Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
Transfer to Hotel.
Day 2: Kathmandu
After brakfast there will be full trekking briefing. Afternoon is free.
Day 3: Fly to Lukla, Overnight at Phakding
Wake up and breakfast according to flight time. If the flight is very early order breakfast the evening before. You will be taken to the airport and helped with check in. Before leaving hotel sort out luggage to go on trek and that to stay behind in the store at hotel. Collect valuables to be left in the hotel safe with passports. Leave insurance details in the safe. Check guide/ sirdar has several copies of pax name list with passport nos. Pax should wear boots on the flight and make sure batteries and penknives and lighters or matches are in kitbag. Guide/ sirdar will pay airport tax. Flight is 45mins with good views from left side of Everest. Leader /Sirdar will fly with you and rest of staff will meet you in Lukla. Depending on the time you may have lunch at Lukla before setting off walking (or if you are early you will have lunch at Thada Kosi). We stay at lodge in Pkhakding. Today you walk to Phakding which is an easy 2.5 - 3hr walk. Walk out of Lukla and down the hill for 30mins to join the main trail. The trail then undulates a little but is easy and almost level with the river on your left, apart from one short down and up to Kusum Khola/ThadaKosi (1hr from Lukla and a good lunch/tea stop) where there are good views of Kusum Kangguru at the head of the valley. Continue on an undulating trail for another 1.5hrs to Phakding village.
Day 4: Phakding-Namche
The trail continues through Phakding. Cross the bridge at Phakding and the trail then undulates 1.5hrs to Benkar. Trail is through forest and there are good views up to Tramserku across to the right. Cross the river again at Benkar and climb up through Monzo (stop for tea here or earlier by waterfall lodge) and Chomo to Jorsale at 9,200ft where the entrance to the national park is. Sirdar will pay the entrance fees (if this was not done in Ktm). Lunch in Monzo or Jorsale depending on the time. The trail then drops down for 15mins to the Dudh Kosi which it crosses by suspension bridge. Walk along the left hand bank for 20mins then cross over onto a stony area by the river. Walk along the beach for 20mins then enter the forest, climb steeply up for 15mins and then drop down steeply for 5mins to the bridge crossing the Dudh Kosi before the big climb up to Namche. Cross the bridge and then climb the very steep switchback trail for 1hr to where there is a ruined teashop. If clear you can see Everest and Lhotse on the way up at one of the corners before the teashop if you peer through a gap in the trees. The trail continues climbing, less steeply now for another 1hr to Namche at 11,300ft. Stay at the hotel/ lodge in Namche Bazaar. Good views of Tramseku and Kwongdi Ri from Namche. Namche has lots to offer nowadays. The lodge has phones, e-mail, showers, bar, laundry service, shop outside. Showers, beer, mineral water, cold drinks, phone. Namche has lots of equipment and souvenir shops and there is the possibility of hiring extra equipment if it is very cold (especially on December and March departures make sure pax have enough warm stuff – may have to buy/rent s/bags/fleece liners/down bootees). If pax are cold in Namche make sure they hire/buy extra stuff as it only gets colder from here on up. Temperatures can drop to minus 15C in autumn to minus 20 in winter). There is also a PO in town (closes 2pm), postcards, all types of souvenirs, check-post, museum, dentist, sherpa cultural centre, excellent bakery with good bread and apple pies etc etc. If you are there Saturday morning get up early to see the Saturday market. There are often lots of tibetans in a field in the middle of town selling all sorts of things from carpets to fleece goods and solar panels. Stuff is incredibly cheap at the Tibetan market and it is fascinating to meet the Tibetans.
Good bridges today !!!!
Birds – white capped river chat near river, Himalayan pyes, pied wagtails and plumbous redstarts.
Day 5: Namche Bazaar acclimatisation day
An acclimatization day at Namche. There are a number of different ways to do the different activities. The best thing to do today is the Everest National Park Museum and the Sherpa Culture Centre and the Thame Valley. You can see Everest from the museum but not from the Thame Valley so if it looks as though the clouds will build up in the afternoon go to the Everest National Park museum this morning and see Everest – takes 30mins walk up out of town from camp to the museum. The National Park museum has an interesting collection of sherpa things and displays on the flora and fauna and geology of the Khumbu. The Sherpa Culture Centre is also at the top of town so visit this as well there is an interesting gallery of sherpa climbers and climbing history and newspaper extracts. Return to camp for lunch. After lunch walk up to the Thame valley – this is a steep 30mins climb out of Namche and into the Thame Valley and then the trails undulates – takes a couple of hours to just before Thamo – about 4hrs return trip. Likely to see Himalayan Tahr – the mountain goats and Danphe pheasants and musk deer. You could take a packed lunch and be out all day or as is usual return to camp for lunch and do the walk in the afternoon.
