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Everest offers an enduring experience of natural beauty, geological magnificence and profound cross-cultural discovery. Trekking via Namche, Tengboche and Pheriche you follow much of the same route as the early Everest climbing expeditions, but in an unhurried spirit of understanding, cultural sharing and ecological awareness. You will hike high into the Khumbu area with your Sherpa guide and pack yaks. Your Sherpa staff and hosts help you to understand their culture by inviting you into their homes, and by stimulating conversations with Buddhist lamas, local farmers and national park officials. This trek is one of the most exceptional and enlightening things you can do in your life. Choose to stay in tents or local lodges.
Day 1: Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met by a staff member at the airport and transferred to your Western-style hotel. Your guides will be available for advice on everything from how to bargain to choosing restaurants to learning a little bit of the Nepali language. You will have some time to just relax, or to nibble at the feast of new experiences in this exotic city. Brief orientation.
Day 2: Kathmandu. Your second day in Kathmandu includes guided visits to famous temples of Swayambhunath, Pasupatinath or Boddhanath. You will see life going on as it has for hundreds of years against a background of sacred peaks, terraced hillsides and an exotic culture. In Kathmandu, and throughout your trip, we encourage you to interact with local people either through your guide as interpreter, or through participation in the activities that are all around you. While you explore, your staff gets all your food supplies and logistical requirements in order. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Kathmandu - Lukla - Chumoa. Trekkers flying into Lukla to begin their trip find themselves breathing deeply due to the spectacular beauty and the rarefied air. Starting from Lukla, you proceed up the deep valley of the Dudh Khosi. You can pause frequently to admire the mani walls, long rows of stones with "Om Mani Padme Om" meticulously carved in Tibetan script. Prayer flags fly above every house and large wooden or metal prayer wheels sanctify the trail. You cross the rushing glacial waters of the Dudh Khosi. You camp by the river near Phakding or Chumoa just outside the Sagarmatha National Park boundary. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Chumoa - Namche. You enter Sagarmatha National Park at Jorsale and climb out of the pleasant pine forest through a series of “switchbacks”. If the sky is clear, you will catch your first glimpse of Everest halfway up the slope. If it is visible, it is well worth the long pause while your guide helps you distinguish Sagarmatha, the Nepali name for Everest, from the other giants. At another point, you’ll reach the site of an epic battle where the Nepalese fought the Tibetans centuries ago. At last you arrive in Namche Bazaar, the most important cultural and economic center in the area. It lies in a natural amphitheater protected from the weather and blessed with a major natural spring. Several of your staff are from this area and you will be welcomed in the home of the Sherpa family of your guide. This is a convenient place to rest for a day, to acclimatize to the elevation and to investigate the town. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Namche Bazaar. Namche is a convenient place to rest for the day and to acclimatize to the 11,000’ elevation, but you’ll also have time to explore the town. You can stock up on chocolate bars, barter for Tibetan artifacts, try traditional Sherpa food, visit the National Park visitor center, observe the daily rituals of Sherpa life or wander in search of photographs. We highly recommend you to take a day hike to the very famous Japanese hotel “Everest View Hotel”. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Namche - Tengboche Monastery. Today you will want to keep alert for the beautiful (Danfay) Impeyan pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. You may also see eagles and other soaring raptors, as well as musk deer and Himalayan tahr, a species of goat antelope. In April and May rhododendrons bloom in profusion. High peaks are tantalizingly close. The final climb is through the sacred forest of the Tengboche Monastery. At last, as you pass through the greeting arch of the monastery, a spectacular panorama unfolds. You will camp near the monastery at a site offering a view of the mountains. Tengboche is the most sacred monastery of the Sherpas. You will have a chance to see the inside of the sanctuary and possibly meet with the head Lama. Ask your guide about getting up very early to see the chanting rituals. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Tengboche Monastery - Dingboche. The trail follows the river, climbing gradually as you head directly for Everest. You pass through Deboche, a community of nuns, then cross the Dudh Khosi again and climb to Pangboche for lunch. After lunch you continue on to Dingboche. It can snow here any month of the year, but you are so far back in the mountains, precipitation is usually light. Snowy peaks, however, are all around with majestic Ama Dablam the most impressive. If the weather is clear, you can see Everest for most of the day, but the closer you get to camp, the less the summit projects above Lhotse. