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Everest Base Camp & Gokyo, Nepal

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Exploring the Himalaya's is one of the most unique and surreal experiences you can do anywhere in the world. It involves trekking through some of the most stunning natural landscapes, pushing your limits, and immersing yourself in the unique culture of the Sherpa people. It's an adventure that will literally take your breath away!

We combined the trek to Everest Base Camp with the relatively unexplored wonders of the Gokyo Valley via the Cho La Pass, ending with an incredible helicopter flight.

Day 1: Fly to Lukla (2,860m/9,383ft) then Trek to Phakding (2,610m/8,563ft)

The journey began in Kathmandu where we explored the city, and gathered all the gear for the trip. A 5 hour, 2:00am bus to Ramechhap Airport was an adventure in itself and was the gateway to flying into what is regarded by many as the most dangerous airport in the world at Lukla.

Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport, is considered dangerous due to its challenging terrain, including a short and inclined runway in the Himalayas, unpredictable weather with low visibility and strong winds, limited instrumentation, high altitude, and a challenging approach through narrow valleys. The airport's remote location and lack of emergency landing options further add to its risks. Despite these dangers, Lukla Airport remains a crucial gateway for trekkers and climbers heading to the Everest region.

The flight to Lukla was spectacular, allowing us to get a clear perspective of the un-matched scale of the Himalayas, before the trek started. After landing in Lukla, we ate some lunch and discussed the trip ahead with our friendly guide Surya and porter, Kedar. They had a wealth of experience and navigated us throughout the journey with some intriguing stories of the region.

After briefly exploring Lukla, we began the trek, stepping into the heart of the Khumbu region, also known as the “land of the Sherpas.” From Lukla, we began trekking towards the Cheplung Village, from where we had a clear view of Mount Khumbila. The trail wound its way along the Dudh Koshi River through green forests and across charming suspension bridges to the village of Phakding, a picturesque village with delightful views of distant snow-capped peaks. It's a relatively tame start in terms of the altitude and physical requirements meaning we could just soak in the beauty of the area.


Day 2-3: Phakding (2,610m/8,563ft)- Namche Bazaar (3,441m/11,286ft) and Acclimatization

We continued our trek, crossing the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge and entering the Sagarmatha National Park. As we gained elevation, the air became crisper, and the landscape transitioned into dense rhododendron and pine forests. The park is riddled with Blue Pine, Birch and Juniper Berries that are home to many endangered species of animals like Himalayan Tahrs, Langur Monkeys, the Musk deer, and Himalayan Black Bears.

We passed through several small villages including Jorsale and Monjo to the vibrant Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar welcomed us with its colourful markets, prayer flags, and stunning views of Everest, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku. Taking a day to acclimatize in Namche was essential for our successful journey ahead. We explored the town, visited the Sherpa Museum, and hiked to the Everest View Hotel (the highest in the world) for spectacular panoramic vistas of Mt Everest and other Khumbu Mountains.


Day 4: Namche Bazaar (3,441m/11,286ft) - Tengboche (3,870m/12,694ft)

Leaving Namche behind, we trekked towards Tengboche, which firstly opens out towards the Dudh Kosi Valley at the settlement of Phungki Thanka. From the settlement, the views of Mount Everest were spectacular. The trail marches along the right side of the Dudh Koshi River, surrounded by tall hills covered in rhododendron trees, and upwards to the village of Tengboche, home to the famed Tengboche Monastery, stood majestically against the backdrop of Ama Dablam. The Tengboche Monastery is regarded as the spiritual hub of the Khumbu region by Buddhists and is surrounded by forests that are inhabited by Impeyan Pheasants and eagles. The monastery is a hamlet from where amazing views are possible of Mount Ama Dablam, Mount Everest, and other peaks.


Day 5: Tengboche (3,870m/12,694ft) - Dingboche (4,360m/14,300ft)

After an early start, we made our way towards Dingboche, where the landscape undergoes a captivating transformation. The trail crossed the Imja River via a suspension bridge, meandering through lush rhododendron forests, quaint Sherpa settlements such as Pangboche, and by terraced fields, offering insights into the local way of life.

The soaring peaks and cascading waterfalls provide a dramatic backdrop to this Himalayan paradise. We arrived at Dingboche, also known as the "Summer Valley." Surrounded by fields of barley and potatoes. It's a charming village with a captivating contrast to the rugged terrain surrounding it. The view of Ama Dablam from Dingboche is mesmerizing, making it a perfect spot to relax, rejuvenate, and appreciate the stunning beauty of the Himalayas.


Day 6: Acclimatization Day in Dingboche (4,360m/14,300ft) & Hike to Nagarjuna Peak (5100 meters/167324ft)

Another day of acclimatization in Dingboche allowed us to explore further and experience the local culture. We hiked to Nagarjun Hill and marvelled at the panoramic Himalayan vista over the Chhukung valley. We anticipated that acclimatization days would be somewhat restful, however it was quite the opposite! The 5,100m altitude was a real test, making it challenging to breathe and lead to a pretty severe headache the next day.


Day 7: Dingboche (4,360m/14,300ft) - Lobuche (4,940m/16,207ft)

After fuelling up on oats and eggs, we set off towards Lobuche, where the landscape became more rugged, barren and dramatic. We stopped for lunch at Pheriche at 4210 meters and continued on to Chupki Lhara, a rock-strewn oblique from where we had a 360-degree view of the Everest Himalaya. From there we followed the trail down towards the stunning Khumbu Glacier moraine.

Thanks to the stunning weather, we were able to enjoy views of massive mountain peaks such as Khumbutse, the Mahalangur Himal, Lingtren and the Pumori, which were all visible from the moraine. Mount Nuptse was also visible once we passed the glacier. A challenging yet stunning day, we reached Lobuche which is based at an altitude of 4,940.


