It is the harder, longer, more strenuous road to the bottom of the top of the world. Get to the EBC through the beautiful valley of Gokyo, and climb the 5300+ meter Gokyo Ri peak doing it. The scenery is unbeatable, with views of the Everest that are unparalleled even by Kala Patthar.
There are the world’s tallest mountains, the most beautiful blue-green lakes, soaring waterfalls, icefalls, plant and animal life to pamper your wanderlust, and hearty people, exotic culture, and deep spirituality to cater to your ‘wonderlust’ during this trek which combines two of the world’s greatest adventures into one long glorious Himalayan escapade.
The base camp itself is pretty high, at an altitude of 5340m above sea level, and boasts unparalleled views of the Sagarmatha (the Nepali name for the Everest) and other mountains along with the incredible Khumbu icefall. The terrain here is oligotrophic and inhospitable, barren and beautiful- a Shangri-La complete with little Nepali mountain villages, herds of yaks and hearty Nepali people with their unique traditions.
This is a tea-house trek- which means you will sleep in little village lodges along the route- but it is fairly strenuous and requires a reasonable level of fitness. The climbs will be at a slow pace, and we will allow ourselves a couple of days to acclimatize to the high altitudes in the course of our journey.
Our representative will pick you up at the airport. Get a feel for the streets the first day, absorb the sights and sounds, or rest at the hotel. We discuss the journey in the evening.
Kathmandu, the capital city, boasts an intense mix of cultures and religions unique to Nepal. Turn the Buddhist prayer wheels at Swoyambhu- the monkey temple, and meet the steady gaze of the Buddha’s eyes at the famous Boudhanath stupa. Experience the valley’s olden days at the Kathmandu Durbar Square- which has remained authentic even as modernization crept in all around it. See Kathmandu, with your AdvoutTM guide. (or skip this and fly to Lukla)
Flights take off early in the morning in clear weather for Lukla and afford fantastic views of the mountains.(It is advisable to be seated to the left of the aircraft) Lukla is a beautiful town and boasts sights of the Kongde and Kongde South mountains. Look around Lukla and start trekking. We spend the night in Phakding, around three hours away from Lukla on foot.
We head North, on the banks of the Dudh Koshi river (dudh means milk in Nepali and the river owes this name to its color) which is a white water river considered too dangerous for kayaking, till we enter the Sagarmatha National Park at Jor Salle. We cross a suspension bridge above the intersection of two white water rivers (Bhote Koshi and Dudh Koshi)and get to Namche Bazaar at 3340m, a bustling Sherpa village. We see the Everest for the first time, on foot, today.
This is high altitude. We allow our bodies to acclimatize today and spend the day walking around Namche where we can visit the museum -of Sherpa culture, indigenous plant and animal life, and mountaineering- at the HQ of the National Park. It is advised to walk around the neighboring hillsides to acclimatize well. It is best to climb high and come back down for the night.
Today’s trek takes us to Khumjung at 3810 m. We start by climbing up to the popular airstrip at Syangboche, above which lies the Everest View Hotel- the site for a proposed deluxe hotel- which boasts stunning views of the Everest and other high mountains. Khumjung itself is a valley surrounded by Kongde, Thamserku and the sacred Khumbila mountains. Khumjung has several monasteries, among which one is famous for the ‘yeti scalp’ it houses. Edmund Hillary, the first Westerner to climb the Everest, was involved in various social development projects in Nepal, education being one of his key pursuits. The ‘Hillary School’ is in Khumjung and is worth a visit.
It’s a trying climb before we get to the top of the Mong La Pass, but the views make it worth it. Flora and fauna abound on our trek to Dole at 4,110 m.
The steep bushy trail ascends through Laberma to Luza at 4350m and finally to Machherma at 4480m. The trail makes its way through quaint little villages adorned by views of the Cho Oyu and Thamserku among other mountains. We spend the night in Maccherma, the last major village before Gokyo.
Today sees us walking up a ridge-with-a-view to Pangka, looking at the north face of the Cho Oyu. We climb down and then up a steep moraine towards the Gokyo valley. The three lakes Longpongo, Taboche Tso, and Dudh Pokhari will reveal themselves to us in that order. This is a beautiful area set in beautiful landscape. This day’s a treat for the memory cells. We spend the night in Gokyo at 4800m.
It is time for another day to let our bodies catch up with our wanderlust, and the altitude. We stay in the area, but we definitely don’t sit put. At 5350m, Gokyo Ri is a peak that offers astounding views of the Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang and Nuptse peaks, (the first five being 8000m+ peaks) as well as the six lakes in the area. Climb it! The Everest stands taller than all its neighbors, seen from Gokyo. (Unlike from the EBC where Nuptse seems tallest) This place is one of the little shiny gems on the planet that are undeniably precious and unforgettably beautiful. Get back down to the gorgeous valley and have a look around.
We’re headed towards Thangnak today, at 4750m, and the trail remains beautifully Himalayan, as we pass by the Ngozumba Glacier- the longest glacier in the Himalayas.
Today’s a tough day. We start real early, six AM at the latest, and climb up the steep Chola La Pass. Exercise caution as you traverse the eastern glacier and make your way slowly past the slippery trail. The Pass is another highlight of the trip- deadly but mesmerizingly beautiful. Today is going to be spectacular- with the pass and a frozen lake to cross looking at mountains new to the trek- including the pyramid of the Ama Dablam peak. We spend the night at Dzongla at 4850m- a tiny village with a grand view.
We walk to Lobuche at 4940m today, a short walk, allowing for some rest.
We walk uphill through narrow glacier-cut paths along the huge Khumbu glacier to Gorak Shep at 5180m, marveling at the sights of the Everest and Pumori mountains. Walk to Kala Patthar for a beautiful sunset if you wish to.
About three hours away from Gorak Shep is our destination – the Everest Base Camp. Drink in the sights and take the higher route on the leg back to see the great Khumbu icefall going back to Gorak Shep where we will spend the night.
Our bodies will appreciate today’s short walk to the beautiful Sherpa village of Ferutche. Rest and celebrate.
Today we reach the beautiful Buddhist Sherpa village of Tyangboche. Along with breathtaking mountain scenery, the village boasts a very old and important Buddhist monastery. A 1989 fire devastated the famous monastery, but most of its extensive collection of books, paintings, and relics were saved, many of which are up for display. The Gompa which was completely devastated was rebuilt with the help of local and international organizations. Relax in this spiritual atmosphere, and laze around the quiet village. Tomorrow, we start walking back.
We make our way back to Namche, the prosporous trading village we stayed in earlier during the trek.
This is the last day of our trek and a great day to celebrate your accomplishment – the conquest of one of the greatest treks in the world. Also, this is the final day- a good day to sample the local rice liquor ‘chyang’ and make merry with the guide and porters.
Return to Kathmandu on the scenic flight from Luka, drinking in the last of the great Himalayan sights as the final day approaches. Relax in one of the many shopping / clubbing areas in Kathmandu
We’ll drop you off at the airport, congratulating your success, and quite possibly making plans for your next trip.