Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, trek to Phakding – 2800m
An early morning 45 minute flight from Kathmandu Domestic Airport propels us into the Everest region of Nepal. The landing at Lukla airport (2800m) is spectacular and on arrival we are greeted by our trekking crew who organise the luggage and hustle us off for tea.
After lunch we start in earnest, setting off to Phakding (2800m), 3 hours trek to the north. Our route takes us past hotels, shops and airline offices to the edge of the Lukla plateau where the path drops to meet the intersection of the Jiri trail at Chablung. From here we follow the Dudh Kosi river north through the village of Ghat and then finally to Phakding where we spend the night. 45 minute flight to Lukla and 3 hour trek to Phakding.
An airport pick up and hotel on arrival can be arranged easily for you if you wish and we will be on hand to assist you in picking up any items you need or want and to arrange tours of Kathmandu’s numerous cultural sites.
Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar – 3440m
From Phakding we continue north up the Dudh Kosi valley, staying 100m above the river on its west bank. The trail leads us to Jorsale (2810m) where we enter the Sagarmatha National Park. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mount Everest.
We continue along an ever-steepening trail to Namche Bazaar (3440m) and en route we cross the spectacular suspension bridge high above the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi rivers and shortly after glimpse our first views of Everest, way off to the north-east.
The trail to Namche is steep and long, but eventually we reach this remarkable Sherpa capital perched high on the hillside and dominated to the east by the immense mountain of Kwangde (6187m). 6 hour trek to Namche Bazaar.
Day 3: Acclimatisation day in Namche – 3440m
The main purpose of today is to acclimatise to the thinning air and reduced levels of oxygen at this altitude before we continue upwards towards the Everest Base Camp.
Ascending too quickly can bring forth the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which can be fatal, so it is very important that we take today to allow our bodies some extra time to adjust, grow some more red blood cells and rest before we continue on our journey upwards.
We can spend the day browsing the local shops, visiting the National Park Visitor Centre or by taking a side trip to Thami or Khumjung. Namche is a great place to hang out by taking in the stunning mountain views, observing the trading of visiting Tibetans or listening to the stories of departing mountaineers.
Day 4: Namche to Tengpoche – 3870m
From Namche the trail brings us north-east on a direct line to Everest, starting up the hill behind Namche and continuing along the reasonably flat trail high above the Dudh Kosi river. Ahead of us we can see one of the most beautiful mountains in the Khumbu – Ama Dablam (6856m), as well as Everest still far off in the distance.
We pass through the settlement of Sanasa before making our descent to the Dudh Kosi and the village of Phunki Thanga. From here it is a steep long climb back up the side of the hill to where Tengpoche monastery is located. As we enter the grounds of the monastery we are welcomed by some of the most magnificent mountain views in the world encompassing a panorama of Himalayan giants and Everest as it peeks above the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. 6 hour trek to Tengpoche.
Day 5: Tengpoche to Dingboche – 4410m
The path initially descends through beautiful rhododendron forests and reaches a bridge across the Imja Khola where the river rushes through a narrow gorge, and from here it is a short walk to the settlement of Pangboche (3860m). After this point the trail and surroundings become distinctly alpine in appearance as we start to trek above the natural tree line.
Our route is relatively easy, with a gentle climb towards Dingboche at 4410m. Dingboche is a long thin settlement nestled below a ridge that separates it from its neighbour Pheriche, at which there is a Himalayan Rescue Association medical centre. To the east we have fantastic views of Lhotse (8501m) and the popular climbing peak of Island Peak (6189m). 6 hour trek to Dingboche.
Day 6: Dingboche to Chhukung – 4750m
We leave the stone walled fields of Dingboche behind as we trek through the Imja Khola valley as Lhotse rises up on our left and Ama Dablam towers on our right.
Island Peak (Imja Tse) is high up ahead as we reach the small camp of Bibre and thereafter the trail is intersected by icy streams as we are surrounded by glaciers and massive snowy mountains soon coming to the village of Chhukung. 4 hour trek to Chhukung.
Day 7: Rest day in Chhukung – 4750m
Before we advance to the Kongma La pass, an extra acclimatisation day in Chhukung is strongly recommended. The views from Chhukung further up the valley towards Island Peak (6189m) and all around are amazing.
Energy permitting, we can choose to hike to the top of Chhukung Ri (5550m) nearby, which offers stunning views of Lhotse, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, Makalu and several others.
Day 8: Chhukung to Lobuche, via Kongma La (5535m) – 4940m
Kongma La is highest pass on our trek and because there will be no tea shops along the way we have will to carry plenty of water and snacks for today’s excursion. The trail is not set and we can either climb over the hill northwest of Chhukung, over the moraine of the Nuptse Glacier or we can follow a trail high above the Niyang Khola.
We can enjoy great views of Island Peak valley while we ascend along the east side of the Niyang Khola valley, before turning west and entering a wide basin dotted with small frozen lakes. The trail rises until we reach Longma La and behind us lays a landscape of icy lakes, including the Khumbu Glacier. The final descent is the most difficult part but upon climbing up the far side the trail turns north through the Khumbu Glacier and takes us to Lobuche. 7 hour trek to Lobuche, via Kongma La.
Day 9: Lobuche to Gorak Shep, via Everest Base Camp (5365m) – 5170m
Everest Base Camp is our destination today and with a long day ahead we rise early and continue along the western side of the broad Khumbu Valley as we trek to over 5000m for the first time. Due to the somewhat difficult terrain and high altitude it is important that we take our time here and hence progress can be slow.
The pyramid peak of Pumori (7145m) comes into view soon and underneath this we see the small dark peak of Kala Pattar (5545m). The trail then descends down to the small settlement of Gorak Shep (5160m) where we take a well deserved break for lunch.
