October 2018: Everest View Explorer

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Click & drag the 360° photo above to check out the view from Gokyo Ri, 17,500 ft

 

NEW:  We love younger trekkers – if you’re 35 or younger, claim your 20% discount using coupon code EVE-20 during registration.

 

Have your cake and eat it too . . .

Trek gorgeous, high passes while dipping in and out of luxury lodges.  Or, if you don’t need electric blankets, stay in normal mountain lodges; you’ll still be spoiled.

 

October 23 – November 9, 2018

 
Your Guides
 
Himalaya Specialists Ang Dendi Sherpa & Jerry Lapp
 
Tour Sketch
 
Trek through the High Himalaya to discover untouched Everest viewpoints and challenging passes.  Throw in a few nights of luxury lodges and end the trek with a bang by climbing Island Peak, optional and 20,305 ft.
 
Adventure Rating
 
High ~ we’ll have plenty of views, culture and adventure, trekking and scrambling through high alpine terrain with a great intro to mountaineering as a finale.
 
Low Point
 
8,400f ~ 2,560m in the village of Phakding, our first night on trek
 
High Point
 
Trekkers’ high point:  18,130f ~ 5,526m on the summit of Chukhung Peak
Climbers’ high point:  20,305f ~ 6,189m on the summit of Island Peak
 
Highlight
 
Dodging yaks?  exploring the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar?  plying the ancient trade route towards Tibet?  electric blankets?
 
Room & Board
 
We’ll stay in well-located, hospitable, clean hotels in Kathmandu ~ while trekking, our accommodations will range from comfortable & basic family-run lodges to luxury lodges, the best available in the Himalaya
  
Tour Cost w/ luxury lodges 
 
US$ 4,200 covers most of your expenses in Nepal over 18 days, including guides; porters; airport transfers; domestic flights (2); all hotels in Kathmandu; six luxury lodges while trekking; eight normal lodges; meals throughout; double occupancy ~ single occupancy add $500 (based on availability – may not be available on some nights while trekking)
Or, save & stay in normal mountain lodges US$ 3,400 w/ same services as above except for the luxury lodges ~ add $200 for single occupancy
 
Island Peak extension 
 
add US$ 1,000 for an Everest Base Camp style experience with a dining tent, mountain skills training, great food, full Sherpa support, and the perfect opportunity to summit a 20,000 ft + peak!
 
 Extra Expenses 
 
International airfare not included, but expect East Coast USA round trip tickets to be in the range of $900 – $1,300; required evacuation insurance; Nepal visa; alcohol and other bottled beverages; tips for local staff; snacks on trek; other small miscellaneous expenses

 

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 September 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, and give us access to the high passes and massive mountains that surround the world’s highest peak. 

A Sherpa on snowy Cho La Pass gives the thumbs up signal under sunny, blue skiesOur local guide, Ang Dendi Sherpa, gives the all-clear signal on Cho La Pass

 
Dipping in and out of luxury lodges (six luxury lodge nights), our overnights will be spent in hospitable mountain lodges with private rooms, tasty menus, and the company of other trekkers from all over the world.  Our team of precocious porters will carry our gear, giving us a free pass to the some of the more remote mountains and valleys of the Everest Region.  Our mountain lodges give us a chance to recharge our batteries, literally and figuratively, in the high country.
 

  This is a fully supported trek with a fantastic crew of Sherpa guides and porters . . .  you’ll carry only a daypack with snacks and a few extra supplies each day.  It’s your vacation!  Our luxury lodges come with electric blankets and mini happy hours.  This leaves you with a simple task for the day – walk!

 

Two trekkers hiking down the valley towards the village of Dzonghla with Cholatse Peak ahead

      the high himalaya   

▼   your route through the high himalaya   

A Google Earth snapshot of Everest View Explorer with Island Peak climb

 

FastFacts for EverestExplorers

    • 14 days of trekking
    • 18 days in Nepal
    • 19 days door-to-door from North America
    • highest lodge . . . 15,870 feet in the tiny village of Dzonghla
    • Island Peak is dwarfed by the massive Lhotse-Nuptse wall rising 6,500 ft above
    • many days have options to take a high route or low route, your call
    • 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 summit of Mt. Everest is parked on the border of Tibet and Nepal

 

A Sherpa leads the way up through boulders to the summit of Sumdur Peak

Temba leads the way through the boulders of Sumdur Peak . . . at 17,500 ft, this is our first legitimately high viewpoint

Because this trek leads us to high altitudes, we’ll take our time getting there, going up one day at a time, one step at a time to allow our bodies time to acclimatize.  A nice bonus of this style is that we don’t have killer long days, ever, throughout the trek, well, at least in terms of mileage.
 

