A Week Below Everest

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Accommodation: Hotel and Lodge (Tea house)

Meals

3 Course Meals

Trip Grade

Soft Adventure Trek / Best Trek For Beginners

Maximun Altitude

3864M.

Attractions

Witness the world's most renowned mountains

Discover the world's highest national park.

Learn about Sherpa culture, villages, and climbing culture.

Activity

Trekking & Sightseeing

Overview

A superb introduction to trekking in Nepal in which you visit fascinating Sherpa villages, explore world-renowned monasteries and meet majestic mountains in a shorter and relaxed time frame! 

This scenic Everest short trek through the river valley of Dudh Koshi takes you through the traditional Sherpa villages of Namche, Khumjung and Khunde and brings you to the ever- so-mystical monasteries at Tengboche and Pangboche.

Starting from Lukla, this Everest short trekking traverses through the friendly Sherpa villages to reach Namche, a wondrous hub of Himalayan culture. You will be amazed to observe how lively life tends to be in this extremely quiet and spiritual side of the world. Then you head towards Khumjung passing through the intricately carved mani stone walls at its entrance. Enjoying the magnificent views of Mt Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8501m), Nuptse (7879m), Ama Dablam (6856m), Thamserku (6608m) and Kantega (6685m), you will arrive at the iconic monastery of Tengboche set high on an inclined ridge, commanding some of the most spectacular views in the area.

After enjoying one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes below the highest mountains on Earth, you will retrace your journey along the exceptional trail bedecked with natural wonders. While returning, lookout for the huge lammergeyers, with a 2 to 3m wingspan, circling on the up draughts, the proud Thar, the Himalayan Mountain goat silhouetted on a high ridgeline looking out for greener pastures or the strange musk deer, shyly scurrying through the undergrowth, which you might have missed while going up. Once you reach Lukla, this mesmerizing Everest short trek will come to an end and you fly out from this land of mountains with loads of memories and stories.

Itinerary

It’s a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. And as your plane lands at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, our waiting support team will meet and greet you at the arrivals and escort you to your hotel.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Boudhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and after that to Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. You take a tour to Patan also called as Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. You walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square.

Early morning you will be transferred to Ramechhap airport to catch the Lukla flight. A scenic flight of 15 minutes from Ramechhap brings us to Lukla airport, a cliff-hanging airport in Khumbu from where your Everest trekking begins. After meeting the crew, you head up the Dudhkoshi Valley on a well-marked trail and then stay overnight in Phakding.

From Phakding, you cross and re-cross the river on high suspension bridges. Beyond Monjo is the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment. You then take a steep hike to Namche, one of the most important stopovers of the trekking in Nepal. If the weather is clear, you get the first glimpse of Mt Everest from Topdada on the way. Namche is the main trading village in Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market - a meeting place for the locals and the people from neighboring vicinity.

Ascending from Namche Bazaar, you pass the airstrip at Syangboche. From there, following the magnificent views of the valley and Everest, you walk to the picturesque village of Khumjung via Kunde where you can visit a famous hospital built by Sir Edmund Hillary, an important center of health care in the region. Both Kunde and Khumjung villages are nestled on the lap of Mount Khumbila, the patron deity of Khumbu region. Khumjung is known for its monastery which houses the famous yeti scalp.

Heading east, you pass a magnificent mani wall near the gate of Khumjung village. The wall considered to be the longest one not just in the region but in the whole world. Then after walking on a flat trail for some time, you slowly descend to Phunki Tenga passing Phortse village. At Phunki Tenga, you cross Imja river. The trail then ascends through a forest of pine and rhododendron, before arriving at Tengboche Monastery, one of the most remarkable monasteries you visit during the Everest trek. The views here are truly awesome, from the beautiful Ama Dablam to Lhotse and Everest at the head of the valley. The monastery has been rebuilt since a tragic fire in 1989 destroyed it. The monastery is well worth a visit.

You descend downhill through a forest, cross the Imja Khola and climb steadily to the village of Pangboche. This village is directly opposite Ama Dablam (6,812 m), and has exceptional views of the mountain, with the monastery, mani walls and scattered pine trees in the foreground. The monastery in Pangboche is one of the oldest of the region. It houses interesting relics including a yeti scalp. After exploring the monastery and the village, you return back to Tengboche.

