy and fearless Sherpa porters and guides. Sherpas practice Tibetan Buddhism, which is also known as Lama Buddhism.
Losar is celebrated in the month of February by the Sherpas. ‘Losar’ means New Year in Tibetan. Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity at monasteries. People exchange various goods and gifts among them. Families organize feasts and perform dances.
Dumje is celebrated to mark the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava).The celebration takes place in June and lasts for six days. It is celebrated in a grand way in the villages of Namche, Thame and Khumjung.
Mani Rimdu is a festival that celebrates the victory of Buddhism over the ancient animistic religion of Bon. This festival is celebrated in the monasteries of Tengboche, Chiwang and Thami. At Tengboche the celebration takes place during the November- December full moon.
The itineraries for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you. Since the trek ends in Pokhara, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, it would be nice and relaxing for you to spend a day or two taking in the sights and sounds of this scenic city.
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January - December).
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.
The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. For your service, we carry a medical kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines.
If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions
FIRST AID KIT
We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
For more details on our responsible initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/
It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We can not be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or directly by phone: 977-1-4418100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We can not be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 300 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 300)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418100.
The Everest or Solu-Khumbu region lies on the eastern part of Nepal. Inhabited by the mountain people who have lived in harmony with their surroundings for hundreds of years, the Solu-Khumbu region has still retained its age old practices. The region has some of the world’s tallest peaks including Everest (8848m). In terms of popularity among trekkers, this region ranks second only after the Annapurna region. The villages and places lying in this region are situated above the 2000m. Solu at the south includes villages like Junbesi, Phaplu and Chiwong. Pharak is situated between Solu and Khumbu. Khumbu include villages named Namche, Thami, Khumjung, Lobuje, Pangboche and Tengboche. The major mountains are Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Nuptse, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kantega, Mera Peak and Island Peak.
Mt Everest Base Camp is the most popular destination for trekkers in Nepal. Its popularity has grown since the first expedition to the Nepalese side of Everest in the 1950s.One can do this trek the old way, by beginning the trek from Jiri. From Jiri it takes around nine days to reach Namche. On the way you will come across Rai settlements. The other (quicker) alternative is to take a flight to Lukla and to begin the trek from there. The trek follows the Dudh Kosi valley route with an ascent up to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar. From Namche, you traverse along a high path from where you have the first good view of Everest. You head towards Tengboche Monastery located on top of a mountain ridge and then descend Imja Khola and continue to the villages of Pangboche and Pheriche. After that you arrive at the Khumbu Glacier. The trek through the glacier takes you first to Lobuche and then to Gorak Shep. From Gorak Shep you can climb up to Kalapatthar for even more spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, including Everest's southwest face. You then reach your destination, the Everest Base Camp at the foot of the Khumbu icefall.
The climate in the Everest region can be divided into four climate zones owing to the gradual rise in altitude. The climatic zones include a forested lower zone, a zone of alpine scrub, the upper alpine zone which includes upper limit of vegetation growth, and the Arctic zone where no plants can grow. The types of plants and animals that are found depending on the altitude. In the lower forested zone, birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo and rhododendron grow. All vegetation that is found above this zone is shrubs. As the altitude increases, plant life is restricted to lichens and mosses. At an elevation of 5,750m begins the permanent snow line in the Himalayas. From this point there is no sign of greenery or vegetation. A common animal sighted in the higher reaches is the hairy animal yak. Dzopkyo a sterile male crossbreed between a yak and a cow is used to move goods along the trail. Red panda, snow leopard, musk deer, wild yak, and Himalayan black bear are some of the exotic animals that are found in this region. A variety of birds can be sighted in the lower regions.
Mt. Everest- Rising to a height of 8848m, the world’s highest mountain was named in 1865 after Sir George Everest. The mountain got its Nepali name Sagarmatha during the 1960s, when the Government of Nepal gave the mountain the official Nepali name. In Sanskrit Sagarmatha means "Head of the Sky”. The Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma or Qomolangma, which means “Goddess Mother of the Snows". Climbers wishing to scale the peak have to obtain an expensive permit from the Nepal Government, often costing more than $25,000 (USD) per person. Base Camp, which serves as a resting area and base of operations for climbers organizing their attempts for the summit, is located on the Khumbu glacier at an elevation of 5300 m (17,400 ft); it receives an average of 450 mm (18 in) of precipitation a year. The climate of Mount Everest is extreme In July, the warmest month, the average summit temperature is -19° C (-2° F).
