Arrive Kathmandu (usually early evening).
Transfer to hotel close to the famous, bustling Thamel district of Kathmandu. Usually, we spend two days in Kathmandu completing final preparation and gear checks before taking our flight to Lukla. (H, B)
Morning briefing after which the rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the wonders of Kathmandu. Sightseeing tours can be arranged and would include visiting the temples of Boudhnath, Swayambunath (The Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath and Durbar Square. Simply wandering around the huge array of shops, markets, cafes, bars and restaurants in Thamel is a fascinating experience. (H, B)
Preparation for the expedition and official briefing at the Ministry of Tourism
Early in the morning we transfer to the airport for an amazing flight to the Sherpa village of Lukla (2800m). After lunch, we can take a walk along the stony path that descends from the forested terraces of Lukla. This takes us right into the Dudh Koshi (‘river of milk’) valley and the brightly painted lodges of Phakding (2610m). From here, there are stunning views of Kusum Kanguru’s North Face (6367m). Along the trail are stone walls, brightly decorated with colored paints. Buddhists hold these sacred and you must, as a sign of respect, pass these in a clockwise direction. (T, B, L, D).
Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440m).
We trek into the Sherpa capital and heart of the Khumbu. You will now be becoming familiar with local protocol for passing chorten, Mani stones, yaks, spinning prayer wheels etc. and enjoying the hustle and bustle on the ‘Everest Trail’. At Monjo, we enter Sagarmatha National Park and can visit the small visitor center there. Here the track starts to rise up the famous Namche Hill, the first big ascent and time to drop down a gear and take a slow and steady pace. 4-5 hrs. duration. (T, B, L, D).
Acclimatisation and Rest Day in Namche Bazaar.
It is important to have a couple of nights and a rest day in Namche before proceeding any higher. You can spend the day taking short walks up to Thami or Khumjung, visiting the Everest, Ama Dablam and Pumori viewpoints or just relaxing and exploring the narrow streets of this busy Sherpa capital. (T, B, L, D).
Namche Bazaar to Debouche (3800m).
Heading north east up the side of the Dudh Koshi, we climb steeply out of Namche where the mountain views start to open up and become more dramatic, with superb views of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. 5-6 hrs. duration. (T, B, L, D).
Debouche to Dingboche (4358m).
A good day walking through beautiful rhododendron (national flower of Nepal) trees that gradually takes us back to the river and into Pangboche, a great viewpoint for Ama Dablam. On leaving the village we turn up the Imia valley to reach the lovely and picturesque village of Dingboche. 6-7hrs duration. (T, B, L, D).
Acclimatisation/Rest day at Dingboche.
An acclimatisation day spent absorbing the views around camp and relaxing. Optional short trek to Chhukung (4730m) were we will be rewarded of views of Island Peak and Baruntse. (T, B, L, D).
Dingboche to Lobuche
Today we reach the extensive and overwhelming Khumbu glacier and trek up alongside it to reach the small village of Lobuche. (T, B, L, D).
Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5160m)
A 3-4 hour walk next to the Khumbu Glacier brings us to the crossing of the Changri Glacier to Gorak Shep. You are welcome to take a classic evening ascent of Kala Patar (5554m) to catch a classic sunset view of Everest. (T, B, L, D).
Everest Base Camp Trek (5340m) up to the historical Everest Base Camp (T, B, L, D).
The time spent at base camp is important both for acclimatisation and preparations. You will be given training in the use of Oxygen, Gammo Bag and HAPE/HACE, Communication Equipment and movement on fixed lines.
Our base camp set up is very comfortable and this is a vital part of our preparation. If you are rested and can recoup, then you will be stronger for your summit bid. When it comes to food we have Ganu, our master cook for the last eight years, who always has a warming smile and can produce some of the best food on the mountain.
Climbing Period for Summit Everest
We establish four camps on the mountain:
Camp 1 Top of the Khumbu Icefall (6,000m/19,685ft)
Camp 2 Advanced Base Camp (6400m /21,000ft)
Camp 3 Half way up Lhotse Face (7300-7500m/24,500ft)
Camp 4 South Col (7,900m/26,000ft)
Apart from its height, Everest’s other most recognized feature is from pictures of climbers teetering across ladders perched between giant blocks of ice in the ‘Khumbu Ice fall’. Each year there is one route fixed through the famous ‘Khumbu Ice fall’. Many companies claim to know the best way through when in fact there is no real choice and thanks should be given to the dedicated Icefall Doctors a team of Sherpa who do this dangerous job and make life easier and safer for all those who follow. The danger comes because the ice is constantly moving and the giant blocks can collapse without warning, so speed of movement and timing is the best deterrent. We set off early before the sun rises and gradually make progress over successive sorties in which we gain vital acclimatization and speed until the full journey can be made in the cool of the day to camp 1 and our entry to the Western Cwm. Camp 1 should be seen as a staging post used to reach camp 2.
To the Summit - Once a final decision is made to move (based on the weather forecast) we head back up to Camp 3, overnight and then with oxygen and down suit continue up the steep Lhotse face towards camp 4.
A short traverse towards Lhotse brings us to the start of the infamous Yellow Band, a Limestone rock band at 7500m. Ascending over the Yellow band will then bring us to the start of the Geneva Spur, a rocky scramble that eventually leads to the South Col and camp 4. Few days will provide more adrenalin and spectacular views than this; you will now have the sense of being unbelievably high, on the edge of the “death zone”, looking down on the great peaks of Pumori and Lingtren framed by Nuptse and Everest. It’s now time to rest, relax, eat and re-hydrate before our final summit push starts at around 10.00pm. Head torches breaking the darkness we climb to the Balcony (8500m/27,900ft) gain the South Summit and the first glimpses of the Hillary step will appear in the early dawn light. The Hillary Step, a near vertical climb of 12m is ascended on fixed lines and is the last obstacle to negotiate before the final summit slopes and the roof of the world!
We hope to be on the summit early in the morning giving an ample safety margin for the descent to the South Col. A further night is spent at camp 2 before we finally reach base camp.
Base Camp - Thyangboche 3800m.
Thyangboche - Phakding 2600m.
Phakding - Lukla 2800m.
Lukla – Kathmandu by flight
At leisure in Kathmandu.
Transfer to airport for your onward journey