October 2018: Exceptional Everest II


 

 October 8 – 21, 2018

 
Your Guides
 
Himalaya Local & Everest Specialist,  Ang Dendi Sherpa leads this one solo
 
Tour Sketch
 
Trekking through the lower Everest Region while staying at the area’s best luxury lodges each night; we’ll stay two nights at three of the lodges with the option to hike or rest on the second day
 
Adventure Rating
 
Medium ~ we’ll have plenty of views, culture and adventure without walking to extreme altitudes
 
Low Point
 
8,400 ft in the village of Phakding, our first night on trek
 
High Point
 
16,150 ft on the optional Sumdur Ridge trekker’s summit, or, get this, 17,500 ft if you continue the mad scramble to Sumdur’s Peak’s true summit, photo above.
 
Highlight
 
exploring the old trading post and Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar?  electric blankets!?  dodging yaks?  great food & accommodation every night?
 
Room & Board
 
Four-star or otherwise exceptional hotels in Kathmandu ~ while trekking we’ll stay in comfortable lodges with en-suite bath, warm dining rooms, electric blankets, a happy hour each evening, and always, a room with a view
 
 
Cost
 
 
US$ 3,899 covers almost all of your expenses in Nepal over 14 days, including guides; porters; transfers; domestic flights (2); all hotels in Kathmandu; all lodges on trek; meals throughout; double occupancy ~ international airfare not included, but expect East Coast round trip tickets to be in the range of $900 – $1,300, single occupancy add $850
 
Bonus!
 
Everest Base Camp extension ~ add $600 and seven days to transport yourself to the infamous Khumbu Icefall at the very foot of the world’s highest peak

 

New for 2018 . . . interest-free installment payment plans!  

We’re passionate about Himalayan adventures and strongly believe they’re game changers and should be accessible to all.   Choose an installment plan or a traditional payment plan when you register.

 

Register Now

Registration closes August 1, 2018

 

The beauty of the Everest Region goes far beyond its sunny skies, jagged, vertical terrain, and friendly Sherpas.  It’s laced with a series of well-maintained trails that lead from village to village, giving even the most non-adventurous among us a chance to march around the massive mountains of the world’s highest peak.

 

Two Sherpas posiing for a picture in Dengboche, NepalOur local guide, Ang Dendi Sherpa, left, and his sidekick, Kami Tendi

 
Beyond that, this particular trek winds up each day’s hike with a stay in the nicest, warmest, most comfortable lodges that the High Himalaya have on offer.  Private rooms, check.  Electric blankets, check.  Ensuite bathrooms, check.  Views, outrageous.  Friendly, glowing dining rooms – every evening.  Furthermore, you’ll be escorted throughout by two-time Everest summiteer, Ang Dendi Sherpa (above left), and his team of precocious porters who will carry your backpack, but more importantly, are overwhelmingly optimistic and great travel companions.  Your tour designer and organizer is former Kathmandu resident, now Lancaster, PA resident, Jerry Lapp.
 

  This is a fully supported trek with a fantastic crew of Sherpa guides and porters . . .  you’ll carry only a small daypack with snacks and a few extra supplies each day.  It’s your vacation!  As well, you’re welcome to hike at your own speed, confident that a trusted staff member will be nearby.

 

 

FastFacts for EverestTrekkers

    • 9 days of trekking
    • 14 days in Nepal
    • 16 days door-to-door from North America
    • highest lodge . . . 13,940 ft – we’ll arrive acclimatized
    • Sherpas speak their own Sherpa language + Nepali, and often English as well
    • Buddhism is the religion of Everest . . . we’ll visit a number of monasteries along the way

 

The view from Kongde Hotel to Namche Bazaar and Mt EverestThe fantastical view from the Kongde Hotel with the village of Namche Bazaar far below . . . Everest rises behind the Lhotse-Nuptse wall, right background  ~  photo credit AlexTreadway.co.uk

We’ll spend two nights in most of our villages, giving us plenty of time to explore our surroundings.  This also gives us great opportunities to get to know our hosts!  Significant day hikes will be offered on the days we’re not moving onward to the next village.   Our highest night will be at the Kongde Hotel, perched on a hanging ridge across the canyon from Namche.  Its views of Everest and the entire area are unmatched anywhere in the Khumbu.
 

Everest Base Camp extension . . . add US$ 600

If you’re like me, sometimes you don’t know when to say enough is enough.  Does it really make sense to fly halfway around the world, trek to within a few days of the world’s highest peak, but not go there?  Details on this seven-day add-on are below, at the bottom of this page.

Everest Base Camp with a view into Tibet as seen from the trekking route into Base CampEverest Base Camp is plunked onto the Khumbu Glacier at the base of the Khumbu Icefall; Everest’s summit is above the clouds, upper right, and the mountain in the center of the photo is Changtse across the border in Tibet, connected to Mt Everest via the North Col

 

Exceptional Everest Tour Outline

  •      Day 1     Fly from North America to your layover city
  •      Day 2     Fly onward to Kathmandu, Nepal
  •      Day 3    Tour Kathmandu, a virtual living museum
  •      Day 4     Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding
  •      Day 5     Hike to Namche Bazaar
  •      Day 6     Acclimatization day w/ ascending day hike to Khumjung
  •      Day 7     Trek to Lawudo Monastery and Thame
  •      Day 8     Day hike the spectacular Sumdur Ridge or Thengbo Kharka
  •      Day 9     Trek to the remote Kongde Hotel
  •      Day 10    Day hike to Farak Ri, astounding overlook
  •      Day 11    Descending trek to the village of Phakding
  •      Day 12    Trek to Lukla, relax and watch the airplanes
  •      Day 13    Fly to Kathmandu, check into hotel
  •      Day 14    Free day to take in all of Kathmandu
  •      Day 15    Depart Kathmandu to layover city
  •      Day 16    Fly return flight to North America

