Amadablam basecamp

The Everest region is the most famous area in Nepal and, perhaps, the entire Himalaya

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The Everest region is the most famous area in Nepal and, perhaps, the entire Himalaya, as it is the centre for many major mountaineering expeditions. Here Himalayan giants from Everest to Ama Dablam tower above Khumbu valley, making this valley one of the world’s most magical and inspiring places to visit and trek.

Mount Ama Dablam is a beautiful mountain, located almost due south of Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse in the Khumbu region. It is a steep pyramid of ice with vertical walls and sharp, exposed ridges. Mount Ama Dablam forms a lasting impression on many trekkers in Nepal, as it is perhaps the most stunning mountain along the popular trekking route to Everest Base Camp.

We follow in the footsteps of famous mountaineers and follow a good trail from lodge to lodge through the famous Buddhist villages and monasteries of the Sherpa people while affording unparalleled views of some of the world’s highest peaks. The highlights of this trip are the days spent trekking above Namche Bazaar. A further dimension to our trek is a visit to the Sherpa villages of Khunde and Khumjung where we visit some of Sir Edmund Hillary’s projects established through the Himalayan Trust.

Itinerary

Day 1: Kathmandu

Upon your arrival the Tribhuvan International airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, you will be greeted by a representative from Nepal Wanders who will take you to our hotel. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner in a traditional Nepali cuisine restaurant where you will be able to enjoy authentic Nepali meal with a brief cultural program. Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu

Day 2: Kathmandu

A day to explore Kathmandu the capital city of Nepal. We organise a full day of guided sightseeing to the Buddhist and Hindu sights in Kathmandu, probably to Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, Swayambunath – the Buddhist monkey temple- and Pashupatinath a sacred Hindu temple complex on the banks of the Bagmati River. Three major towns are located in the valley, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, each having a great artistic and architectural tradition. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in the country. Patan, the second largest is separated from Kathmandu by a river. Bhaktapur, the third largest, is towards the eastern end of the valley and its relative isolation is reflected in its slower pace and more distinctly mediaeval atmosphere. In the Kathmandu Valley the landscape is dramatically sculpted by the contours of the paddy fields. The towns and villages are alive with the colours of farm produce, ranging from pyramids of golden grain to the vivid reds of chilli peppers laid out on mats to dry in the sun. In the streets and towns there is a constant bustle of activity, especially in the bazaars and markets where the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit. You will get back to the hotel after your sightseeing tour around mid-afternoon and the rest of the day is free for you to explore the city further and pack bags ready for the start of the trek the following morning. You can leave a bag at the hotel with items you will not need on the trek. Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu

Day 3: Fly to Lukla (2,840m), trek to Phakding (2,610m): 4 to 5 hours walkingkding (2,610m): 4 to 5 hours walking

Our early morning flight by Twin Otter aircraft takes us to Lukla, probably the most renowned mountain airstrip in the world. Originally conceived by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust as an emergency evacuation runway for casualties brought to the Trust’s hospital at nearby Khunde. Lukla is now one of the busiest runways in Nepal. On the flight we watch the rugged foothills give way to the snowline of the Himalaya; many of the world’s highest mountains, including Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu (the world’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th highest respectively) may sometimes be seen from the window of the plane. After an exciting landing at Lukla and a warm welcome you will meet your porters that will carry your luggage every day until you return to Lukla. Make sure you make time to get to know them and to acknowledge them even if it is through smiles and hand signs. We then depart from Lukla on the typically stony path that descends from the forested terraces of Lukla which takes us right into the Dudh Kosi (river of milk) valley. Along the way the trail offers tantalising views and you will pass large stones carved and painted with prayers, carved mani stones and prayer wheels which are typical of Sherpa Buddhist country. Buddhists hold these sacred and you must as a sign of respect, pass these in a clockwise direction. After passing through the small hamlets of Ghat and Chuthrawa we arrive at the small hamlet of Phadking which is situated right next to the Dudh Kosi river. The walk from Lukla to Phadking is moderately easy and undulating walking. Memories of the first day will include the sounds of porters, a cacophony of different languages, and strange sounding birds, the sights of porters with loads resting on sticks outside tea houses, tired trekkers on their way back to Lukla, prayer flags, the gaudy colours of the tea houses and of course the dramatic scenery. Overnight in Phakding.

