When the trails of Nepal were opened, Everest Base Camp became the premier goal for many adventurous walkers. This stunning trek visits both the base camp and Kala Patar (5643m), a viewpoint recognised as the best vantage point to see Mount Everest. After exploring the temples, shrines, bazaars and restaurants of Kathmandu we take an exciting mountain flight to Lukla, the gateway to the Everest region. From the airstrip we trek north through pine forest to the bustling Sherpa 'capital', Namche Bazaar, from where we head to the magnificent Thyangboche Monastery. Here, in the shadow of the Everest massif and Ama Dablam and surrounded by mani walls, chortens and prayer flags, our stay is sure to be one of the highlights of our trek. As we ascend, the alpine scenery becomes more rugged and we climb above the tree line to reach Dingboche in the Imja Valley for further acclimatisation and exploration. It is then a steady ascent following glacial moraines to Lobuje and then to our lodge at Gorak Shep, from where we then trek to the historic site of Everest Base Camp. Finally we ascend to the summit of Kala Patar for brilliant views of Mount Everest and a breathtaking panorama of the world's highest mountains, before returning to Pheriche and then on back to Kathmandu.
Day 1 - Kathmandu (1360m)
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Our airport representative will be waiting outside the airport terminal a few metres from the exit door. Look out for the Peregrine signboard. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes. A briefing given by our group leader is scheduled for the late afternoon. He will discuss our trekking program and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free, but usually our tour leader will organise an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants. Alternatively you can enjoy a dinner at the hotel.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 2 - Kathmandu (1360m)
In the morning we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. We visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. We also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. In the late afternoon you will be issued with your Trek Pack and departure information for the next morning.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 3 - Phakding (2652m)
(Trekking: approx 3 hours) In the early morning we take the spectacular flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (2827m), flying parallel to giant Himalayan mountains bordering Nepal and China (Tibet). The flight time is about 40 minutes and we land at an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After landing we have time to explore the village while our Sherpa crew sort and load our trekking equipment. In the afternoon we begin our trek by descending towards the Dudh Kosi River where we join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka (2713m). The walking is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat (2550m) it is a short walk to Phakding.
Day 4 - Monjo (2835m)
(Trekking: approx 3½ hours) From Phakding we cross the river and head up the valley, following porters from the south that are ferrying supplies to Namche Bazaar. The trail keeps close to the river valley and is lined with beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forest that is very spectacular in the spring months, when the flowers are in bloom. We cross the Dudh Kosi River at Benkar, where there are tantalising glimpses of the snow-capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). From here it is only a short walk to Monjo (2835m), where we arrive in time for lunch. We spend the night in Monjo with the afternoon free, giving us an opportunity to do some exploring around the village. The day has been deliberately kept short to aid acclimatisation, which is a very important process.
Day 5 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) Today the walking is a little tougher and includes a steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. From Monjo it is a short walk to the entrance of the national park, before we cross the Dudh Kosi River to Jorsale (2805m). The trek continues upstream on generally flat terrain, crossing back to the right bank to the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi Rivers, where we start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar. After crossing a large and stable suspension bridge high above the river, we slowly ascend at a steady pace. There are some fantastic photographic opportunities as the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche (6542m) come into view for the first time. After arriving in Namche Bazaar, we enjoy lunch with the afternoon is free to bargain in the shops for Tibetan artefacts or simply relax and marvel at the beautiful scenery.
Day 6 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
(Acclimatisation Day) We remain at Namche Bazaar for a second night to allow for proper acclimatisation to the altitude. Namche is a prosperous village situated in a large protected hollow. It gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Today a limited amount of trade still exists at Namche and Tibetans are often seen in the village trading rugs and Chinese-made goods, clothing, salt and dried meat. It is recommended that you take the opportunity to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the national park headquarters above the village. The stunning vista includes a superb panorama of the Khumbu peaks and great views of Everest. After breakfast, a variety of options exists. Perhaps a walk towards Thami (3810m) above the beautiful Bhote Khola River Valley or a visit to the national park headquarters to see the interesting displays of Sherpa lifestyle and culture. There is also a mountaineering display and information on the park’s flora and fauna. Your guides are on hand to offer advice and escort you on walks.