 

The Detailed Plan of Attack (subject to change)

Day 1
Depart North America  ~  Sunday, October 7, 2018

Although your Tour doesn’t start until tomorrow in Kathmandu, you’ll need to begin your journey today (or yesterday, god forbid, for a few flights) to arrive tomorrow, if that makes any sense!  Fly from North America to your layover city today; most major U.S. airports have high-quality, one-stop flights to Kathmandu, Nepal.  While it’s not included in the Tour cost, Skychasers will arrange a group flight from Philadelphia or New York for those who would like to travel together.

Day 2
Kathmandu Arrival;  Tour begins today with hotel check-in & dinner  ~  Oct 8

Upon arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, those traveling on the group flight from the East Coast will be met by our driver who will take us directly to our hotel near Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest site in Nepal, the Boudha Stupa.  If arriving in Kathmandu independently, you will be met at the airport by myself or a member of our staff.  Airport transfer, dinner, luxury hotel included. 

The Boudha Stupa with prayer flags framed against clouds and a brilliant blue sky

4,500 ft ~ 1,371m
Day 3
Tour Kathmandu, living museum of culture and chaos  ~  Oct 9

From our grand station overlooking the pilgrims circumambulating the Boudha Stupa, we enjoy a relaxed rooftop breakfast.  After breakfast, we’ll give our hiking legs their first minor test by taking the 45-minute walk to Pashupatinath, the Hindu cremation ghats and temple complex.  The area is also home to an immense amount of activity ranging from flying monkeys to ganja-smoking sadhus, Indian holy men.  We’ll walk to the historic Dwarika’s Hotel for a late lunch or afternoon tea, as you wish, before returning to Boudha for free time and dinner.  B/L/D, Pashupatinath entrance fee, luxury hotel.

Girls taking a groupie and celebrating a fall festival in Kathmandu
October is festival time in Kathmandu . . . here, a roving band of girls pauses for a groupie on the stairs of an ancient pagoda in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, Oct 2017 Exceptional Everest 
4,500 ft ~ 1,371m
Day 4
Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding  ~  Oct 10     5-mile trek
  • 84 miles KTM – Lukla flight
  • 9,365 ft   Lukla elevation – also today’s high point
  • 8,375 ft   today’s low point near Phakding
  • 8,500 ft   finish in Phakding

We’ll head to the domestic airport after an early breakfast for our soaring shuttle flight alongside the spine of the Himalaya to Lukla, our portal to the world’s highest mountains.  To be sure, the Lukla landing is a great adventure, but it’s merely a harbinger of things to come.  With plenty of time in the day left to hike, we set off to the north.  As we walk upvalley, the jagged summit of Kusum Kanguru comes into view above the northeast foothills.  Oddly, our first few hours lead us downhill through larger villages before ending the day alongside the rushing waters of the Dudh Kosi River.  Along the way, there’s plenty happening; trekkers, yaks, lodges, and a delicious lunch stop.  KTM>Lukla flight tickets, B/L/D, trekking & tims permits, luxury lodge.

A group of students begins their trekking day on a wet morning in Chaurikharka, Nepal
The main drag on the Everest Base Camp trail from Lukla is a high-speed superhighway on Day 1 leading to the start of a nice daily routine, below . . . an evening happy hour followed by a family-style meal

8,500 ft ~ 2,850m
Day 5
Trek to Namche Bazaar  ~  Oct 11     6 miles
  • 8,500 ft   start & low point
  • Namche Hill  ~  1,900 vert ft ascent
  • 11,500 ft   finish & high point

Namche Bazaar’s a definite highlight, but it’s going to make us work a bit to get there.  Shortly after our walk commences, we enter the borders of Sagarmatha (the Nepali name for Everest) National Park before diving down once again to the riverside.  Our crossing brings us to the last town of the area, Jorsale.  For the next hour, we’re undulating along the banks of the river as it roars beside us.  Our final river crossing is on a high, swinging bridge lined with prayer flags.  This bridge also marks the start of the infamous “Namche Hill” . . . one step at a time will find you in Namche in an hour or two, maybe a bit more if you really love to smell the roses.  Or, if you spend a bunch of time at our first Everest viewpoint . . . catch your first glimpse of the world’s highest mountain a few minutes up the hill!  Take the rest of the day visiting Namche’s bakeries, pubs, and coffee shops before retiring to our lodge high on the hill for happy hour and dinner.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

Namche Bazaar in green season with blue skies and Tham Serku peak in the background

11,500 ft ~ 3,506m
Day 6
Rest/acclimatization, Khumjung day hike  ~  Oct 12     4 miles
  • 11,500 ft   start, low point & finish in Namche Bazaar
  • 12,715 ft   high point at Hotel Everest View