Two brilliantly-dressed trekkers hike down Gokyo Ri above the 3rd LakeFive brilliant lakes line the Gokyo Valley, each with its own unique shade of turquoise . . . above, two trekkers descend Gokyo Ri towards the waters of the 3rd Lake  (Gokyo to Everest Base Camp, 2016)

 

Everest View Explorer Tour Outline

  •      Day 1     Fly from North America to your layover city
  •      Day 2     Fly onward to Kathmandu, Nepal – trip package begins this afternoon
  •      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     Take the high road to Lawudo Monastery and Thame
  •      Day 7     Day hike the spectacular Sumdur Peak, Thengbo Kharka or Tashi Labsta
  •      Day 8     Upvalley trek towards Tibet to Lungden
  •      Day 9     Trek over our first pass to the lakeside village of Gokyo
  •      Day 10    Climb 4th Peak, descend to Gokyo Village, hike across glacier to Thagnok
  •      Day 11     Climb Abi ii on the way to the Cho La Pass and Dzonghla
  •      Day 12     Trek the Pheriche Plateau to Dingboche and Chukhung
  •      Day 13     Climbers and trekkers walk to Island Peak Base Camp; trekkers return to Chukhung
  •      Day 14     Climbers take on Island Peak while trekkers hike Chukhung Peak; all reunite in Chukhung
  •      Day 15     Everyone treks downward to Pangboche
  •      Day 16     Hike to Namche Bazaar for a proper re-entry into civilization
  •      Day 17     Trek to Lukla and enjoy a delicious farewell meal in a gorgeous lodge
  •      Day 18     Fly Lukla to Kathmandu, eat, shower, rinse, repeat
  •      Day 19     Morning sightseeing before catching international flight to layover city; tour package ends in the evening
  •      Day 20    Fly final leg and arrive home today

 

The Detailed Plan of Attack (subject to change)

Day 1
Depart North America  ~  Wednesday, October 22, 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 longer 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 this afternoon with hotel check-in & dinner  ~  Oct 23

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.  Our tour begins this afternoon with hotel check-in followed by dinner.  Airport transfer, dinner, hotel included. 

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

4,500f

1,371m

Day 3
Tour Kathmandu, living museum of culture and chaos  ~  Oct 24

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, hotel.

Girls taking a groupie and celebrating a fall festival in Kathmandu
October is festival time in Kathmandu . . . here, a roving band of merrymakers pauses for a groupie on the stairs of an ancient pagoda in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, Oct 2017 Exceptional Everest 
4,500f

1,371m

Day 4
Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding  ~  Oct 25     5-mile trek
  • 84 miles KTM – Lukla flight
  • 9,365 ft   Lukla elevation – also today’s high point
  • 8,400 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.  We’ll spend the evening at the brand new Sherpa Guide Lodge, run by great friend, Ang Dawa Sherpa and his family.  KTM>Lukla flight tickets, B/L/D, trekking & tims permits, normal mountain 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 – walking!
8,500f

2,850m

Day 5
Trek to Namche Bazaar  ~  Oct 26     6 miles
  • 8,500 ft   start & low point
  • the infamous 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.  Catch your first glimpse of the world’s highest mountain a few minutes up the hill!  Take the rest of the day to visit Namche’s bakeries, pubs, and coffee shops before retiring to our lodge for dinner.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

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

11,500f

3,505m

Day 6
Trek to Lawudo Monastery and Thame  ~  Oct  27     7 miles
  • 11,300 ft   start and low point
  • 14,500 ft   high point in the Kyajo Valley
  • 12,800 ft   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.  Or, scratch all of the above and have Pemba Tenzing lead us on the high road to Lawudo, a truly alpine experience culminating at the gateway to the mysterious Kyajo Valley.  Either way, 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
12,464f

3,800m

Day 7
Day hike the spectacular Sumdur Ridge  ~  Oct 28     5.6 miles up and down
  • 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 before tomorrow

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 Peak (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.  Although I’m sure others have summited, I haven’t heard of 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. 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

