A truly adventurous expedition to a remote and wild region of the Great Himalayas, with full logistic support - this is a journey that seeks a different route, a fresh perspective, a challenge.
Our route traverses a spectacular, seldom visited region of Nepal and crosses three High Mountain passes. Only on the very final section does it meet the popular southern approach to Everest Base Camp at Chhukung. The rare views, some of which will be ours alone, are quite the most breathtaking in the whole Himalayan range: sublime vistas in which are amplified the power of three of the world’s five highest mountains: Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Everest.
Here too is offered the satisfaction of absorbing at first hand the culture and folklore of tribal hill and mountain peoples and the flora and fauna of remote Eastern Nepal and the dates selected should ensure some of the best weather and panoramic views.
From Kathmandu, the majestic backbone of the Himalayan glides our wingtips as we head east for Tumlingtar. Beyond here our trekking route follows a great are, rising north onto the ridges of Num and sweeping slowly westwards into the uninhabited heartland of the world's most spectacular mountains and passes.
On the map, you can follow our journey as it emerges out of tranquil pastures and ascends the hidden Arun River valley. Climbing and descending gradually, taking us from villages at 457m to the Khongma Pass at 3,090m, this trail gives us the best possible form of acclimatization. Beyond Num there are no villages. The track climbs all the way to Neghe Kharka, crossing the Barun Khola flowing from Makalu. The route to Sherpani Col (6,135m) involves a sustained period at altitude with some steep slopes, but rewards with powerful views of Makalu (8,463m) to the north and the aptly named Island Peak (6,160m) to the west. This is the realm of the glaciers, surrounded by the unforgettable presence of the world's mightiest mountains; and brooding above the towering bulk of Everest itself.
The trail heads towards the setting sun, mounting West Col and crossing the wide Hongu glacier. In a long day it climbs easily to the Amphu Labtsha pass, descends to skirt under Amphu peak (5,335m) and, with the elegant cones of Island Peak dead ahead, serves to gain the wide Imja glacier and relax on its westerly descent to the village of Chhukhung.
This first Sherpa habitation, nestled at 4,730m above the junction of five major glacial valleys, is a typical low walled grey stone village, colored with traditional Sherpa smiles. Tumbling into the Khumbu valley, heartland of the Sherpa people, and past the relative metropolis of Dingboche, we make for Pheriche (4,252m). The village is perched above the Dudh Kosi, or river of milk, which drains the western flanks of Mt. Everest, and is guarded by the dramatic twin shoulders of Ama Dablam (6,856m).
Below, the Khumbu Icefall trumbles out of the Western Cwm and, swallowing up another four glaciers, slowly grinds its way toward the Ganges. Our route picks its way through the moraine, to the last huts of Lobuche and, with our prior level of acclimatization, we should probably take the altitude in our stride.
The run home is a very pleasurable re-entry to the calm valleys and rhododendron forests. We call at Thyangboche monastery and visit Namche Bazar as we flow onward down the valley to our aircraft at Lukla. The flight home to Kathmandu surpasses the flight out. It is as if mountains march westward beside us until waves of gentle terraced hills raise up to guide us back into the modern world.