This is a classic day in the Everest region . . . starting with a slow hike up and out of Namche Bazaar.  As we wind our way upward, the monster mountains of the Khumbu slowly come into view . . . first ThamSerku, then Ama Dablam, the Lhotse-Nuptse wall, and behind that, Everest.  From the high outdoor patio of the Everest View Hotel, we’ll order tea and coffee, and sit, sometimes in silence, sometimes sharing thoughts with friends, but always in awe.  We’ll continue our walk down into the large Sherpa village of Khumjung, enjoying pastries from its famous bakery, eventually eating lunch, and maybe visiting the local Edmund Hillary School.  In the afternoon, we’ll continue our looping walk, heading to the Syangboche Airport before descending back down to the comforts of Namche Bazaar and our warm dining room.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

Trekkers in the Khumbu Region of Nepal with Everest behind the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall
Rick and the rest of Team Scratch & Dent enjoying a warm drink at the aptly named Hotel Everest View, Everest upper left
11,500 ft ~ 3,506m
Day 7
Trek to Lawudo Monastery and Thame  ~  Oct  13     8 miles
  • 11,500 ft   start and low point
  • 12,800 ft   high point at Lawudo Monastery
  • 12,464 ft   finish in Thame

A hearty, hot breakfast fuels our gentle ascent westward out of Namche Bazaar.  Presently, we enter a forest where there’s a good chance to see the Himalayan tahr, the local version of the mountain goat.  Traversing the hillside, we have excellent views across the valley to the jagged peaks of Kongde.  I have a friend, Pemba Tenzing, who’s a monk at one of the high Buddhist monasteries above the trail, so we’ll stop in to see him, check out the meditation cave (below), and eat a traditional Nepali lunch.  As we begin our afternoon hike, our destination of Thame will be visible upvalley.  If we’re feeling relaxed and happy, we can take a detour to the high Thame Monastery as we roll into town.  Otherwise, we’ll head straight into Thame, enjoying its remote situation with towering peaks above.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

click to enlarge
Pemba Tenzing & Kaji Sherpa in conversation in front of Lawudo Monastery’s meditation cave
12,464 ft ~ 3,800m
Day 8
Day hike the spectacular Sumdur Ridge  ~  Oct 14     5.6 miles
  • 12,464 ft   start, low point & finish
  • 16,150 ft   hiking to trekkers’ summit high on Sumdur Ridge
  • 17,500 ft   scrambling to true summit of Sumdur Peak
  • 14,200 ft   easier hike to Tengbo Kharka
  • 18,000 ft   only for the wicked, hike to the Tashi Labsta Glacier . . . please make it back

Today will suit everyone’s tastes.  Feeling a little tired?  Spend the entire day eating and sleeping the day away.  Want a little exercise to shake out the cobwebs?  Hike up to the Thame Monastery and watch the mountains roll by while enjoying a meal in one of the adjoining restaurants.  Or, maybe you want to hike higher than you’ve ever been before, with the bonus that your route turns into a boulder scramble with death-defying drops?  Trek Sumdur Ridge (see photo below), the spectacular, exposed ridgeline high, high above the Thame Monastery.  The trail begins gently, crisscrossing its way up to the monastery.  From there, it traverses west, then climbs steeply, gaining the ridgeline at 14,075 ft.  Once on the ridge, the views are full-on 360° for the final 2,000 vertical feet (or 3,500 if going to the true summit).  You’ll feel the altitude, but you’re well acclimatized to this point to make it a reasonable day to the trekkers’ summit where the trail ends.  Beyond that, call it a full-on high-altitude rock scramble the final 1,500 ft to the summit.  You can do it . . . in 2017, a couple of our trekkers scrambled high above the trekkers’ summit while three of our staff summited.  This is truly a lifetime achievement – we did a lot of research beforehand to pave the way for your attempt – I don’t know anyone else who’s made it to the summit of Sumdur.  Our Nepali staff will carry your daypack, the pace will be slow, and we’ll stop a lot to take pictures, let the breath catch up, and enjoy a packed lunch on the summit.  Challenge your world!  The numbers to the trekkers’ summit?  3,686 ascent + 3,686 descent, 5.6 miles round-trip, 6-8 hours.  To the true summit, you’re in for  5,186 ft of ascent + 5,186 ft of descent, 7.5 miles and ten or more hours for the round-trip, nervous laughter.  Click here for 2017 Strava numbers, incomplete on the return descent.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

Six hikers on the trekkers' summit of Sumdur Ridge
Above, Kami Tendi, Temba, Ang Dendi, Sherry, Jeanni & Jade take five on the trekkers’ summit with the true summit above and beyond. Below, see Temba & Dendi on Sumdur’s true summit

Two Sherpas on the summit of Sumdur Peak, a pile of rocks high above Thame, Nepal

16,150 ft ~ 4,923m
Day 9
Trek to the remote Kongde Hotel  ~  Oct 15     7.5 miles
  • 12,464 ft   start in Thame
  • 11,725 ft   low point soon after start of trek
  • 13,940 ft    finish & high point at Kongde Hotel

Just like Sumdur Peak, very few Everest trekkers ever make it up to the Kongde Hotel.  Even though it’s in the middle of all the action, it’s perched on an inaccessible ridge high up on Kongde Peak – no village, no lodges, just one rugged trail and the Kongde Hotel.  The trail from Thame has been carved into the side of the mountain and weaves in and out of the tortured landscape to ascend across the rugged hillside.  This day is our most challenging village-to-village march of the trek; our trail, in a lapse of good judgment, tries with some success to find its way up through the lacerated terrain below the glaciers of Kongde Peak.  But, it’s also very rewarding for the trekker as we have the trail all to ourselves and slowly work our way around waterfalls and up steep stone steps, sometimes hanging onto hardware to reach the high Kongde Plateau.  And, if we’re lucky and just in time, a kind soul from the Kongde Hotel will meet us with tea and biscuits half an hour or so out.  Walking through the final twists and turns to the hotel, the entire Everest region unfurls above and below us.  Enjoy the sumptuous dinner – you’ve earned it!  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