From Tengboche, you head back down through the forest to Phunki Tenga which has large water-driven prayer wheels. With Everest and Lhotse receding at the distance, you make your way back down to Namche. As you approach Namche, you will be welcomed by the closer views of Thamserku and Kondge peaks once again.

Bidding farewell to Namche, you continue down the valley along Dudh Koshi river to reach Lukla This last evening in the mountains presents an ideal opportunity for a farewell party with the Sherpa guides and porters. You get to sample chang (local beer), try some Sherpa dance steps and end the trek on a merry note.

As your trek has concluded, you pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop a flight back to Ramechhap. And you will be transferred to Kathmandu by the private vehicle. The rest of your day is free to do your own things. You could do some last-minute shopping and packing, or even go down for a stroll in Thamel, an internationally known hub for tourists in Asia.

This is a contingency day in case of Lukla flight delays. If you have free time, you can let go the strains of trekking in the Himalaya. You can explore around the Heritage sites in the city, stroll down the streets of Thamel for local cultural experience, visit nearby monasteries, relax at a nearby spa centers or do some souvenir haunting in the local bazaar.

The Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. If you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as jungle safari at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking etc.

General Information

TRIP GRADE: Soft Adventure (Easy)
Easy Everest short trek going right into high mountain country! Physically not very tiring, involves approx 5-6 hours trekking along well marked trail up to 3864m altitude. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercises and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions. 

 

TREKKING TYPES
Trekking in Nepal is categorized in three different types based on their way of organization (Camping Trek, Tea House Trek and GAP Trek). A Week Below Everest Trek is organized in two ways (Tea House Trek and GAP Trek) due to the abundance of accommodation facilities available in the region.

  1. Tea House Trek: This trek includes services like guide, food, accommodation in local Tea Houses and porters.
  2. GAP Trek: This trek includes services like Guide (G), Accommodation (A) in the Tea Houses, and Porters (P). Food bills are to be paid directly by the client.

 

ACCOMMODATION
Everest trekking doesn’t need tremendous logistics in terms of accommodation as you will find plenty of clean and friendly lodges along the trail. You often have to share rooms but you can also stay in single rooms where possible. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. A few have electric blanket, hot bags (luxury lodges) and all have a spacious dining room-lounge. We will accommodate you and your group in a comfortable local lodge each day. The Guide coordinates with the local lodge owners and a porter is sent ahead to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot always be booked in advance).
Please remember that some of them are very basic and a sense of adventure is necessary. It is cheaper to stay in lodge rather than organizing a camping trek.

 

FOOD
Lodge Trek: Meals are included in our price and are taken in lodges available along the trail. You can find a considerable variety of Nepali (rice, curry & lentil, mo:mo, noodles, chapatis etc.) and Western food (pizza, pasta, sandwich, chips, porridge, toast, pancake, soup etc.) as well as drinks (coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer). The Guide suggests you the best option as per the availability.

GAP Trek: You will have to make your own eating arrangements in the lodges available along the trail. Expect to spend around $25-$30 a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.

 

WATER
On GAP trek and Lodge trek, you will be provided filtered water about 3-4 liters per person per day. The good thing about such water is it doesn’t smell chlorine. We normally use Sawyer Filters. However, you can also buy bottled water in tea houses. You can also bring water purification pills in case you want to drink water from local taps.

 

PERSONAL EXPENSES – MONEY TO TAKE ON TREK
Money requirement depends largely on type of trek style, duration and trekking region.
For a two-week Everest trek, you can take about $200-$300, more if you intend to get more table drinks (alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas), souvenirs, battery charge, internet, hot shower (available in some places) etc. If you are on ‘GAP’ trek style you need to pay for all your meals. Approximately $25-$30 a day should be enough to cover your meals. We pay for your accommodation at mountain hut (tea house) along the trail and bear all the expenses of staffs assigned by us, plus extra bar bills, snacks, hot shower, battery charge, internet etc.

 

CHANGING MONEY
You can change money at a Bank or the money exchange counter in cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. Many Tourist class Hotels have money exchange facilities. For Trekking, there are Banks and exchange counters at major Tourist hubs like Namche and Lukla. These days, there are availability of ATMs everywhere in Kathmandu and some in Lukla and Namche.

