Day 01: Arrival Kathmandu (1,350m/4,428ft)
Upon our arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to Hotel Shanker or another hotel of a similar category. After checking in, we may take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. In the evening there will be a welcome dinner in a traditional Nepali Restaurant where we will be able to enjoy authentic Nepali cuisine with a brief cultural program. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Preparation
Today after breakfast we start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu which are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. We visit the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambhunath) and Buddhist shrine (Bouddhanath), which is also one of the largest stupas in the world. At noon, we get our equipment checked by our climbing leader, get introduced to fellow participants, and discuss our trip at Himalayan Glacier’s office. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 03: Fly to Lukla (2,800m/9,184ft) then trek to Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft): 40 min flight, 3-4 hours trek
After breakfast, we will be taken to the domestic terminal of TIA for an early morning flight to Lukla. After a flying above the breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains. Upon our arrival at Lukla, we meet our other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Phakding. To assist in acclimatization, we only have a short hike today. However, if interested in additional activities, we can take a side trip to a nearby monastery. Overnight in Phakding.
Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,283ft): 5-6 hours
After breakfast we walk through beautiful pine forests and then along Dudh Koshi River ending our nature-filled journey at Namche Bazaar. After walking for almost over an hour, we come across the glistening Mt. Thamserku (6,608m) on our right and also experience the serenity of pine, fir and juniper forests throughout our journey. If the weather is clear, we may even catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. We continue walking until we reach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park, Namche Bazaar, the gateway to Mt. Everest and main trading centre of this region. On this day we cross five suspension bridges, the last one also known as the Hillary Bridge being the highest. It is an uphill walk from Hillary Bridge to Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 05: Namche Bazaar (3,440 m/11,283 ft): Acclimatization Day
This is the day set aside for acclimatization. Health experts recommend that we stay active and move around even during the rest day instead of being idle. There are a few options set aside for this day. We can either stroll around Namche’s quaint villages or come in contact with the Sherpa people and their rich culture, or we can hike up to the Everest View Hotel and enjoy an up-close view of the mighty Everest. While in the Namche village or upon returning from the hike to the Everest View Hotel, trekkers may also visit the local museum containing exhibits displaying the area’s native flora and fauna as well as the history of the Mount Everest region.
For trekkers who want to hike for a little longer, a hike to Khumjung village (5-6 hours) may also be an option. In the village we can visit the Edmund Hillary School and Khumjung Monastery, where we will be shown the only Yeti skull in the world! Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 06: Namche Bazaar to Dole (4,110m/ 13,152ft): 5-6 hours
We walk to Kyangjuma village on a steep trail. At Kyangjuma we turn off the main trail and begin climbing to the Mong La pass, marked by a chorten on the top of a ridge at 3972m. From the ridge, the trail descends in a series of switchbacks towards the Dudh Koshi River. At Phortse Tenga our path starts to climb steeply out of the valley and enter the rhododendron forests. We pass through many kharkas, summer settlements used by the Sherpas to graze their yaks, before coming to Dole where we have magnificent views of Khumbila and Tawache. Overnight in Dole.
Day 07: Dole to Machhermo (4,470m/ 14,663ft): 4-5 hours
From Dole the trail is steep in places as it passes through Lhabarma (4220m) and Luza (4360m) along the side of the valley, high above the river through scrub junipers until we cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo. On the way we are greeted with views of Cho Oyu, Kantega and Thamserku mountains. Machhermo is the last major settlement on the way up to Gokyo. The beautiful stream flowing down from the Kyajo Ri and Phari Lapche mountains runs through the middle of the village before draining into the Dudh Koshi River. It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a Sherpa and killed three yaks! We then visit the Himalayan Rescue Hospital for a lecture regarding altitude sickness, its precaution, and primary treatment. Overnight in Machhermo.
Day 08: Machhermo to Gokyo (4800 m/15,744 ft): 4-5 hours
We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and also up towards Cho Oyu (8153m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Phangkha, where an avalanche in 1995 killed 40 people. We then descend to the riverbank before climbing onto the terminal moraine of the Ngazumpa Glacier on a steep trail. Upon crossing an iron bridge over a stream, the trail levels out as it follows the valley past the first lake, known as Longpongo at 4690m. At this juncture, we get a chance to observe lama footprints on a stone. At the sight of the second lake, Taboche Tsho we become mesmerized by the shimmering turquoise blue sheet of water sparkling in the sun. Little ahead of the second lake, we reach the third lake, the two linked by a surging stream. Gokyo village stands by the third lake and Cho-Oyu Mountain as a backdrop sets an amazing spectacular sight here. After lunch, we explore around the third lake, Dudh Pokhari. Overnight in Gokyo.
