Day 1 - Depart London
Overnight flight from London to Kathmandu.
Day 2 - Arrive Kathmandu
On arrival in Kathmandu we transfer to a hotel in the Thamel tourist area, our base for the next two nights. The rest of the day is free to acclimatise and explore the vibrant capital city of Nepal.
Day 3 - Kathmandu
A full day to rest or explore the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu with its myriad of temples, monasteries and markets. The old part of the city is criss-crossed with narrow medieval streets and centres on Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight after dinner we learn more about the challenge ahead.
Day 4 – Kathmandu – Lukla (2850m) – Phakding (2610m)
3 hours trekking approx.
We take an early morning flight to Lukla, a high altitude airport known as the gateway to Mount Everest. Weather permitting it's a short hop (35 minutes approx.) but be prepared for delays as flights are sometimes temporarily grounded due to inclement weather). Once in the air we are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Himalayas: a tantalising taste of what lies ahead. On arrival in Lukla, we meet our trekking crew and enjoy some local tea before setting off towards Phakding. The three hour trek is mainly downhill through rhododendrons, magnolia trees and pine forests. The sound of the surging Dudh Kosi river as it rushes off the mountains is ever present. The scenery is spectacular with the snow-capped peaks of Ngothung and Kasum Kanguru visible in the distance. Just before Phakding, we cross a long suspension bridge and pass through several small settlements with prayer wheels, flags and Mani stones (prayer stones). Overnight in Phakling.
Day 5 – Phakding (2610m) - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
6 hours trekking approx.
As we leave Phakding, the trail heads north along the Dudh Khosi Valley. Early on in the day we cross the first of several suspension bridges hanging high above the river raging below. We slowly climb up from the valley floor through rhododendrons, magnolia and giant blue fir trees interspersed with traditional mountain villages. (Keep your eyes peeled for musk deer and Himalayan tahr roaming high on the cliffs). Our trekking permits are checked as we enter Sagarmartha (Everest) National Park at an altitude of 2740 metres. The final push of the day is a steep 500 metre climb to the village of Namche Bazaar, where we spend the next two nights. En-route we are likely to be rewarded with our first glimpse of Everest.
Day 6 – Namche Bazaar (3446m): Acclimatisation Day
Namche Bazaar is the gateway to the high Himalaya and almost everyone coming to this region will pass through at some point. We spend today in and around the town in order to acclimatise to the altitude. There is an optional 400 metre climb to Everest View Hotel (3850m) which is highly recommended for the spectacular views (including Everest, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Ama Dablam, Kangtega and more), wildlife spotting opportunities (daphne, thar, golden eagles, musk deer and yaks) as well as for acclimatisation. Once back in Namche Bazaar, the rest of the day is free to explore this lively village or simply soak up the incredible scenery.
Day 7 – Namche Bazaar (3446m) – Tengboche (3867m)
6 hours trekking approx.
We follow the ridgeline leading out of Namche; it is relatively flat but the trail is narrow with steep drops. After two hours we reach the village of Kyangjuma and enjoy spectacular views of Ama Dablam. From there the path widens as it meanders through picturesque birch and rhododendron forests. We stop for lunch at Techinga Losasa (3380m) before descending for around an hour to a wooden suspension bridge over the Imja Khola river which drains the slopes of Mount Everest. The final part of the day is a three hour ascent to Tengboche; we take it slowly due to the altitude. Beautiful water-driven prayer wheels line the trail, which winds through fir forests. Look out for golden eagles, thar and musk deer en-route. We finally arrive at the village of Tengboche, home to an important Buddhist monastery. The entrance to Tengboche is marked by a painted arch said to cleanse visitors of feared spirits before they enter this sacred area. Our climb is rewarded with what is arguably one of the best views in the world: Kwangde, Tawachee, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantege and Thanserku provide the most spectacular panorama.
Day 8 – Tengboche (3867m) – Dingboche (4343m)
5½ - 6½ hours trekking approx.
Today's trek has a five hundred metre gain but it is a little more gradual. As we leave Tengboche, the trail winds through meadows and pine forest on a path that is often icy. We soon reach the tiny settlement of Deboche whose convent is one of the oldest Buddhist nunneries outside Tibet. We hike through dense rhododendron and bamboo forests and cross the raging Imja Khola river via a new suspension bridge with the old bridge in disrepair underneath. The magnificent Ama Dablam mountain towers above us at this point and we enjoy incredible views as we continue through yak pastures to our lunch break at Pangboche (3958m). It is home to the most ancient monastery in the region, as well as the site of the famous Yeti scalp. We spend most of the afternoon close to the river, with glimpses of Everest visible over the Nuptse-Lhotse ridge. There is one final ascent to Dingboche, the highest permanently inhabited village in the Khumbu region, where we spend the night.
Day 9 – Dingboche (4343m): Acclimatisation Day
We spend the day in and around Dingboche to allow for further acclimatisation. There is an opportunity to trek to Chhukung (4413m), a summer village near the head of the valley (3 – 4 hours there and back). The views from Chhukung are stunning: Numbur, Khatang and Karyolung rise majestically above Kongde-Taboche, while Ama Dablam and the Chhukung Glacier feel within touching distance. Once back in Dingboche, the rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the glorious surroundings.