Day 7 - Thyangboche (3875m)
(Trekking: approx 6 hours) From Namche Bazaar, we climb towards the park headquarters and follow a contouring trail high above the Dudh Kosi River. Above Namche the route to Thyangboche becomes visible with the monastery seen nestling below the summit of Everest and surrounded by other Himalayan peaks. On today’s walk there are opportunities to spot local wildlife including the beautiful Danfe pheasant, often seen among the birch and silver fir forest between Shanasa and Trashinga, and Himalayan tahr, on the high ground above the trail. After reaching the reforestation nursery at Trashinga, the trail drops steeply before crossing the Dudh Kosi River at Phunkitenga (3250m) where we take lunch. In the afternoon we ascend, initially steeply, through pine, fir, black juniper and rhododendron forests towards Thyangboche. The monastery and our lodge are located in a beautiful meadow surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks in a truly peaceful and tranquil setting. The most notable peaks seen from here are Kantega, Ama Dablam (perhaps the most beautiful peak in the region) and, of course, Mount Everest.
Day 8 - Pangboche (4040m)
(Trekking: approx 2 hours) According to legend, Thyangboche Monastery was founded in the 17th century by Lama Sange Dorjee, who came from Tibet’s Rongphu Monastery. Thyangboche was destroyed by an earthquake in 1933, rebuilt and again badly damaged by fire in 1989. Construction of the present monastery was completed in 1992. We spend the first part of morning at Thyangboche to visit the monastery and the nearby museum. There is a small entrance fee for the museum and a small donation to the monastery is appreciated. Later in the morning we descend through alpine forests to the settlement of Deboche, where there is a convent, and then through to Milingo to cross a bridge over Imja Khola. From here the trail gradually climbs up, with great views of Ama Dablam, to the village of Pangboche where we stop for the night. In the afternoon we visit the village of Upper Pangboche. We then head of towards a ridge below Tawache to aid our acclimatisation before returning to our lodge for tea and biscuits.
Day 9 - Dingboche (4360m)
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) Today we have a pleasant walk, ascending gradually high above the Imja Khola River and passing the tea houses at Orsho before crossing the river and old glacial moraines on our way to our lodge in the settlement of Dingboche. The scenery is spectacular and although Everest here disappears behind the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge, the huge peaks that tower above the eastern end of the valley are ample compensation. We are now almost completely above the tree-line and, in clear conditions, can look out for spectacular sunsets here and on Ama Dablam. Today’s walk is quite tiring due to the altitude, so it is important to take notice of your trek leader’s advice and recommendations regarding rest and fluid intake.
Day 10 - Dingboche (4360m)
(Rest and Acclimatisation Day) Dingboche is a beautiful patchwork of small fields enclosed by stone walls protecting the crops of barley and potatoes from the cold winds. It is occupied mainly through the monsoon months, when large numbers of yaks are brought here to graze in the valley pastures. Behind our lodge the huge rock faces of Taweche seem to soar to the heavens. Our trek leader will advise us on activities for today, but the short excursion up the valley towards Chukkung is a worthwhile option. The views are fantastic in this valley; the towering south face of Lhotse to the north, Island Peak in the centre of the valley and the fluted ice walls of unnamed peaks that line the southern end of the valley, all form a hauntingly beautiful sight. In the afternoon an optional hike up the hill behind our lodge will enable us to view the world's fifth highest mountain, Makalu (8481m), which is not visible from the valley floor.
Day 11 - Lobuje (4930m)
(Trekking: approx 6½ hours) In the morning we ascend the small ridge behind the village above Pheriche Valley. From the chorten at the top, Taweche and Cholatse (6440m) make for a striking scene as they seem to lean forwards from across the valley in the west. To the north, Lobuje Peak (6119m) and the snowfields of Cho La dominate the skyline. The walking is now generally fairly flat on wide-open fields, but do take your time and ensure you are well hydrated. Late in the morning we cross the Khumbu Khola at Dughla (4620m) and take a light lunch at the foot of the huge terminal moraines of Khumbu Glacier, which flows off Everest. In the afternoon, there is a solid and quite steep climb on a rocky trail to the top of the moraines. On the crest of the ridge, we pass a line of memorial cairns, built in memory of Sherpas and other climbers who have died on the various Everest expeditions over the last 50 years. From here the view is spectacular - Pumori (7145m), Lingtren (6697m), Khumbutse (6623m) and, across the border in Tibet, Changtse (7550m), are seen at the head of the valley whilst Everest remains hidden behind the towering walls of Nuptse and Lhotse. We then follow the valley stream to our lodge at Lobuje, arriving early afternoon. Today is a tiring day but the fantastic scenery makes it all very worthwhile. If you still have some energy and conditions are clear, a walk, taken gradually, up on to the large ridge at the rear of the lodge can reward you with even more spectacular views.