When George Mallory, the British climber was asked why he wanted to climb Everest he replied ‘Because it is there’. After two unsuccessful attempts, in 1924 he again tried to climb the peak with Andrew Irvine. They started on June 8, 1924 to scale the summit via the North Col route and never returned. The Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition later discovered their bodies near the old Chinese Camp in 1999. Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal were the first two climbers to set foot on the summit of Mt.Everest. They reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953 by climbing through the South Col Route. More than 300 climbers have scaled the highest mountain since then. Also there have been more than 100 deaths on the mountain where conditions are so difficult that most corpses have been left where they fell, some of them visible from standard climbing routes.
Mt. Lhotse (8516m) is the fourth highest mountain in the world. It lies south of Mt. Everest. Two Swiss climbers F. Luchsinger and E. Reiss first climbed it in 1956 from the West face. The Czech scaled it via the South face in 1984. An impressive ring of three peaks makes up the Lhotse massif: Lhotse East or Middle, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar. The South Face of Lhotse is one of the largest mountain faces in the world.
Cho Oyu, (8201m) the sixth highest mountain in the world, has gained popularity among climbers just recently. The mountain sits on both sides of the border of Nepal and Tibet, about 30 km. west of Mount Everest. Cho Oyu in Tibetan means "the turquoise goddess ." The south face of Cho Oyu, facing Nepal, is quite steep and difficult, and is rarely climbed. The north side, accessed from Tibet, is more moderate, and there is a relatively safe route to the summit. In the autumn of 1954, an Austrian team made the first ascent via this route.
Ama Dablam (6856m) which means ‘mother’s jewelry box’, in Sherpa language is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Seen from below, the mountain looks like a woman with outstretched arms or a woman wearing a long necklace. Ama Dablam lies alongside Everest in the heart of the Khumbu Valley. Mt Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Cho Oyu and Mt. Everest can be seen at close quarters from Ama dablam.
Nuptse (7,855m.) lies southwest of Mt Everest. It is situated in the Khumbu Himal. From the Tengboche Monastery, Nuptse appears as a massive wall guarding the approach to Everest. The name Nup-tse in Tibetan means west peak. The main ridge, which is separated from Lhotse by a 7556m high saddle, is crowned by seven peaks and goes west-northwest until its steep west-face drops down more than 2300m to the Khumbu-glacier. Nuptse I was first summited by a British expedition on May 16, 1961
Pumori Peak 7145m is just 8 km away from the world’s highest peak Mt.Everest. The ascent to this peak is described as a classic climb in the 7000m peak category. In Tibetan, ‘Pumo’ means girl and ‘Ri’, mountain. George Mallory, the famous English climber who lost his life trying to ascend Everest in 1924, named the peak. The German climber Gerhard Lenser was the first to reach the summit of Pumori in 1962. Pumori is a popular climbing peak. The best season to climb this peak is during autumn and spring.
Mera Peak (6,475m) is the highest of Nepal's trekking peaks. By its standard route, it is also the highest peak in Nepal that can be climbed without prior mountaineering experience. J.O.M. Roberts and Sen Tenzing first climbed it on 20 May 1953, from the standard route at Mera La. The mountain lies to the south of Everest, dominating the watershed between the wild and beautiful valleys of the Hinku and Hongu.
Island Peak also known as Imja Tse at 6160m was named by Erick Shipton's group in 1953. It was so named as the peak resembles an island in a sea of ice when observed from Dingboche. A British group as preparation for climbing Mt. Everest first climbed the peak in 1953. Among them one of the climbers was Mr. Tenzing Norgay. The peak is part of the south ridge of Lhotse Shar and the main land forms a semicircle of cliffs that rise to the north of the summits of Nuptse, Lhotse, Middle Peak and Lhotse Shar. Cho Oyu and Makalu lie to the east of the Island Peak. Baruntse, Amphu and Ama Dablam lie to the south.
