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Cho La and Renjo La are rugged high passes that link the major valleys of the Everest region. Crossing them and climbing the peaks of Kala Patar and Gokyo provides for an unforgettable Himalayan experience. From Lukla we follow the classic Everest Trail to Dingboche, with dramatic views of Ama Dablam and the Lhotse-Nuptse face. We then ascend to Gorak Shep to visit Everest Base Camp and also climb Kala Patar for breathtaking close-up views of Mount Everest, before traversing the glaciated Cho La (Pass) to Gokyo. Here we explore the valley and climb Gokyo Ri for more astonishing mountain vistas, including another angle of Everest and the huge south face of Cho Oyo, before scrambling across Renjo La (Pass) to enter Bhote Kosi Valley. The trail then descends through yak-grazing pastures to Thami, where we begin our return journey to Kathmandu, accompanied by a thousand memories and a huge sense of achievement.
Accommodation: Shangri La Hotel or similar, Kathmandu
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.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Shangri La Hotel or similar, Kathmandu
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.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
(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.
(Trekking: approx 7 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. In the afternoon the walking is a little tougher and includes the 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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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 (Pass) 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.
(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.
(Trekking: approx 8 hours) We wake up early the next day for the trek to Kala Patar (5545m) 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, where we stop for lunch. We then follow the Lobuche Khola downstream where, after a while, we take a trail to the right heading off towards Dzongla. Upon arrival we settle into our lodge and prepare for the crossing of the snowfields that lead to the top of Cho La (Pass).
(Trekking: approx 6-7 hours) The day begins very early in order to reach the top of the pass in the best possible conditions. From camp we ascend steeply on a narrow trail passing large boulders and huge rock slabs and keeping to the left of the main glacier. There are a number of cairns lining the route to the snowfield and, while the trail is well-defined, it does involve a little scrambling. Once on the snowfield the angle eases off and we soon reach the top of the pass (5420m), where the views are spectacular and include Baruntse (7220m) and Ama Dablam, as well as a sea of lesser peaks. Do not wander around the snowfield as there are crevasses and we may need to rope up for the pass crossing! The descent from the pass is steep and care should be taken as we follow the narrow rocky trail down to the Nymagawa Valley, where we enjoy a packed lunch. From the valley we cross rocky scree and boulders and ascend the short distance to a small saddle that leads downhill all the way on an easy trail to the huts and tea houses at Thangnak.
(Trekking: approx 3-4 hours) We head off towards the Ngozumba Glacier where we do a touch of boulder hopping as we pass small glacial lakes. The views are astounding as we enjoy different views of the Gokyo Valley as Cho Oyu and adjacent mountains bordering Tibet loom to the right. The trail then reaches the second lake of Gokyo, where we can see Brahminy ducks swimming in pairs and feeding on algae. From the second lake it takes another 45 minutes to reach the settlement of Gokyo where we spend the night. We have lunch at Gokyo and then have the afternoon to relax and rest. If feeling well-acclimatised there is an option to head off to Gokyo Ri in the afternoon for spectacular sunset views. It is a steady climb to the top of Gokyo Ri and takes about 2½ hours to reach the top. Though it is hard work but in the end we are rewarded with an unsurpassable 360-degree of views of four 8000-metre peaks - Everest (8848m), Cho-Oyo (8153m), Lhotse (8511m) and Makalu (8481m). There are countless other towering snow-capped peaks and rock spires fill the horizons including Gyachung Kang (7922m) to the east of Cho-Oyo, Cholatse (6440m), Taweche (6542m) and Kangchung (6103m). After spending time snapping breath-taking photos, we head back down to our lodge at the bottom. With the fading lights the descent can be tricky and our flashlights will come very handy.
(Rest and Exploration Day) Those who have opted for the morning views at Gokyo Ri have to rise early for an ascent of Gokyo Peak (5360m), while others can have a late breakfast and possibly take an optional walk up the Gokyo Valley to enjoy further magnificent scenery.