 

TIPS
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the completion of your trekking in Nepal. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips. It is recommended that you talk to the members and hand it over individually as per the hierarchy on the last day of the trek.

 

GROUP SIZE ON FIXED DEPARTURE
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2 pax and the maximum is 15 pax.
For a Private Booking, any number size from 1 pax to 20 pax is acceptable and can be comfortably organized. We go for special planning for handling group size bigger than 20 pax.

 

GROUP LEADER AND CREW
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. We provide 1 porter for 2 members.

 

COMMUNICATION
Communication during Everest Trekking is not challenging but there are certain things to be considered. For using internet, Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You have to pay extra charge for this service about $5 (per stay) up to Namche though you can’t be really sure about signal strength. Beyond Namche, teahouses normally don’t have WiFi facility. A better option is to use Everest Link network which works throughout the region. It has better connectivity and faster speed. You can buy the data package at approximately $10 (1GB) and $5 (512 MB) valid for 30 days. You can also use local service provider (both for internet and mobile network) but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request). As this Everest short trek doesn’t go beyond Tenngboche (3864m), you don’t have to worry much about communication.

 

FLIGHT / LAND TRANSFERS
The starting and ending point of this Everest Trek is Lukla, which is connected by a 30 mins’ flight from Kathmandu. We will arrange flight and airport pick up and drop transfers as per the itinerary.

 

LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING
During Everest trekking, your main luggage will be carried by porter. Please keep your luggage as light as possible around 12 to 15 kgs for flight safety and porter welfare as per IPPG standard. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket etc. You can leave your valuable items at your hotel in Kathmandu while trekking. Many hotels have a locker system and provide a deposit slip for the valuables kept under the hotel’s safekeeping.

 

TYPICAL DAY ON TREK
Lodge/ Tea House Trek, GAP Trek
A typical day while trekking in Nepal consists of about 7-8 hours of activity. Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day’s walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day’s adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.

 

TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT
You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sunscreen and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipment will be provided once you book your trip. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.

 

GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU
There are numerous suppliers of trekking gears in Kathmandu supplying genuine branded items or imitations depending on your choice and price. You can get anything from down jackets and sleeping bags to socks or thermal wears that you need for your trek. They might not be the best but good enough for the trek considering the price.

 

EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY COMPANY
We provide company duffle bag (80L) to use on the trek. You can store your bag in your hotel and use it after the trek.

 

TREK SECURITY
Security of our clients is our foremost priority. All our guides are licensed by Nepal Government. Our guides and support crew are carefully chosen for your trips. They will ensure your safety and security throughout your trip. During your trek, you will be sleeping in local teahouses. You have to take precautions yourself at all times. Never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.

 

MEETING AND GREETING AT AIRPORT
 You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass the customs desk and come out of the terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.

 

TREK DURATION
We ensure liability as indicated in itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay for hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.

 

CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO
The best seasons for trekking in Nepal are Autumn (from mid-September till November end), and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights are cold (between -10 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon and winter is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited, upper parts and high passes could be covered with snow in winter. March, April, October and November are the most favored months. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.

 

ITINERARY CHANGES
The itinerary for this trek is a standard itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation while on trek, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.

 

HEALTH ISSUES AND VACCINATIONS
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio. The main health consideration during Everest Trekking is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and handle the low oxygen rate.

If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.

 

FIRST AID KIT
We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors and a user’s manual. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have.

 

VISA
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. You can also get “On Arrival Visa” at entry points. For doing Everest Base Camp Trek, you can come with a 30 day visa which costs US $ 50. You should have a passport size photo to get it at airport upon arrival. Some countries’ nationals need to get visa prior their arrival. Please check http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa for detailed information.

 

JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this Everest Trek, please check our ‘Fixed Departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues, you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 20 at a time). If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list, we are ready to tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to meet your needs.

 

RESCUE / EVACUATIONS
We take your safety and security very seriously, and make sure that nothing untoward happen to you. However, if anything serious like sickness or a casualty occurs, we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. As you are responsible for all the expenses incurred in evacuation, please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it.

