Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and trip preparation - 1,300m/4,264 ft
Upon our arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, we will be warmly greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier. After completion of our custom formalities (Visa, etc), we pick up our luggage and look for our representative with Himalayan Glacier Trekking display board at the arrival gate. We will be then be taken to our hotel. After checking in, we either visit at Himalayan Glacier's office site where we meet with our trekking guide or hang arouond the city. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. For dinner, you will be served excellent Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the country's food culture.
Day 02: Kathmandu - Lukla - Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft): 3 - 4 hrs
After breakfast, we will be escorted to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport for an early morning flight to Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft), a gateway destination from where our trek begins. After an adventurous 40 minute flight above the breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach the Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a dramatic landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains peaks. Upon 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 03: Phakding - Namche Bazaar (3440 m/11,280 ft): 5 - 6 hrs
Walking through a beautiful pine forest, the track leads us along the Dudh Koshi River through many suspension bridges, one of which is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge. First, we catch wonderful prospect of the glistening Mt. Thamserku (6618 m). Through the settlement of Benkar, Chumoa, Monjo, we come to the check post and entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. We pass through the last village of Jorsale before reaching Namche Bazaar. The trail climbs through the forests and bridges until we reach the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. After a final steep ascent of about two hours we get first sight of Mt. Everest peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. Upon this juncture, we stop at Chautara to admire the view. We still need to hike about 1.5 hours to reach Namche Bazaar, a gateway to Mt. Everest and main trading centre of this region. We stay overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 04: Acclimatization Day - Namche Bazaar: 3,440m/11,284ft
This is the scheduled 'acclimatization' day for this trek. Health experts always recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest day too instead of being idle. We either spend the day taking a day hike to Thame or visiting Khunde or relaxing and exploring Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazzar is the main centre of the Everest (Khumbu) region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, a bakery and a colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday. If we trek a few hundred vertical feet during the day, it will help us to properly acclimatize. Himalayan Glacier's guides take us to the Tourist Visitor Center near the headquarter of the Sagarmatha National Park where we can observe an assortment of things related to the first Everest ascenders, Sherpa culture and learn about the various plant and animal life of the Everest region. We also take an interesting side trip up to Khumjung. We further climb up to the famous airstrip at Syangboche. Just above the airstrip will be the Everest View Hotel, a Japanese scheme to build a deluxe hotel with great views of the highest mountains on Earth. The Khumjung valley is surrounded by the snowy peaks of Kongde and Thamserku and the sacred peak Khumbila, hosts a well known monastery that houses a yeti scalp. We also visit Hillary School which is loacted at the same site. After having lunch and spending some time in Khumjung, we walk back down to Namche Bazzar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 05: Namche Bazzar to Tengboche (3,870m/12,694ft) - 5 - 6 hrs walk
After breakfast in Namche, we start our trek towards Tengboche enjoying superb view of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and close up view of Thamserku. Our trek follows on the gradual trail with few ups and downs overlooking magnificent view of the great Himalaya. Along the way we can spot wild lives like pheasant, musk deer, or a herd of Himalayan Thar. The trail goes gradually down up to Kayangjuma. The path eventually reaches Sansa which is the major trail junction to Gokyo valley and Everest Base Camp. The track then follows through the pine forests and after we cross the prayer flags festooned bridge over Dudh Koshi River, we reach Phunki Thenga, a small settlement with a couple of teahouses and a small army post amidst the alpine woods. After having a relaxed lunch at Phunki Thenga we then have a little tough climb steep up through the pine forests while before we reach Tengboche. Tengboche is a great place for close up views of Ama-Dablam, Nuptse, and Everest and it has a biggest Buddhist Monastery all over in Khumbu region. We pay our visit to the monastery the same day at around 3 p.m. to witness the ceremony in the principal and popular monastery of Everest region. Over night stay at lodge at Tengboche.
Day 06: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,360 m/14,300 ft): 5 - 6 hrs
With mountains at its backdrop, the monastery at Tengboche looks more spectacular in the morning. At this juncture, we can take pictures of the monastery and the scenery around and as usual start the day journey. We choose the upper trail for better views on the way to Pangboche village. We pass through several Chortens and Mani walls and small villages. The place where we stop for lunch not only serves delicious food but also allows a fantastic close-up view of Mt Ama Dablam. In the afternoon, we walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Mt Ama Dablam. From here onwards, the walk is fairly moderate as we enter the Imja Valley. The valley gradually unfolds as we approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. We descend into the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche. On arrival at Dingboche, we will see beautiful array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals. Overnight at Dingboche.
Day 07: Dingboche - Duglha (4,600 m/15,090 ft): 3 - 4 hrs
We start the day with a climb to Duglha through the Khumbu Khola valley. The walk along the arid terrace is rewarding with awesome views of mountains on all sides. As we come to a yak herder's place called Dusa, the valley begins to narrow and we continue through Phulung Karpo, the camp site of the first successful Everest Expedition in 1953. Above Phulung Karpo is Chola Lake. As we move on, the majestic view of Mt. Pumori (7138 m/ 23418 ft) comes into view. As the trail descends and curves, Mt. Pumori disappears from view and we come across a roaring stream. After crossing a small wooden bridge, we ascend to Duglha. We can see the tip of Mt Nuptse from here as well as Mt Cholatse, Mt Thamserku, and several other magnificent peaks. Spending a night in Duglha is ideal for acclimatization purposes. Overnight at Duglha.