Day 09: Acclimatization Day in Gokyo Valley: Hike to Gokyo Ri (5,330 m/17,483 ft)
Today is an acclimatization day so we know we should not stay idle. If the weather is good, we grasp the opportunity to climb Gokyo Ri today to enjoy the scene from the best viewpoint of the Everest Region. Climbing Gokyo Ri is obviously strenuous as it is steep and takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the top. But the scenery of Gokyo village, on the edge of third lake overlooked by Cholatse and the broad Nogzumpa Glacier, is spectacular. We are surrounded by panoramic mountains like Kusum Kanguru, Thamserku, K 43, Kangtega, Taboche, Cholatse, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Changtse, and Pumori. The sight of sunrays kissing Everest which towers over all the surrounding peaks is astounding. However, if the weather is not fit for climbing we visit the fourth and fifth Gokyo lakes. We can also climb on a hill, also called Scoundrel's Viewpoint at the edge of the lakes to get astounding views of Cho-Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Makulu. Overnight in Gokyo.
Day 10: Gokyo to Thaknak (4750 m/15,580 ft): 5-6 hours
If the weather was not good for climbing Gokyo Ri the previous day, we do so today. After breakfast, we climb out of the Gokyo village to a ridge then trek through the Ngazumpa Glacier to the mountain on the other side. Next, traverse along the edge of that mountain and then meander into Thaknak. It will be a short hike today with an afternoon of rest which will prepare us for long hiking days and elevation gain to come. Overnight in Thaknak.
Day 11: Thaknak to Cho La pass (5367 m/17,604 ft) to Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft): 8-10 hours
Today is going to be one of the toughest days of the trip. The Cho La pass is not itself difficult, but it is steep and involves a glacier traverse on the eastern side. We need to be careful as the trail is vertical and the rocks glazed by ice may cause trouble by making the trail slippery. The trail from Phedi climbs through a ravine and a rocky trail. While trekking through the side of a frozen lake, we reach at the top of the pass decorated with prayer flags. The pyramidal Ama Dablam presides over a range of mountains on the south even as Cholatse soars to the west and Lobuche East and Baruntse rises sharply to our right. We need to pass through some crevasses before we reach Dzongla, another beautiful place with a complete view of Mt. Cholatse, Mt. Ama Dablam, Lobuche Peak and the Pheriche Village far below. We climb down from Dzongla and walk through a grassy trail while enjoying the view of Lobuche Peak. The trail curves through the wide river bed before reaching Lobuche. Overnight in Lobuche.
Day 12: Lobuche to Everest Base Camp (5364m/17,594ft) and back to Gorak Shep (5170 m/16,961ft): 6-7 hours
We take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come across the Indian army mountaineers' memorials. The path from here can be misleading; hence, it is important that we diligently follow our lead Sherpa. The walk is strenuous due to thin air in the high altitude. We pass through rocky dunes, moraine and streams before reaching the Everest Base Camp. Upon reaching the Everest Base Camp, we see tents of mountaineers that stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. We then get back to Gorak Shep for a good night's rest. Overnight in Gorak Shep.
Day 13: Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar (5545m/18,192ft] and back to Lobuche (4940m/16,207ft): 7-8 hours
We prepare for an early morning departure, amid pre-dawn darkness and cold temperatures (-10 to -14 C). Plus, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. But, it is upon reaching Kala Patthar that we get to see 360-- degree up-close and formidable views of Mt. Everest. We take pictures, enjoy the magnificent mountain panorama, and then return back to Lobuche for a good night's rest. Overnight in Lobuche.
Day 14: Lobuche to Kongma La (5,535m/18,159ft) to Chhukung (4,730m/15,518ft): 6-7 hours
After breakfast, we trek via Khumbu Glacier to Kongma La Base Camp (5,000m/16,404ft). The ascent to Kongma La pass is the most difficult part of our trek today. In the Kongma La, we see cairn wrapped in prayer flags to mark the pass. Then we descend gradually to Imja Khola valley, followed by another descent to Chhukung, a small summer settlement. After reaching Chhukung we will also check our equipment in order to get ready for our ultimate climb. Overnight in Chhukung.
If we do not want to undertake the Kongma La pass, we can follow another route via Dingboche to Chhukung instead.
Day 15: Chhukung to Island Peak Base Camp (5,200m/17,060ft): 3-4 hours
The trek to Island Peak Base Camp is on a fairly steep trail. First, we climb south then turn east to the main line of the valley. We then walk on a winding path below the southern flank of the moraine from the Lhotse Glacier. Next, we continue walking on a pleasant trail along a streamside. The route to the Amphu Lapcha lies to the southeast. A crisscross route through the Imja and Lhotse glacier moraines leads to a wide valley flanking the SW side of Island Peak. Overnight at Island Peak Base Camp.