 

INSURANCE
Before joining this short Everest Trekking, we recommend you take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation. Our staff will collect your insurance details before you leave for the trek.

 

RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL
We are among the few companies in Nepal to receive Travelife Certificate Award https://www.travelife.info for our long-term efforts in sustainable practices.

1.Care for porters and staffs

We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions during Everest treks are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. All our porters carry less than 30 kg and underage porters are strictly prohibited in our operations. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG – www.ippg.net).

2.Environmental Responsibility
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible. As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have campfires and use LPG gas or kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We don’t use plastic bottles. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fueled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far eco-friendlier alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. Our staff carry garbage bag with them all the time and collect our garbage and other litters they find on trail, and dispose them on the designated area. We also volunteer to bring garbage down to Lukla while returning back.  Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.

3.Social Responsibility
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agro practices and culture preservation. A certain amount of your trip money goes to these projects. For more details on our CSR initiatives, please visit https://www.explorehimalaya.com/csr/

    The Trip Cost Includes
    • Lodge trek with guide, accommodation & porters (Standard rooms on twin sharing)
    • All meals during Tea House Trek only
    • English speaking local expert guide, porters (2 members= 1 porter)
    • Domestic Airfares: Ramechhap/Lukla/Ramechhap
    • Sagarmatha National Park fees
    • Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality entrance fee (Khumbu VDC)
    • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Kathmandu on twin sharing with breakfast
    • Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with English speaking local guide
    • Entrance fees to sightseeing monuments
    • Airport transfers and tour transfers in private vehicle
    • Insurance for all staff & porters
    • Equipment & clothing for all staff & porters
    • First aid kit bag (carried by guide)

    The Trip Cost Excludes
    • Nepal visa fees
    • International flight and airport taxes
    • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
    • Personal expenses (like, laundry, bar bills, internet, camera/mobile battery recharge, hot water/shower on trek, extra meals, snacks while walking etc.)
    • Personal gears & clothing
    • Tips for guide, porters, drivers, local staff etc.
    • Personal insurance and medical expenses
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/rescue due to any unforeseen reasons
    • Any other services other than mentioned under “Price Includes”

Pay Now

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your booking of this A Below Everest Trek will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of $500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract. The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel your booking, the following scale of charges will apply: > 2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500) > 29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost > 10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost > Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost

TRIP EXTENSIONS

In addition to your Everest Trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan etc. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you.

DISCLAIMER

All facts on this content are based on the best knowledge of our Company staffs or the writer whoever is involved in preparing this Information Dossier. For any alteration on this content due to change in situation, delays in updating and human errors from whoever is involved, Company shall not be held responsible to any liability, and it is advised that any specific issues of your interest be reconfirmed separately with our correspondence desk. If you have any questions regarding Everest region, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: +977-1-4518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. 

EVEREST REGION

SOLU KHUMBU
The Everest or Solu Khumbu region lies in the eastern part of Nepal. Inhabited by the mountain people who have lived in harmony with their surroundings for hundreds of years, the Solu Khumbu region has still retained its age-old practices. The region has some of the world’s tallest peaks including Everest (8848m). This region, along with Annapurna region, is ranked as one of the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal. The villages and places lying in this region are situated above 2000m. Solu at the south includes villages like Junbesi, Phaplu and Chiwong. Pharak is situated between Solu and Khumbu. Khumbu includes villages named Namche, Thame, Khumjung, Lobuche, Pangboche, Tengboche etc. The major mountains are Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Nuptse, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kantega, Mera Peak, Island Peak etc.

 

 

CLIMATE, FLORA & FAUNA

The climate you experience during Everest Trek can be divided into four climate zones owing to the gradual rise in altitude. The climatic zones include a forested lower zone, a zone of alpine scrub, the upper alpine zone which includes upper limit of vegetation growth, and the Arctic zone where no plants can grow. The types of plants and animals that are found depend on the altitude. In the lower forested zone, birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo and rhododendron are found. All vegetation that is found above this zone is shrubs. As the altitude increases, plant life is restricted to lichens and mosses. At an elevation of 5,750m begins the permanent snow line in the Himalayas. From this point there is no sign of greenery or vegetation. A common animal sighted in the higher reaches is the hairy animal yak. Dzokyo a sterile male crossbreed between a yak and a cow is used to move goods along the trail. Red panda, snow leopard, musk deer, wild yak, and Himalayan black bear are some of the exotic animals that are found in this region. A variety of birds can be sighted in the lower regions.