A mountain lodge and small peak on grassy meadows
The Kongde Hotel, left, and Farak Ri, right, as seen with a big lens from Namche Bazaar; it’s a bucolic scene that could be set in the Scottish Highlands, that is until you see a closeup view of Farak . . . check out the spooky photo below
13,940 ft ~ 4,250m
Day 10
Day hike to Farak Ri, astounding overlook  ~  Oct 16     3.7 miles
  • 13,940 ft   start & low point
  • 15,350 ft   high point at Farak Ri (Ri means “hill”)

If you chose not to hike Sumdur Ridge from Thame, Farak Ri is a kinder, gentler alternative.  Walk upwards out of the Hotel to a high point above a mountain lake, reaching the “Ri” in an hour or two, there’s no hurry.  Because we’re a few thousand feet above the Hotel, the views are better, looking down to Namche Bazaar far below, Everest far above, and the Lukla Airport in the opposite direction.  A quick hour brings us back down to our beloved Hotel in time for lunch followed by an afternoon of true rest, lounging in the sun high above it all.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

Three hikers near the summit of a Farak Ri
Mingma Sherpa, Ms. Sherpa in red, and the irrepresible Tom, take a quick breath break as they approach the summit of Farak Ri with the top of Kongde Peak, far upper left, still more than a mile above
 

15,350 ft ~ 4,680m

Day 11
Descending trek to the village of Phakding  ~  Oct 17     4.8 miles
  • 13,940 ft   start & high point at the Kongde Hotel
  • 8,500 ft   low & endpoint in Phakding

The numbers tell the story of the day . . . we’re going downhill all day.  Well, five miles downhill doesn’t really take all that long, but wear your thick socks, batten down your laces, and let it roll.  We’ll have spectacular morning views of the elusive spire of Kusum Kanguru before entering the greenery closer to the valley floor.  Peace and quiet accompany our first hours as well, negotiating the craggy terrain below the Kongde Hotel and photogenic last views of Everest.  This comes to a rather abrupt, and maybe welcome, end when we arrive at the junction of the main Everest trail.  From there, it’s another hour to our evening lodge, nesting high above the tumbling, milky Dudh Kosi River in our backyard.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

Three trekkers negotiate a steep downhill high above the village of Monjo, Nepal
This is a real downhill . . . one false move and you’ll fall into Monjo!
8,620 ft ~ 2,628m
Day 12
Trek to Lukla, relax, watch the airplanes  ~  Oct 18     4.5 miles
  • 8,500 ft   start in Phakding
  • 8,375 ft   low point nearby
  • 9,365 ft   Lukla & high point

I’ve always wanted to arrive early in Lukla, but have never gotten it done . . . it’s endlessly fascinating to watch the airplanes fly in and out of Lukla, seeing firsthand the skills of Nepal’s immensely talented pilots.  With a hike of only 4.5 miles today (and clear skies), we have a chance at some quality time on the rooftop of the Buddha Lodge overlooking the takeoffs and landings.  But first, our trek has one final twist; our “downvalley” trek actually traverses upwards along the side of the valley, so we get to finish in grand style . . . with an uphill.  Remember though that we were downhilling all day yesterday . . . our quads and toes will be happier with a finishing ascent.  Our Lukla lodge has a grand dining room painted floor to ceiling in Buddhist iconography and provides a perfect last supper for our trek.  B/L/D, deluxe lodge.

Sherpani serving tea to a guest in an Everest lodge
Our mountain lodges are staffed by friendly, courteous and young Sherpa men and women from the surrounding area  ~  photo by AlexTreadway.co.uk
9,365 ft ~ 2,365m
Day 13
Fly to Kathmandu, check into hotel  ~  Oct 19
  • 84-mile flight (35 mins)
  • 9,365 ft Lukla
  • 4,500 ft Kathmandu

Take your pick for the highlight of the day:  the mountain flight to Kathmandu? checking into our pristine hotel, most likely the legendary Kathmandu Guest House?  being propelled by something other than our legs?  These are all great, but usually pale in comparison to showering and eating.  Oh yes, our food will be delicious on trek, and there will be showers, but Kathmandu is a veritable smorgasbord for foodies, there’s endless hot water, and you’ll be able to throw on very clean clothes at the end.  If any of you are itching to get out, I love Kathmandu and am always ready to show you a new adventure.  Most, however, are content to eat, shower, rinse, repeat, so there will be very little beyond that on our agenda today.  B/L/D, Lukla>KTM flight tickets, airport transfer, 4 or 5-star hotel.

