Moderate To Strenous
Hotel / Lodge
The most popular choice among the mountaineers for Everest expedition is via the South Col which gives the most assured means of reaching the top. Time spent over 8000m is less in the approach to the summit on the south side as the summit is attempted in one push. Furthermore the south route has a good record of success due to the easy access of the route once it is opened by the first summiteers of the season.
The admired Everest expedition trail is followed to reach the base camp for the Everest expedition. A short walk along the moraine leads to the icefall with large crevasses which are considered one of the obstacles for the expedition. Our entirely experienced expedition Sherpa teams fix this section with ropes and ladders which makes easier for the climbers to cross this section to reach Camp 1. The terrain is gradual climb to reach the Camp 2. From here climbing on mixed snow and ice leads way up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3. From the camp 3 climbing on moderate mixed snow and rocks is not easy which leads to South Col- the Camp 4. The route steepens after ascending snow slopes to reach the crest of the South East Ridge and easy climbing and then again steep climbing leads to the South Summit. A short traverse to the Hillary Step and then climbing on short, steep rock and snow groove of notorious Hillary Step leads to the final ridge to the summit.
Upon arriving at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be received by our airport representatives who will warmly greet you and transfer to the hotel on a private tourist vehicle. We provide 3-star accommodation in the city and we arrange for a trip briefing with dinner in the evening.
A professional guide and vehicle are provided for a day of sightseeing in and around Kathmandu city. We visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city along with other interesting cultural monuments that dot the valley. These include Boudhanath Stupa (the largest Buddhist shrines in the world), Pashupatinath (the holiest Hindu temple in the world), Durbar Squares (Palaces and fortresses of medieval Kings), along with other popular cultural attractions. We get to observe the lifestyle of Nepalese people, holy sadhus and monks, fascinating history as well as awe-inspiring architecture.
Formal briefing at the Ministry of Tourism. The expedition leader will check that everyone’s equipment is in working order.
Final opportunity for last-minute purchases.
An early morning start takes us to Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu for the 35 minute scenic flight to Tenzing and Hillary Airport in Lukla (2804m). Upon arrival at the airport, a guide will meet us and introduce the porters before we begin the three hour trek to Phakding (2610m).
After landing there will be time to explore the village while the Sherpa crew sort and load the trekking equipment. We then begin our trek by descending towards the DudhKosi River where we join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka (2713m). The walking is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat (2550m), Phakding is just a short walk. Overnight at guesthouse.
We begin the five hour trek along the banks of the DudhKosi, crossing this majestic river many times on exciting suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. After entering Sagamartha National Park, the trail climbs steeply with breathtaking views. Namche Bazaar, known as the “Gateway to Everest,” is home to many quality restaurants, hotels, lodges, shops, money exchange, internet cafe and a bakery. Namche (3441m) is one of the biggest villages along the whole Everest trail. Overnight at guesthouse.
A day will be spent in Namche in order to adjust to the high altitude. We’ll go on a short trek to a museum celebrating the traditional customs of the Sherpa people. We will also hike up the Syangboche Airport around Everest View Hotel. From this point can be seen rewarding views of the Himalayas with a stunning sunrise and sunset over the panorama of Khumbu peaks. Overnight at guesthouse.
The trek continues along the rushing glacial waters of the DudhKosi, with magnificent views of the mountains. We trek to an altitude of 3860 meters today. After five hours we’ll reach Tengboche, where the local monastery can be seen. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a twenty foot sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. The group will be taken to observe a prayer ceremony in either the evening or morning, depending on how the day’s trekking progressed. Overnight at guesthouse.
From Thyangboche the trail drops to Debuche, crosses suspension bridge on the ImjaKhola, and climbs to Pangboche amongst thousands of mani stones. Our uphill trek continues for six hours, taking us to the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche, with its exquisite views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and AmaDablam. We’ll set a leisurely pace to adjust to the altitude (4350m). Overnight at guesthouse.
Today is another day for acclimatization. We’ll have trip to Chhukung valley (4710m) via the ImjaKhola valley, to see the marvelous view of the surrounding mountains, especially Lhotse’s massive south wall. Then we’ll return to Dingboche in the evening. Overnight at guesthouse.
The trail continues for five hours today, along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and passes by stone memorials for climbers who have perished on nearby summits. We continue to climb, heading to Lobuche (4910) - just a few huts at the foot of giant Lobuche peak. Some breathing problems may arise today due to the altitude. Overnight at guesthouse.
Most of this day is spent climbing Mt. Kala Patar, a small peak (by Himalayan standards) reaching 5555m. The ascent is demanding, but the climber gets the most magnificent mountain panorama possible: Everest, the highest point on the planet at 8848m (29,028ft), towers directly ahead and on all sides loom the other giants: Nuptse, Pumori, Chagatse, Lhotse. and countless other peaks. If possible we will stay and watch the awe-inspiring sunset over Everest and its neighbors. We make a quick descent to GorakShep, a tiny hamlet at 5180m. Overnight at guesthouse.
