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Food

  • Breakfast is included throughout the trip and all meals are provided while camping (all breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners). In the teahouses, the breakfast will be a set menu usually consisting of porridge, toast and egg. Any additional items that are not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately. We do not include lunch and dinner on trek allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. The menus in the lodges are almost identical to one another but offer a varied choice, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie. Dhal bhat is the staple diet in Nepal and comes in many different forms but generally comprises some curried lentil dhal and meat or vegetables, some rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos; a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed, filled with meat or vegetables. Although meat is available in the teahouses, we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges, and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money - we recommend using hand sanitiser. If you buy imported food and drink whilst on trek you will spend more than the suggested amount. *Drinking Water* Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 3-4 litres per person per day. We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal’s trekking areas. All teahouses will provide cold water free of charge, if requested. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend that you bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN to treat it with. A SteriPEN is a handheld UV water purifier – small, lightweight and battery powered so easy to pack for a trek. In Nepal’s trekking regions most of the bottled water isn’t strictly ‘mineral water’ anyway but is UV treated, so it’s exactly the same technology. It’s quick to use, far more effective than purification tablets, and the water is ready immediately. It’s fine to use a SteriPEN on non-boiled water so long as it isn’t cloudy or full of sediment (which is uncommon in these regions). SteriPENs are widely stocked on Amazon, outdoor shops and other online retailers; look for the latest models but avoid USB charging ones. Models which take lithium batteries are best as these last longer, especially in cold conditions. A SteriPEN will pay for itself over the course of the trek and you won’t leave behind a single plastic bottle – you will end up spending the same or even less than you would on bottled water, plus you can keep it for future trips. If you prefer not to invest in a SteriPEN, the teahouses also sell boiled water for approx. Rs150-300 per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot water bottle. While camping boiled water is supplied for drinking.

Activities

  • Walking & Trekking
  • Summits
  • Point-to-Point
  • 1

    Start Kathmandu.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Kathmandu - rooms may not be available for check-in until the afternoon. The group flights usually arrive in the afternoon.  *Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)*

  • 2

    Free day in Kathmandu.

    There will be a full trek briefing this morning. You will be required to bring all your climbing gear to the briefing and there will be a full gear check. In case you need to hire or buy equipment locally there will be time to do this today. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Boudhanath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Please see the Optional Excursions section.  *Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)*

  • 3

    Fly to Lukla; trek to Phakding.

    We fly to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (2,800m), and set off on the first short leg of our trek, heading northwards up the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'milk river'). The trail crosses several tributary streams and we have some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding, where we will spend our first night. *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 2,650m)

  • 4

    Trek to Namche Bazaar.

    Heading out of Phakding we follow the Dudh Kosi northwards. This day's walk takes us through magnificent forests with glimpses of the mountains ahead. We cross the river several times by bridges as we pass through the villages of Benkar, Monzo and Jorsale. A final bridge brings us to the foot of the steep climb to Namche. Halfway up this ascent we may get our first glimpse, cloud-permitting, of the summit of Everest appearing majestically behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. A last 300m of climbing brings us to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital and the main town in the area. Namche is a prosperous Sherpa town and an important trading centre. It has a weekly market on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning but the town bustle all day every day with trekkers, coffee shops, bakeries and stores selling all kinds of trekking and climbing gear as well as Tibetan souvenirs.  *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 3,440m)

  • 5

    Acclimatisation walk through Kunde and Khumjung to Kyanjuma.

    We climb steeply out of Namche past the airstrip at Shyangboche, to the Everest View Hotel, the highpoint of our day at 3,880m. Built by the Japanese this spectacularly situated hotel with wonderful views of Everest and Ama Dablam is an ideal place for a tea break. Descending through forest we come to Khumjung, where we have lunch close to the Sir Edmund Hillary School. After lunch, we walk up to Kunde and visit the Edmund Hillary Hospital. The twin villages of Kunde and Khumjung are set below Khumbila, the rocky peak sacred to all Sherpas. For much of the walk, we have great views of Ama Dablam and other Himalayan giants. We walk back down through Khumjumg, to the monastery. Sadly it was damaged in the earthquake but is now being repaired. Inside is a small box and after paying the entry fee (which goes towards the repairs) we will be shown the only Yeti skull in the world! Descending to the main trail we spend the night at Kyanjuma. *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 3,600m)

  • 6

    Climb to Phortse.

    At Kyanjuma we turn off the main trail and begin climbing to the Mong La, marked by a chorten on the top of a ridge at 3972m. This ridge descends from Khumbila, the abode of the patron god of all Sherpas. From the top we have great close-up views of Ama Dablam, probably the most photographed mountain in Nepal. From the ridge, the trail descends in a series of steep switchbacks past Phortse Tenga to the Dudh Kosi. We cross the river on a small bridge and then have a short climb up to Phortse, a fairly large village with a school and monastery. *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 3,800m)

  • 7

    Continue to Dingboche.