Day 10 – Dingboche (4343m) – Lobuche (4930m)
6 - 7 hours trekking approx.
The trail climbs steeply out of Dingboche past a chorten (shrine) and ascends round the base of Khumbu Glacier to the hamlet of Dughla (4620m). There are stunning views en-route of spectacular Tabuche Peak and many glacial valleys. There is no real ‘path’ so we can spread out which makes for easier and more sociable trekking. From Dughla, it is a short, steep climb to Chukpo Lari, a famous memorial built to commemorate the climbers and Sherpa whose lives were lost on expeditions to Everest. From there, the next part of the trek takes us onto glacial moraine. It becomes quite exposed and the temperature begins to drop. We follow the valley to Lobuche (4930m), a tiny hamlet with a few teahouses, to spend the night. This evening we can watch sunset on Nuptse, a truly memorable sight.
Day 11 – Lobuche (4930m) – Kala Pattar (5545m) – Gorak Shep (5164m)
8 - 9 hours trekking approx.
It is an early start following a trail alongside the immense Khumbu Glacier. En-route there are breathtaking views of Pomo Ri and the towering peaks of Nuptse. The actual distance is not great but we take it very slowly to compensate for the altitude. We stop at Gorak Shep (5164m) for hot drinks and cookies, a small settlement on the edge of a frozen lakebed. We then hike to the summit of Kala Pattar (5545m). It is a tough climb and a real challenge but offers the closest view of Mount Everest without serious mountaineering skills. There are also incredible panoramas of the giant peaks of Numptse, Changtse and Lhotse. After savouring the spectacular scenery, we descend to Gorak Shep to spend the night.
Day 12 – Gorak Shep (5164m) – Everest Base Camp (5380m) – Lobuche (4930m)
9 hours trekking approx.
The big day has arrived: the trek to Everest Base Camp! We follow the trail alongside mighty Khumbu Glacier. It is a slow-going to start with, through the loose sand of Gorak Shep’s dry lakebed. After around three hours we reach the last section of the trek and the terrain became more stony with some stretches of ice. There is a huge sense of achievement on arrival at Base Camp. It is marked with piles of stones, strings of prayer flags and a few signs with dates and elevation. We are rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Lingtren, Khumbutse and Khumbu Icefall. We are also likely to see the Everest expedition teams who come here to acclimatise before attempting the ascent of Mount Everest itself. Now for the long journey home... We arrive back in Gorak Shep for a late lunch and then descend to spend the night in Lobuche.
Day 13 – Lobuche (4930m) – Tengboche (3867m)
6 hours trekking approx.
This morning we retrace our steps to Dughla (4600m). The trail descends for most of the way but there are still some uphill sections at times. From Dughla we head along the Pheriche Valley via the village of Pheriche, home to the Himalayan Rescue Association. We stop for a break and watch a succession of helicopters coming in and out, before continuing to our overnight stop at Tengboche.
Day 14 – Tengboche (3867m) – Khumjung (3790m)
5 hours trekking approx.
We begin with a steep descent through a beautiful forest of juniper, rhododendron and fir to Phunkitenga. After a welcome break, we cross the Dudh Kosi river and trek to Trashinga. The trail then contours high above the valley through Shanasa and onto Khumjung, where we spend the night. It is a picturesque village dominated by the Sherpa people. There is the opportunity to visit the beautiful monastery here.
Day 15 – Khumjung (3790m) – Phakding (2610m)
7 hours trekking approx.
We start the day with a fascinating visit to the “Schoolhouse in the Clouds”, a secondary school founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in Khumjung. Afterwards, we set off on a relatively flat trail to Syangboche, then trek downhill to Namche Bazaar. There is a final opportunity to visit the shops before descending steeply to the large suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi river. We follow the trail to Jorsale for lunch. From there we trek through blue pine and rhododendron forests, with wonderful views of the Kusum Kanguru mountain, to our overnight accommodation in Phakding. This evening we celebrate the last night with our trekking crew.
Day 16 – Phakding (2610m) – Lukla (2850m)
3 - 4 hours trekking approx.
It's our last day in the mountains and we trek close to the Dudh Koshi river for most of the way. We pass through several small agricultural towns and villages for a fascinating insight into local life. Finally, we head away from the river and the trail makes a steep ascent for around 45 minutes all the way to Lukla. There is bound to be an incredible sense of elation on reaching the end of the challenge. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore Lukla. We spend the night here before catching the flight back to Kathmandu tomorrow morning.
Day 17 – Fly Lukla – Kathmandu
We enjoy panoramic mountain views on the morning flight back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing. Tonight there is a special meal to celebrate our achievements. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 18 – Depart Kathmandu.
More free time in Kathmandu before transferring to the airport for the return flight to London.
Day 19 - Arrive London
Arrival back in the UK.
This itinerary is complex and subject to change and a thorough recce
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