Contouring along the valley side, the trail leads on to the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and becomes quite faint, weaving between mounds of rubble. After roughly four hours we will reach the base camp near the foot of the Khumbu Icefall (5365m). This will be home for the next few weeks. Overnight at tented camp.
We set about acclimatizing and learning skills needed for climbing the mountain, such as how to use the oxygen bottles and radios. We will also sort out our equipment and clothing needed for the mountain, setting aside the food we want for the upper camps (as this will be placed there for us ahead of time by the Sherpa).
In preparation for climbing the summit, we’ll rest and adjust to the altitude, avoiding unnecessary exertion. We aim to make the base camp as comfortable as reasonably possible, with a heated triple-skin mess tent, individual tents for each climber to sleep in, broadband internet connection and satellite telephones.
Before venturing into the Khumbu Icefall, we will practice moving securely through complex ice terrain using ladders and fixed ropes. We train at the base camp and on the ice columns found at the lower edge of the icefall. As soon as the route through the icefall is prepared and training complete, we’ll make our first attempt at the icefall, aiming to climb halfway through and then back to base by mid-morning. We’ll continue to progress higher until we can make our way through the icefall and all the way to Camp 1 in reasonable time.
While we grow accustomed to the ropes, ladders, and altitude, the Sherpas will be running loads through the icefall, into the Western Cwm and beyond.
Camp 1: 6400m (20,996ft).
The Camp 1 is situated on a horizontal area of deep snow sheltered by mountain walls. The area is warm due to sun’s reflection during the day, and at night the deep murmuring, cracking sounds of crevasses beneath the tents can be heard.
Camp 2: 6750m (22,145ft).
Camp 2 is set at the foot of the icy Lhotse wall. Expect cloudy but pleasant weather.
Camp 3: 7100m (23,292ft).
Camp 3, located adjacent to the Lhotse wall, is reached using fixed rope. The path takes us through the steep allow bands (lose, down-slopping, and rotten limestone). As we cross short a snowfield, the route takes us up the Geneva Spur to the east before coming to the flats of the South Col. Beyond Camp 3, some climbers may feel minor discomfort due to the altitude, and the use of oxygen may be necessary.
Camp 4: 8400m (27,560ft).
This is the last camp of the expedition and the riskiest section of the climb, just 450 meters from the summit. The narrow southeast ridge is taken to attain the south summits (8,750m), and from here it is easy to reach at Everest’s summit at 8,848 meters.
From the base camp, the route to the summit can be divided into four separate sections: the Khumbu Icefall, the Western Cwm, the Lhotse Face and the Summit (southeast ridge).
The Khumbu Icefall
The Khumbu Icefall is found at the head of the Khumbu Glacier, 5,486m (18,000ft) high and not far above the base camp. Southwest of the summit, the icefall is regarded as one of the most dangerous stages of the South Col route to Everest's summit. The Khumbu Glacier forming the icefall moves at such speed that large crevasses open with little warning. The seracs (large towers of ice) found at the icefall have been known to collapse suddenly. Great blocks of ice tumble down the glacier from time to time, ranging from the size of cars to large houses. It is estimated that the glacier advances three to four feet (0.9m to 1.2m) down the mountain every day.
Since the structures are continually changing, crossing the Khumbu Icefall is extremely dangerous. Even extensive rope and ladder crossings do not always prevent loss of life. Many people have died in this area –one such climber was crushed by a twelve story block of solid ice. Exposed crevasses may be easy to avoid, but those buried under the snow can form treacherous snow bridges through which unwary climbers can fall. Extreme caution is urged at this stage of the expedition.
The Western Cwm
Walking into the Western Cwm is like entering the hall of the mountain gods. The gigantic walls of this awe-inspiring basin tower over you as we progress from Camp 1 toward the full expanse of the cwm above, with the west ridge of Everest to the left and the north face of Nuptse to the right. This is the narrowest section of the path, with gaping crevasses running across the relatively flat floor. These holes are so big that they are measured in terms of double-decker buses! Because of this, crossing them often requires stretching ladders stretched across. The crevasses add to the sense that, having passed through the labyrinth of the icefall, the gods have set one more task for you before reaching their inner sanctum. This final test usually includes at least one steep wall of ice, rising straight from the floor to produce a vertical step of about 30m (100ft), taking us up to the hallowed ground of the upper Western Cwm.
From here, with the gods gazing down from the mountain's upper ramparts, easy (but exhausting) progress is made to reach Camp 2, nestled below the west ridge just short of the foot of the southwest face.