Day 4: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3,445m): 7 to 8 hours walking

Today we trek into the Sherpa capital and heart of the Khumbu. You will now be becoming familiar with the local protocol for passing chortens, mani stones, yaks and spinning prayer wheels and enjoying the hustle and bustle of trekking and everyday life that exists in the Khumbu. Today will be one of the harder days of the trek but we take it slowly (or the Nepalese word for slow is “bistari”). Walking slowly at altitude is the key to acclimatise so this will become the norm for the trek. From Phakding its about 2 or 3 hours walk to Monjo, the trail follows the Dudh Kosi valley north, staying on its west bank and soon there is a good view of Thamserku (6,608m). After a walk uphill and over a ridge there is a traverse high above the river to Benkar, and a little further on you cross over a suspension bridge to the east bank of the Dudh Kosi to reach the small hamlet of Monjo at the entrance to the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. As you enter into Everest National Park area entry formalities have to be completed. We then follow the right bank of the river to where it starts to climb to the Hilary Bridge which is a tremendously impressive suspension bridge spanning a deep chasm. To reach Namche there is a long ascent which zig zags up through the forest, but with a slow plod and several stops to catch our breath, we make our way steadily upward. Half way up there is a view point and cloud permitting should give us our first view of Everest appearing majestically behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. We then pass through another entry point and as we traverse the hill we get our first views of the capital of the Khumbu- Namche Bazaar which is built on the steep sides of a sloping mountain bowl. It really is an impressive sight of colourful houses and lodges and prayer flags. Namche is a prosperous, busy and vibrant Sherpa village as most treks pass through here. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.

Day 5: Day walk to Everest view point t: 4 to 5 hours walking

This is an essential acclimatising days in Namche Bazaar to help your body adapt to the gain in altitude as we climb higher but return to sleep lower. Today we take a morning walk up the steep ridge line above Namche. As the trail climbs you get good views of the main Everest Base Camp trail which you will be walking along over the coming days. At the top of the ridge the trail then contours round the hillside to the Everest view point. The views on this walk both going up and down are spectacular. On the way back we have lunch next to the interesting Sherpa Culture & Everest Mountaineering Museum which is well worth a visit. After lunch we return to the lodge and in the afternoon you can relax or explore Namche. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.

Day 6: Trek to Deboche (3,770m) ): 7 hours walking

This morning after a short, steep climb we leave Namche on the classic approach route to Everest trail which follows high above the Imja Khosi (river). Today’s walk continues to contour the hillside with short steep sections as it crosses over ridges. There are spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse and also the beautifully shaped Ama Dablam (6,812m). Ama Dablam means ‘Mothers necklace’, the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of gods worn by Sherpa women. There is no doubt that the majestic Ama Dablam is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Passing by several villages and tea houses we cross the Dudh Kosi on a suspension bridge at a place called Phunki Tenga before beginning a climb with a steep ascent for about an hour. This part of the trek is forested by rhododendron and pine so it is well shaded and should be quite cool. Once out of the forest line the trail gradient is quite gentle and gradual for another 1½ hours, all the way up to the monastery. The setting of Tengboche is nothing short of magical and is a spectacular building and incredible to think that the temple was burnt down only a few years ago and re-built largely through the efforts of the Sir Edmund Hillary Trust. We will explore the surrounding area and visit the monastery. Once leaving Tengboche the path descends through trees to Deboche and to our Lodge taking about 20 minutes. Overnight at in Deboche.

Day 7: Trek to Pangboche (3,875m): 6 to 7 hours walking

Leaving Deboche your path descends through trees passing the small nunnery, more houses and ‘mani’ walls as the path continues along the river valley amongst the trees. After crossing a bridge over a picturesque gorge, the path gradually climbs, with stunning views of Ama Dablam ahead. There are numerous fantastic photo opportunities in both directions, and frequent chortens and mani walls to pass as height is gained to reach the village of Pangboche. This is a very photogenic village with stone walled fields and there is a very interesting monastery set in trees at the top of the village. The walk to Pangboche takes only about 2 hours so in the afternoon we will organise a walk to explore the village, it is certainly worth walking to Upper Pangboche to visit the gompa and also walk to the viewpoint. Overnight in Pangboche.