Day 12 - Gorak Shep (5160m) - Everest Base Camp
(Trekking: approx 3 hours to Gorak Shep, 5 hours round trip to Everest Base Camp) As the trek to Gorak Shep is relatively short, we have the opportunity for a leisurely breakfast before beginning the day’s walk. From Lobuje we follow the broad valley that runs parallel to Khumbu Glacier. A gradual ascent enables us to build the slow, steady rhythm required when walking at high altitude. When we reach the moraines of Changri Nup Glacier, we make a series of small ascents and descents over a rocky trail lined with cairns that leads eventually to the surprising glacial sands of Gorak Shep (5160m) - reached after about three hours of walking. After a quick bite we gear up accordingly to head off towards the Everest Base Camp. The trek to the base camp can be achieved in around three hours and if trekking in the popular climbing period of March to May, we will almost certainly encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions here. From Everest Base Camp we do not get views of Mount Everest, but we are able to see the notorious Everest Ice Fall that flows from the Western Cwm, which is regarded as technically the hardest and most dangerous section of the mountain. The return journey from the Base Camp to Gorak Shep takes the same amount of time. We have an early dinner so that we are able to get up early the next day for awe-inspiring views of the Himalayan giants from Kala Patar.
Day 13 - Kala Patar - Pheriche (4270m)
(Trekking: approx 8 hours) We wake up early the next day for the trek to Kala Patar (5643m) to experience sensational sunrise views from this amazing vantage point. From the lodge the ascent is quite steep, so start very slowly and try to ascend at a steady rhythmic pace. Kala Patar is the rocky hilltop below Pumori. It is a tough walk because of the altitude, but the view from the top surpasses the wildest imagination. It will probably take a good hour and a half to reach the summit from Gorak Shep, although lower viewpoints can provide views that are almost as good. Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest, the highest mountain in the world, surround us. About three kilometres away and some 200 metres below, the area of the Everest Base Camp can be seen in a bowl at the bottom of the Khumbu Ice Fall. For many trekkers, reaching Kala Patar is a very emotional experience and it is worthwhile spending as long as you wish in order to savour this special moment. The descent back down to Gorak Shep is easy and once back at the lodge we have a quick drink and head off to the rooms to pack our kit bags whilst breakfast is being prepared. After breakfast we set off to Lobuche and Thugla, where we stop for lunch. After lunch we cross the Khumbu Khola and head down the valley below Cholatse to Pheriche, where we stop for the night.
Day 14 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
(Trekking: approx 6 hours) From Pheriche we cross the Khumbu Khola River and ascend a short steep trail to the top of a small ridge for great views of Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega. We then descend to the small settlements at Orsho and Shomare before passing through Lower Pangboche to reach the suspension bridge over the Imja Khola River to ascend back to Thyangboche for lunch. In the afternoon we descend steeply through beautiful forest of juniper, rhododendron and fir to Phunkitenga. After a welcome break and perhaps a cup of tea we cross the Dudh Kosi river and ascend to Trashinga. From here the trail contours high above the valley through Shanasa and on to Namche Bazaar where we spend the night.
Day 15 - Phakding (2652m)
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) We enjoy a leisurely departure from Namche Bazaar with a final opportunity to visit the shops in the bazaar before we descend steeply down to the large suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River. We follow the trail through Jorsale and back to Monjo, where we take lunch. In the afternoon it is a short walk via Benkar through blue pine and rhododendron forest, with great views of Kusum Kangaru, back to our lodge in Phakding.
Day 16 - Lukla (2800m)
(Trekking: approx 3½ hours) This is our last day of trekking, where it is only a short walk on the valley before making the final climb up to the airstrip at Lukla. We then take lunch at our lodge and the afternoon is free to wander around, relax or perhaps enjoy a hot shower! In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a few celebratory drinks and dancing with our Sherpa companions.
Day 17 - Kathmandu (1360m)
We rise early in the morning to be ready for the arrival of our aircraft for the flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu we are met and transferred back to our starting hotel. The rest of the day is free to do souvenir shopping or further sightseeing. Located in the south of the city, Patan is also worth a visit with its own Durbar Square full of historic structures and statues of past kings. Our final night in Kathmandu gives us a chance to go out on the town and enjoy a final dinner (optional) with our travelling companions and new-found friends.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 18 - Kathmandu (1360m)
Our trip ends today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. A departure transfer to the airport is not included and Kathmandu has so much to offer and occasionally flights from Lukla can be delayed, so we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.