The view from the rooftop of the Buddha Lodge, waiting for airplanes to pop into view through the blue skies
4,500 ft ~  1,371m

 

Day 14
Free day to take in all of Kathmandu  ~  Oct 20

OK, today’s not exactly free, but if you’d rather enjoy the hotel pool, you’re more than welcome.  But remember, I lived in Kathmandu for five years and I will show you the best the city has to offer – with a little crazy thrown in.  Breakfast will be in the hotel garden and will be long and leisurely as we continue to try to nip the trekking calorie burn in the bud.  Following will be a morning of relaxation with plenty of time for shopping on your own with a smorgasbord of colorful Himalayan arts and crafts just outside the hotel gate.  From there we’ll walk into the very heart of old town Kathmandu just to test each and every one of our five senses.  Then it’s onward to Indra Chowk, the bead market, and Kathmandu Durbar Square and its collection of ancient pagoda-style temples.  As dusk approaches, we’ll taxi to Swayambhunath, aka, “The Monkey Temple” (photo below) brave its 365 ever-steepening steps to arrive at a mini-summit with a Buddhist stupa and a lot of monkeys.  This shrine shows us a phenomenal mix of Tibetan Buddhism from the north and Indian Hinduism from the south meeting and mixing in Kathmandu.  A farewell dinner ends our day with a bang!  B/L/D, 4 or 5-star hotel.

Click & drag the 360° photo below of the Swoyambhunath Temple to look all around & up & down ▼

kolorful kathmandu – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

4,500 ft ~  1,371m
Day 15
Depart Kathmandu to International Layover City  ~  Oct 21

Most international flights depart Kathmandu in the afternoon or evening, and, we’ve only just scratched the surface of this ancient city, so we’ll most likely have time to take in another eye-popping temple or plaza and do a bit of shopping before we’re due at the airport.  Expect to arrive at your layover city sometime today or early tomorrow.  B/L, airport transfer.

Qatar Airways is one of a number of airlines that offers magnificent service and equipment on one-stop flights between Kathmandu and North America
 
Day 16
Fly from International Layover City to North America  ~  Oct 22

With any luck, you’ll arrive at your hometown airport today and be sleeping in your own bed tonight!

 

 

Register Now

Registration closes July 1, 2018

 

See Everest Base Camp Extension, below . . .

One of our lodges, above the river in the village of Phakding

 

Everest Base Camp Extension; add US$ 600

If you’re like me, sometimes you don’t know when to say enough is enough. Does it really make sense to fly halfway around the world, trek to within a few days of the world’s highest peak, but not go there?  Your only medicine may be this seven-day add-on that will take you to the very foot of Everest.  The extension matches up exactly with the first eight days of Exquisite Everest, above, then, on Day 9 treks to the village of Mong La instead of the Kongde Hotel, before continuing onward and upward to Everest Base Camp at 17,600 ft.

The hike from Gorak Shep approaching Everest Base Camp turns into a chaotic alpine jumble of rocks and ice

Lodging along the extension is much more basic, however, you’ll still feel like you’re being spoiled along the way.  Porters and guides, meals and lodges are all part of the deal.  In addition, you’ll get a chance to trek, not climb, to 18,400 ft, one of the few places in the world where mere mortals can reach such high-flying altitudes.  Here’s your trekking timetable, starting from Day 9, where the paths diverge . . .
 

Base Camp Extension Outline

  • Day 9        Trek to Mong La mini-pass (instead of the Kongde Hotel)   13,000 ft
  • Day 10      Trek to Pangboche   12,986 ft
  • Day 11      Trek to Dingboche   14,140 ft
  • Day 12      Acclimatization/day hike to Nangarchang Peak   16,120 ft
  • Day 13      Trek Dingboche to Lobuche   16,190 ft
  • Day 14      Trek to Gorak Shep 16,970 ft; day hike to Kala Pathar summit    18,400 ft
  • Day 15      Day hike to Everest Base Camp   17,400 ft
  • Day 16      Trek Gorak Shep to Pheriche   14,000 ft
  • Day 17      Trek to Sanasa   11,830 ft
  • Day 18      Trek to Phakding (luxury lodge)   8,620 ft
  • Day 19      Trek to Lukla (luxury lodge)   9,365 ft
  • Day 20      Fly to Kathmandu
  • Day 21      Kathmandu touring
  • Day 22      Kathmandu departure to international layover
  • Day 23      Fly international layover to North America

 

A Sherpa carries a heavy load over rugged ground with a glaciated peak in the background
Nima is a potato farmer and Sherpa from the village of “Hill” , many thousands of feet below Everest . . . here he’s carrying an 80 lb. load at 16,000 ft.

 

Everest Base Camp ~ the Numbers & Plan of Attack

Day 9
Trek from Thame to Mong La mini pass instead of the Kongde Hotel  ~  Oct 15     9.5 miles
  • 12,464 ft   Start in Thame
  • 11,948 ft   Low point near Sanasa
  • 13,000 ft   High point & finish

Our next adventure, the road to Everest Base Camp, starts by heading back towards Namche Bazaar before climbing up to the plateau of Khumjung.  As the pyramid of Ama Dablam comes back into view, we cut off onto the Gokyo Valley trail before a long, gentle traversing ascent to Mong La.   Mong La is perched on a 13,000 ft ridge that descends from the sacred summit of Khumbi La and is easily one of my favorite overnights in Nepal.  The views are 360° from every room in this tiny village.   B/L/D, mountain lodge.

