While I was taking a scenic mountain flight from Kathmandu to Lukla for about 40 minutes, I was scared and my heart was beating quickly as I was doing one of the dangerous flights. But my fear ran away after landing the flight in Lukla at the lap of the world’s tallest mountain that is Mt Everest.
Everest the top of the world laid in the Himalayan country of Nepal is the popular high altitude trekking destination around the world to explore and experience the most amazing natural wonders. Everest region trekking is the best place that offers you the amazingly fascinating great mountain views passing the rivers, forest, typical Sherpa communities, and the trekkers reach at the Base camp situated at the altitude of 5364m.
At first, the trekkers have to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla ( 40 min ) as it is the first step to reach the Everest base camp. Namche Bazar is the gateway to reach the astronomical Himalaya that comes after landing at the Lukla airport. Before entering one should have to have the TIMS & the Sagarmatha National park permit, which can be easily available from the approved trekking agencies in Kathmandu. The Everest Base Camp trek, which is also known as Khumbu region trekking, takes trekkers to the wonderful Gokyo Valley where the grand Dudh Koshi River originates. The Ngojumba Glacier, famous Cho La pass, eye-catching views of Gokyo Ri, Kala Patthar, and the Everest Base Camp offer you the joy of a lifetime.
Savor the beauty of majestically soaring mountains, colorful monasteries and prayer flags, the Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, hidden valleys of Gokyo and lakes, 360-degree panoramic views of four eight-thousands and other mountain ranges from the best viewpoint of Shyangboche, Gokyo valley, Gokyo Ri and the Kalapatthar. The journey to the EBC via Gokyo is a difficult and challenging trek, indeed. It is ideal for physically fit and experienced trekkers, who love the challenge and adventure. Passionate and experienced trekkers, who can walk at least 6-7 hours a day with a light rucksack and have the enthusiasm to face the challenge, can opt for this trek.
After the earthquakes, we completed one trip to the Everest region with my office giving me the responsibility of a team leader. Post-trip, I feel the Everest made me unique and outstanding because of several features, topographies, and landscapes. Why take a trekking trip to the Everest region instead of other less-frequented trekking routes in other Himalayan regions? Trekkers, eager as ever to explore the unexplored, are likely to ask this question to themselves and their handlers. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, but that’s not the only wonder that awaits you in the Everest region. The reasons to trek the Everest reason, I assure you, are one too many.
Explore & experience Lukla, Namche Bazaar, and surrounding villages
In total it was 17 days trip departing from Kathmandu. We took a scenic breathtaking mountain flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Weather conditions frustrated us, but not that long. Airborne, we managed to land at Lukla airport, one of the most dangerous airports in the world, at 2:30 pm. As we were pretty late, there was no question of embarking on the trek that day, so we put up for the night at the Mountain Lodge. The next day we started trekking form Lukla to Monjo and Monjo to Namche Bazar.
Namche Bazaar is a major trade point for the Sherpa people. Here, visitors can purchase traditional art and crafts. At the bazaar and surrounding villages, we had a great time. On the acclimatization day, there was no question of confining ourselves to the lodge, doing nothing. So off we went all the way up to Shyangboche and Khumjung villages and descended to Namche for an overnight stay. On the way to Shyangboche, we visited the Sherpa Culture Museum and Everest Photo Gallery in the morning. Then we hiked to the Everest View Hotel through the Syangboche Airport. Situated at an altitude of 3700m ASL, it is said to be the airport located at the highest altitude. We climbed further to reach the EVH for a majestic view of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Tawache, and several other peaks.
Observing Sherpa culture, tradition, and mountain village life in the heart of the Himalaya
In the afternoon of the acclimatization day, we visited the Khumjung village where we interacted with Sherpa and other local people in a bid to know a bit more about their culture, lifestyle, and tradition. It was an interesting experience that will remain etched forever in our memory.
Of the people we talked to, one was a woman whose husband works as a high-altitude porter. We asked her: What do you expect from the government? And she said: “I always fear for my husband’s life as he has to work in the Everest region. We don’t have land, she said, asking the government to provide land to enable her to cultivate crops. This conversation touched our hearts. We then met members of a middle-class family, which had two daughters. We asked the mother: What do you want your daughters to be in the future? The mum cried a lot and then said the recent earthquake had destroyed her house. I don’t have money to look after my children, she said. The woman’s husband was also a porter. Post-quake, tourists seem to have vanished. The tourism industry has suffered a major jolt. During the conversation, the woman said neither the government nor any other party has offered any assistance to her and her family.