17,500f

5,334m

Day 8
Trek to the highest village in the Thame Valley, Lungden  ~  Oct 29     6.5 miles
  • 12,464 ft   start & low point in Thame
  • 14,440 ft    finish & high point in Lungden

After a nice breakfast in Thame, we’ll pack up our bags, stretch off the cobwebs from yesterday’s Sumdur hike, and hit the trail with a minor uphill for dessert of breakfast.  The uphill quickly leads to a descent into the village of Thame Teng, thus beginning our upvalley march through very tiny villages.  The valley now leads directly up, up, up to the Nangpa La Pass and the border with Tibet, a legendary trade route that’s been closed for political reasons for a number of years.  ETA to Tibet though is three or four days and we won’t be going that far.  On the western hillside above the trail, we can make a small detour to a Buddhist monastery if we have time.  And, sooner than later, the impressive pyramid of Kyajo Ri will come into view and stay with us the rest of the day.  We’ll stop for a nice lunch break en route and should be arriving in Lungden by mid-afternoon.  If you’d like a sunset tour or some extra acclimatization, there’s a very large hill behind our lodge that will deliver both.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

The Thame Valley with the village of Lungden in the center and the peaks of Pasang Lamu and Cho Oyu in the background
We’re hiking up the Thame Valley towards Tibet today . . . the peaks of Cho Oyu, right and Pasang Lamu, left, guard the forboding gateway to Tibet, the Nangpa La Pass; Lungden is the plateau village in the center
14,440f

4,402m

Day 9
  Trek over Renjo La Pass to Gokyo Lakes ~  Oct 30     7 miles
  • 14,440 ft   start & low point in Lungden
  • 17,500 ft   high point on Renjo La summit
  • 15,600 ft   finish in Gokyo Village

One of the great things about trekking the Himalaya is that, unexpectedly for such massive terrain, the view is constantly changing.  From the getgo, we’re on the path towards the Renjo La, trekking onward and upward on a beautiful trail that tames the rugged alpine terrain.  There are a few ups and downs, turns and curves, peaks and valleys, that combine to change our views by the minute.  There are no villages between Lungden and Gokyo, but signs of life persist through the presence of yaks, pastures, stone corrals, and herders’ huts, if not herders themselves.  Our trail climbs the east side of the Thame Valley, progressively delivering better views to the west and the 23,000 ft peaks that make up the border with Tibet.   Even though we’re banging out 3,000 vert at high altitude today, the trail is well-maintained and not super steep, making this march easier than our scramble up Sumdur Peak two days ago.   Summiting the Renjo La reveals an alarming array of the biggest mountains in the world, below, a perfect place to partake of our packed lunch of Tibetan bread and yak cheese.  From Renjo, all that’s left is a long downhill to the 3rd Lake of Gokyo and just beyond, Gokyo Village.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

Renjo La viewpoint shows Mt Everest, the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall, and Makalu rise above a snowy Gokyo Valley
Mt Everest, the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall, Makalu and other high peaks from the summit of Renjo La . . . Gokyo Village is visible on the far side of the frozen 3rd Lake w/ the Ngozumpa Glacier behind – we’ll walk across the glacier tomorrow
 

17,500f

5,334m

Day 10
Climb 4th Peak, return to Gokyo Village, trek to Thagnok  ~  Oct 31     10 miles
  • 15,600 ft   start at Gokyo Village
  • 18,500 ft   estimated highpoint at trekker’s summit of 4th Peak
  • 15,400 ft   low point & finish in Thagnok (Cho La Basecamp)

I’ve had 4th Lake Peak in my sights for a number of years as a better, higher, cooler, easier to a point, totally untraveled alternative to Gokyo Ri, everyone’s choice as the Everest viewpoint of the Gokyo Valley.  In 2016, I got a chance to scout this peak, but did it as an afterthought on a very foggy day and had to turn around at 17,600 ft.  Check out the pic below – our group should be able to make it to the base of the summit steeps, then we’ll follow the ridge around to the right and descend a different ridgeline to arrive at Gokyo’s 5th Lake.  The entirety of this climb, up and down, will have majestic Everest views, better than Gokyo Ri and better than any trekkers ever get in the Khumbu.  Cho Oyu though, the world’s 6th highest peak is going to steal the show . . . it’s much closer and is piled high with spectacular, icy glaciers.  We’ll likely run into more trekkers enjoying the views when we descend to the easily accessed and thusly named Scoundrel’s Viewpoint at the 5th Lake.  From there we’re marching above and beside Nepal’s biggest glacier, Ngozumpa, for our last four miles into Gokyo Village.  We’ll pack up our backpacks in Gokyo then finish the day with a highlight of anyone’s trek in the Gokyo Valley – crossing the Ngozumpa Glacier on our way to the village of Thagnak.  At ten miles, this is a big day . . . hike Gokyo Ri w/ one of our Sherpas instead of 4th Peak for a still-incredible, easier alternative.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