Very few trekkers stop in Mong La for the night even though it has a world-class situation
13,000 ft

~

3,964m

Day 10
Down, then up to Pangboche  ~  Oct 16     5.5 miles
  • 13,000 ft   Start
  • 11,800 ft    Low point below Phortse
  • 13,336 ft   High point above Phortse
  • 12,980 ft   Finish at Pangboche

There are few trails in the Everest area that I haven’t traveled, one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to the afternoon part of today’s trek.  After a hot breakfast and good-byes in Mong La, we have a long downhill to the Dudh Khosi River, followed by a shorter uphill to the village of Phortse.  Phortse is a popular training center for Sherpas going into the mountaineering industry.  We’ll grab a bite to eat here before working our way to the top of the village and the trail towards Pangboche.  The trail then turns decidedly high and remote as it winds in and out of the rugged base of Tawoche Peak, with no real villages until we reach Pangboche.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

Mt Ama Dablam dominates the vertical train in the Pangboche area, and indeed, much of the Khumbu district ~ Mountain Relief Trek, Oct 2015
12,980 ft

~

3,958m

Day 11
Trek gradually upward to Dingboche  ~  Oct 17     4.2 miles
  • 12,980   Start in Pangboche
  • 12,900 ft   Low point, just below Pangboche
  • 14,140 ft   High point and finish at Dingboche

There’s an old Buddhist monastery that’s reputed to house a Yeti scalp in the upper reaches of Pangboche, although I’ve also heard it now lives peacefully in the village of Khumjung.  Because our road is not particularly long today, we may take a post-breakfast detour up the hill to check out the scalp?  Before we exit Pangboche, we’ll inquire about the condition of the less-traveled trail on the other side of the river, underneath Ama Dablam.  If it’s a go, we’ll head that way, otherwise, we’ll stick to the known trails far above the true right bank of the Imja Khola River.   As we approach the village of Pheriche, we’ll take a fork trail to the right which presently arrives in the town of Dingboche, our last and highest village with year-round inhabitants.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

Dingboche welcomes us with warm lodges, delicious food, friendship, and plenty of tea
14,140 ft

~

4,311m

Day 12
Rest/acclimatization/day hike from Dingboche to Nangarchung Peak  ~  Oct 18    3.7 miles
  • 14,140 ft   Low point and start in Dingboche
  • 16,627 ft   High point at Nangarchung Peak
  • 14,140 ft   Return to Dingboche

One of the best ways to acclimatize to high altitude is to follow the old adage, “climb high, sleep low”.  And, that’s exactly what we’ll do today w/ numbers that look great for acclimatization.  Winding our way out of Dingboche, we’ll gain access to the nearby ridge to the north, then following the hairpin trail, head steeply up to Nagarchung Peak.  Back in Dingboche for the afternoon, there’s plenty to do including a snooker hall!  If you’re looking for something different, head up the side valley towards Island Peak, and try to find this guy, below.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

A yak in front of snowy mountains between Dingboche and Chukhung, Nepal
A yak posing in front of Mt Ama Dablam, a bit above Dingboche on the trail to Chukhung
14,140 ft

~

4,311m

Day 13
Spectacular trek to Lobuche  ~  Oct 19     5.2 miles
  • 14,140 ft   Start & low point in Dingboche
  • 16,190 ft   High point & finish at Lobuche

Climbing out of Dingboche again, we’ll gain the beautiful plateau-type ridge above the village of Pheriche.  We’re walking on a true tabletop, maybe call it a balcony trail, with crisscrossing Yak trails everywhere and the occasional ancient stone tea house.   After crossing a rushing river, we arrive in the village of Dughla where we’ll likely take a tea break, maybe lunch.  From there, ever ascending, we slowly arrive in the Khumbu Valley which leads to Everest.  Our trail intersects with the trail coming in from the Cho La pass, but it doesn’t add much traffic because it’s a fairly remote, difficult pass.   Eventually, we’re led into the village of Lobuche with its namesake peak towering high above us.  There are plenty of high sunset hikes to choose from if you didn’t manage a workout today.  Or, get gassed at one of the lodges that advertises in-room Os for those who can’t breathe upon arrival in town.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

The village of Lobuche in the Khumbu Region of Nepal with mountains and a small river
The village of Lobuche with Lobuche Peak, a popular trekker’s summit, upper right
16,210 ft

~

4,940m

Day 14
High trek to remote Gorak Shep, settle in, then hike to Kala Pattar viewpoint  ~  Oct 20     5.2 miles
  • 16,190 ft   Start & low point
  • 16,942 ft   Finish at Gorak Shep
  • 18,400 ft   Day hike to Kala Pattar! (optional)
  • 16,942 ft   Return to Gorak Shep

Before Base Camp moved to its current location at the base of the Khumbu Icefall, it was in Gorak Shep.  The Khumbu Glacier “flows” down the valley behind town, while in front, there’s a large, oddly flat area that looks like the remnants of a salt lake.  Because it’s the last village before Base Camp, oodles and oodles of people come and go from and to here.  There are only a few lodges and in high season, they do as best they can to accommodate everyone with hot food and a warm stove.  Our trek in from Lobuche isn’t that long, so we’ll have time to tackle the high point of our Tour, the 18,400 ft peak of Kala Pattar.  This peak is actually a ridge running off the ice pyramid of Pumori, one of the high points of which gives us incredible sunset views onto the South Face of Mt Everest.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

Gorak Shep, Kala Pattar and Mt Pumori covered in a light dusting of snow
The village of Gorak Shep is our base camp to climb to the high point of our trek, Kala Pattar, the brown hill above with the pyramidal Pumori in the background
trek to 16,942 ft or 5,164m and settle in

day hike to 18,400 ft or 5,600m and return 

Day 15
Day hike to Everest Base Camp, return to Gorak Shep  ~  Oct 21     4.7 miles, round trip
  • 16,942 ft   Start & low point
  • 17,700 ft   High point, a bit before arriving at Base Camp
  • 17,600 ft   Everest Base Camp
  • 16,942 ft   Return to Gorak Shep

