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Trek to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar

khumbu-glacier-ice

Trekking to the Everest Base Camp is there in everyone’s mind world over. I personally suggest it is a trek which can be done by all and not necessarily for only the super fit individuals. I fell some part of the trek is really tough but you can successfully complete it, if you go slowly with you your own pace. This is a life time event for a person and therefore you must plan for it thoroughly. It is a 12 days trek starting from Lukla; goes up to Everest base camp and a hike to Kala Patthar. The total distance is 120 kilometers both side. In the trekking region basic accommodations are available. These accommodations are called Tea Houses; which are nothing but very small hotels with basic facilities. Your trek starts with a lot of greenery and walk along with the wild Dudh Koshi River. There on you cross some deep pine cedar forests and finally enter to a treeless cold desert which is gray and white.

Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla then trek to Phakding

Kathmandu: 1400 meters.
Lukla: 2800 meters.
Phakding: 2600 meters.
Total altitude gain: 1200 meters.
Trekking time: 3-4 hours.

The total flying time to reach Lukla is about 30 to 35 minutes and is one of the most scenic flying experiences. The airplanes are small mountain flights which are completely safe. Lukla airport (Tenzing-Hillary Airport) a table top airport, which is a beautiful tiny airport situated on top of a mountain. This airport is considered as the most dangerous airport in the world (I never felt it; I have flown to Lukla many times). Lukla is a beautiful small and important town in this area almost everything is available here. Once you reach Lukla you will meet your porter and start trekking to Phakding.

Lukla to Phakding trek is simple and a downhill trek. The trail goes through lot of small scenic villages; also you can see a lot of Buddhist Stupas and small monasteries on the way to Phakding. After some distance you will find the Dudh Koshi River, which will be with you on most of the time during trek. You will be crossing your first hanging bridge today.

Day2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Phakding: 2,600 meters.
Namche Bazaar: 3,440 meters.
Total altitude gain: 800 meters.
Trekking time: 6- 8 hours.

Today’s trekking will be strenuous after you cross a place called Monjo. Once you start trekking from Phakding you will cross Dudh Koshi River through a hanging bridge. In between Namche and Phakding there are several hanging bridges. After Phakding a small portion of trekking route is washed away by landslide. Over here you to be closer to the mountain side especially when mules and yaks coming.

The view on the way to Monjo is spectacular. There are a lot of water falls on the way (mostly in October and November). You can consider having a bath also, but the water will be really cold. The view of Thamserku peak (6,608 meters/21,680 feet) is spectacular from this trail. There are lots of small up and down trails before Monjo. Once you reach Monjo have your lunch here as there are no facility in between Monjo and Namche. Monjo is the last village before Namche. After Monjo you need to follow the Dudh koshi River bed for some distance. This trail is really beautiful and you can feel the speed of mighty Dudh Koshi River. After some time you can see two hanging bridges one above another. You need to cross the river with the upper bridge. The view from the handing bridge is spectacular and the height of the bridge is the highest in this area (from here you can see Mount Everest (8,848 meters/29,029 feet) very first time if weather is clear).

After crossing the hanging bridge the real uphill trekking starts and this part of trekking is strenuous. It will take 3-4 hours to reach Namche if you walk slowly. Just before Namche check post, you will find a resting place. You will get the second glimpse of Mount Everest from this place. After this resting place the distance is not much to reach Namche. Once you reach Namche check post you need to register your name, camera model and other valuables. After Namche check post you need to climb 100s of steps to reach proper Namche bazaar.

Day 3. Your must needed rest day in Namche bazaar for acclimatize. There are so many things to do in and around Namche Bazaar.

1.Roam around Namche bazaar. Almost everything is available here, be it; bakery, coffee shop, pubs, sport bars and much more. You can relax here and enjoy in Namche.

2.You can visit Namche Monastery, which is just above Namche Bazaar. It is a small and beautiful Monastery.

3.You can visit Namche Museum which is also above the Namche bazaar opposite side of Monastery. Over here the view is awesome and you can see Mount Everest, Lhotse and many other peaks. The museum ground is really big and plain. You can spend some time here amidst beautiful mountain scenery. The newly built Tenzing Norgay statue on the museum ground with the view of Mount Everest, Lhotse (8,516 meters/27,940 feet), Nuptse (7,861 meters/25,791 feet), Kusum Kanguru(6,367 meters/20,889 feet), Ama Dablam(6,812 meters/22,349 feet) and many is really superb!

