Pikey – Lower Everest Trek

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Accommodation: Hotel Lodge (Tea House)

Meals

3 Course Meals

Trip Grade

Moderate

Maximun Altitude

4065m

Attractions

Activity

Trekking & Sightseeing

Overview

Explore the hidden land of Everest region, soak in the beauty of the Himalaya and experience the colorful local culture in the best possible way!

 One of the most beautiful areas and still the least frequented region in Everest is Peekye mountain (4065m). The mountain is considered the patron deity of Golla village, a small Sherpa settlement of about 40 houses scattered over the slope of Peekye (3060m), and dominated by a range of snow-capped mountains Gaurishankar, Karylung, Numbur and Kantega.

The months of March and April are a wonderful time to go for this short Everest trek. The forests then show off their rhododendrons, magnolias, wild orchids and edelweiss in abundance. At this time of year too, a great Sherpa festival Dumje takes place. It’s a communal celebration, in which different families take turns each year to bear the cost of the celebrations. The festival offers a good opportunity to see the monks performing sacred dances (cham) in the monastery courtyards and enjoy the famous Sherpa hospitality. At the end of October or beginning of November another great festival Mani Rimdu takes place in Chiwong monastery in which the monks perform the sacred dance over a period of several days. This impressive off the beaten trek is perfect for those who want to experience Himalayan beauty and culture in quieter trails in relatively lower altitude.

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 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 Boudhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and after that to Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. We 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.

The road goes through rolling hills, typical of Nepali mid hill region. When the weather is good, there are beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains. Jiri is the center of Dolakha district and is inhabited mainly by Jirels and Sherpas.

Today your short Everest trek begins. A 4 hours’ trek through beautiful forests and a number of hamlets bring you to Shivalaya, a small village inhabited by Tamangs and Newars, on the bank of the Shivalaya river.

A few hours climb leads to Deurali, a small hamlet from where one can see DudhKunda Himal, Khatanga, Karylung and Peekye. Then the trail goes down for ½ hour to Bhandar, a Sherpa village with two stupas and a small monastery.

The trail goes down and after 1 hour you arrive at LikhuKhola, a river forming the boundary to Solu-Khumbu district of Sagarmatha zone. On the other side of the river, a good climb of 3 hours leads to Namkhile, from where it is possible to see fine views of Numbur Himal.

From Namkhile, the path is a hard 2 hours climb through a forest of pines and rhododendrons. Golla is a typical Sherpa village, whose inhabitants are mainly farmers. Each household has some cows and dzomo (a cross between a yak and cow).

A stay in the village provides an opportunity to experience the daily life of the people. You can enjoy delicious Sherpa food. Visit the 3 main monasteries of this village and a school run by Peekye Hill social organization. In spring season, a heavenly time to trek in this area, there will be a Dhumje Mask dance festival.

A 4 hours walk through a forest full of rhododendrons leads to the hamlet of Ngaur, situated on the top of a hill. From here, the view towards Gaurishankar and Dudh Kunda Himal is spectacular. Ngaur has six houses and a small monastery. Fifteen minutes from there is a cheese factory, where one can taste and buy cheese made from nak (female yak) and dzomo’s milk.

The trail goes through the pastureland where Sherpas from the Golla area pass the summer with their cattle. The snow-capped mountains can be seen again.

From the top of Peekye, one can see Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and some smaller peaks and at night the lights of Kathmandu valley are visible.

A 3 hours descent leads to Jasa Warnyang, a pass at about 3,800m. From there, you climb 2 hours through pastureland with a good view of Peekye before arriving at Pambuk La, another pass (4000m). After going down 2 hours through a pine and rhododendron forest, you arrive at Takur, a Sherpa village. Half an hour later and you are in the beautiful village of Junbesi.

Thubten Choling Monastery was founded by Trulshi Rinpoche, a high Nyingmapa Lama, after he left Tibet in 1959, following the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Trulshi Rinpoche is one of the most important lamas of the Sherpa people. Five hundred monks and nuns are currently living in Thubten Choling.

Chiwong Monastery is a Nyingmapa monastery built in 1929.The monastery is famous for its sacred dance festival, the Mani Rimdu, which lasts for 3 days and takes place in the 10th Tibetan month (November-December). The aim of Mani Rimdu is to expel negative forces. During the festival, the Sherpas from Solu- Khumbu gather in the courtyard of the monastery. It is an occasion for them not only to witness the ceremony, to make offerings and to earn merit for their next life, but also to meet friends and enjoy good food and drink.

Your Easy Everest trek ends at Phaplu, a small Sherpa town with an airport and a hospital built by Sir Edmund Hillary.

From Phaplu, you take a 30 minute flight to Kathmandu.

This is a contingency day in case of 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.

Our Nepali support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. (Or stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, do some wild-water rafting, a Tibet tour or even mountain biking, etc. please ask us).

General Information

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). However, Peekye Lower 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
Short Everest trekking region 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, momo, 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 Easy 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. Many Tourist class Hotels have money exchange facilities. These days, there are availability of ATMs in Kathmandu.

 

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 people.
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 Monasteries Trek 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 Pangboche (3908m), you don’t have to worry much about communication.