A spire of a mountain rises above the 4th Lake in the Gokyo Valley with the glaciated peaks around Cho Oyu on the right
Mountain Relief Trekkers hike past the base of 4th Lake Peak, upper left. Hiking up from the left ridge, it’s relatively easy to get to 17,500 ft where the boulder field starts. I’m guessing that the summit cliffs start at 18,500 ft and would require a full-on mountaineering assault to make it to the summit, probably beyond the purview of this trek.  The peaks of Cho Oyu are on the right.

Three trekkers doing laundry above the turquoise lakes of Gokyo
If you have to do laundry, you could do worse than doing it in Gokyo Village . . . Jacob, Alyssa, and Chris can only hope it eventually dries
18,500f

5,639m

Day 11
Attempt to climb Abi II, cross Cho La Pass, and descend to Dzonghla ~  Nov 1     9 miles
  • 15,400 ft   start and low point in Thagnak
  • 18,300 ft   high point on Abi II summit
  • 17,500 ft   2nd high point on Cho La summit
  • 15,870 ft   finish at Dzonghla

Abi Peak II is in a bajillion Everest shots from Gokyo Ri, but nobody really knows its name, including me.  I’ve coined it Abi II because it occupies a high, rocky ridge twisting down from the real Abi Peak.  To be sure, yesterday was a big day in the Himalaya, so pick your poison today; an attempt on Abi II on your way to Cho La, or ignoring Abi II to go straight up and over the Cho La.  Here’s how Abi II might go – climbing steeply out of Thagnak, we’ll gain the ridge to Abi II giving us 360 views in all directions, including a closeup of the impressive northwest ridge of Cholatse Peak.  Even though Abi II is a stunning summit in the middle of all the action, our route above Thagnak will be exploratory because I’ve been unable to uncover very little information on routes to the summit.  From our summit attempt, we’ll head back down the adjoining valley to meet up with the main route to Cho La.  Bottoming out at 16,550 ft, the trail turns decidedly uphill for the last 1,000 vertical ft leading to the summit, and, it would be kind to call the final 700 a trail.  If the weather’s fine, we’ll take our time on the summit, then descend onto the snowy Cho La Glacier for our first 45 minutes down the hill.  As we exit the glacier, a glorious new view of the pyramidal Ama Dablam starts a long string of trekking and climbing days that showcase this magnificent peak from every angle.   With any luck, our day will come to an end with alpenglow on Ama in Dzonghla.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

Two hikers climbing Gokyo Ri with a black mountain and Mt Everest visible behind
Ngima and Reynold climbing Gokyo Ri . . . the black mountain of Abi II, center right, is our goal today with our summit attempt climbing the south ridge, ie, from right moving left; Everest is in the clouds directly behind.  Below, Dzonghla and exploding clouds at dusk . . . 

The village of Dzonghla with tents and lodges at sunset with exploding clouds all around and Cho La behind

18,300f

5,578m

 

Day 12
Trek across the Pheriche Plateau and up the Chukhung Valley ~  Nov 2     10 miles
  • 15,870 ft   start and high point in Dzonghla
  • 14,275 ft   low point in Dingboche
  • 15,514 ft   finish in Chukhung

No passes, no peaks, things normalize a bit today while we’re in the heart of the Khumbu and keep the mountain steeps beside us instead of directly under our feet.  Starting with the rolling downhill out of Dzonghla, we presently encounter a few ups and downs before the main route to Everest Base Camp goes by in a left-side blur as we march through the village of Tughla.  Gaining a little altitude, we top out onto the flattish Pheriche Plateau, a tableland with balcony views between Tughla and Dingboche.  It would be reasonable to eat lunch in Dingboche before making our way into the side valley of Chukhung.  By this point, we’re directly underneath the welcoming arms of Ama Dablam (mother’s necklace) and stay there for the rest of the day as we gradually regain 1,300 ft of lost altitude to finish the day in style.  All in all, an easy and spectacular day in the Himalaya.  Our lodge here will serve as basecamp over the next few days for those not climbing Island Peak.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

