Start: Lukla (fly in from Kathmandu) at 2800m
Time: 14 days with acclimatisation (although some groups can go quicker or slower)
Grade: Medium (when doing it in the middle of winter there were some icy and snowy parts but we didn’t need crampons), the real killer for me was the altitude so take it slow if you’re not sure.
Highest Points: Kala Pattar (5545m) and Everest Base Camp (5170m)
This trek was the first trek I had ever done, as well as being the longest. Doing it in the middle of winter (Jan/Feb) was a great experience for me- it was the first time I saw snow and the longest I have been without a shower (the taps were frozen at all the guest houses).
The return hike starts at Lukla at Tenzing-Hillary Airport, named after the first to men that summited the world largest mountain. From here, you meander through villages and ascend 2370m to reach Gorek Shep, the point where you will ascend Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp.
The following is the route that we took, and there were a few acclimatisation days thrown in as well. Each day was about 6 hours trekking (however acclimatsation days were as low as two hours and we did a big eight hour descent on one day).
- Lukla (fly in from Kathmandu) – Phakding
- Phakding – Namche Bazaar
- Namche Bazzar – Tengboche
- Tengboche- Pangboche- Pheriche
- Pheriche- Dugla- Lobuche
- Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Kala Pattar- Gorak Shep
- Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp – Dingboche
- Dinboche-Tengboche-Namche Bazzar
- Namche Bazaar-Lukla
- Lukla – Kathmandu
Highlights of the trek are definitely Namche Bazaar which is often known as ‘the Sherpa capital’ of Nepal. Here you can find Tibetan trader stalls and Sherpa stalls where you can find some great souvenirs. Of course, if you’re carrying your pack, you may wish to rethink your purchases. You may be able to organize for you guesthouse to hold it until your descent. I picked up a handwoven Tibetan rug and was able to leave it in Namche until the easier walk back to Lukla.
If you get the chance, visiting Tengboche (or Thyangboche) Buddhist Monastry is a must. It is the biggest gompa (place of Tibetan Buddhist learning) in the Khumbu region and very well-preserved. Here, in the early hours of the morning you can visit to see the monks pray and chant.
While the trek culminates to reach Everest Base Camp, you actually cannot see the peak from this point. The day prior to reaching base camp, many people hike to the highest point on the trek, Kala Pattar- a fabulous vantage point to see Mount Everest which is even more beautiful at sunset.
Taken from www.himalayanglacier.com (accessed 22/03/2015)