    A wonderful walk today as we take the little-used but spectacular high trail to Pangboche. The trail climbs out of Phortse and contours round the valley high above the river on a dizzying trail with spectacular views across the valley to Ama Dablam. As the trail winds upwards look out for Himalayan Tahr grazing on the steep slopes above. We then drop down to meet the main trail at Pangboche, at 3,900m, the highest permanent settlement in this valley. We are above the tree line now passing through an alpine meadow landscape where we may catch a glimpse of the rare Impeyan pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. Following a ledge above the river, the trail crosses a wooden bridge at the confluence of the Khumbu and Imja Kholas. A short steep climb brings us to Dingboche, at 4,350m. Here the great peaks of Ama Dablam, the ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse, Tawoche and Chalotse surround us.  *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 4,350m)

  • 8

    Acclimatisation day in Dingboche. Ascend Nangkartshang Peak (5100m).

    We spend a day at Dingboche to continue our acclimatisation. Those adapting well to the altitude can climb Nangkartshang Peak at 5,100m for great views of Makalu, Lhotse, Chalotse, Tawoche and Ama Dablam. *Teahouse* (sleeping altitude 4,350m)

  • 9

    Trek to Lobuje.

    The trail climbs steeply out of Dingboche past a chorten and ascends the valley gradually to Dugla at the end of the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. From here we have a short, steep climb up to Chukpo Lari, a beautiful, yet poignant place where there is a line of memorials in tribute to the climbers who have died on Everest and from where we have a beautiful panorama of the peaks lying on the Nepal-Tibet border. The trail then eases off as we follow the valley to Lobuje, a tiny hamlet with a few teahouses. The sunset on Nuptse is not to be missed. *Teahouse* (sleeping altitude 4,930m)

  • 10

    Trek to Gorak Shep; visit Everest Base Camp.

    A very long, hard day today as we leave very early, following the Khumbu Glacier northwards to Gorak Shep (5,184m). The trail undulates up and down the moraine with some short steep sections. The trail is rocky in places as we are now on the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. It will take us about 3 hours to reach Gorak Shep where we will have a rest and something to eat. From here to base camp and back there are no lodges so we will fill our water bottles and take some snacks for the walk to Everest Base Camp. We start by walking across the sandy flat at Gorak Shep and climb onto the lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. The trail ascends the side of the glacier for a couple of hours before finally descending onto the rocky glacial moraine itself. The trail winds up and down through fascinating ice seracs to the area known as Everest Base Camp, where in spring, we might see in the distance some of the expedition teams as they prepare to climb the mountain. From the Base Camp we get fantastic close-up views of the Khumbu Ice Fall and we can appreciate just how difficult it is to negotiate a route through the huge blocks of ice. Nuptse towers above us and Pumori rears up behind us. After a short photo stop by the Base Camp rock we retrace our steps to Gorak Shep. *Teahouse* (sleeping altitude 5,184m)

  • 11

    Ascend Kala Pattar (5545m) for views of Everest; return to Lobuje.

    This morning we climb steeply above Gorak Shep to the small peak of Kala Pattar, 'Black Rock', at 5,545m, from where we can look down over the camps of the various Everest expeditions. This climb affords a most magnificent view of the Khumbu Glacier and above all a close-up view of the world's highest mountain. We return to Gorak Shep and retrace our steps to Lobuje. (Please note that due to bad weather we may change the order in which we do the walks to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar). *Teahouse (*sleeping altitude 4,930m)

  • 12

    Cross the Kongma La (5535m) to Chhukung.

    An early start for a tough and very long day as we cross the Kongma La. Taking a packed lunch and plenty of snacks, we head onto the Khumbu glacier and cross it on a small rocky trail which climbs up and down in between the seracs. It takes about 1.5hrs to cross the glacier to a small meadow. From here the trail climbs very steeply all the way to the top of the pass. As we ascend the scenery becomes increasingly spectacular. A final steep zigzag brings us to the top of the pass (often the top is snow covered and icy so we must take care). From the top (5,535m), we are surrounded by peaks and glaciers in all directions. The great ridge of Nuptse appears above us and we can see the glaciers of Kongmatse ahead and the rocky peak of Pokalde is to our right and below us is a small lake. The descent is steep at first with a short scramble down to the lake. We then have a long descent to Chhukung, where we stay tonight. *Teahouse* (sleeping altitude 4,730m)

  • 13

    Short trek to Island Peak Base Camp (5,180m)