Remember this gem today . . . “if trekking Everest Base Camp were easy, everyone would do it”.  It’s not a very long day today, but the trails are rugged, sometimes icy, and your entire day will be spent between 17,000 and 17,600 ft.  Bottom line?  You may end up a little more tired than the numbers might suggest, but you’ll also end up at a big, big goal, the base camp of the world highest mountain, Mt Everest.  Congratulations . . . this is one goal that’s worth fighting for!  While the fall season is a great time for trekking, spring is the only reasonable climbing season, so base camp will be largely unoccupied.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

Everest Base Camp with many tents on a glacier near Khumbu Icefall
Everest Base Camp is set onto the Khumbu Glacier at the bottom of the Khumbu Icefall, tumbling down from the right
16,942 ft/5,164m

to

17,600ft/5,380m and return

Day 16
Descending trek to Pheriche  ~  Oct 22     7 miles
  • 16,970 ft   Start
  • 16,969 ft   High point, just after start
  • 14,000 ft   Low point & finish at Pheriche

As we descend down the same valley that we hiked up, we’re going to use as many different trails as we can to give the feeling of a loop trek instead of an out and back.  This brings us into the town of Dughla around lunch time, again, and from there, we’ll take the lower “flat” trail into the town of Pheriche.  There’s a high-altitude medical clinic here, so if you suspect your body has been unduly tortured by the trek, the clinic is a great place to confirm.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

A fully-loaded yak caravan heads up the trail towards Everest Base Camp
Yak-dodging is an essential trail skill best not learned the hard way . . .
14,000 ft

~

4,270m

Day 17
Trek to Tengboche Monastery, then Sanasa  ~  Oct 23     9 miles
  • 14,000 ft   Start and high point
  • 10,827 ft   Low point at Phungi Tenga
  • 11,830 ft   Finish at Sanasa

Our destination today, the Tengboche Monastery, occupies a high place in Everest lore.  Traditionally, beginning with the very first expeditions, Everest climbers had to stop at the monastery to perform a puja, or blessing ceremony, for their climb.  These pujas and blessings are still bestowed on Everest climbers to this day.  The monastery sits on a commanding ridge in the center of the Khumbu region.  We’ll take our time walking here today as it’s not a particularly long downhill trek.  B/L/D, mountain lodge.

The historic Tengboche Monastery with trekkers taking photos, blue skies, and mountains
Tengboche Monastery occupies a prominent ridge at the convergence of the Gokyo and Khumbu Valleys
11,830 ft

~

3,606m

Day 18
Trek to beautiful luxury lodge in Phakding  ~  Oct 24   9 miles
  • 11,830 ft   Start
  • 11,880   High point, just after start
  • 8,620 ft   Low point & finish in Phakding

The numbers tell the story of the day . . . we’re going downhill a good part of the day.  Wear your downhill socks, batten down your laces, throw some Icy Hot on your quads, and let it roll.  An hour into our hike, we’ll cruise one last time through the town of Namche Bazaar before spectacular morning views of the elusive spire of Kusum Kanguru come into view.  As we descend, we walk into the greenery on the valley floor of the Dudh Kosi River. From there, it’s another couple of hours to our evening lodge, nesting high above the tumbling, milky river in our backyard.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

A snowy Himalayan peak, Kusum Kanguru, rises above the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar
The jagged, majestic Kusum Kanguru, towers menacingly over the entire town of Namche Bazaar, but is classified as merely a trekker’s peak by the Nepal Mountaineering Association, cough; don’t try to hike up it.
 

8,500 ft

~

2,850m

Day 19
Final ascent to Lukla!  ~  Oct 25
  • 8,620 ft   Start in Phakding
  • 8,375 ft   Low Point in Koshigaun
  • 9,365 ft   Finish & high point in Lukla

I’ve always wanted to arrive early in Lukla, but have never gotten it done . . . it’s endlessly fascinating to watch the airplanes fly in and out of Lukla, seeing firsthand the skills of Nepal’s immensely talented pilots.  With a hike of only 4.5 miles today (and clear skies), we have a chance at some quality time on the rooftop of the Buddha Lodge overlooking the takeoffs and landings.  But first, our trek has one final twist; our “downvalley” trek actually traverses upwards along the side of the valley, so we get to finish in grand style . . . with an uphill.  Remember though that we were downhilling all day yesterday . . . our quads and toes will be happier with a finishing ascent.  B/L/D, deluxe lodge.

A girl in a princess dress and a boy in a track suit pose for a photo along the Everest trail
Interaction with mountain families is one of the best parts of trekking the Himalaya. Saraswoti stuck out like a sore thumb in her princess dress in 2015, so I took this snap, then printed it out and gave it to her on my next trek through the area. I’ve been doing this ever since and I’ll give one of you her latest snapshot/prints with instructions on how to track her down, and others as well.
9,365 ft

~

2,855m

Day 20
Fly to Kathmandu, check into hotel, shower, rinse, repeat  ~  Oct 26
  • 84 mile flight (35 mins)
  • 9,365 ft   Fly from Lukla
  • 4,500 ft   Land in Kathmandu

Take your pick for the highlight of the day:  the mountain flight to Kathmandu? checking into our pristine hotel, most likely the legendary Hotel Yak & Yeti? taking a dip in the pool? being propelled by something other than our legs?  These are all great, but usually pale in comparison to showering and eating.  Oh yes, our food will be delicious on trek, and there will be showers, but Kathmandu is a veritable smorgasbord for foodies, there’s endless hot water, and you’ll be able to throw on very clean clothes at the end.  If any of you are itching to get out, I love Kathmandu and am always ready to show you a new adventure.  Most, however, are content to eat, shower, rinse, repeat, so there will be very little beyond that on our agenda today.  B/L/D, flight, airport transfer, 4 or 5-star hotel.