Refuelled and rested we continue along the side of the Khumbu Galcier, past the Indian army’s mountaineers memorials up to the site of Everest Base Camp. Everest Base Camp (EBC) offers up amazing views of Nuptse (7861m), Khumbutse (6636m) and Pumori (7161m), although not Everest itself. The high point of the trek EBC can be home to an eery hustle and bustle at this altitude and depending on the time of year, the colourful tents of mountaineers, with Everest summit on their minds, can be scattered around the base camp area.
After taking in Everest Base Camp, we make our way back down to Gorak Shep, the location of our overnight stay. 8 hour trek to Gorak Shep via Everest Base Camp.
Day 10: Gorak Shep to Lobuche, via Kala Patthar (5545m) - 4940m
Rising early again before dawn we trek up to Kala Pattar to take in the spectacular sunrise above Everest. The ascent takes around 2 hours of steady walking but from the summit we are able to see many of Everest’s key features including the South Col from where Hillary and Tenzing made their first ascent in 1953.
Kala Patter offers up the greatest mountain view in the world and after taking our pictures of Everest and the surrounding Himalayan giants we descend back to Gorak Shep. After a warm breakfast we continue on back to the village of Lobuche. 8 hour trek to Lobuche via ascent of Kala Patthar.
Day 11: Lobuche to Dzongla - 4830m
Today’s route branches off from the main trail after Lobuche as we are treated to views of Ama Dablam and Kangtega-Thamserku as the vast Chola lake spreads below Cholatse (6440m) beside us. Reaching Dzongla we overnight at one of the basic lodges in the village. 4 hour trek to Dzongla.
Day 12: Dzongla to Gokyo, via Cho La (5368m) - 4800m
The climb to Cho La can be tricky and today is going to be one of the toughest days on our trip. The trail brings us down to a river basin before we ascent back up the steep other side offering up views of the Chola Lake, Ama Dablam to the south and Cholatse to the west. The final climb to Cho La is rocky and the path curls around the mountain as we reach the top. From Cho La the sight of majestic Himalayan peaks in every direction is breathtaking and we take some time here to stop and take it all in.
We descend on the other side from Cho La following the mountain down to Thangnak village and the Ngozumpa glacier edge, the longest glacier in Nepal. When we reach the other side of the glacier we catch a glimpse of Taboche Tsho, the second Gokyo lake and a short distance thereafter is Dudh Pokhari, the third. Gokyo village, which stands on the edge of Dudh Pokhari, is our stop for the night. 8 hour trek to Gokyo, via Cho La.
Day 13: Goyko valley, climb Goyko Ri (5457m) - 4800 m
The main purpose of today is to give ourselves some more time to acclimatise to the altitude and take some rest if needed. Energy permitting however, we can take the opportunity to trek up the nearby Gokyo Ri (5457m), which offers on the best viewpoints of Everest in the region.
We can also explore the spectacular fourth and fifth lakes in the area, Thonak Tsho and Ngozuma Tsho. The northern part of Ngozuma Tsho provides fantastic views of Cho-Oyu base camp and the biggest glacier of the world, the Ngazumpa glacier. 6 hour round trip trek up to Gokyo Ri and 4/5th lake, before returning to Gokyo village.
Day 14: Goyko to Marlung via Renjo La (5360m) - 4210m
Rising at dawn we head out from the Gokyo valley and leave the main trail as we turn towards the Renjo La trail by Dudh Pokhari. After about 3 hours,we reach Renjo La, which offers up stunning views of Everest, Lhotse, Cholatse and Taboche.
Following on down the other side of the pass the trail brings us down a stone staircase to the bank of a small lake, Angladumba Tsho. The descend can be awkward if there is ice on the path but along the way we can see Relama Tsho and Renjo lake. Our route brings us through a narrow valley filled with giant boulders to Lunde village and then Marlung, on the east bank of the Bhote Kosi river. 8 hour trek to Marlung, via Renjo La.
Day 15: Marjung to Namche Bazzar - 3440m
Today’s trail follows a traditional route used for centuries by Tibetan traders and passes through the valley of Langmuche Khola and on to Thame. Thame is a growing village with a few lodges and stunning views of the mountains Thamserku, Katenga, Kusum Kangguru and others. Thame is also home to a famous Buddhist monastery, some 300 hundred years old, which can be visited if you wish.
After crossing a bridge we reach Samde and then then descend to Thamo village, home to another monastery called Kari Goma, a nunnery and home for Buddhist nuns and monks.
Continuing on, past the world’s highest hydroelectric power station, we come to Phurte, where the Laudo monastery, popular with westerners for Buddhist retreats and mediation is situated. Eventually, we reach Namche again and rest there for the night. 6 hour trek to Namche.
Day 16: Namche Bazaar to Lukla - 2800m
Today is the final day of our trek and it brings the conflicting feelings of relief and sadness as we retrace our steps along the trail above the Dudh Kosi. Descending steeply out of Namche we cross the suspension bridge below and get our last views of Everest for now. After lunch at Phakding we continue down the path, before turning off the main Jiri route and arriving back to Lukla by mid-afternoon. 8 hour trek to Lukla.
Day 17: Fly to Kathmandu - 1300m
The short return flight brings us back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu where you will be transferred back to your hotel by mid-afternoon. 45 minute fight to Kathmandu.
Weather conditions at Lukla can affect flight times and departures so we therefore advise you to have at least 2 extra days in your itinerary between your expected Everest trek completion date and your departure flight from Nepal. In the case of emergencies you can take a shared Helicopter, which can fly in conditions not suitable for planes, from Lukla to Kathmandu at an extra cost.