Day 16: Pre-Climb Training on Island Peak Base Camp
We begin our pre-climb training today after breakfast. Our guides will provide training on peak climbing techniques and the proper ways of using climbing gears such as the ice axe, climbing boots and crampons, harness, ascender, etc. The training will also include using ropes to go up and down. Although it is not mandatory to have prior training for Island Peak Climbing, we strongly believe that some training experience will boost your confidence and climbing skills to increase the chances of scaling the summit as well as to fully enjoy the experience. We can spend the rest of the day hiking to high camp and back or resting for the next day’s climb. Overnight at the base camp.
Day 17: Island Peak Base Camp to Summit and back to Base Camp (5,600m/18,372ft) 10-12 hours
We wake up early today at around 1 to 2 am and have our breakfast before beginning our climb. It is important we reach the summit before noon because in the afternoon the strong winds in the high lands might become a barrier for a successful summit. The trail moves up beyond the base camp for several hundred meters before striking off the steep hillside. Initially sandy, the path soon turns to grass before becoming boulder strewn. As we climb up the hill, we will see that the slope narrows and the trail enters a steep rock channel. We then climb the rock gully. This is not difficult, but there are several short rock steps to climb before we emerge on the right side of the gully. The route then follows a ridgeline, which leads to an exhilarating and exposed traverse onto the snout of the summit glacier. We need to rope up for the glacier as it contains several crevasses. The guides will fix a rope wherever necessary. A steep snow slope leads us onto the summit ridge. After enjoying the summit views, and taking pictures, we descend all the way to Island Peak Base Camp where some of our crew are waiting for us. We celebrate on our successful Island Peak climb.
Day 18: Island Peak Base Camp to Pangboche (3,985m/13,074ft) 5-6 hours
Today’s walk will be a much easier as we descend to the lower altitudes. Following the same route back through the wide valley of Khumbu Khola, we pass through the beautiful Sherpa villages Orsho and Shomare. We can also take a different trail to visit the Gompa in Upper Pangboche, which is believed to be the oldest in the Khumbu region or take the regular trail to reach Pangboche. Pangboche is a scenic village surrounded by Everest to its north, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and Kangtaiga to the east, the Kongde range to the south and the Imja Tse river flowing through the wide fertile valley.
Day 19: Pangboche to Namche Bazaar: 4-5 hours
From Pangboche we retrace our steps down to the Imja Khola and up through the forest to Tengboche. If interested, we can also visit nuns at the Tengboche monastery. After lunch at Tengboche, we continue through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. After crossing the bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, our trail follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through the pine forests before reaching Sansa. We keep a lookout for wildlife such as mountain goats, snow leopards, colorful pheasants, etc., while passing through the forest. After passing a chorten, we reach the army camp at Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 20: Namche Bazaar to Lukla: 6-7 hours
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk cautiously as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries, the trail becomes more level and natural. After our arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. Overnight in Lukla.
Day 21: Fly to Kathmandu
We catch an early morning flight to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. After reaching Kathmandu, we can take a rest or do some souvenir shopping. If we want to explore any other areas of Kathmandu, we may do that today. Our guides can help you with both souvenirs shopping or sightseeing. There will be a farewell dinner in the evening to celebrate the climbers’ successful summit of the Island peak. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 22: Final Departure
Your adventure in Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with your travel companions and organize your photos. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take you to the airport, approximately 3 hours before your scheduled flight. On your way home you'll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.
Please note that often the Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight gets delayed by a few hours or may even be canceled for one, two, or more days due to unfavorable weather conditions. Such conditions may arise even in the best seasons. Hence, in such cases, you must be prepared for long waits both at Kathmandu or Lukla airports, as this can happen either at the start or end of the trek or even both! We do our utmost to avoid such delays, and fix you on next flight. Still, we suggest you to be prepared for possible delays/cancellation, and if possible to come with some extra buffer days (1-2 days) at the end of the trip to accommodate such delays. We also organize heli rescue in such conditions, if it's available and upon request by our clients. The helicopter charges around USD 3500 and it can lift 4-5 persons per flight. If everything runs smoothly and if interested, you can also enjoy other activities like sightseeing, rafting, wildlife activities, shopping, etc during your buffer days.
In case, the flight delay/cancellation happens at the start of trip and it goes so long that it disturbs your onward travel schedule, you are free to choose an alternative trip: such a trek in the Annapurna, Langtang, or any other regions. If you are not interested in the alternative trip and would rather wait for the trip, you are welcome to wait in Kathmandu for as many days as it takes to get a flight to Lukla. However, please note that there will be no refund, if you lose your time waiting at the airport and do not take an alternative tour or you only do short trek later due to time limitation. If the cancellation happens before the trip, we will provide you accommodation and lunch in a guesthouse in Kathmandu. In case of the flight delay/cancelation after finishing of the trek, you will be responsible for all your expenses. Please also note that you will not be entitled to any refund for the services (such as hotel, transport, flight, etc) included in the package that you would not use later.