Lobuche(6,119m) is known as Lhauche among the Locals. It rises above the town of Lhauche which is just a few kilometer from Mt. Everest. Laurice Nielson and Ang Gyalzen Sherpa did the first ascent on this peak on 25 April 1984.
Kalapatthar is a small mountain 5,545 m (18,500 ft) high on the southern flank of Pumori (7,145 m). It is a trekking peak and every year tourists climb this peak to enjoy the fantastic panoramic views it offers of the Khumbu glacier, the Everest and nearby peaks like Lhotse and Nuptse. To the east, Makalu, Ama Dablam, Pumori, and Cho Oyu are visible.
Sagarmatha National Park is the highest national park in the world. It was formally opened to public in July 19, 1976. The park covers an area of 1,148 sq km. It rises from its lowest point of 2,845 m (9,335 ft) at Jorsale to 8,850 m (29,035 ft) up to the summit of Everest. The park’s area is very rugged and steep, with its terrain cut by deep rivers and glaciers. It includes three peaks higher than 8,000 m, including Mt Everest. In 1979 the park was inscribed as a Natural World Heritage Site. The park's visitor centre is located at a hill in Namche Bazaar, where a company of the Nepal Royal Army is stationed for protecting the park. The park's southern entrance is a few hundred metres north of Monjo at 2,835 m. Trekking and climbing groups must bring their own fuel to the park (usually butane and kerosene), and the cutting of wood is prohibited. The Sagarmatha Pollution Control, funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the Himalayan Trust, was established in 1991 to help preserve Everest's environment. About a hundred species of birds and more than twenty species of butterflies have made this park their home. Musk deer, wild yak, red panda, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan thars, deer, langur monkeys, hares, mountain foxes, martens, and Himalayan wolves are found in the park.
Jiri: Early expeditions to climb Everest from the Nepalese side started from Jiri. Before the airstrip at Lukla came into existence all the trekking and climbing expeditions to the Everest region started from Jiri. Starting from Jiri, the route passes through the Sherpa villages of the Solu Khumbu, many of them having beautiful Buddhist monasteries.
Lukla: Lukla, a village in Khumbu, boasts of the region’s sole airport. Lying at a height of 9000ft, most travelers to this region usually begin and end their adventure in Lukla. The airport was built in 1964 by Sir Edmund Hillary as part of his project in Khumbu region during the early 60s to transport the supplies for the Himalayan Trust projects in the Khumbu region. Today, somewhere between 90-95% of the foreign nationals who reach Lukla, arrive by a half hour flight from Kathmandu.
Namche Bazaar: Namche Bazaar is known as the Sherpa capital. Namche is actually a village lying at the junction of the Dudh Koshi and a valley that leads to the frontier pass of Nangpa La. It is tucked away in a niche at a height of 7,845 ft. W. H. Tilman and C. Houston were the first westerners to enter it in 1950 and many more have come since then. Facilities like a bank, a post office, hotels and shops where one can purchase climbing equipment as well as canned food have sprung up over the years. Namche Bazaar is the major regional trading center. Its Saturday market or haat is the place where most of the trading takes place. The headquarters of the Sagarmatha National Park is located in Namche.
Tengboche: Tengboche is famous for the Tengboche gompa. It is one of the most important centers of Buddhism in the region. The gompa is the largest in the Khumbu region. It was first built in 1923. Destroyed by a fire in 1989, it was rebuilt later on partly with foreign aid. From Tengboche, one gets a panoramic view of Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Amadablam, Kangtenga, and Thamserku.
Pangboche: Buddhism is believed to have been introduced in the Khumbu region towards the end of the 17th century by Lama Sange Dorjee. According to the legend, he flew over the Himalayas and landed on a rock at Pangboche and Tengboche, leaving his footprints embedded on the stone. He is believed to have been responsible for the founding of the first gompas in the Khumbu region, at Pangboche and Thami. Pangboche is the highest year-round settlement in the valley. The Imja Khola, coming from the right, joins the Dudh Koshi River a little above the village. The gompa (monastery) in Phyangboche is thought to be one of the oldest in the Khumbu region.
