Achieving Everest Base Camp is an adventure that begins with a flight early in the morning from Kathmandu to the mountain corridor of Lukla. Landing conditions are unpredictable at best with low clouds, winds and snow or rain. Knowing this, the roofs of Lukla with their waving prayer flags are a welcome sight and every safe landing is a good landing.
The first two days of walking are along green slopes of pine forest, during which you will cross the flowing Dudh Kosi River more than once on high suspension bridges. This part of the trip is more than just a nature walk, but also a cultural trip. You will pass many stupas and long mani walls consisting of hundreds of stones engraved with the Buddhist prayer “Om Mani Padme Hum.” You will also walk through small villages that grow healthy vegetables, eventually reaching the capital of Sherpa in Namche Bazaar at 11,286 feet. Already at this point you are at an altitude higher than Mount Hood, the highest peak in Oregon.
Namche Bazaar is a large village located in the shadow of Kwongde and Kwongde Ri, two white covered peaks. The weekly market is positively full of life and offers wonderful people to watch. Older women in traditional costumes sit next to vegetable baskets they have been carrying for a few days to sell. men with fur hats throw dried beans and flour from ornate measuring cups. Those who have stronger stomachs may want to enter the meat area to watch the butchers at work. Be careful not to miss the two small museums that contain interesting information about the lifestyle of Serpa and the area of Mount Everest in general.
It’s a good idea to spend the next day after arriving at Namche Bazaar. On that “off” day, consider hiking to the villages of Khunde and Khumding with the exciting combination of old and new. Many mountaineering organizations have provided funding for local development, so you will find a hospital and a school with a modern computer lab that sits in houses outside where laundry is washed on the rocks and the manure blows to dry up the walls for fuel. . But the real highlight of your day will be a visit to the Japanese “Everest View Hotel” which provides a clear view of the world’s highest peak.
On the fourth day you could proceed to Tengboche, which at 12,664 feet is just 115 feet from Montana’s highest mountain, Granite Peak. Tea houses offer a pleasant stay in Tengboche and the view of Mount Everest is awe-inspiring. You will be able to choose the shapes of Ama Dablam and Kangtega, as well as the upcoming volume of Thamsherku. In the afternoon, consider moving from the hypnotic atmosphere outdoors to another incomplete indoor seat in the goba prayer hall as the monks sing.
The 5th day starts early with the sound of gongs and trumpets from the goba and ends at Dingboche 14.107, which is higher than the highest mountains in Wyoming, Nevada and Utah. Here you will be greeted by a stunning view of Nuptse and Lhotse, but Ama Dablam steals the show.
It would not be a bad idea to spend days 6 and 7 here to acclimatize before climbing higher. While here you can climb the nearby top of Chukkung Ri. Just be aware that it rises 18,044 feet above sea level. At the top you will be greeted by a stunning panoramic view, but it can also be seemingly cold. Although it is a bit ambitious for an increase in acclimatization, if you do it the first day you will have a full day of rest before you start again.
In seven days you will climb the ridge above Tughkla where you will meet stone monuments to climbers who were lost in Mount Everest before advancing to Loboche at 16,076 feet.
Finally, the 9th day brings you to the Base Camp during the day, assuming the weather is good. You will start on the rocky path for Gorakshep, waiting for your pace to slow down as you climb. Because you will fall asleep at Gorakshep going back down, you can deposit bags for a lighter climb for the last two hours.
You’ll probably find that from here to Everest Base Camp is the hardest part of the three-hour climb, ending in a part of the glacier. You know how much the environment has changed in recent days from the lush green areas and coniferous forests around Phakding and Namche to this wild void where the only signs of life are some hard birds, yak and other people. Eventually the orange spots in the background turn into tents and then you reach the prayer flags.
The 10th day is when you will have the best picture of Mount Everest. Get up early, very early if you want to see the sun rise over Mount Everest. Walk to the view of Kala Pathar on 18372 feet, which from Gorakshep will probably take you less than 2 hours and is worth it.
The ascent can take 10 long days, but the return takes only 3 or so. Going down most of the way and the abundance of oxygen is constantly increasing the reverse trip can be quite easy. Before you know it, your long journey is over and return to Kathmandu.