(Trekking: approx 8 hours) We have an early start as we have a long day ahead of us. The trail skirts around north of Gokyo Lake and then climbs up though scree slope as we reach a highland pasture. Looking back, we enjoy excellent views of Gokyo and the mountains in the background. We continue to climb on scree and also boulder hop towards Renjo La (Pass) (5420m). We finally reach the top of the pass, which is marked by prayer flags, from where we can have a look into Nangpa Valley and, looking back, we have views of Everest and Makalu. We stop at the pass to have our pack lunch and take a well deserved rest. The descent is tricky as we have to walk on scree and loose rocks (ropes are fixed in icy conditions to facilitate the descent). After a while we reach a glacial lake from where the valley opens up. We continue to head down the valley through open pastures for sometime before bearing right to reach the small settlement of Arya, on the main trade route to Tibet coming from the Nangpa La (Pass). It is a long day and the lodge at Arya is a welcome sight.
(Trekking: approx 4-5 hours) We have a late start and descend all the way, following the Bhote Kosi River downstream. We walk down Nangpa Valley, passing through small settlements to finally reach the village of Marlung, where we stop for lunch. From Marlung the trail continues to descend and undulate passing through the village of Taranga to reach Thami Og and then Thami Teng, the birth place of Tenzing Sherpa. Thami is quite a famous village with many Everest summiteers living here, including Appa Sherpa who has climbed Everest an incredible 18 times.
(Trekking: approx 6 hours) After breakfast we leave Thami and descend to cross the Bhote Khola on a sturdy suspension bridge. There are some impressive Buddhist rock paintings in the area and, from here and on the cliffs above and below, Himalayan tahrs are often seen. Our route continues through the village of Thamo and back to Namche Bazaar where we take a welcome break for lunch. In the afternoon 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.
(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.
Accommodation: Shangri La Hotel or similar, Kathmandu
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.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
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.
Physical preparation is essential. You will be trekking on hilly terrain, with plenty of ascents and descents, often on steep and narrow trails, walking anywhere between 2-8 hours per day, on average about 5 hours a day. Altitude may exceed 5550 metres.
• The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local trek leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
• Porterage on trek.
• Return local flights from Kathmandu to Lukla.
• 17 day trek exploring five valleys in the Everest region, trekking 3-8 hours per day at altitudes ranging from 2650m to 5545m above sea level.
• 17 nights comfortable trekking lodge accommodation, generally in twin-share rooms with beds with foam mattresses and pillows.
• Ascents of Kala Patar (5545m) and Gokyo Ri (5360m).
• Crossings of Cho La Pass (5420m) and Renjo La Pass (5420m).
• Visit to Everest Base Camp.
• Trek Pack valued at over US$500 – kitbag designed with porter comfort in mind; high quality sleeping bag designed for sub-zero temperatures; inner sheet; and a high-altitude jacket.
• Instep crampons, ice axes, harnesses and ropes (if required).
• Acclimatisation days in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche, with guides on hand to escort walks.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa, Pashupatinath and the holy Bagmati River; and Thyangboche Monastery.
• Free time to explore Kathmandu and Lukla.
• Arrival transfer.
International flights, airport departure taxes, airport departure transfer, visas, insurance, meals not listed, any optional tours and activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, showers on trek (if available), tips or gratuities and items of a personal nature.
Please allow US$725 for meals.
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
To enjoy this trek you should be in very good physical condition. You should be:
- Physically capable of climbing and descending in excess of 800 metres a day on sometimes-difficult tracks, on moraine or on snow.
