Days 1-2: Flying into Kathmandu is an unforgettable experience with the Himalaya spread out before you. You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. In the morning of day 2 a half-day city tour will introduce you to some of the highlights of Kathmandu.
Days 3-5: The mountain flight into Lukla is spectacular and the landing an exciting beginning to the trek – one end of the runway is 60 meters higher than the other. Heading through pine and cedar woods along the Dudh Kosi to Phakding you will encounter your first yak caravans carrying trekking equipment and supplies – including yours – towards base camp. These wonderful beasts creating mobile roadblocks, or virtual avalanches on downhill stretches, are a feature of all treks in the Everest region. It is also possible to see musk deer, Himalayan Tahr and, if you sit quietly on the river banks, water rats.
Namche Bazaar is the administrative capital of the region, historically it was the staging point for trading expeditions to Tibet and its Saturday market remains an important event bringing traders from villages a week’s walk away. An acclimatization day allows for an excursion to Thame. Intricately carved mani stones mark the path to this large valley with a picturesque gompa on the hillside overlooking the valley.
Day 6: Leaving Namche the route is unbelievably beautiful – the Dudh Kosi is far below and Thamserku(6623m), Kantega, Ama Dablam(6812m), Lhotse(8516m) and Everest(8848m) rise in front. Woods, rhododendron forests, mani walls, chorten and suspension bridges across the river make this a lovely walk. The morning view from Tengboche is justifiably considered one of the most magnificent in the world. Tengboche Gompa, the cultural and religious center of Khumbu, founded in 1912, it has been destroyed and rebuilt twice as the result of earthquake and fire.
Days 7-8: Stone steps lead down through rhododendrons, birches and conifers where, due to the hunting ban, almost tame pheasants are regularly seen. At the bottom lies the small village of Deboche and its nunnery. Rising above the tree line the trail enters alpine meadows of scrub juniper and, in summer, a profusion of wild flowers. From Dingboche, the only place in the region where barley is grown, the mountain views are outstanding. An acclimatization day here can be used to hike up the Imja Khola to Chhukung, a small summer settlement from where the views of Island Peak (6189m), Lhotse(8516m), Ama Dablam(6812m) and the fluted ice walls flanking the Amphu Lapcha pass are one of the highlights of the entire trek.
Days 9-11: Alpine meadows and summer yak pasture lead toward the end of the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier where there is a steep, tough climb. There are stone monuments to six Sherpa who died in avalanche as well as monuments to other climbers. From Lobuche the view is straight towards Nuptse and sunset is truly magnificent. Altitude makes the climb onto the Changri Glacier tough.
Reaching Gorakshep, near a small, usually frozen lake, by lunchtime you can rest or make a trip up Kala Pattar, which provides the best views of Everest. The route to base camp follows the Khumbu Glacier with its intriguing 15-meter-high seracs of ice, a feature unique to Himalayan glaciers. The descent back to Lobuche is not difficult, but altitude induced lethargy can make the many uphill sections below Gorakshep seem endless.
Days 12-15: Descending the Imja Khola overnight at Pangboche, the highest permanent settlement. Its gompa, the oldest in Khumbu, is built over the hermitage of Khumbu’s saint Lama Sanga Dorje. The juniper trees on either side are said to have sprung from hair cut from his head and a rock-like projection is a piece of mountainside he pulled out for protection one day. Continue down through Namche Bazaar and Phakding to Lukla.
Day 16: Fly Lukla back to Kathmandu.
Day 17: Departure