4.Hike to Syangboche airport (3,780 meters / 12401 feet) and Khumjung village (3,970 meters / 13, 024 feet). Syangboche Airport is an unpaved airport but it is bigger than Lukla airport. The airport area is really big and flat. You need to hike a small hill just above Namche to reach this airport. Spend some time here and go to Khumjung village. Khumjung is the biggest village in this area. You must go to the Khumjung Monastery where you can see Yeti scalp (they are claiming this scalp belong to a real Yeti!). Khumjung also has a big school (also known as Hillary School). Every day student’s from nearest villages are coming here (including Namche). Above Khumjung a mountain called Khumbila (5,761 meters/18,901 feet) is situated and it is considered as a sacred mountain (God of Khumbu). It is an unclimbed mountain and only one attempt has been made before 1980. All the climbers who attempted have reportedly died (don’t you think Yeti’s are staying in this mountain!).

It is best you start early, first visit Namche Museum and museum ground. Then hike to Syangboche Airport, then Khumjung village and while returning you can visit Namche Monastery.

Day4. Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

Namche Bazaar: 3,440 meters.
Tengboche: 3,867 meters.
Total altitude gain: 427 meters.
Trekking time: 6 – 7 hours.

Today’s trek will be moderate to strenuous. If you are trekking in April and May you can see lots of flower along side of trail. Have some tea/coffee in Kyangjuma village, which comes on the way to Tengboche. It also has lots of tea houses and many open restaurants with amazing views. From the trail the view of Phortse village is really stunning as it is situated on a slope of a mountain. After Kyangjuma you need to go towards Phungi Thanga. This is the last village before Tengboche. You can have your lunch here and then proceed to Tengboche.

You need to cross a hanging bridge after Phungi Thanga and form here the uphill trek to Tengboche starts. Once you cross the bridge and walk a little further you will find the trail separating in two parts (both the trail leads to Tengboche). I will suggest to go on the trail that is on your right as this trail goes through dense forest and the feeling of walking in this trail is different. You can go on the main trail also but that trail is always crowed. Finally both the trail comes and meets in a resting place. Take little rest here and proceed to Tengboche.

Tengboche is small and beautiful village in Khumbu area. Tengboche is famous for its Monastery, which is a major Monastery in this area. You can go to the Monastery and also join for the prayer as trekkers are allowed inside the Monastery. I believe Tengboche is a much beautiful place in Khumbu region. There is a big ground just in front of Monastery and the 360 degree view from here is out of the world. You can see Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse, Mt Ama Dablam, Mt Khumbila, Mt Thamserku and much more from the Tengboche ground. Almost all the hotels have excellent view from their window. Don’t miss the view of Thamserku (which is opposite to the Monastery) before dusk. The views of this mighty mountain over Tengboche will mesmerize you.

Day 5. Tengboche to Dingboche

Tengboche: 3,867 meters.
Dingboche: 4,530 meters.
Total altitude gain: 663 meters.
Trekking time: 6 – 7 hours.

Today’s trek is a moderate trek. You will trek along side of Dudh Koshi River after Tengboche. Once you start from Tengboche it will be a decline trek. Do try to look around the jungle; you might have a chance to see Musk Deer and mountain goats. After some distance of normal walk you need to cross Dudh Koshi River and hike for Pangboche Village (3,985 meters/13,074 feet). This place is really beautiful and from the small wooden bridge the view of Ama Dablam Mountain is very spectacular. This place is a heaven for photographers. After crossing the wooden bridge you need to go for a small steep hike to Pangboche village.

Pangboche is a spectacular village with stunning views of Everest, Lhotse and much more. From here Mount Ama Dablam looks really big. There is a beautiful Monastery also situated here. After Pangboche the trek is moderate to Shomare village (4,000 meters/13,123 feet) along side of Dudh Koshi River. You have to be careful on this trail as few part of this trail is really small and almost on the edge of the mountain. Once you reach Shomare village you can have your lunch here as there is nothing between Dingboche and Shomare, Shomare is a small village with many restaurants. After Shomare village the trail is almost flat and easy to walk. Once you cross some distance you will find the trail divide into two parts. We need to take the trail on our right side, which is going to Dingboche and other one goes to Periche after a small mountain pass. Once you take the trail that goes to Dingboche you need to cross Dudh Koshi River again and hike for Dingboche village. After crossing the River the trek is moderate up to Dingboche. Dingboche is a big village in this area, which is the other side of Mt Ama Dablam. It is a big valley with really great view of Mt. Lhotse.