Day 8: Lobuche (4,940m/16,207ft) - Everest Base Camp (5,364m/17,594ft) - Gorak Shep (5,164 metres (16,942 ft)

The highlight of our trek had finally arrived. We embarked on an even more challenging trek to Gorak Shep, a tranquil village dotted with some lodges, and the last settlement before Everest Base Camp which sits an altitude of 5,164m. Gorak Shep is a frozen lakebed covered with sand and surrounded by the Everest Mountains.


Upon reaching Gorak Shep, we continued our ascent alongside the mighty Khumbu Glacier to the legendary Everest Base Camp. With prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and the sheer presence of the mighty Everest made this moment truly unforgettable. Standing at the base camp, we felt a deep sense of admiration for the courageous climbers who venture forth to conquer the world's highest peak. A moment we'll never forget.


Day 9: Gorak Shep (5,164 metres (16,942 ft) - Dzongla (4,830 metres (15,850 ft)
Sleeping at 5,164 metres was a challenge! Dipping below -10c degrees whilst sleeping meant our water bladders froze, the bucket of water for the toilet froze and we almost froze! Despite low appetites and splitting headaches, we pushed on, taking comfort in the fact that each night from now would be at a lower altitude.

With our backpacks loaded, we left Gorak Shep behind and trekked towards the enchanting Gokyo Valley, a hidden gem of the Khumbu region. The trail led us through rugged terrain, glacial moraines, icy streams and serene high-altitude lakes, each step bringing us closer to the elusive Dzongla. We traversed primarily rocky paths while being enveloped by the tranquillity of the Himalayan wilderness. A much quieter trail, the silence is almost deafening, broken only by the occasional sound of our footsteps and the distant echoes of avalanches from the towering peaks nearby.

The small village of Dzongla is nestled in a valley, surrounded by towering peaks with a peaceful ambiance. Another breathtaking day, followed by some well-earned hot ginger tea and sherpa stew to re-energize.


Day 10: Dzongla (4,830 metres (15,850 ft) - Dragnak/Thangnak Via Cho La Pass (5,420 meters (17,782 feet)
After un-freezing our water bladders once more, we set-off on one of the most challenging days yet, tackling the Cho La Pass. The trail ascended through rocky terrain, gradually gaining in altitude. Cho La Pass is one of the most extreme mountain passes in the region reaching an elevation of 5,420 meters and requires navigating on a glacier. It stands as a gateway between the Gokyo Valley and the Everest Base Camp region.

The ascent was steep, however the conditions were great and the effort was well worth it! The sweeping panoramas of glacial lakes, hanging glaciers, and the mesmerizing Khumbu Icefall in the distance were gob-smacking. From there, it was a gradual descent all the way down to Thanga where we were quick to get some rest.


Day 11: Dragnak/Thangna (4790m/15710ft) - Gokyo (4,750 m, 15,583 ft) & Gokyo Ri (5,357 m (17,575 ft)
From Dragnak, we climbed again and crossed we cross the Ngozumpa Glacier, the second largest glacier in the Himalayas measuring 36 kilometres in length. The trail across the glacier is revised seasonally due to its constant movement. After climbing off the glacier, we reached Gokyo and were greeted by the mesmerizing sight of the Gokyo Lakes. Their turquoise waters reflect the surrounding Himalayan giants and are stunning. The Gokyo village stands by the third lake (out of the 6) and Mount Cho-Oyu – the 6th highest mountain in the world. The lake is one of the most dramatic backdrops of the entire trip.

After lunch, we will explored the village and then set out to climb Gokyo Ri. Climbing in the afternoon allowed us to view the sunset over what is regarded by many as the best view in the Himalayas. The panoramic view is a perfect vantage point to witness the 4 tallest mountains of the world. The view of Mount Everest, Mount Cho Oyu, Mount Makalu, and other peaks was simply breathtaking. We returned to Goyko in the dark with head torches, devouring a local meal before resting our sore bodies!


Day 12: Gokyo (4,750 m, 15,583 ft) - Lukla Via Helicopter (2,860m/9,383ft)
We had mixed feelings on our last day in the Himalayas. We were physically drained from the trip and were looking forward to creature comforts, however we also felt that our bodies had adapted to the altitude and were ready for more. Plus like any adventure, knowing that we may not get back to such a stunning part of the world again meant there was a hint of sadness.

We spent the morning exploring the village and also explored Gokyo Lake #4 - before yet another highlight of the trip... returning to Lukla in a helicopter that provided a bird's-eye view of the Himalayan landscape. It gave us a unique perspective on the majestic peaks and the vast wilderness below of the area we had been exploring. The descent allowed us to reflect on our journey and savour the final moments amidst the Himalayan splendour.

Day 13: Lukla (2,860m/9,383ft) - Kathmandu
With heavy heart, we said goodbye to Lukla and took a 30-minute flight back to Kathmandu, marking the end of the trekking journey. We had yet another stunning day, allowing is to Indulge in the Himalayan views on the flight one last time.

We landed in the Kathmandu airport, made our way to our accommodation and treated ourselves to a delicious meal before a few days of rest! The journey back provided a contrasting perspective, from the remote mountains to the bustling city. Back in Kathmandu, we reminisced about our incredible adventure and the bonds we had formed with other trekkers and our trekking crew.

The trek offered a perfect blend of adventure, natural beauty, and cultural exploration. It was an experience that will stay with us long after we return home, a journey that transcended the ordinary and provided us with extraordinary memories.

Posted by TheNomadWay.com 03:10 Archived in Nepal Tagged everest nepal base_camp lukla namche everest_base_camp gokyo

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