If weather is very clear it is best to do the walk in the morning and the museums in the afternoon. If using yaks the sirdar will have to sort things out today and will send a sherpa on the walks with you. Any shopping done here can be left until you get back.
NB If you go up the Thame Valley in the morning go right to Thamo and at the end of the village is a small nunnery which is worth a visit. For the really fit and anyone who wants to it is possible to visit Tame and the monastery there. This is at least 9 hours there and back – take a sherpa. Lunch can be taken in Thame.
Best sunset and sunrises are from the rock behind the National Park Museum near the toilets. Good sunset on Everest from here. Good day for a gamow bag demonstration.
Birds – tame ravens with collars round their necks
Day 6: Namche Bazaar-Khumjung
Animals/porters will go on the main trail to Kyanjuma which only takes 2hrs from Namche. Anyone not wanting a full day walk can go on the main trail but todays walk is another acclimatisation walk and the views are fantastic and there are lots to see and do. Probably get to Kyanjuma about 3pm. Get pax to leave any shopping in Namche – sirdar will pack it away for return. From Namche leave town via the monastery and climb steeply out of town to the airstrip at Shyangboche. Cross the airstrip and just above get fantastic views of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse. The trail then undulates gently to the Everest View Hotel for great views and an expensive cup of tea (the hot chocolate is good) – about 2 hrs from Namche to here. From here drop down past the Edmund Hillary school in Khumjung and walk on up to Kunde. Kunde lies below Khumbila, the sacred sherpa mountain. At the top of town is the Edmund Hillary Hospital. If the doctors are not busy they will do a small tour and a talk on altitude (good for the group to hear the scare stories about altitude from the doctors as they will then be a bit more sensible about altitude) – donation box is outside the hospital (for charges see end of notes). Anyone who is sick can see the doctor. It will probably be about lunchtime now so stop in a tea house for lunch. Then continue on down and along to the monastery at Khumjung. Your guide should be able to find someone with the key. In the main temple is a box and if pax put a donation in the keeper of the key will open the box. Inside is the only remaining yeti scalp!! From the monastery drop down through the town to meet the main trail at Sanasa (look out for danphe pheasants – there are lots just in the fields here) and walk back 10mins along the main trail towards Namche to Kyanjuma.
From Kunde/Khumjung and Everest View Hotel there are good views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Chalotse, Tawoche, Tramserku, Kwangdi Ri and others.
Birds – golden eagles, eurasian buteo catching pigeons in mid air, imphyan pheasants, bllod pheasants.
Animals – Himalayan tahr, picca (mouse hare)
Day 7: Kyanjuma-Dole
From Kyanjuma follow the main trail for 5mins to Sanasa. Just before the tea houses at Sanasa the Gokyo trail leaves the main trail sharply up to the left. Make sure all pax get on this trail. There is a steep trail which now climbs steeply up to a chorten on top of the ridge at 3973m, 13000ft at Mong. Takes 1.5 - 2hrs up to the Mong La. There are tea houses at the top. Descend in a series of steep switchbacks down a sandy slope towards the Dudh Kosi. Pass through Phortse Tenga – have lunch here in one of the teahouses. After lunch follow the main trail, which continues steeply up for 1.5 hrs and thereafter more gently through rhododendron forest through summer kharkas or pastures through Tongba and Gyele to Dole. Fantastic views of Tawoche and Khumbila. Stay here at the lodge in Dole. Make sure you tell sherpa who is going ahead to book rooms what to do today. Energetic ones can climb the ridge behind camp. Watch pax for altitude from here on up.
Day 8: Dole-Machhermo
A half day for acclimatisation. The trail climbs out of Dole quite steeply in parts up to Lhabarma (a couple of tea houses) and on up to Luza (1.5hrs from Dole and a good tea stop). The trail goes in and out of side valleys but basically heads up the valley and is steep in some places. Llabarma and Luza (Kantaiga view) both have good clean tea houses. Luza is on the banks of a stream. The trail continues to climb along the side of the valley, high above the river, crossing sandy spurs to Machhermo where there are a few lodges. Have lunch and camp here. There is a small stream. In the afternoon walk up the hill behind camp and onto the ridge. The trail starts by continuing on the main trail to Gokyo to the chorten and then it turns left up the ridge passing various prayer flags. Continue up the ridge for as long as pax want to. Just follow the trail up and up and up. Fantastic views from the ridge of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse and great for acclimatisation. Watch pax here for altitude
Day 9: Machhermo Acclimatisation day
Acclimatisation day in Machhermo. Go for a walk up the ridge ahead. It is possible to go to a small peak. Maybe best to take snacks/lunch and plenty of water. Pax can turn back when they want or go as high as they want. Make sure they have plenty of food and water in case you go up the peak.
