Everest is perhaps the most coveted mountain in the world. The north (Tibetan) side is the least expensive way to climb it, and the dates we have chosen feature the best weather of the year. Our proposed schedule allows for two possible summit attempts and two full descents to the Chinese basecamp at 5,200 metres/17,000 feet. Our style of climbing is cautious and careful, with excellent leadership, organization, Sherpa climbers, cooks and waiters, tasty food, the best equipment, two full kitchens and basecamp plus advanced basecamp, 6 camps on the mountain, 1000s of metres of fixed line, hundreds of rock ice and snow anchors, top-quality high altitude tents and high altitude stoves, expedition mix gas, and full safety equipment: medical oxygen, gamow bag, and extensive medical kit. back to top
This expedition to Everest maximizes many years of accumulated wisdom of the high Himalaya, a strong record of reaching the top of 8,000ers: Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho-Oyu, Shishapangma, and many other 8,000 metre summits, in addition to more than 25 Himalayan expeditions, in all safety, along with an intimate knowledge of the Tibetan and Chinese officials who regulate the permit system. We have been running expeditions to Tibet since 1986, and we know all of the bureaucratic officials, liaison officers, yak drivers, and hoteliers/restaurateurs personally.
The proposed itinerary allows enough time for proper acclimatization, rest days, and several returns to base camp, where the kitchen and base camp staff can look after all of your needs, and quell your appetite. The weather at this time of year is normally quite good and stable. However, we all know the global weather is changing, and in case of storms, you will note the proposed itinerary includes extra days as well. In previous expeditions, half of those who reached the summit needed every single "extra" day. back to top
At low elevation, the temperatures can vary from 27°c to -7°c ( 80°f to 20°f). At higher elevations, the temperature can vary from 16°c to -23°c (60°f to -10°f). The wind is the most chilling factor, and can be quite variable, with everything from a flat calm, to hurricane force on the summit. There may be deep snow, heavy rains, mosquitoes in wet areas, blowing dust, burning heat, bright sunshine.
The trip begins in the ancient and colorful city of Kathmandu (you could also start in Beijing). You stay in a comfortable, simple, clean, hot-water hotel, at minimal cost and sample some of the very reasonably-priced tasty Nepalese, Tibetan and Western-Style cuisine, available at the hundreds of local restaurants. During your free days in Kathmandu, while your Chinese visa is being processed, you shall finalize arrangements, purchase and hire the bits of equipment you might be missing at the hundreds of mountain-climbing and trekking equipment shops in the neighborhood (with low prices, as well), and take time out for trinket hunting, with suggested visits to explore the 17th century splendors of the Monkey Temple, the Durbar Square and old Kings Palace, as well as the ancient cities of Patan, and Bakhtapur. We also have several member and training sessions during these days, where our leaders spend time with you reviewing climbing techniques and equipment, going over medical and safety procedures, etcetera. If you are concerned about the altitude and have purchased Diamox (acetylzolamide), which is inexpensively available with no doctor's prescription in Kathmandu, this might be the time to begin taking it. back to top
Some members wish to add an optional trip to Lhasa before reaching basecamp. If this includes you, most members will fly to Kathmandu first, then to Lhasa. Some people prefer to fly to Lhasa from another city in China and we can also assist you with these arrangements. For those flying from Kathmandu, you take a 1 hour and 45 minute flight in a jet over Mt. Everest and the spine of the Himalaya, arriving in Tibet's capital city. In the past, we have had some fabulous views out of the plane windows during this flight.
At 3650 metres/12,000 feet of elevation, Lhasa was established around 600 AD on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. The heart of the city is centered around the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred building in all of Tibet. Our simple hotel is not too far from the famous Potale palace, Jokhang palace and the renowned Barkhor Market, where you can shop for exotic handicrafts and religious art from all across Tibet, China, and Buddhist India.
After flying to Lhasa, upon arrival you will rest for 2 nights and one day. It's important that you use the rest day to get acclimated to the high altitude.
Buddhist pilgrims from Amdo region circumambulating the Jokhang Temple in the Barkhor market. Photo: J. Otto.