Trekkers take a break at a teahouse in the Khumbu region of Nepal near Everest with big mountains in the background
Mountain Relief trekkers take a break at a teahouse on the Pheriche Plateau, Mountain Relief Trek, 2015
15,514f

4,729m

 

Day 13
Trekkers & climbers hike to Island Peak Base Camp together  ~  Nov 3
Trekkers return to Chukhung; climbers stay at Base Camp 
  • Trekkers’ Stats and Schedule
  • 9 miles of hiking
  • 15,514 ft   start and low point in Chukhung
  • 16,690 ft   high point at Base Camp
  • 15,514 ft   return to Chukhung

Trekkers, after a relaxed breakfast, we’ll relax some more as the climbers get outfitted with all their rental gear.  Our hike to Island Peak Base Camp with the climbers only gains 1,200 ft in 4.5 miles and, we’re hiking in the gorgeous Chukhung Valley with Ama Dablam and the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall giving us plenty of scenery.  The ups and downs and the altitude add some challenge, but all in all, it’s a diamond day of trekking in the Khumbu.  We’ll spend an hour or two at Base Camp and partake of lunch before oozing back down the hill to our mountain lodge in Chukhung.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

  • Climbers’ Stats and Schedule
  • 4.5 miles of hiking
  • 15,514 ft   start and low point in Chukhung
  • 16,800 ft   high point somewhere above Base Camp
  • 16,690 ft   sleeping altitude at Base Camp

Climbers, our morning is not as casual as the trekkers, but it will be a lot of fun as we get set up with mountaineering boots, crampons, ice axes, etc at our lodge in Chukhung.  From there, we’ll hike with the trekking team to Base Camp, eat lunch, and then head out to the hills for a couple hours of mountain training.  Knowlege is Power!  We’ll enjoy a bit of camp time and get our gear in order before heading back to the dining tent for dinner.  As the sun goes down in the Himalaya, the heat goes with it, so it’s time to head to your tent for a “night” of sleep.  B/L/D, tented camp.

Trekkers hiking towards Island Peak and the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall in the Chukhung Valley
Leo and the crew make their way towards Island Peak, center, with the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall, left, threatening to rain down terror from above; below, Ngati entertains the team in the dining tent, Mountain Relief Trek 2015

16,690f

5,088m

 

Day 14
Trekkers hike Chukhung Ri, Climbers take on Island Peak  ~  Nov 4
  • Trekkers’ Stats and Schedule
  • 5 miles of hiking
  • 15,514 ft   start, finish and low point in Chukhung
  • 18,130 ft    summit and high point on Chukhung Ri

Trekkers, if you do the math, the vertical gain on your hike to Chukhung Ri (“Ri” means “hill” in Nepali, or Sherpa) is a very humane 2,600 ft; even better, it’s all uphill so you won’t have to regain any lost elevation along the way.  The best part?  You’re going to end up with views that rival those from Island Peak, two ridges over, without plowing through ice and snow and 20,000 ft.  Nonetheless, it will be a challenging hike as you rise above 18,000 ft, always something to write home about.  The weather this time of year is often picture perfect making the summit the best place in the world to spend an hour or two.  It’s also a great spot to eat your packed lunch before you make your way back down the hill to Chukhung where you’ll spend another night.  The climbing team will also show up for the night, call it around dusk.  B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

  • Climbers’ Stats and Schedule
  • 9.5 miles of hiking and climbing
  • 16,690 ft   start at Base Camp
  • 20,305 ft   high point on Island Peak
  • 15,514 ft   finish and low point in Chukhung