Sparkling lakes, Gokyo Valley & Gokyo Ri
On the sixth and seventh days, we visited the Gokyo Valley. A sparkling stream connects the first and second Gokyo lakes. The Gokyo village sits on the edge of the third Gokyo lake with the Cho-Oyu Mountain in the background, offering a rare splendor. After lunch, as the day was sunny and clear, we decided to climb up to the Gokyo Ri for a clear view of the mountains. By the time we reached there, the weather had worsened, enveloping the attractions with clouds! But we still had a good view of Everest from atop Gokyo Ri.
Climbing Gokyo Ri is strenuous, given a steep path to the top. It took us about three hours to reach the top. From the trail, we had splendid views of Gokyo on the edge of the third lake and the Nogzumpa Glacier(Nagzumpa glacier is one of the biggest glaciers in the Everest region). Felt as if mountains were all around us. Beholding the beautiful scenes, we descended to the Gokyo valley, completing all of the day’s activities in about eight hours.
Awesome views of snow-capped peaks, hiking over the ice and glacier from Cho La (5420m), one of the highest passes
Cho La Pass is another highlight of this trip. The journey to the Cho La pass was the toughest and we had to embark on it at 4 am. Though not that difficult, the pass is steep and involves a glacier traverse on the eastern side. We had to be careful as the trail is vertical and the rocks glazed by ice add trouble to trekkers by making the path slippery. However, the journey from Phedi involves climbing through a ravine and a rocky trail. Trekking through the side of a frozen lake, we reached atop the pass decorated with prayer flags.
The pyramidal Ama Dablam presides over a range of mountains on the south, Cholatse soars in the west, while Lobuche East and Baruntse rise sharply to our right. We had to pass through some crevasses before reaching Dzongla, another beautiful place that offers a full view of Mt Cholatse, Mt Ama Dablam, Lobuche peak, and the Pheriche village far down below. Dzongla offered a spectacular view.
Visit the highest mountain base camp (Everest Base Camp 5364m) in the world
The trail from Lobuche to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. Ahead on the trail, we saw the crest of the north ridge of Everest along with Mt Pumori, Mt Mahalangur, Mt Lingtern, Mt Khumbutse, and Mt Nuptse, among others. We started trekking at 7 am and reached Gorak Shep at 11 am. We had our lunch there. After lunch and short rest, we took the trail to the Everest Base Camp through the Gorak Shep. The base camp offers spectacular views of the Nuptse, Khumbuste, and Pumori. Reaching EBC, we reached the ultimate destination of our trek. We then trekked back to Gorak Shep, with the Khumbu Glacier, the EBC and the icefalls etched in our memories.
Hiking up to Kalapathar (5555m), one of the highest altitude of the trek
Climbing the Kalapatthar, located at 5555m above sea level, trekkers can have breathtaking views of sunrise on surrounding snow-capped mountains. On the day of Kalapatthar hiking from the Gorak Shep, we had to get ready for the trek at 4 am, braving temperatures of about -10 to -140C. It was pretty hard to stay that long, given the cold weather. Our hands were turning blue and water kept in bottles was freezing.
Cold winds blow too often, though the day we embarked on the Kalapatthar trip turned out to be just fine. While ascending the peak, we paused several times to catch our breath and snap pictures of outstanding views of spectacular mountains. From Gorak Shep, it took us two hours to reach Kala Patthar. Then we ascended the rocky ridge marked by prayer flags, close to the summit. We sat atop Kala Patthar and had an eyeful of the Himalayan Panorama. We took pictures and spent about half an hour there.
It was pretty hard to stay that long, given the cold weather. Our hands were turning blue and water kept in bottles was freezing.
With loads of pictures and loads of memories, we descended back to Gorak Shep and had breakfast at 9 am.
Then we descended to Pheriche. We had lunch at Thukla (4520m) at 1 pm. At 3 pm, we reached Pheriche. On the 16th day, we arrived at Likla and a day later, we returned to Kathmandu from Lukla via air.
The Everest region has Buddhist culture, colorful festivals, varied vegetation, and astonishing sceneries, warm hospitality and welcoming people, diversity of landscape, and high-altitude trekking on offer. It offers a lifetime experience, something trekkers should savor, health permitting. So enjoy experiencing and exploring on the top of the world with natural beauty and diverse landscape.