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Dingboche - Chukhung - Dingboche. Make an optional full day trip up the Chukhung Valley to the "feet" of the Lhotse glaciers. The scenery is spectacular and there are many possibilities for side excursions. You can work your way up Chukhung Glacier toward Island Peak, climb the slope above Chukhung for a view of Makalu or just relax in this usually deserted high valley. Return to camp at Dingboche. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Dingboche - Duglha - Lobuche. Crossing above Periche on a high "shoulder," you enter the upper Khumbu valley. After stopping for lunch at Duglha, ascend the toe of the Khumbu glacier and then follow a path above the buried surface of the ice, reaching Lobuche after a long, hard day's walk. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Lobuche - Kalapathar - Lobuche. Rise before dawn to begin the walk to Kalapathar. Following the buried Khumbu glacier for a ways, you then cross a patch of jumbled scree and descend into a sandy hollow that shelters Gorak Shep. From here you face the ascent to Kalapathar - quite steep and very tiring due to the altitude. Everest Base Camp can be reached by continuing along the Khumbu glacier, although Everest itself is not visible from Base Camp and most of our participants opt to climb Kalapathar instead. In either case, we suggest participants not make a singular goal of reaching these destinations. Your guide will be alert to your acclimatization and may suggest you not try to climb Kalapathar. Interesting sights and activities abound the entire trekking route, and in fact, are more numerous at lower elevations. Fantastic mountain views are available at all points above Namche. These are times for reflection, relaxation and fantasy in most exhilarating surroundings. Return to camp at Lobuche. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Lobuche - Pangboche. You begin retracing your route, returning somewhat more quickly than you ascended, and camp for the night at Pangboche. The monastery here is the oldest in the Khumbu, and you are free to visit and hike around this appealing town. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Pangboche - Phortse. At Pangboche you take a different route for your return. The trail is steep but rewarding as you climb high above a gorge along narrow yak trails to Phortse. This route is one of the best in the area for seeing musk deer, the Himalayan Tahr, and other wildlife, including the Himalayan Blood Pheasant and Danfay. The path is quite safe, but dramatically scenic and suggestive of precipitous terrain. You pause near Phortse for lunch, then continue on down through the forest to the stream for your campsite. Across the stream is the dense sacred forest of Tengboche. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Phortse - Kunde - Khumjung - Namche. Your path takes you through Tolkienesque terrain. You climb a stone stairway and then descend through a cavernous chimney reaching the twin Sherpa communities of Kunde and Khumjung. You may be able to visit the Hillary school and hospital here. Finally, descend to Namche Bazaar and again spend the night with your Sherpa host's family, recounting your experiences of the past week and perhaps logging a few more. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Namche - Thame. If you find the prospect of an extra day in Namche exciting, spend the day in personal exploration. People with energy for more trekking may choose to make the day trip to Thame. Many famous Sherpa climbers have come from this small town. A monastery built into the rock high above the town, holds a spectacular festival each May. From vantage points near the monastery, it is possible to see into Tibet. Depending on the timing, some trips this may also be a market day in Namche, and you will encounter many Sherpas dressed in their finest clothes, coming and going along the trail. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 15: Namche - Phakding. Hike back from Namche to Phakding. This can be an easy day, a contingency day, or a day for exploration of some of the steep trails along surrounding hillsides below Namche. Look for large beehives on overhanging cliff faces and keep your eyes open for the rare honey guide birds which raid them. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 16: Phakding - Lukla. There is no rush to reach Lukla today. On arrival stay at a hotel near the airstrip. The airstrip itself is an interesting place. Without actually seeing it happen, you might not believe a nineteen-passenger plane could fly in and out of here. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 17: Lukla - Kathmandu. If all goes well, you are back in Kathmandu by late morning. The flight takes 35 minutes, soaring over the ridges of the Solu. Your afternoon is free in Kathmandu. Includes: (B).
Day 18: Kathmandu. If you are delayed in Khumbu by flight cancelled this is our contingency day, otherwise it's an open day for shopping and seeing the things that just didn't fit in your schedule on arrival in Nepal. If you wish, you may extend your stay in Nepal to include white-water rafting or a jungle safari in Chitwan National Park. Includes: (B).
Day 19: Kathmandu - Onward. Transfer to the airport for your onward flight, or continue on with further adventures in Nepal. Includes: (B).
Single Supplement: $300
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