Day 8: Trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp or exploration day around Pangboche (3,875m)

Today there are a number of options depending on how you are feeling. If you are feeling energetic then you can walk towards Ama Dablam Base Camp, this is an opportunity to get off the main Everest Base Camp trail and explore a quieter area in the Khumbu below one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The return trek to Ama Dablam basecamp is about 6-7 hours. For Ama Dablam Base Camp: After crossing the Imja Drangka river, via a steep descent, followed by a gradual ascent until Lhabarma, you are suddenly standing right in front of the mountain ridge. You can walk to its foothill and absorb the enormity of the mountain. Ama Dablam Base Camp sits at 4,576m on an open yak pasture beneath the west face, with the summit some 2,300m almost straight up above. The climbing route follows the southwest ridge – the right hand skyline as you look at it – moving onto the face above the hanging glacier three-quarters of the way up. Base Camp affords particularly fine views of Kantega (6,783m), Thamserku (6,618m) and Tawoche (6,542m.) Your trek may coincide with the main climbing season and it is more than likely that you may find climbing groups at Base Camp either acclimatising or fixing the route. With a pair of binoculars it may well be possible to see climbers descending the 50/60 degree ice-slopes from the summit. Return to Pangboche. Overnight in Pangboche.

Day 9: Trek to Khumjung village (3,970m): 6 to 7 hours walking

Today we walk back down to Phunki Tenga via a different route. From Pangboche you take a wonderful trail above the Imja Drengkha river. This trail undulates along the valley side and you have fabulous views across to the mountains and Tengoche perched on its ridge. Finally, after about 2-3 hours, walking through forest and isolated fields you descend to Phunki Tenga far below you. After crossing the bridge over the Dudh Kosi (also crossed on Day 6) there is a steep climb up to Tashinga. Leaving this hamlet you contour on a small path to reach the main trail leading to Khumjung in approximately one hour. The path leads gently up the shallow valley and Khumjung itself is another village built into a mountain bowl. We then continue to our lodge for the evening. Overnight in Khumjung.

Day 10: Trek to Thame (3,750m): 7 hours walking

We leave Khumjung on the high trail which contours out of the village above the Bhote Khosi river through rhododendron forests and then open pastures and pass through the small hamlets of Phurte, Mende & Samde all of which are beautiful with their traditional Sherpa houses and green, terraced fields and pastures. This well-formed, wide path makes for a mostly easy walk all the way to the village of Thame. You are more than likely to see Griffin vultures today. Before you reach the village of Thame the path descends to a bridge over a narrow fissure with water roaring below where there are large wall paintings of Guru Padmasambhava. The path then climbs steeply to the very beautiful and picturesque village of Thame with a backdrop of massive snow covered peaks. Thame retains many of its original buildings and culture and is perhaps one of the prettiest villages in Khumbu. Sherpa Tenzing Norgays house is situated near the top of the village where he lived with his first wife. Apa Sherpa who has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest twenty one times also lives in Thame village. Overnight at teahouse lodge.

Day 11: Trek to Monjo: 6 hours walking

Today we retrace our steps back to the hustle and bustle of Namche Bazaar which we reach after 4 to 5 hours walking. At Namche we re-join the main Base Camp trail again and after lunch we then descend crossing the Sir Edmund Hillary Bridge and continue down to Monjo village. Overnight in Monjo.

Day 12: Trek to Lukla (2,800m): 5 hours walking

From Monjo we carry on the descent of the Dudh Khosi valley through the villages of Phakding, Ghat and Cheplung. At Chaurikharka we start ascending the final hill of the trek to reach Lukla. On getting to the Numbur Lodge you can relax and enjoy your last evening with the Sherpa guides and wonderful porters. Overnight in Lukla.

Day 13: Fly to Kathmandu

If the weather is fine in Lukla then we will get a morning flight back to Kathmandu which takes 40 minutes and then we will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in Kathmandu where you can then spend the rest of the day doing what you please. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 14: Farewell Nepal

Our representative will pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to international airport for onward journey.

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