Khumjung: Khumjung , a village lying west of Tengboche, is famous for the gompa where the skull of a supposed Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, is preserved under the supervision of the head Lama. The skull seems more like the outer skin of Himalayan Brown Bear, and this is proved by the report of a scientific exploratory expedition conducted by Sir Edmund Hillary, a copy of which is kept in the gompa.
Pheriche: Pheriche is located at an altitude of 13,845 ft. It lies on a level patch. Apart from the basic facilities available here, there is a medical-aid post maintained by the Himalayan Rescue Association of the Tokyo Medical College with Japanese doctors in attendance. Among other facilities, there is an air compression chamber installed for assisting victims of high altitude sickness.
Sherpas live in the upper regions of Solu Khumbu. They emigrated from Tibet about 600 years ago. In the past they were traders and porters, carrying butter, meat, rice, sugar, and dye from India, and, wool, jewelry, salt Chinese silk and porcelain from Tibet and beyond. The closure of the border between India and China undermined their economy. Fortunately, with the mountaineering expeditions and trekkers, the Sherpa's found their load carrying skills, both on normal treks and high altitudes in great demand. The Khumbu region has provided a strong group of able bodied, hardy and fearless Sherpa porters and guides. The Sherpas are Buddhists.
At the lower elevations lives the Kiranti Rai. The villages of Jubing, Kharikhola, Okhaldhunga, are inhabited by the Rais. Of mongoloid stock they speak their own dialect. Reference is made of their fighting spirit in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The people from this group have supplied recruits to Gurkha regiments both in the British as well as Indian armies. The Rais follow a religion that is partly animistic with some Hindu influence. They revere their ancestors by observing Kul or Pitri puja every year. The Jirels live in the area around Jiri. They are mongoloid and follow Buddhism.
Lhosar is celebrated in the month of February by the Sherpas. ‘Lhosar’ means New Year in Tibetan. Apart from the Sherpas and Tibetans, the Gurungs and Tamangs also celebrate Lhosar. Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity at monasteries. People exchange various goods and gifts among them. Families organize feasts and perform dances.
Dumje is celebrated to mark the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava).The celebration takes place in June and lasts for six days. It is celebrated in a big way in the villages of Namche, Thame and Khumjung.
Mani Rimdu is a festival that celebrates the victory of Buddhism over the ancient animistic religion of Bon. This festival is celebrated in the monasteries of Tengboche, Chiwang and Thami. At Tengboche the celebration takes place during the November- December full moon. At Thami, Mani Rimdu is festival is celebrated during the full moon in May. Chiwang Gompa generally celebrates this festival during autumn. The Lamas wear elaborate brocade gowns and papier-masks while performing. Through the dances, symbolic demons are conquered, dispelled, or converted to Dharma Protectors as positive forces clash with those of chaos. The dances convey Buddhist teaching on many levels from the simplest to the most profound, for those who do not have the opportunity to study and meditate extensively. It gives an opportunity to the Sherpas to gather and celebrate together with the monks.
Sakela (Chandi Dance) is a harvest festival celebrated by the Rai community. The harvest ceremony involves the worship of mother earth, called ‘Bhumi-Puja’. The festival is celebrated twice a year, once in spring before planting begins and once during autumn before harvesting. Ubhauli is celebrated during the spring season on Baishakh Purnima. In the autumn season on Mangsir Purnima, Udhauli is celebrated. The spring worship is done to propitiate mother earth for a good harvest and the rain god to bless the earth with enough rain. The festival is celebrated with more fervor in the remote hills. The Rai villagers celebrate it with priests (dhami) who perform rituals to worship their ancestors. The elders of the community begin the dance with a puja. Later on everybody participate in the dance forming a circle by holding each other’s hands. With drumbeats, they begin dancing at a slow pace but moves faster later with the drumbeats. The dance steps and hand gestures imitate the sowing and harvesting of crops. The festival also provides an opportunity for the Rai people to socialize.
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Meg,Lama & Soros really made us feel like part of a family. They got us everything we needed and really helped us on our trek. We enjoyed every minute with them. The meals during the trek were basic but acceptable. It was nice to stay in lodges that had a private bathroom.Most of the lodge owners and staff were friendly and helpful. The itinerary was great- very flexible and totally dependant on what our group wanted orneeded to do.
–Melissa & Jonathan Chiotis Tamez
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