 

PEAKS

Mt. Everest- Rising to the height of 8848m, the world’s highest mountain was named in 1865 after Sir George Everest. The mountain got its Nepali name Sagarmatha during 1960s, when the Government of Nepal gave the mountain the official Nepali name. In Sanskrit Sagarmatha means “Head of the Sky”. The Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma or Qomolangma, which means “Goddess Mother of the Snows”. Climbers wishing to scale the peak have to obtain an expensive permit from the Nepal Government. More information on royalty can be found at https://www.tourismdepartment.gov.np/mountaineering-royalty. Everest Base Camp, which serves as a resting area and base of operations for climbers organizing their attempts for the summit, is located at the Khumbu glacier at an elevation of 5364 m (17,600 ft). It receives an average of 450 mm (18 in) of precipitation a year. The climate of Mount Everest is extreme. In July, the warmest month, the average summit temperature is -19° C (-2° F).

George Mallory, a famous British adventurer, was one of the first climbers to attempt Everest. When he was asked why he wanted to climb Everest, he replied ‘Because it is there’- the line has become immortal in the history of Everest expedition. After two unsuccessful attempts, in 1924 he again tried to climb the peak with Andrew Irvine. They started on June 8, 1924, to scale the summit via the North Col route and never returned. The Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition later discovered their bodies near the old Chinese Camp in 1999. Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal were the first two climbers to set foot on the summit of Mt. Everest. They reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, by climbing through the South Col Route. More than 5000 climbers have scaled the highest mountain since then. Also there have been more than 300 deaths on the mountain where conditions are so difficult that most corpses have been left where they fell. Some of them are visible from the standard climbing routes.

Mt. Lhotse (8516m) is the fourth highest mountain in the world. It lies south of Mt. Everest. Two Swiss climbers F. Luchsinger and E. Reiss first climbed it in 1956 from the West face. Czech expedition led by Ivan Galfy scaled it via the South face in 1984. An impressive ring of three peaks makes up the Lhotse massif: Lhotse East or Middle, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar. The South Face of Lhotse is one of the largest mountain faces in the world.

Cho Oyu (8201m) the sixth highest mountain in the world, has gained popularity among climbers just recently. The mountain sits on both sides of the border of Nepal and Tibet, about 30 km. west of Mount Everest. Cho Oyu in Tibetan means “the turquoise goddess.” The south face of Cho Oyu, facing Nepal, is quite steep and difficult, and is rarely climbed. The north side, accessed from Tibet, is more moderate, and there is a relatively safer route to the summit. In the autumn of 1954, an Austrian team made the first ascent via this route.

Ama Dablam (6856m) which means ‘mother’s jewelry box’, in Sherpa language is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. It looks like a woman with outstretched arms or a woman wearing a long necklace. The mountain dominates the whole Everest Base Camp trek. Ama Dablam lies alongside Everest in the heart of the Khumbu Valley. Mt Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Cho Oyu and Mt. Everest can be seen at close quarters from Ama Dablam.

Nuptse (7855m) lies southwest of Mt Everest. It is situated in the Khumbu Himal. From the Tengboche Monastery, one of the iconic monasteries in Everest trek Nuptse appears as a massive wall guarding the approach to Everest. The name Nup-tse in Tibetan means west peak. The main ridge, which is separated from Lhotse by a 7556m high saddle, is crowned by seven peaks and goes west-northwest until its steep west-face drops down more than 2300m to the Khumbu-glacier. Nuptse I was first summited by a British expedition on May 16, 1961.

Pumori Peak (7145m) is just 8 km away from the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest. The magnificent view of the peak dominates the trail as you near Everest Base Camp. The ascent to this peak is described as a classic climb in the 7000m peak category. In Tibetan, ‘Pumo’ means girl and ‘Ri’, mountain. George Mallory, the famous English climber who lost his life trying to ascend Everest in 1924, named the peak. The German climber Gerhard Lenser was the first to reach the summit of Pumori in 1962. Pumori is a popular climbing peak. The best season to climb this peak is during autumn and spring.