Climbers, with any luck, you’ll catch a solid half a night of sleep before the dreaded Sherpa wakeup call at 1a, nervous laughter.  It’s back to the dining tent to fortify our courage with breakfast, tea and coffee, in quantity.  We’re off and running by 2, initially stumbling up the Chukhung Valley as we gain our senses before hitting the mountain proper.  Hang on tight when we take that left turn onto the slopes . . . as usual in the Himalaya, the trail goes pretty much straight up the mountain, switchbacking only when it becomes so steep that even Sherpas start to sputter and gasp.  Reaching the glacier around dawn is an exhilarating experience; put on your mountaineering boots, crampons and rope up with your teammates for the otherwordly meander through the high altitude glory of Island Peak.  By the by we shall encounter an ever-steepening ice wall that shows us the way to the summit ridge and the top of our world.  Oddly, the summit has great cell phone reception, so a wake-up phone call home to brag about your climb is quite appropriate.  And, just like Chukhung Ri, the weather may be nice enough to spend an hour or so on the tiny summit.  Rappelling down the ice wall makes for a much quicker descent and we’ll arrive back at Base Camp, gather our gear, and hike down to our warm lodge in Chukhung in time for dusk and dinner.   B/L/D, normal mountain lodge.

Three climbers make their way up Island Peak with the Himalayan peaks of Cho Polu and Makalu in the distance
On the lower reaches of the Island Peak glacier, the route streams in and out of massive chunks of ice to gain access to the heavens; Mountain Relief Trek 2015
The summit of Makalu, the world's 5th highest peak as seen at daybreak from Island Peak, Nepal
Halfway up Island Peak, the summit of Makalu makes an appearance, growing taller and taller as we make our way to the summit; at 27,838 ft, Makalu is the world’s 5th-highest peak; Mountain Relief Trek 2015
Climbers make their way up towards the summit of Island Peak
Kore and his teammates approach the ice wall and summit of Island Peak; Mountain Relief Trek 2015

Chukhung Ri and Island Peak occupy a grand situation high above the Chukhung Valley
20,305f

6,189m

 

Day 15
Meet up with the main Everest trek, descend to Pangboche  ~  Nov 5     7.5 miles
  • 15,514 ft   start and high point in Chukhung
  • 12,980 ft   finish & low point in Pangboche

Trekkers and climbers, you’re back together as a full team and we’re getting after it today . . . after many days of low mileage due to challenging, high altitude routes, it’s time to start the descent.  Hooking up with the main Everest trail at mid-morning makes our day go even faster.  No, it’s not paved, but it’s smoother and wider than anything we’ve been on since Namche.  Starting down the Chukhung Valley, we’re enjoying our last moments of being menaced by the Lhotse-Nuptse Wall heading to the highest permanently inhabited village in the Khumbu, Dingboche.  We’ll have tea or lunch here, then meet up again with the main track to Everest Base Camp as we roll downwards.  Beyond that, we’re in for a nice walk with many more trekkers than we’re used too, generally not a bad thing, kind of like coming out of solitary confinement.  Our destination village of Pangboche has front-row seats to the ever-present Ama Dablam, but from a completely different angle than we’ve had the entire trek, below.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

Mt Ama Dablam as seen from near the village of Pangboche
Ama Dablam . . . mother’s necklace
12,980f

3,956m

 

Day 16
Trek to Tengboche Monastery, then continue to Namche Bazaar  ~  Nov 6     9 miles
  • 12,980 ft   start & high point in Pangboche
  • 10,850 ft   low point at Phungi Tenga
  • 11,500 ft   finish in Namche Bazaar

Our first destination today, the Tengboche Monastery, occupies a high place in Everest lore.  Traditionally, beginning with the very first expeditions, Everest climbers were obliged by their devout Buddhist Sherpas 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.  After a nice visit of the monastery, we’ll head down a steep hill a couple thousand feet, regain some of that altitude on the opposite valley wall and end up back in the booming metropolis of Namche Bazaar by late afternoon.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

The Tengboche Monastery on the trek to Everest Base Camp under blue skies and puffy clouds

 

11,500f

3,505m

 

Day 17
Final trek from Namche to Lukla  ~  Nov 7     12 miles
  • 11,500 ft   start & high point in Namche Bazaar
  • 8,400 ft    low point near Phakding
  • 9,365 ft   finish in Lukla

It’s endlessly fascinating to watch the airplanes fly in and out of Lukla, seeing firsthand the skills of Nepal’s immensely talented pilots, but as usual, we probably won’t make it back to Lukla in time for much of this.  By now, we’ll be in great shape, and with a hike of only 12 downhill miles, it seems like it should be an easy day.  Don’t underestimate this one though . . . we dispense with almost all of our downhill mileage in the first 30 minutes of the day then start in with a nice chunk of classic “rolling” Himalayan terrain.  But wait for it; our trek has one final twist . . . our “downvalley” trek finishes with a rising traverse along the side of the valley, so we get to end our trek in grand style, with an uphill.  Remember though that we’ve been downhilling for the better part of three days, so our quads and toes will be happier with a finishing ascent.  Bonus of the day?  Lukla is the proud home of a knock-off Starbucks with decent coffee and better ambiance than you’ll find anywhere in North America.  Another bonus – the farewell dinner in our lodge is delicious and set in a traditional dining room full of gorgeous Buddhist iconography.  B/L/D, luxury lodge.