- Mentally capable of dealing with the stresses of a high altitude environment, the possibility of walking in poor weather conditions, the need to be responsive to changeable conditions, and the need to work as a team with other group members.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Australians, Americans, British, Canadians currently require a visa for Nepal. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent. You may prefer to apply for your visa prior to arrival in Nepal (there are consulates in many countries), however you can obtain a visa on arrival at Kathmandu Airport for $US40 for a Single Entry, and $US45 for a Double Entry. You must have USD, Euro, GBP, JPY or AUD cash to the exact amount and one passport photo. Expect some delays in processing the visa application at the airport. Passengers then travelling to Tibet or Sikkim (these trips start and finish in Nepal) should obtain a Double Entry Nepal visa.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
For good general guides to Nepal, India, Tibet and Bhutan, the Lonely Planet guide-books are very helpful. (They even have phrase-books which are very handy.) There are numerous books written about the Himalaya. Check your local library, new and old book-shops, and also the Internet can provide useful information on books to read. Kathmandu has many excellent bookshops where many of the books below can be found. Travellers Tales and Guides Nepal Lonely Planet Guide: - (Hugh Finlay, Richard Everist, Tony Wheeler) Tiger for Breakfast-Peissel-1966 Schoolhouse in the Sky-Hillary-1968 When Men and Mountains Meet-Keay-1977 Kathmandu-Kelly-1989 Many People Come, Looking, Looking Rowell-1980 Natural History Birds of Nepal-Fleming-1976 Forests of Nepal-Stainton-1972 Stones of Silence-Schaller-1980 Heart of the Jungle-Gurung Himalayan Flowers and Trees-Meirow/Shreshta-1978 Mountaineering Into Thin Air-Krakauer-1997 Everest the Hard Way-Bonnington-1976 White Limbo-Hall-1985 Annapurna-Herzog-1952 Ascent of Everest-Hunt-1953 The Climb-Anatoli Boukreev Left for Dead-Beck Weathers
Clothing It is imperative that you bring along the appropriate clothing. Once your booking is finalised, you'll be provided with 'Pre-Departure information' with a clothing and equipment checklist.
Walking times: This itinerary is intended as a guide only. Local conditions and weather may necessitate variations to the program and can affect the availability of views and panoramas described. Be aware that all times stated are approximate and may vary with individual and group fitness, weather and track conditions.
You will be trekking at times at high altitude in spectacular, remote and rugged terrain. This trek, while not ascending a Himalayan peak, will venture above the snow line, where fixed hand-lines, instep crampons and ice axes may be needed for extra security, depending on conditions. It is essential that you are physically and mentally well prepared and that your personal equipment is of the highest standard. You must be prepared for the possibility of bad weather and difficult conditions.
CLOTHING: Please refer to our 'What to Bring' list. It is imperative that you bring along the appropriate clothing. For December. January and February departures it is absolutely essential you must bring extra warm clothing, as it will be bitterly cold.
Tipping and Tipping Kitty
Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture, it is nonetheless part of the culture in this area of the world and it is often the way some people supplement their earnings. Tipping has also become an accepted part of the tourism culture in the region. On our trips your tour leader can advise you on this matter; however, as a guideline we would recommend a tip of 5-10% in restaurants and US$1 to US$2 per person, per day for a local guide. The bellboys at hotels will appreciate a small tip for carrying your bags. Taxi and rickshaw drivers do not expect a tip. If you are unhappy with a service, of course, you are under no obligation to leave a tip. However, if the service has been satisfactory, a tip is always appreciated....with a smile! To protect you from the sometimes seemingly endless soliciting of tips, we suggest you discuss with your tour leader about setting up a tipping kitty whereby everybody contributes an equal amount (this amount can vary from trip to trip, but a good approximate is US$4 per person per day). Your tour leader can then distributes tips along the way (except restaurant tips) to local guides and hotel porters, etc. and keeps a record of all moneys spent. Please note that this kitty is not designed to provide a tip for your tour leader.
Tipping Your Tour Leader
It is also customary to tip your tour leader at the end of the trip, if you are happy with his/her service. A minimum tip of US$3 per day from each member of the group is the standard amount expected.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
5 June 2013