The Himalayan airport town of Lukla, known as the Gateway to Everest
The runway of the Tenzing-Hillary Airport runs right down through the center of town. This photo was taken during monsoon, but you can expect sunny, blue skies in October!
4,500 ft

~

1,372m

Day 21
Free day to take in all of Kathmandu  ~  Oct 27

OK, today’s not exactly free, but if you’d rather enjoy the hotel pool, you’re more than welcome.  But remember, I lived in Kathmandu for five years and I will show you the best the city has to offer – with a little crazy thrown in.  Breakfast will be in the hotel garden and will be long and leisurely as we continue to try to nip the trekking calorie burn in the bud.  Following will be a morning of relaxation, then a short walk to the tourist district of Thamel for lunch.  From there we’ll walk into the very heart of old town Kathmandu just to test each and every one of our five senses.  Then it’s onward to Indra Chowk, the bead market, and Kathmandu Durbar Square and its collection of ancient pagoda-style temples.  As dusk approaches, we’ll taxi to Swayambhunath, aka, “The Monkey Temple” (photo below) brave its 365 ever-steepening steps to arrive at a mini-summit with a Buddhist stupa and a lot of monkeys.  This shrine shows us a phenomenal mix of Tibetan Buddhism from the north and Indian Hinduism from the south meeting and mixing in Kathmandu.  A farewell dinner ends our day with a bang!  B/L/D, 4 or 5-star hotel.

A monkey jumps from temple to temple at Swoyambhunath Temple complex, Kathmandu
A flying monkey at, you guessed it, The Monkey Temple, aka, Swoyambhunath
4,500 ft

~

1,372m

 

Day 22
Depart Kathmandu to International Layover City  ~  Oct 28

Most international flights depart Kathmandu in the afternoon or evening, and, we’ve only just scratched the surface of this ancient city, so we’ll most likely have time to take in another eye-popping temple or plaza and do a bit of shopping before we’re due at the airport.  B/L, airport transfer.

A mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Why not? Turkish Airlines has one-stop flights from most major North American airports through Istanbul en route to Kathmandu. Book a long layover in the majestic city of Istanbul, Turkey and watch Asia meet Europe on the Bosphorus Strait.
 
Day 23
Fly from International Layover City to North America  ~  Oct 29

Expect to arrive on your doorstep sometime today!

 

 
 

Logistics, Registration, Etc . . .

 

Registration & trip deposit

Total trip cost is $3,899

Reserve your spot on the trip by clicking the button below, entering your information, and making a $500 trip deposit, either by credit card or check

 

Register Now

Registration closes July 1, 2018

 

New for 2018 . . . interest-free installments!

Make your trip deposit during registration, then follow up with three monthly payments of $1,133 by the 1st of the month in July 2018 / Aug. 2018 / Sep. 2018

or

Choose a traditional plan, make your trip deposit during registration, and follow up with your full balance payment of $3,399 by August 1, 2018

 

Mountain Lodges

Our mountain lodges along the Trek are the best in the Everest Region, and indeed, in all of Nepal.  A mellow happy hour starts each evening, followed by a delicious, powerful meal that aids our recovery and fuels us for the next day.  Meals are served up family-style in a warm dining room around a hot stove.  Wifi is generally present, although it can take some coaxing to do what needs to be done.  Bedrooms are big and comfortable with en-suite bath and toasty electric blankets that often lure us to sleep early.  

 

So, you’re not a professional hiker?  No problem!

Exceptional Everest is a nice challenge for most hikers, but a number of things make it particularly accessible to those who don’t trek on a regular basis.

There’s no camping . . . the mountain lodges provide a great amount of rejuvenation every day with help from hot meals, showers, comfortable beds, and friendly staff
You carry only a small daypack . . . our precocious porters do the heavy lifting, transporting your  big backpack or duffel bag to the next mountain lodge
You don’t have to hike every day . . . we’ll stay an extra day at our three highest lodges with the option to do a day hike or rest on the second day.  
Show up with a mediocre amount of fitness, suffer a bit the first few days, then watch in amazement as your body rises to the challenge and you end up in the best shape of your life!


Contact Your Tour Organizer

Skychasers, LLC and Jerry Lapp are honored to organize and lead your Trek . . . we specialize in mountain treks, particularly in the High Himalaya, but in other locales as well.  Get in touch with me, Jerry, on any questions or comments:

skychasersco@gmail.com

USA phone     +1  717 . 682 . 5265

www.skychasersworld.com

628 Oxford Drive  ~  Lancaster, PA  17601  ~  USA

Jerry


” Did this trip push me outside of my comfort zone?  Absolutely, sure did!  As I get older I find myself craving trips that not only educate me but physically challenge me.  I would go back, again, in a heartbeat.  Jerry did everything he possibly could to prepare us physically for the trip.  Well, we had to do all the work, but he did not sugar coat any detail related to trek.  Even when I was at my breaking point (the first day of trekking) Jerry stayed back with me to help me to realize the journey was my own and it was ok for me to take one step at a time. “
~ Beth B., Kali Gandaki Trek, 2017

 

Register Now

Registration closes July 1, 2018

 

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