Day 6: Acclimatization day in Dingboche

Today we will visit the Ama Dablam old base camp from here we can see Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201 meters/ 26,906 feet, the 6th highest mountain in the world) and Mt. Makalu (8,463 meters/27,766 feet, the 5th highest mountain in the world) and we will go to a high altitude lake which remains frozen for 5 months. The hike to old Ama Dablam base camp is really steep and challenging as many trekkers are not going there. We need to cross the river and go to the other side, but once you reach there at 5,000 meters the mighty view of Mt. Ama Dablam looks gigantic. The view of Makalu and Cho Oyu from a distance too looks amazing. The best part is the high altitude lake. It is a pristine lake with crystal clear water. If you are there in month of November and December then you can even walk on it.

Day 7. Dingboche to Lobuche

Dingboche: 4,530 meters.
Lobuche: 4,940 meters.
Total altitude gain: 410 meters.
Trekking time: 6 – 7 hours.

Today’s trek will be moderate to strenuous level. Once we start from Dingboche we will go for a little hike and then it will be completely flat up to Dughla (4, 620 meters/ 15, 157 feet). The view is really awesome from the trail. From here you can see Mt. Pumori (7,161 meters/23,494 feet) which is a beautiful mountain close to Kala Patthar. You can also see a glacial lake on your right side close to Dughla. The view of Cholatse peak(6,440 meters/21,130 feet) and Taboche peak(6,495 meters/21,309 feet) also looks spectacular from this trail.

Dughla is a small place before Lobuche hike. Only two hotels are available in this place and this is the last place for lunch before Lobuche. After Dughla it will be a steep hike to the Lobuche pass and this is the strenuous part in today’s trek. Once you reach on the top you can see lots of Stupas. I can say it’s a chain of Stupas here and all belong to the people who died in different climbing expeditions. This place is a big flat ground, full of small and big Stupas. After this place it will be completely easy to trek up to Lubuche.

Lobuche is not a village. This place has some hotels only and once you reach here you can do several things.
1.Hike to the Hill which separates Khumbu Glacier from Lobuche. It is like a big wall; from here the view of Khumbu Glacier is really amazing. You can also see another hanging Glacier which is at the opposite side of Khumbu Glacier (if you are facing to Khumbu Glacier then that hanging Glacier is on your back side). The view of that hanging glacier is really breathtaking from here.
2.Visit to pyramid international laboratory observatory. It is a normal walk to reach there; this pyramid is situated just below of a Glacier (It is the same hanging glacier I mentioned above). You can go inside to the pyramid, but you have to be accompanied with one of their employees (you can ask any of their employees they will take you inside).

The view of Mt. Nuptse from Lobuche is really beautiful; especially by the time of sun set. The mountain converts to dark golden color and looks really mighty. Don’t miss this view as it is one of the best views in this area.

Day 8: Lobuche to Gorakshep

Lobuche: 4,940 meters.
Gorakshep: 5,164 meters.
Total altitude gain: 224 meters.
Trekking time: 3 – 4 hours.

Today’s trek will be moderate to strenuous trek. You need to walk on a flat trail and then an uphill trek. After that, you will trek on the glacier; which is rocky and lots of up and down. Finally you will reach Gorakshep. Usually every trekker visits Everest Base Camp (5,364 meters/17,598 feet) same day.

Keep your luggage in the hotel and have a light lunch. Then start for the Everest Base Camp. Gorakshep to Base Camp takes 2.5 hours to 3 hours. You will walk along side of Khumbu glacier; you can see Mt. Nuptse on your right side. Mt. Everest will also be visible on the way. You need to walk down from the trail to on the Khumbu Glacier (Everest Base Camp is on the Khumbu glacier), be little careful here as you find lot of cracks on the path.

Everest is not properly visible from the base camp and only a very small part is visible. If you are here in the month of May, then you might have a chance to see lot of climber’s tent. You can also go towards popcorn field. It is better is you ask a local help so he will guide you what is safe and what is not. After base camp comeback to hotel and take rest. Don’t forget to take photograph near the famous signboard “Way to Everest Base Camp”.