Day 08: Duglha - Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft): 2 - 4 hrs trek
Beyond Duglha, we climb up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass through boulder-strewn slopes as we ascend Chupki Lhara, an eerie ridge top with dramatic mountain views. At the top of the ridge, we will find an array of stones with prayer flags used as memorials to Scott Fischer (American mountaineer) and 10 times Everest submitter Babu Chiri Sherpa (a Nepali mountain guide) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. As the trail drops to the Khumbu Glacier moraine, we find ourselves facing several great peaks - Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal. We are now in the vicinity of Everest but the great mountain still remains elusive. Mt Nuptse towers to the right as the trail crosses the Khumbu Glacier. As we pass along a murmuring stream leaving the Khumbu Glacier behind, we now begin to feel a little out of breath due to high altitude. Overnight at Lobuche.
Day 09: Lobuche - Gorak Shep [5170 m/16,961ft]-Everest Base Camp [5364 m/17,594 ft]-Gorak Shep: 8 - 9 hrs
The trail to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass through the pyramid sign post. Ahead on the trail we see crest of north ridge of Everest along with Mt. Pumori, Mt. Mahalangur, Mt. Lingtern, Mt. Khumbutse, Mt. Nuptse, etc. A small ascent would take us to Thangma Riju from where we perceive 360 degree vista of snowy mountains. Climbing steeply up to the top through the torrent of Changri Glacier, we catch our first glimpse of Kala Patthar, a grey-green knoll beneath the Mt. Pumori. As we reach Gorak Shep, we will find snow-capped mountains looming all around us including the top of the world - Mt. Everest. After a brief lunch and rest, we take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come through the Indian army mountaineers' memorials. Only upon reaching the Everest Base Camp do we really appreciate the Everest climbers who brave the hazardous route through the Khumbu icefall. Mountaineer's tents 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. Everest actually is not visible from here. By now we have met the ultimate objective of our trip.
However, the sunset view from Kala Patthar is more admirable than the sunrise view, so it is suggested to visit Kala Patthar today during sunset. As the setting sun's rays strike the snow capped mountains the resulting scenery is indescribable. For those trekkers who wish to continue to Kala Patthar, our guides and Sherpas coordinate in hiking to Kala Patthar for amazing sunset view today rather than waiting until the next day. Overnight in Gorak Shep at a local lodge.
Day 10: Gorak Shep - Kala Patthar - Pheriche [4280 m/14,070 ft]: 8 - 9 hrs
Today is the climax of our trip. We start early in the morning to catch the dramatic views from Kala Patthar witnessing the first light of day shining on Mount Everest. However, we need to get prepared for an early morning, dark and cold temperature (-10 to -14 C) departure beforehand. Further, there is always the potential for chilly wind which is quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself emerging between the west shoulder crest and Nuptse. During the ascent to Kala Patthar, we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding view points to snap pictures. After several hours of an ascent, we reach Kala Patthar. From this juncture, we scramble to climb the rocky outcrop near to the summit marked by cairns and prayer flags. As we reach the top, we sit on the Kala Patthar where rocks our eyes taking unbelievable Himalayan Panorama, wandering from one mighty massif to another. We take as many pictures as we can and take the in view with our mind's eye to last lifetime. On being back to Gorak Shep, we have breakfast and wait other participants to return back.
Those participants who will visit Everest Base Camp today will have early breakfast to start early as Everest base camp hike takes longer time (4-5 hrs) than the Kala Patthar hike. Upon return back to Gorak Shep, the group will have lunch together; and afternoon time is taken to descend down to Pheriche for a good night's rest.
Day 11: Pheriche-Pangboche-Tengboche-Namche Bazzar (3,440 m/11,280 ft): 5 - 6 hrs
Today, we trek down through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. If it is spring, pink and red rhododendron flowers ablaze our surroundings. Depending on our hunger and condition, we either have our lunch in Pangboche or wait until we reach Phunki Tenga for lunch. After crossing the prayer flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River trail then follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through the pine forests. The path eventually reaches Sansa which is the major trail junction in the region. We stop at Kyangjuma (3570 m/11,710 ft) for a relaxed lunch. We unknowingly appreciate the gorgeous Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Nuptse with every bite. Following lunch, the trail to Namche Bazaar clings to the steep wooded slope beyond Kyangjuma, winding through several bends. We keep a lookout for wild life such as mountain goats, snow leopards, colorful pheasants, etc., while passing through the forest by the trail. After passing a Chorten, we reach the army camp at Namche Bazaar. At this point, we would like to take a long last look (and picture!) back to Lhotse, the tip of Everest and Tengboche. On reaching our lodge, we take a nice hot shower and have very relaxed sleep in our room in Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
Day 12: Namche Bazaar-Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft): 6 - 8 hrs
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk slowly and under control 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. By today we start to get warmed up by the light breeze. Any remaining sore throats and colds will be gone by today as we pass through this charming mountain air. Although we are travelling the same route down, we feel completely different views. We snap a mixture of open plains, rhododendron and pine forests, and in the distance snow covered peaks. We walk through the Sherpa villages' noticing impressive faith in Buddhism and culture of prayer stones and prayers flag while we walk through the villages. Upon arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. We experience the culmination of a fantastic trek on a happy note with everyone back safe and sound with smile on faces! Overnight in Lukla.
Day 13: Lukla - Kathmandu
Today, we fly back to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. The early morning flight drops us in Kathmandu. We can rest and relax throughout the day at hotel. If we get interested to take some gifts home from Nepal for friends and relatives, we can visit to some nearby shops or venture out in Thamel for typical Nepalese goods. This short excursion either can be assisted by Himalayan Glacier's guides or we can do it ourselves too. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner in the evening.
Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 14: Farewell Friend
The journey within the mountains of Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but we just trade emails to travel companions and organize our photos. If we have more time we can do some shopping or sightseeing. At last approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight, a representative from Himalayan Glacier escorts us to the airport. On our way to home we will have plenty of time to plan our next adventure trip in the wonderful country of Nepal.