Mera Peak (6475m) is the highest of Nepal’s trekking peaks. By its standard route, it is also the highest peak in Nepal that can be climbed without prior mountaineering experience. J.O.M. Roberts and Sen Tenzing first climbed it on 20 May 1953, from the standard route at Mera La. The mountain lies to the south of Everest, dominating the watershed between the wild and beautiful valleys of the Hinku and Hongu.

Island Peak (6160m) also known as Imja Tse was named by Erick Shipton’s group in 1953. It was so named as the peak resembles an island in a sea of ice when observed from Dingboche. A British group as preparation for climbing Mt. Everest first climbed the peak in 1953. Among them one of the climbers was Mr. Tenzing Norgay. The peak is part of the south ridge of Lhotse Shar and the mainland forms a semicircle of cliffs that rise to the north of the summits of Nuptse, Lhotse, Middle Peak and Lhotse Shar. Cho Oyu and Makalu lie to the east of the Island Peak. Baruntse, Amphu and Ama Dablam lie to the south.

Lobuche (6119m) is known as Lhauche among the locals. It rises above the town of Lobuche which is just a few kilometers from Mt. Everest. Laurice Nielson and Ang Gyalzen Sherpa did the first ascent on this peak on 25 April 1984.

Kala Patthar is a small mountain 5545 m (18,500 ft) high on the southern flank of Pumori (7145 m). It is a trekking peak and every year tourists climb this peak during Everest Base Camp Trek to enjoy the fantastic panoramic views it offers of the Khumbu glacier, Everest and nearby peaks like Lhotse and Nuptse. To the east, Makalu, Ama Dablam, Pumori, and Cho Oyu are visible.

 

SAGARMATHA NATIONAL PARK

Sagarmatha National Park is the highest national park in the world. It was formally opened to public in July 19, 1976. The park covers an area of 1,148 sq km. It rises from its lowest point of 2845 m (9335 ft) at Jorsale to 8848m (29,029 ft) up to the summit of Everest. The park’s area is very rugged and steep, with its terrain cut by deep rivers and glaciers. It includes three peaks higher than 8000 m – Mt Everest, Lhotse and Cho Oyu. In 1979 the park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s visitor center is located at a hill in Namche Bazaar, the fabled town of Everest trekking. The park’s southern entrance is a few hundred meters north of Monjo at 2835m. Sagarmatha Pollution Control, funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the Himalayan Trust, was established in 1991 to help preserve Everest’s environment. About a hundred species of birds and more than twenty species of butterflies have made this park their home. Musk deer, wild yak, red panda, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan thars, deer, langur monkeys, hares, mountain foxes, martens, and Himalayan wolves are found in the park.

 

 

 

PLACES

Lukla: Lukla, a popular town in Khumbu, boasts of the region’s sole commercial airport. Lying at a height of 2800m, the town is known as the gateway of Everest treks as most trekkers usually begin and end their Everest adventure in Lukla. The airport was built in 1964 by Sir Edmund Hillary as part of his project in Khumbu region during the early 60s to transport the supplies for the Himalayan Trust projects in the Khumbu region. Today, somewhere between 90-95% of the foreign nationals who reach Lukla, arrive by a half hour flight from Kathmandu.

Namche Bazaar: Namche Bazaar is known as the Sherpa capital. It is a famous center for everyone doing Everest trekking. Namche is actually a town lying at the junction of the Dudh Koshi and a valley that leads to the frontier pass of Nangpa La. It is tucked away in a niche at a height of 3450m. W. H. Tilman and C. Houston were the first westerners to enter it in 1950 and many more have come since then. Facilities like a bank, a post office, hotels and shops where one can purchase climbing equipment as well as canned food have sprung up over the years. Namche Bazaar is the major regional trading center. Its Saturday market or haat is the place where most of the trading takes place. The headquarters of the Sagarmatha National Park is located in Namche.