Day 9: Gorakshep to Kala Patthar then return back to Lobuche

Gorakshep: 5,164 meters.
Kala Patthar: 5,643 meters.
Lobuche: 4,940 meters.
Total altitude loss: 224 meters.
Trekking time: 3 to 4hours (Kala Patthar Hike), 3.5 hours return back to Lobuche.

Today’s trekking is strenuous (Kala Patthar part). You have to hike to Kala Patthar as slow as possible and enjoy the view thoroughly; as it gives the best view in this region. When you are hiking you can feel how mighty is Mt Pumori is? It seems gigantic over Kala Patthar as it is very close to it. Mt. Everest is properly visible and you can get some of the best shots of Everest from here. The Khumbu glacier and popcorn filed looks stunning from here. Mt. Ama Dablam really looks nice from Kala Patthar and the 360 degree view from here is beyond describable. From top of the Kala Patthar you actually believe how big the Khumbu Glacier (it’s massive) is. There are lots of prayer flags on top of Kala Patthar. You also can tie your own prayer flag here. Usually people climb to the top of the rock which is the top point of Kala Patthar, but you need to be little careful while on top. It is very windy here so stand carefully on top of this rock, especially while taking photographs.

Getting down from Kala Patthar is easy and you will get plenty of good views what you missed while trekking up to the mountain. So don’t miss a single view from here.

Getting back from Gorakshep to Lobuche is easy, walk slowly and enjoy the surroundings.

Note:
If you want the best view of Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar then try to hike Kala Patthar on the same day you arrived at Gorakshep. Because sun set time is the best time to watch Everest as it is converts to a Golden mountain and looks really beautiful also other surrounding mountains looks spectacular. If decided for this option then you will go to the Everest Base Camp next day and return to Lobuche.

Day 10. Lobuche to Tengboche

Lobuche: 4,940 meters.
Tengboche: 3,867 meters.
Total altitude loss: 1073 meters.
Trekking time: 6 to 7hours

Today’s trekking is relatively easy as most of the part will be downhill trek. You will leave behind Dughla, Periche, Shomare and Pangboche.

Today we will cross Periche (4,371 meters /14,340 feet). Periche is a valley surrounded by mountains also this is a regular stopover for trekkers and climbers. Periche is having a really good hospital for mountain sickness and other accidents but this is open mostly in climbing season (March-May and November-December). Periche is a cold and windy place as compare to other stopover in this area.

Once you cross Dudh Koshi River after Pangboche and walk little further on the trail, the uphill trail starts till Tengboche. The tough part is there are lots of stairs that needs to be climbed before Tengboche and I really hate staircases in trail.

Day 11. Tengboche to Monjo

Tengboche: 3,867 meters.
Monjo: 2,835 meters.
Total altitude loss: 1032 meters.
Trekking time: 6 to 7hours

Today’s trekking is moderate. You will get a little strenuous patch only after Phungi Thanga village. It is an uphill trek. Once you reach Namche, have your lunch and proceed to Monjo. Namche to Monjo is really an easy trek, but some parts of trail are really steep downhill trek so be little careful about it. You can also collect your trekking certificate from Namche check post the certificate is issued by the Nepal Government against payment of Nepali Rs.350.

Day 12. Monjo to Lukla

Monjo: 2,835 meters.
Lukla: 2,860 meters.
Total altitude gain: 25 meters.
Trekking time: 5 to 6hours

Today’s trekking is a moderate trekking. You walk along with Dudh Koshi River and enjoy the beautiful villages on the way. You need to contact your airliner office for tomorrow’s departure once you reach Lukla. All of them open their office in the afternoon. Today you can enjoy in Lukla, which has almost all facilities and relatively cheap from other places in this region.

Best Time to Visit Everest Base Camp

There are two best trekking seasons in a year, one mid March to mid June and the other is October to 15th of December. However, from experience of being in almost all the months, I will say the best time is mid March to May and then October to November. In between March to May you can see lots of flowers on mountains and alongside of your trail. In October and November whether is very clear and really pleasant to trek. You can trek to this place between 15th of December and February also, but you need proper local help as the trails are covered with thick snow. The months of June to September are not a good time to visit as massive landslides happen in mountains during this period. For last few years Himalayan weather has changed miraculously, the rain starts late June and goes up to September. Within this time the Himalaya is getting many flash floods and cloud bursts. So try to avoid the rainy season.