A young monk walks across the wet rooftop of a building near the airport in Lukla, Nepal
Tenzing is the resident monk-in-training at the Buddha Lodge, above the Lukla Airport
9,365f

2,860m

 

Day 18
Fly to Kathmandu, check into hotel  ~  Nov 8
  • 84-mile flight (35 mins)
  • 9,365 ft    start and high point in Lukla
  • 4,500 ft    finish and low point in Kathmandu

Take your pick for the highlight of the day:  the mountain flight along the spine of 100 miles of High Himalaya?  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, unless there isn’t, 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, hotel.

Sunset on the High Himalaya
The High Himalaya north of Kathmandu
4,500f

1,371m

 

Day 19
Last day of tour . . . see the Monkey Temple, airport transfer, and fly to layover city  ~  Nov 9

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 continue with 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 amid 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.  If there’s time, 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 displays a phenomenal mix of Tibetan Buddhism from the north and Indian Hinduism from the south meeting and mixing in Kathmandu.  Partake of a light dinner before heading off to the airport.  B/L/D, taxis, airport transfer.

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

kolorful kathmandu – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

4,500f

1,371m

Day 20
Fly from International Layover City to North America  ~  Nov 10

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

Qatar Airways is one of a number of airlines that offers magnificent service and equipment on one-stop flights between Kathmandu and North America
 

 

 

Logistics, Registration, Etc . . .

 

Registration & Trip Deposit

Total trip cost w/ luxury lodges is US$ 4,200 (six nights of luxury lodges, dependent on availability); add US$ 500 for single occupancy

Total trip cost for normal lodges throughout is US$ 3,400; add US$ 200 for single occupancy (dependent on availability)

Island Peak extension:  add US$ 1,000

***Note that rooms in luxury lodges are limited and on a first-come/first-serve basis

 

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

Register Now

Registration closes  September 1, 2018

 

New for 2018 . . . interest-free installments!

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

or

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

 

Luxury Lodges vs. Normal Mountain Lodges

Luxury lodges along the trek are the best available in the Himalaya.  They generally have electric blankets, tasty set menus, large bedrooms, hot showers, wifi of decent quality, mini happy hours, endless tea, and warm Sherpa hospitality.  Essentially, they’re a big step up in comfort over normal lodges.

Normal lodges are comfortable and basic with small, private rooms for two, warm dining rooms heated with yak dung stoves.  They’re a very big step up from camping!  Lodge kitchens prepare delicious, powerful meals that aid our recovery and fuel our hikes.  There are often pay charging stations and showers available, although hot water can be hit or miss.  Meals are served up communally in the dining room with a menu that’s extensive enough to accommodate a wide range of food sensitivities. Wifi is sometimes available, although it can take some coaxing to do what needs to be done.

 

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

Everest View Explorer has been designed to be accessible to anyone who is in good physical condition, or, willing to get there . . . a number of things make trekking in Nepal more inviting to those who may not hike on a regular basis  ▼

You carry only a daypack, not a big backpack . . . our precocious porters do the heavy lifting, transporting your big backpack or duffel bag to the next mountain lodge.
You will not be camping unless you climb Island Peak, and then only for one night.
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!
Alternate routes at different points along the way often give us an out for anyone who, for whatever reason, may not be feeling up to the task of tackling some of the more difficult days.

 

This trek is designed for anyone who wants to get up-close and personal with the Himalaya and can commit to conditioning work (cardio) to make it happen.

Island Peak is a great intro for those of you who are attracted to high mountains but may not have a lot of experience.  All mountaineering gear is available to rent inexpensively in the village of Chukhung near the base of the mountain, saving you a grand or two.  It’s also a real mountain that requires serious commitment with commensurate risks and rewards.  Do your research, give us a call, send us your questions so you can make an informed decision.

 

Contact Your Tour Organizer

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

jerry@skychasersworld.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 September 1, 2018

 

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