Tengboche: Tengboche (3860m) is famous for Tengboche monastery. It is one of the most important centers of Buddhism in the region. The gompa is the largest one you see during your Everest trek. It was first built in 1923. Destroyed by a fire in 1989, it was rebuilt later on partly with foreign aid. From Tengboche, one gets a panoramic view of Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Amadablam, Kangtenga, and Thamserku.

Khumjung: Khumjung (3790 m), a village lying west of Tengboche, is famous for the gompa where the skull of a supposed Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, is preserved under the supervision of the head Lama. The skull seems more like the outer skin of Himalayan Brown Bear, and this is proved by the report of a scientific exploratory expedition conducted by Sir Edmund Hillary, a copy of which is kept in the gompa.

 

 

 

PEOPLE

 Sherpas live in the upper regions of Solu Khumbu, the area that largely fall in Everest trekking trail. They emigrated from Tibet about 600 years ago. In the past they were traders and porters, carrying butter, meat, rice, sugar, and dye from India; and wool, jewelry, salt, Chinese silk and porcelain from Tibet and beyond. The closure of the border between India and China undermined their economy. Fortunately, with the mountaineering expeditions and trekkers, the Sherpa’s found their load carrying skills, both on normal treks and high altitudes in great demand. Now, these able bodied, hardy and fearless Sherpa are world class climbers known for their amazing climbing prowess. They are such an inseparable part of mountaineering and trekking in Nepal that any climbers and trekkers can rarely imagine doing a Himalayan adventure without their support.

At the lower elevations lives the Kiranti Rai. The villages of Jubing, Kharikhola, Okhaldhunga, are inhabited by the Rais. Of mongoloid stock, they speak their own dialect. Reference of their fighting spirit is made in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The people from this group have supplied recruits to Gurkha regiments both in the British as well as Indian armies. The Rais follow a religion that is partly animistic with some Hindu influence. They revere their ancestors by observing Kul or Pitri puja every year. The Jirels live in the area around Jiri. They are mongoloid and follow Buddhism.

 

 

FESTIVALS

Lhosar is celebrated in the month of February by the Sherpas. ‘Lhosar’ means New Year in Sherpa language. Apart from the Sherpas and Tibetans, the Gurungs and Tamangs also celebrate Lhosar. Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity at monasteries. People exchange various goods and gifts among them. Families organize feasts and perform dances.

Dumje is celebrated to mark the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava).The celebration takes place in June and lasts for six days. It is celebrated in a grand way in the villages of Namche, Thame and Khumjung, all important stopovers during Everest trekking.

Mani Rimdu is a festival that celebrates the victory of Buddhism over the ancient animistic religion of Bon. This festival is celebrated in the monasteries of Tengboche, Chiwang and Thame. At Tengboche, the most iconic monastery of the Everest trek, the celebration takes place during the November- December full moon. At Thame, Mani Rimdu is celebrated during full moon in May. Chiwang Gompa generally celebrates this festival during autumn. The Lamas wear elaborate brocade gowns and masks while performing. Through the dances, symbolic demons are conquered, dispelled, or converted to Dharma Protectors as positive forces clash with those of chaos. The dances convey Buddhist teaching on many levels from the simplest to the most profound, for those who do not have the opportunity to study and meditate extensively. It gives an opportunity to the Sherpas to gather and celebrate together with the monks.

Sakela (Chandi Dance) is a harvest festival celebrated by the Rai community. The harvest ceremony involves the worship of mother earth, called ‘Bhumi-Puja’. The festival is celebrated twice a year, once in spring before planting begins and once during autumn before harvesting.  Ubhauli is celebrated during the spring season on Baishakh Purnima. In the autumn season on Mangsir Purnima, Udhauli is celebrated. The spring worship is done to propitiate mother earth for a good harvest and the rain god to bless the earth with enough rain. The festival is celebrated with more fervor in the remote hills. The Rai villagers celebrate it with priests (dhami) who perform rituals to worship their ancestors. The elders of the community begin the dance with a puja. Later on everybody participates in the dance forming a circle by holding each other’s hands. With drumbeats, they begin dancing at a slow pace but moves faster later with the drumbeats. The dance steps and hand gestures imitate the sowing and harvesting of crops. The festival also provides an opportunity for the Rai people to socialize.

 

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Anuj Pandey

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