DAY 01 CHUMOA (9000'/2743m)
The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla has to be one of the most spectacular in the World. Twin Otters fly this route of contrasting with the snowline of the Himalayan range to the north and rugged foothills of Nepal immediately below and stretching away to the south. The landing at Lukla airstrip (9184'/2800m) adds considerably to the general excitement and expectation. After a sort out and a cup of tea the trail leads northwest and descends to the river at Phakding (8698'/2652m). The trail leads to the attractive fir forested areas near the entrance to the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park where there are good campsite to be found around Chumoa and Jorsale. Time 5 and half hours.
DAY 02 NAMCHE (11300'/3445m)
Another good reason for the longish first day is that the plod up the steep hill to Namche is better done when fresh and fit in the early morning. Near the halfway point up the hill views of Everest (29028'/8848m) and Lhotse (27938'/8516m) come into sight. Namche is the most prosperous and largest town in Khumbu. A traditional trading center the Bazar is held every Saturday. The wares on display include grains and vegetables, tennis shoes and trinkets as well as hand woven aprons and Tibetan boots. Thamserku (21806'/6648m) and Kwangde (20417'/6224m) loom to the east and west, and the sacred mountain Khumbila (18729'/5707m) dominates the skyline to the north behind the village. Time: 4 hours.
DAY 03 THAME (12467'/3801m)
Traverse westwards with views of Kwangde (20806'/6343m) and the waterfalls cascading off its flanks. Follow Bhote Kosi as trail side- hills high on its bank through yellow and white rhododendron forest (in full bloom in May). Cross-river, look back down Valley for beautiful views of Thamserku (21806'/6648m) and Kusum Kangru (20896'/6370m). Climb up through rhododendron forest to pasture lands in front of Thame. This is the birthplace of Tenzing Norgey, the first Sherpa ever to climb Mt. Everest. Camp in meadows at the edge of village. An hour's climb to the cliff side monastery is of great interest. From here, the trekkers can continue above the village, and then climb across the ridge to view the route to the Nangpa La, a pass to Tibet frequently used by the Sherpas and their yaks during the monsoon. Time: 6 hours. Note: The trip to the monastery is generally better done in the early morning of day 4.
DAY 04 KHUMJUNG (12434'/3791m)
Walk back down the valley by way of Thamo, a hillside nunnery. Take the high trail, which bypasses Namche and drops into Khumjung. This valley is one of the most beautiful in Khumbu. The Sherpas may extend their hospitality and offer a teatime visit to one of their houses - an experience. Time: 6 hours.
DAY 05 TENGBOCHE (12670'/3863m)
The trail descends from Khumjung with Chortens forming a dramatic view of Ama Dablam (21964'/6696m) and Kangtaiga (22235'/5779m) flanked by the towering heights of Sagarmatha (the Nepalese name for Everest), Lhotse and Nuptse. Descend through moss covered rhododendron forest, watching for blood pheasant and the Impeyan pheasant in the under growth. Cross the Dudh Kosi at Phungithanga and climb through rhododendron forest to the saddle at the top of the hill. Here lies Thyangboche the main monastery of the Khumbu area. The views from here are unforgettable. Tengboche lies at the base of Kangtaiga and the spur of this ridge affords panoramic views of the main peaks of Khumbu including Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Time: 5 hours.
DAY 06 DINGBOCHE (14150'/4412m)
The descent from Thyangboche leads through fir and rhododendron - beautiful country up to the spectacular little bridge across the Imja Khola leading to the village of Pangboche. The ascent continues through more open country now as the tree line is left behind. Down and across the river again leaving the main Everest trail and gradually climbing up to the attractive village of Dingboche possibly the highest spot in the world where barely is grown. The Himalayan Rescue Association has an aid post just over the hill at Pheriche. Time: 6 hours.
DAY 07 DINGBOCHE
A day walk up to Chukung is highly recommended. The route gradually extends to the few scattered stone huts that make up the settlement. To the south are ever changing views of Ama Dablam and to the north the massive wall on the Nuptse ridge and the south face of Lhotse. The energetic an early start can climb Chukung Ri. Time: 5 hours (return trip).
DAY 08 LOBUCHE (16175'/4931m)
The route traverses across the slopes over a ridge staying above the village of Pheriche. It joins the main trail below Thugla. There are fine views of Cholatse (21129'/6442m) across the valley. Turning east the trail climbs steeply up the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Once on top it is a steady plod along the side of the moraine. Stark and rugged beauty almost creates a moonscape. Campsite at Lobuje, a windswept collection of huts tucked in a narrow meadow between the glacier and Lobuje peak (20192'/6156m). Tawache and Nuptse are particularly spectacular from Lobuje, towering almost 2 kilometers directly overhead. Time: 5 hours.
DAY 09 LOBUCHE
Early start essential. Travel along the Khumbu Glacier through jumbled moraine and shattered rock. Climb Kala Pattar (18188'/5545m) for views of the giants of the earth Pumori (23436'/7145m), Everest, the Tibetan peak Changtse (24764'/4501m) Nuptse, Lhotse and countless other needles and snow fluted ridges. Time: 6 hours. A trip to the actual Base Camp of Everest is usually omitted. Views are obstructed by the Khumbu ice fall. Unless an expedition is actually at base camp a route can be difficult to find.
Imja Tse Base Camp
DAY 12 and 13
Climb Imja Tse Chukhung
DAY 15 KHUMJUNG
Descend through forest to the Dudh Kosi. A very pretty crossing point leads to a steady climb to a Chorten offering wonderful views back across the valley to Phortse, Thyangboche and their surrounding mountains. A traverse leads to a classic descent down a giant rock pathway hewn out of the mountain side. A plod up the valley leads back to the twin villages. Time: 5 hours.
DAY 16 MONJO/JORSALE
The route home leads back through Namche and off down the hill. There are some nice campsites opposite to the National park boundary. Time: 5 hours.
DAY 17 LUKLA (9200'/2804m)
From here the walk to Lukla takes about five hours of which the last one and half are rather surprisingly hard work. DAY 18 One of the most thrilling take-off in the world wings the Twin Otter high above the Dudh Kosi for the 40 minutes flight back to Kathmandu.