 

FLIGHT / LAND TRANSFERS
The starting point of the Short Everest trekking is Jiri (7/8 hours’ ride from Kathmandu) and ending point of the trek is Phaplu, 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 the Everest trekking, your main luggage will be carried by porter. Please keep your luggage as light as possible around 12 to 15 kgsfor 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, sun-screen 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.

 

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 Easy Everest 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 in Easy Everest trekkingis 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 days 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 Short 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 pax & maximum 20 pax 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 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 the Easy 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-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly 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 (except for GAP trek)
    • Domestic Airfares: Ramechhap/Lukla/Ramechhap 
    • English speaking local expert guide, porters (2 members= 1 porter)
    • 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, communication, laundry, bar bills, internet, camera/mobile battery recharge, hot water/shower on trek, snacks while walking etc.)
    • Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
    • Tips for guide, porters, drivers etc.
    • Personal insurance and medical expenses
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation/rescue due to any unforeseen reasons
    • Anything not mentioned under “Price Includes”

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Terms and Conditions

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your booking of this Pikey Lower 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 easy 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

It is fundamental to acknowledge that short Everest trekking is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which will be decided upon mutual agreement. If you have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: +977-1-4518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.

TRAVEL GUIDE

EVEREST REGION - SOLUKHUMBU

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. Solukhumbu 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 short 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.

 

GAURISHANKAR CONSERVATION AREA PROJECT

Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project (GCA) that encompasses three districts Sidhupalchwok, Dolakha and Ramechhap covers an area of 2,179 sq. km. GCA comprises of 16 vegetation types ranging from lower temperate to alpine. The area has 565 species of plants, 35 species of mammals, 16 species of fishes, 9 species of amphibians, 22 species of reptiles and 235 species of birds. The area connects two important protected areas Sagarmatha National Park and Langtang National Park. Being the home of Khimti, Bhotekoshi, Sunkoshi, and Tamakoshi rivers, the main source of water for some major hydro-power projects in the country, the park is known for its rich water resources. The area is also notable for cultural diversity as various ethnic groups like Tamang, Sherpa, Chhetri, Newar, Gurung, Brahmin, Jirel, Kami, Damai and Sarki following both Hindu and Buddhist religions reside in this area.

 

EVEREST 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. The peak is comparatively more well-viewed during easy Everest Trek than the regular Everest Base Camp trek. 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 short Everest trekking. 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 ImjaTse 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 main land 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 kilometer 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 their trek to Everest Base Campto 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.

Gaurishankar (7134m): Gaurishankar lies in the boundary of Rolwaling and BhoteKoshi Valley in Dolakha district. The mountain consists of two peaks named after Hindu Goddess Gauri, a manifestation of Shakti, and her consort Shankar. These two peaks look like a seated couple with its ice faces dropping down from all sides.

 

PLACES

Jiri:
Early expeditions to climb Everest from the Nepali side started from Jiri. Before the airstrip at Lukla came into existence, all the trekking and climbing expeditions to the Everest region started from Jiri. Starting from Jiri, the route passes through the Sherpa villages of the Solu Khumbu, many of them having beautiful Buddhist monasteries. 

Phaplu:
Phaplu is a small village in the lower Solu Khumbu. It is popular for the only airport of the region which operates flight to Kathmandu 3 to 4 times a week. It lies at an elevation of 2413m from the sea level. Also the starting point of many treks, Phaplu serves as an alternate route for the people who want to enjoy less touristic areas while going to Namche during classic Everest Base Camp trek. 

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 travelers to this region usually begin and end their 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 trekking in Nepal. 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 in the Khumbu region. 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. 

Pangboche:
Buddhism is believed to have been introduced in the Khumbu region towards the end of the 17th century by Lama Sange Dorjee. According to the legend, he flew over the Himalayas and landed on a rock at Pangboche and Tengboche, leaving his footprints embedded on the stone. He is believed to have been responsible for the founding of the first gompas in the Khumbu region, at Pangboche and Thame. Pangboche (3985m) is the highest year-round settlement in the valley. The Imja Khola, coming from the right, joins the Dudh Koshi River a little above the village. The gompa (monastery) in Pangboche is thought to be one of the oldest in the Khumbu region. 

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.

Pheriche:  
Pheriche is located at an altitude of 4252m. It lies on a level patch. Apart from the basic facilities available here, there is a medical-aid post maintained by the Himalayan Rescue Association of the Tokyo Medical College with Japanese doctors in attendance. Among other facilities, there is an air compression chamber installed for assisting victims of high altitude sickness. 

Thame:
Thame, known as the home of legendary mountaineers, is situated on the salt trading route that existed between Tibet, Nepal and India. Apa Sherpa, who has the world record of summiting Everest 21 times, Kami Rita Sherpa who climbed the mountain 24 times and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, one of the first summiteers to climb Mt Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary, were born in this village. The village is also famous for Thame monastery, one of the oldest in the whole Khumbu region, and the proud site for the annual Mani Rimdu festival.

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 Himalayan mountaineering and trekking in Nepal that any climbers can rarely imagine climbing Himalayan peaks 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 participate 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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