This is What Awaits Me in 2012
Start your trip with a full day tour of Kathmandu’s famous Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas. With seven United Nations World Heritage Sites in the valley, you can step back in time to the Golden Age of Nepal’s art and architectural history, as well as see the richness of its modern daily life.
After exploring exotic Kathmandu, you’ll fly in to the remote mountain town of Lukla and begin your trek, following an ancient Sherpa trade route to the area’s famous Namche Bazaar. Beyond it, you will find traditional villages, rhododendron forests, terraced fields, and summer pastures for yak grazing–before moving into the stark landscape of glaciers and ice.
Our route will enable you to visit monasteries in the heart of Sherpa country, where you can observe the monks in their daily prayers. You’ll also hike out onto the Khumbu glacier to visit the iconic Everest Base Camp, where climbers following the steps of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay prepared for their summit attempts. You can stand at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall, where climbers begin their own odyssey.
During climbing season (April/May), Mountain Madness offers you the special opportunity to spend one night at Everest Base Camp before beginning your descent. Outside of climbing season, we will use the extra time to divert from the main trail for a stunning hike to an off-the-beaten-path village on an ancient trade route.
You then return to Kathmandu for a day of shopping, rest, or walking the Old Quarter before a farewell evening celebration with a delicious multi-course meal of Nepal’s finest cuisine.
Included in the cost of your trip are scheduled group restaurant meals. Meals provided are listed as B (breakfast), L (lunch) and D (dinner) at the end of each day. You will be responsible for those meals not listed.
Day 1-3: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
Travel from your homeport to Kathmandu. All flights cross the date line and consequently a day is lost. Arrive in Kathmandu on Day 3, where a Mountain Madness guide meets you. We stay at the famous 5-Star Yak-n-Yeti Hotel. Great food from all over the world, fabulous shopping, and Durbar Square with its numerous temples and markets are nearby.
Day 4: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
While we wrap up last minute paperwork with the Nepal government, we arrange for you to enjoy a city tour visiting the palaces, Durbar Square, Hindu temples and shrines, Buddhist stupas – or you can just relax at the hotel. A favorite destination is the Monkey Temple, a Buddhist temple situated on a small hill that offers panoramic views of the city. Or you can join the thousands of Hindus who venture to the Pashupatinath temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in Nepal and the most famous Shiva temple in Asia. B, L, D
Day 5: PHAKDING – 8,700 feet
We fly on a twin-engine Otter to the Himalayan foothills where we begin our trek into the Khumbu region. The sights from the plane are amazing, providing dramatic views of terraced hills and the distant Himalayan giants. After landing in the village of Lukla (9,350 feet), we meet the rest of our staff and porters and trek for about two and a half hours to Phakding. Hiking Time: 3 hours B, L, D
Day 6: NAMCHE BAZAAR -11,300 feet
We continue trekking along the banks of the Dudh Kosi, 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 to Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Khumbu region. Hiking Time: 4-5 hours B, L, D
Day 7: NAMCHE BAZAAR -11,300 feet
Today is a rest and acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar. Namche is a colorful village with many wonderful and interesting shops and vendors, fabulous food, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. An early hike above town, before the clouds move in, reward climbers with a spectacular Himalayan sunrise and views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse (the 4th highest peak in the world), and the beautiful Ama Dablam. On the way down, we can visit the Sherpa Museum that houses an exhibit on traditional Sherpa lifestyle and a fabulous photography display by a local Nepalese naturalist. One room highlights the Sherpa traditions and in another, Sherpa high altitude climbers are presented. B, L, D
Day 8: THYANGBOCHE – 12,887 feet
The trek continues along the rushing glacial waters of the Dudh Kosi with magnificent views of the mountains. We spend the night next to the Thyangboche monastery, the spiritual center of the Khumbu region. Inside the monastery are incredibly ornate wall hangings, a 20-foot sculpture of Buddha, and the musical instruments and robes of the Lamas. With luck, our group will see the Lama perform a ceremony and hear the mystical chanting and music. Hiking Time: 5-6 hours B, L, D
Day 9: DINGBOCHE – 14,250 feet
From Thyangboche, the trail drops to Debuche, crosses another exciting suspension bridge on the Imja Khola, and climbs to Pangboche among thousands of mani stones. Our uphill trek continues, taking us to the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche with its exquisite views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. Hiking Time: 5-6 hours B, L, D
Day 10: DINGBOCHE – 14,250 feet
Today we take another rest and acclimatization day. There is the option of taking a light hike up the valley for a wider variety of photos of the valley and mountains of the Khumbu region. B, L, D
Day 11: LOBUCHE – 16,175 feet
Today’s trail continues along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and passes by stone memorials for climbers who have perished on nearby summits. B, L, D
Day 12: GORAK SHEP – 17,000 feet
After an early morning start, we ascend Kala Pattar (18,450 feet) and enjoy famous views of the Himalayas, without having to climb Everest! That evening we camp beneath Kala Pattar at Gorak Shep. B, L, D
Day 13: EVEREST BASE CAMP – 17,575 feet
In the event of bad weather, we have the opportunity for a second chance to climb Kala Pattar. Today we will also continue our trek to Everest Basecamp, located at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. We’ll spend the day at Everest base camp, giving you a chance to meet the climbers and thoroughly explore the area. Overnight in tents at base camp. B, L, D
Day 14: GORAK SHEP – 17,000 feet
In the morning we will enjoy tea and breakfast while taking in the view of Everest before leaving for our descent. We head down the glacier and return to Gorak Shep, our last night high in the mountains. B, L, D
Day 15: PHERICHE
Day 16: NAMCHE BAZAAR – 11,300 feet
Today we trek back along the Dudh Kosi River through a magnificent rhododendron forest and past brilliant waterfalls. Shortly before reaching Namche, the trek takes us through a pine forest, where musk deer often graze in the early morning. Arriving in town, we may see lowland porters, highland Sherpas, and Tibetan people trading food and supplies during Namche’s market time. We stay at the Zamling Hotel with hot showers and a comfortable bed. B, L, D
Day 17: LUKLA – 9,350 feet
Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla where we spend the night at the Khumbu Lodge. Hot showers are available. B, L, D
Day 18: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
If the weather is clear, the morning flight back to Kathmandu will be a scenic and smooth farewell to the mountains. B
Day 19: KATHMANDU – 4,383 feet
In the morning, we can watch Kathmandu rise in prayer along the banks of the holy river Bagmati at Pashupatinath, with burning ghats similar to the Ganges in India. Or we can visit the Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath and explore the temples in the city of Patan. Final celebration dinner! B, D
Days 20 – 21: DEPART
Depart Kathmandu and fly home.