You will arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. You can spend the evening as you like.
Today is a free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath; one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world at Bodnath; the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. You can also visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city, where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving, is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The area is a maze of temples and images, and, leading away from the square in all directions, are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will also be a full trip briefing in the morning.
You will take the short but spectacular mountain flight to Lukla (2800m), before setting off on the first short leg of the trek, ascending northwards into the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'milk river'). You will then descend from the small plateau down into the forested valley, from where the trail crosses several tributary streams and you will get some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding (2652m). This is where you will spend your first night.
Day 4 - 5
You will climb steeply out of Namche to the Everest View Hotel. Built by the Japanese, this spectacularly situated hotel has wonderful views of Everest and Ama Dablam. It is also an ideal place for a tea break! Afterwards, you will trek to the villages of Kunde and Khumjung set below Khumbila, the rocky peak that is sacred to all Sherpas. In Kunde, you will be able to visit the Edmund Hillary hospital, and in Khumjung you can see the Edmund Hillary School. There should also be time to visit the Khumjung monastery, where (for a small donation) you will be shown the only yeti skull in the world! Descending to the main trail, you will spend the night at Kyanjuma.
Day 6 - 7
From Dole, the trail is steep in places, as it passes through Lhabarma and Luza along the side of the valley. You will walk high above the river, through scrub junipers, until you cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo (4410m). It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a Sherpa and killed three yaks!
Today will be spent acclimatising to the altitude in Machhermo. From your lodge you will be able to walk up onto the ridge above Machhermo for even better views of the magnificent mountains. You can either take a packed lunch or return to the lodge for lunch.
You will begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga, as well as up towards Cho Oyu (8153m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Pangkha, then descends to the riverbank before beginning the steep climb onto the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpo glacier. You will pass the first of the lakes at Gokyo where a family of Brahminy ducks resides, before following the level trail to the summerhouses and walled meadows of Gokyo at 4750m. Gokyo is a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. In the afternoon, you can walk up the hill behind the camp for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier.
There will be an early start this morning for the ascent of Gokyo Ri (5360m),which is a small peak above Gokyo village. As you climb, the views become even more fantastic, and from the top you can see four of the seven highest peaks in the Nepal Himalaya: Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Stretching out for miles below you is the longest glacier in Nepal: the Ngozumpo glacier. This glacier tumbles down from the slopes of Cho Oyu. The climb is well worth the effort, for it offers you one of the best all-round views in Nepal. You will then return to Gokyo for lunch, and in the middle of the afternoon you will retrace your steps to the second lake, and climb to the crest of the moraine overlooking the Ngozumpo glacier. The route across the glacier is well marked with cairns, and will take you to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley. Tonight, you will stay at Tangnak (4700m), at the foot of the Cho La Pass.
Another early start for the long day across the Cho La (5330m); you will climb up from Tangnak and approach a large boulder field. Beyond this ancient moraine, the climb to the pass is steep in places, and involves some easy scrambling. The upper part of the route can be covered in snow, particularly in winter. From the pass there are excellent views, including an unusual aspect of Ama Dablam. The descent from the pass involves the crossing of a small glacier, which is usually snow covered, but fairly straightforward. You will then descend steeply to the grazing pastures below, as the trail becomes more defined towards Dzongla (4830m). This is where you will stay tonight, in a small basic lodge.
Leaving Dzongla, you will continue your descent on an easy trail. A short ascent brings you to the foot of Awi Peak, which you will contour round on a wonderful high trail with great views of Chalotse and Tawoche across the valley. Finally, you will descend to join the main trail again, just below Lobuje, where you will spend the night (4930m). The sunset on Nuptse from the ridge across from the lodge is not to be missed.
You will now be surrounded by Himalayan giants; Everest, Nuptse, Lingtren, Khumbutse and Pumori tower above you. Today is very long and hard, as you will visit Everest Base Camp. The trail from Lobuje climbs steadily by the side of the Khumbu glacier, and, after crossing the glacier rubble, you will arrive at Gorak Shep (5180m), a summer yak-herder's settlement situated at the foot of Kala Pattar. After a short break and snack you will set off for Base Camp. The trail heads along the crest of the moraine at first, before dropping onto the Khumbu glacier itself, where you will get magnificent close-ups of the great Khumbu Icefall as it tumbles down from Everest. In spring, you will see expedition teams as they prepare preparing for an ascent. Finally, you will retrace your steps to Gorak Shep for the night.
Another long day as you ascend the small peak of Kala Pattar ('black rock') at 5545m. It is a steep two-hour climb to the summit, but the effort is well worth it, as you can appreciate the most magnificent view of the Khumbu glacier and, above all, a magnified view of the world's highest mountain. The Nepalese call it Sagamartha – ‘Head of the Waters’ – and the Sherpas call it Chomolungma – ‘Mother of the World’. You will then return to Gorak Shep and descend past Lobuje to Pheriche. Please note that the exact order in which we trek up Kala Pattar and visit Everest Base Camp will depend on the weather and how the group is acclimatising. Both days are long and hard due to the high altitude.
After the exertion of the last few days, today is much easier.You will descend the Pheriche valley with spectacular views of Ama Dablam. You then join the main Imja Khola Valley, and follow it down to Pangboche, through an alpine meadow landscape with superb views. Looking back, you will be able to see the great ridge of Lhotse-Nuptse, which hides the lower slopes of Everest. Pangboche, at 3985m, is the highest permanent settlement on the approach to Everest, and in the upper village there is a gompa (monastery) founded by the lama Sange Dorje. Sange Dorje brought Buddhism to this region some three hundred years ago. You then drop down to the rushing Imja Khola, before walking through the peaceful rhododendron forests to the villages of Devoche, and then onto Thyangboche at 3867m. From here, there is a fantastic panorama view of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. Thyangboche has long been a sacred spot, and it is here that you will spend the night.
Day 16 - 17
You will retrace our steps southwards, with a final climb to the airstrip at Lukla.
You will fly back to Kathmandu and spend the rest of the day as you wish. (Very occasionally, the flight back from Lukla is cancelled. Should this happen, we will attempt to have you flown back on day 19).
Today is a free day in Kathmandu for individual sightseeing.
Trip ends after breakfast.