The Lhotse Face
Early in the season, when the face is still unmarked by human progress, this steep section makes for the most grueling and technically intricate day on the mountain. Gusting winds, snow plumes, and the sight of the steep face looming above greet you at the base of Lhotse after a steady morning walk to the very end of the Cwm, above Camp 2. Careful footwork will have you ascending this section confidently, where the laser-straight ascent - rising on a slope that seems to touch your nose - is in stark contrast to the zigzag maze of the icefall below.
Arrival in Camp 3, halfway up the Lhotse Face, gives you a truly rugged, high mountain experience. Platforms cut just wide enough for the tents will have been hewn out of the thick ice by the Sherpas ahead of our arrival. Once that work has been done, it's a mass exodus of our Sherpas back down to the comforts below. The Sherpas play by Sagarmatha's rules, and for them a night on these exposed ledges is frowned upon by the mountain gods. Well, that's what they say, but since it only takes an hour or so to return below, and they can be ready for work before we climbers have even risen for breakfast, why wouldn't they take their rest lower down? For those with slower legs, we settle here on the ledge for one of the most glorious sunsets view seen by any human in all time (save the Apollo astronauts, perhaps!).
Typically, our camp is pitched in the lower neighborhood of Camp 3 (which can sprawl over several hundred meters up the slope), affording us better shelter from the winds than some of the tents perched above. After a night of re-hydration and an initial round of oxygen-rich sleep, we’ll return to the base camp and then all the way off the mountain to Dingboche. We’ll return here only once more, on the way to the summit.
When we next leave Camp 3 at 7,400m, you will be gripped by the first flush of true summit fever; down-suits donned, Top Out masks fitted, the first hiss of oxygen spreads from tent to tent as valves are cracked open. This marks the first day of climbing on "gas," and the first stage of your ascent into the "death zone."
The view does not disappoint either. The Nuptse Wall forms one half of the crescent bowl surrounding us, and the west shoulder of Everest the other. Down the valley, the towering peaks of Pumori and Lingtren, which rise with grandeur above the base camp, now look like insignificant ridges in the vast sea of Himalayan giants stretching out as far as the eye can see. The village of the base camp is long out of sight, now registered only by crackling radio transmissions during early morning calls.
The climb from Camp 3 launches another adrenaline-pumping attack on the senses as we inch up the steep Lhotse Face. Using an ascender on a fixed line, we grind up, slowly and steadily. After a grueling early morning, the effort is rewarded by a left turn across Lhotse toward the famous landmark of the Yellow Band. It's no small relief at this point, as you will have ascended some 1200m (3700ft) from Camp 2. When you look down the sweep of the Lhotse Face, our tents will appear as tiny dots, like peppercorns scattered at your feet.
The second section rears up and onto the rocky Geneva Spur, adding exciting scrambling to the mix. The exhilaration of scrambling in such a sensational setting, combined with the apprehension of approaching 8000m and the anxiety of catching your breath on top of the Spur while drawing heavily through the oxygen mask needs first-hand experience to comprehend. Turning the corner here, we’ll head across the home stretch to the highest camp at the South Col, on what seems to be flat ground. Now the fixed line disappears briefly, which lends an enticing sense of freedom, even though the wind usually picks up speed here, whispering caution. The last few meters of walking to the South Col inevitably brings with it a flood of emotions, since you've made all but the very last leap en route to the highest point on earth.
After a few moments of contemplation, it's down to business. Navigating toward the relative shelter of our tents, there’s an immediate dash to remove damp socks, arrange boots to dry, tie down crampons and ice axes outside, and dive into warm sleeping bags while setting to work on sparking up the stoves.
South Col to Summit
After an afternoon of rest and refreshment, as well as attempts to sleep (thwarted by excitement and adrenaline), the summit push begins between 10 p.m. and midnight. Typically the howling winds, which will accompany the team in the first hours of climbing, die down as the night continues.
We arrive at the small platform of snow known as the Balcony, where we change oxygen bottles, steal a few minutes rest, and make contact with the base camp, on standby maintaining a watchful vigil while we make for the top.
The route then turns to a sustained 300m (1000ft) climb up the southeast ridge toward the south summit. The climbing remains similar to the earlier sections: step, pause, breathe, and repeat. Passing across some rocky steps at the top of the ridge, we reach the south summit. From here the view opens up to the Hilary Step and all the way up to the top. Depending on whether we have changed oxygen bottles at the Balcony, we may switch again here.
Above the tangle of fixed lines on the 40 ft Hilary Step, it's about 100m (330ft) vertically between here and the summit. But the sheer drop down the Kangshung Face on one side and the southwest face on the other makes this section of breathtaking climbing both physically and emotionally hard. And the reward, of course, opens up at 8848m (29,028ft), where there's no higher step in the world.