    There will be a full gear check and group summit briefing before leaving our lodge in Chhukung this morning (in High Camp there is no dining tent but further briefings will be done on a tent by tent basis). It is possible to hire gear in Chhukung if needed. An easier day as we head towards Island Peak Base Camp (5,180m). The trail crosses the river and follows the valley up for a few hours. Base Camp is by the side of the Imja Glacier, below the grassy slopes, which mark the start of the climb of Island Peak. In the afternoon we will prepare all the climbing equipment, practice walking roped up, using a jumar and abseil device and pack for High Camp and the climb. Please note that equipment checks and all practice sessions are compulsory before the climb. *Camping *(sleeping altitude 5,180m)

  • 14

    A short steep climb to high camp at 5,685

    A short steep climb to High Camp at 5,685. High Camp is situated on some levelled ledges beneath a rock buttress which leads onto the Island Peak Glacier. It is not a comfortable campsite but it gives us a head start for tomorrow and the views are spectacular. High Camp is extremely cold and high and camping space is very limited. There is no dining or toilet tent. Our guides will bring food and drinks to your tents and briefings will be done by the guides on a tent to tent basis. *Camping *(sleeping altitude 5,685m)

  • 15

    Climb Island Peak (6189m).

    An extremely long day with a very early (and usually extremely cold) start at around 2 am or earlier. We scramble steeply onto a narrow rocky ridge leading on to the glacier. We will rope up here and put on crampons for the glacier crossing. Care should be taken crossing the glacier as there are several deep crevasses (in 2017 there was a short ladder across one larger crevasse). The views are amazing with Baruntse, Chamlang and Ama Dablam on the horizon. Once across the glacier, we come to the bottom of a steep snow and ice headwall leading to the summit ridge. Our climbing guides will check the fixed ropes (sometimes they have to fix a rope for us), and we will use a jumar to climb this section. The slope is steep (up to 50 degrees in places) and after 150 metres the summit ridge is reached. Suddenly Lhotse's South Face looms before us and the most exciting part of the climb begins as we tread carefully along the narrow ridge to the summit. There's one more steep section just before the summit, but we have the fixed ropes to help. Finally, we reach the summit (6,189m), which has only just enough space for the group to take in their surroundings. Flanked by Lhotse and the Imja glaciers and a host of other huge peaks, Island Peak really is an island of rock and snow in this grand mountain arena. We descend carefully back down the ridge and then abseil off the steep section. We return via High Camp to Base Camp and then we descend further to the relative comforts of the lodge at Chhukung. Please note that the climb is technical and also optional. The above notes describe the route last year. Because of gradual snow-melt, the route is becoming increasingly steeper, icier and rockier. It may alter depending on conditions. Sometimes there is no water above Base Camp. In this case, we will spend 2 nights at Base Camp and will climb from the Base Camp.  Summit day can be extremely cold and sometimes there can be high winds. You must be able to get ready quickly and move as fast as you can to keep warm. Your guide will set ‘turn back times’, meaning that if your rope team has not reached a given point by a certain time, you will have to descend as a group (as reaching the summit within a safe timescale is no longer achievable). Individuals cannot turn back alone and therefore, should a situation develop on summit day where members of your roped group are not suitable to continue, then all people roped together may be expected to descend, this decision will be made by the guide. *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 4,730m)

  • 16

    Long descent to Kyanjuma.

    A long walk today but as it is mostly downhill and we are heading to lower altitudes, the walking should seem a lot easier. We leave Chhukung and descend to Dingboche. From here we re-join the main trail passing Pangboche and cross the Dudh Kosi by bridge. An undulating trail takes us through a magnificent rhododendron forest near Devoche, from where we have a short climb up to Thyangboche 3,870m. From here we have a fantastic panorama of mountains including Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. Thyangboche has long been a sacred spot. The Lama Sange Dorje, who first brought Buddhism to the region, is said to have flown from his monastery in Tibet over the Himalaya, landing and leaving his footprints here. There will be time to have a quick look round the monastery before we descend off the ridge and down through the forest to Phunki Tenga. There is a sting in the tail today as we have a long climb up to Kyanjuma, from where we get magnificent views of Ama Dablam. *Teahouse* (sleeping altitude 3,600m)

  • 17

    Follow a trail high above the Dudh Kosi to Phakding via Namche Bazaar and Monzo.

    The walk to Namche Bazaar takes us along a beautiful undulating trail high above the Dudh Kosi. We have some time in Namche and after lunch, we descend through Namche Bazaar and pick up our outward trail again to Monzo, and further to Phakding, where we stay tonight. *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 2,650m)

  • 18

    Return to Lukla.

    We retrace our steps to Chaunrikhara where we start the last climb to the airstrip at Lukla. *Teahouse *(sleeping altitude 2,800m)

  • 19

    Fly to Kathmandu.

    We fly back to Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. *Hotel Royal Singi (or similar)*

  • 20

    End Kathmandu.

    The trip ends after breakfast. Those on the group flight will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight home. **

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