Day 10: Machhermo-Gokyo
Leave 8am. Longish walk this morning – advise pax to take plenty of water and some snacks – chocolate etc. Beyond Machhermo the trail climbs a ridge for excellent views down the valley to Kangtaiga and up to Cho Oyu. Beyond the ridge, the valley widens as the trail passes through Pangna - 1hr to here - good for tea stop, then descends to the riverbank before beginning the climb onto the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpo Glacier. Tell pax to go very slowly after Pangna. The trail climbs steeply up the moraine, switch backing alongside the stream to the first small lake, called Long pongo - this climb can really drain people – takes about 3hrs to first lake. The trail now becomes almost level as it follows the valley past a second lake and finally up a boulder strewn path to Gokyo where there are several lodges and walled pastures on the shore of the lake. Stay here at the lodge in Gokyo. Gokyo is a bit dirty and the toilets of the lodges are not very good. You may see Brahmany Ducks on the lake. Have hot lunch in lodge in Gokyo.
Day 11: Gokyo Ri-Machhermo
The thing to do is to climb Gokyo Ri, 5360m behind the lake. Probably the best all round views including Everest, Nuptse Lhotse, Makalu, Chalotse, Tawoche, Kangtaiga, Tramseku, Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Ngozumpo Glacier, Lobuje East and a few more – probably the best viewpoint on trek. Wake up 4.30am, have tea and porridge and leave 6am. Allow 3hrs steep ascent and 1.5-2hrs for the return. Sun direction is fine about 9am.
Return to Gokyo for lunch and a rest.
Leave Gokyo about 1pm and walk down the valley to the first lake the same way you came up and drop to Pangna and on down to Machhermo.
Day 12: Machhermo-Phortse
Mostly downhill today and an easier day after yesterday. Leave 8am or so. Follow the same trail down to Dole and then on down to Phortse Tenga for lunch. From here drop right down to the bridge which crosses the river. From the river the trail climbs up to Phortse village. Stay at the lodge in Phortse. Great views and sunsets of Tramserku. Visit the monastery want to.
Look out for Golden Eagles as there is a family of them here and they can be seen hunting Tibetan Snowcocks. Fantastic sunset on Tramseku and Kangtaiga.
The high trail to Pangboche is very spectacular – warn pax it is a little exposed but spectacular views all the way and worth doing. Warn pax to watch the trail first and stop if they want to see the views. The track starts from the top of the village on a gentle gradient with excellent views of Thyangboche. If it is bad weather or icy then do not go this way. Porters can go a quick way to Thyangboche (too steep for animals though) by dropping down to the river and following a narrow very steep trail through the forest up to Thynagboche. Make sure everyone knows today where they are going and take care on the high trail. After the easy start for 20mins the trail then winds up and down on a spectacular trail with some steep uphill parts. The views are amazing and the trail narrow but well made. The high trail contours steeply up and down for 3hrs to Upper Pangboche. You can have lunch here and visit the monastery.
After lunch join the main trail in Lower Pangboche which takes you back to Thyangboche. The trail drops down to the river and crosses the river by bridge and then goes through Devoche and then climbs up for a final 45mins-1hr to Thyangboche on the ridge.
Stay here tonight in Thyangboche. Thyangboche has lots of interesting things to see and do – the monastery has a service twice a day now which group can attend. Times are 7am-9am and 5pm-7pm. must leave shoes outside and dress conservatively (no shorts), keep clockwise and no photos.
Look out for musk deer on the way up to Thyangboche and on the way down.
Day 14: Thyangboche-Monzo
From Thyangboche drop down steeply on a switchback trail through forest for 1.5hrs through the forest to Phungi Teng with its water driven prayer wheels. The trail then rounds a corner and crosses a bridge and then starts the steep climb up to Kyanjuma – 1.5hrs. Have lunch at Kyanjuma. From Kyanjuma it is an easy 1.5hr walk on a wonderful trail which contours round a few corners back to Namche. Look out for Himalayan Tahr - wild goats. Have a tea stop (or lunch) in Namche and collect all luggages’ left on the way up.
From Namche continue on down to Monzo today. The trail is the same as the way up – down the steep hill from Namche to the bridge – 1-1.5hrs and across the bridge and along the river to Jorsale – 1hr and then through Jorsale and up to the National Park entry gate and down to Monzo. Quite a long day today but mostly downhill.
Day 15: Monzo - Lukla
Continue on down the same undulating trail through Benkar and through the forest to Phakding. Cross the river, then the trail undulates and climbs on the left side of the river most of the way back. Watch out for the turn off to Lukla, which is before Chaunrikhara. Before Chaunrikhara there is a turn off uphill to the left and from there it is a 30mins climb back into Lukla. Can have lunch at Tada Kosi or Lukla.
In Lukla stay here in the lodge in Lukla
Day 16: Lukla-Kathmandu
Luggage must be ready early have breakfast and staff will transfer all luggage’s to airstrip.30-35mins flight back to Kathmandu and transferred to hotel . Rest of the day is free.
Day 17: Depart Kathmandu
After breakfast depart transfer to airport.