We hope to be on the summit in the early morning, with plenty of time to make the long descent to the South Col. After spending another night sleeping with oxygen, the team will descend from Camp 4 on the South Col, directly to Camp 2 and then, the next day, to the base camp.
After seven hours we reach Pangboche (3930m), the oldest monastery in the region. It contains what is said to be the scalp and bones of a Yeti, or abominable snowman! Overnight at guesthouse with a hot shower after the big adventure.
Leaving the mountains behind, our descent takes us through Tengboche Monastery (3860m) before continuing back to the town of Namche Bazaar (3441m), an overall trip of five and a half hours. We arrive back into Namche Bazaar in the afternoon. Overnight at guesthouse.
We return to Lukla (3404m), where the trip began, after a six hour trek. We’ll take time to reflect on the trek as a group, and the personal achievements of all who took part. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the town. Overnight at guesthouse.
On the scenic thirty-five minute flight back to Kathmandu, you’ll enjoy a last glimpse of the mountains you have recently climbed. Upon arrival in Kathmandu we’ll be met and transferred back to the initial hotel. Once back in Kathmandu, we will toast a drink or two to celebrate the expedition, say farewell, and thank the Sherpas and team members for their support and friendship throughout the trip. Overnight at Kathmandu hotel.
There’s much to see and do in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas, including Chitwan Jungle Safari, River Rafting Adventure, Kathmandu Shopping Tour or Scenic Everest Flight. This is also a spare day in the event of bad weather in Lukla.
Our staff will escort you to Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
Please enquire with us for prices
Whilst on the trek, the Nepali guides and porters will ensure that you are well looked after. Every trek has an English speaking guide, known as the Sirdar, who is in overall charge. It is his responsibility to organize the trek en route and manage the guides and porters and deal with the local peoples and they are experts in trek organization, as well as being able to discuss the local culture, religion, and landscape. In addition there will be other guides, sometimes referred to by the generic term Sherpa, who will be your walking companions on the trek and will assist the Sirdar in organizing the logistic of the trek. On camping treks there will be full kitchen crew who are responsible for all aspects of catering. And finally there will be porters who are the transportation system of the Nepali mountains. They will carry the duffle bags and other equipment as necessary.
On camping treks, all food is prepared by the trek cook - an expert in preparing delicious camp food. And most importantly, special care is taken to provide well - boiled, purified drinking water. On lodge treks, food is provided in the lodge and this ranges from delicious local specialties to common western dishes. If necessary, bottled water can be purchased from the lodges for a small fee, although many trekkers prefer to use fresh water with the added precaution of a purifying agent. You could bring some Chocolate or special energy drinks for yourself as these are hard to get in the Himalayas.
A typical trekking day
A typical day revolves around the Nepal sunrise and sunset. The day starts with an early wake up call. You then pack up your gear and enjoy a rousing breakfast before starting your morning's walk. The Sirdar will already be organized loads to porters and or animals, and your group will then set off on the trail at a leisurely pace, enjoying the view and stopping to take photographs. After 2-3 hours walk you stop for lunch. This lasts for about 90 minutes which gives you time to relax, or explore the local village. The afternoon's walk is usually shorter and we arrive at the campsite or tea-house in plenty of time to relax and savour the surroundings. Later in the evening dinner is served, giving you an opportunity to sample the delicious food, talk over the day's events, and look forward to another special day on the trails of Nepal.
Health and safety on the trek General
Anyone can be affected by Altitude Sickness. However, our itineraries are specifically designed to minimize the risks associated with trekking to high altitudes by building in acclimatization and rest days. In the event of any symptoms we will ensure that the individual descends to a lower altitude to gain a quick recovery.
And finally……….. It must be stressed that whilst trekking in the Nepal Himalaya is challenging and rewarding, you must be prepared for he occasional inconvenience or discomfort. The correct mental attitude to trekking is as important as being physically prepared.
All equipment and food, and your own personal backpacks are carried by the porters or pack animals. It is only necessary to carry a camera or small daypack ! On camping treks all necessary camp equipment is provided - this includes dining tent, dining table and chairs, toilet tent, foam mattresses, and all cooking equipment. The only kit that you will need to bring is your own personal equipment and clothing.
Recommended Trekking Kit
The following is a list of clothing and accessories that we recommend that you take with you. This is not intended to be a comprehensive clothing and equipment list, rather it is intended to act as a reminder of those items that we feel are essential for your comfort and convenience. However we recognize that you may have your own personal preferences for clothing which may be equally as suitable.
Recommended Mountaineering Kit
In additional to the items mentioned above for trekking the following is a list of the additional specialist items which are required for the trekking peaks.