Our unforgettable Sherpa Guided Everest Base Camp Trek begins among the bustling shops and ancient temples of Kathmandu, Nepal’s vibrant capital. We tour some of the city’s world heritage sites including the Hindu holy places of Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries clustered around the massive stupa at Boudhanath, and the famous “monkey temple,” Swayambhunath. We overnight at a hotel located near the busy tourist district of Thamel, with its many shops, clubs and restaurants.
The next morning we fly to Lukla, soaring high above the lush, terraced fields of the Nepal foothills with Everest and other giants of the Himalaya rising above us. When we land, our Sherpa staff greets us with a cup of hot tea or coffee. Then we begin walking toward the Khumbu Valley along the banks of the Dudh Koshi, or “Milky River.” Our path winds through Sherpa villages fluttering with prayer flags and surrounded by walls of polished “mani stones” carved with Buddhist mantras. Porters and pack animals carry our expedition gear, leaving us free to walk with only light day packs.
From the legendary Sherpa trading town of Namche Bazaar, the “Gateway to the Khumbu Valley,” we descend across the Imja River and then our trail ascends until we visit Tengboche Monastery, the ancient, spiritual heart of the region. We watch the sunset from Deboche, and then continue higher toward the rocky moraines of the Khumbu Glacier and stone memorials to fallen climbers. As we progress, a panorama of Himalaya peaks expands around us: Ama Dablam, Kantenga, Thamserku, Pumori, Lhotse, Nuptse and Everest itself.
After spending an evening in Lobuche, we trek onto the exposed ice of the Khumbu Glacier, meandering through ice formations and rocky debris to the tiny, year-round outpost of Gorak Shep. We ascend up to Kala Pattar, where we wait for the sunset to cast golden alpenglow on Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on earth, known to the Nepalese as Sagarmatha, “Head of the Sky,“ and to the Tibetans as Chomolungma, “Mother Goddess of the Universe.” The next morning, we continue to Everest Base Camp at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. In the spring, we pass yak trains laden with supplies for climbing expeditions. A tower of stones adorned with fluttering prayer flags marks the entry to the most famous mountaineering camp on the planet.
Over the next few days we trek back to Lukla. After saying farewell to our Sherpa staff, we return to Kathmandu where we have a chance to relax, shop and further explore Nepal’s ancient city. Then we depart for home.
Related treks: Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Sanctuary Trek