It is a three day drive from Lhasa to basecamp. From Lhasa, you will set out in government cars across the Tibetan plateau to meet the rest of the team in Tingri, before reaching Everest basecamp.
The following morning after your day in Lhasa, you will drive to Shigatse at 3650 metres/12,000 feet, the second largest city in Tibet, with a famous Monastery. The road winds along the massive Brahmaputra River, past traditional warren-like Tibetan farm towns. In Shigatse, you can have a look around and try to visit the 15th century Tashilunpo Monastery, the largest active monastic institution in Tibet. Monks in maroon robes seem to be everywhere, going about their daily chores, praying, and practicing ceremonial music performances.
After Shigatse, you will make the scenic drive to the ancient city of Lhaze (Lhatse), at 4000 metres/13,100 feet . At the western end of town is the small Changmoche Monastery, which you may visit while there. You can see interesting views of the surrounding Tibetan plateaus and hills.
From Lhaze, it is another scenic drive to the town of Tingri at 4,342 meters/14,200 feet, where you will meet up with the rest of the team and continue towards Everest basecamp. back to top
The Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse, where more than 700 monks live and worship in the Buddhist religion. (Photo: J. Otto)
A Tibetan farmer brings his goods to market on the road near Lhaze. (Photo D.L. Mazur)Driving to Basecamp-
After the finalization of your Chinese visa, we set out very early in a bus for the 4 hour drive to the last Nepal town of Kodari at 1,770 meters/5,800 feet. We clear Nepalese customs and immigration, then hire local porters and vehicles to carry your bags across the Bota Kosi River on the Friendship Bridge, to Zhangmu, the gateway town in Tibet.
On the Friendship Bridge, border Crossing between Nepal and Tibet (Bruce Manning).Upon entering Tibet, the clocks immediately go forward by 2 ¼ hours. Our secondary government liaison officer will meet us in Zhangmu. After clearing Tibetan customs and immigration, a Chinese bus takes us up the windy road through the rolling hills to Nyalam town at 3,750 meters/12,300 feet, and a basic "hotel". The smaller towns in Tibet are generally simple and rustic places, and this one is no exception. The topography here is quite interesting in that we are perched in the transitional zone where the Tibetan plateau rams into the Himalaya, then drops into the forested valleys and jungles of Nepal, and finally out into the Gangetic plain of the Terai and India. We stay over one extra night in Nyalam, to help adjust to the altitude, and during our "rest-day" in Nyalam, we take advantage of the interesting surroundings to walk to the top of local hills and savor the first glimpses of the Himalayan Giants. back to top
Bouldering in Nyalam on our rest day (Felix Berg). On the road to Tingri, Himalayan Giants in the background (DL Mazur). Our sturdy Tibetan trucks carry the equipment, here being loaded by our Sherpas (Tim Spear).
In the morning we continue our bus-ascent into the Tibetan plateau, to the town of Tingri at 4,342 meters/14,200 feet. There are superb views of Shishapangma, Cho-Oyu, and Everest as we drive into Tingri. The town itself is a very basic one-street hamlet surrounded by the tents of nomadic Tibetans. About ½ of all ethnic Tibetans living in Tibet are nomadic or semi-nomadic. Our extremely rustic little hotel has an adequate restaurant, and it will be interesting to see if the high altitude has quelled our appetites for tasty fresh food. There are the ruins of an old fortress on a rise above town, and from here we can see the finest views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho-Oyu, and Shishipangma.
A stop along the road near Tingri. There is a simply developed hot springs here. Only the very brave are able to tempt fate by entering the dirty water(Bruce Manning). back to top
The following morning, after what for many is a relatively sleep-free night, we drive the 70 kilometers/40 miles, to Everest base camp at around 5,200 meters/17,000 feet. The drive follows a dirt road along the Rongbuk Valley and has spectacular views of the Himalaya. Chinese base camp is located just near the medieval and active Rongbuk Monastery.
We will spend another day resting, acclimatising, and organizing equipment into Yak loads at Chinese base.
Preparing our yak loads at Chinese basecamp (Bruce Manning). Blue mountain sheep in the cliffs above basecamp (Felix Berg). back to top
We then spend two days moving up to the "interim camp", which is located at 5,800 metres/19,000 feet, and halfway to the "advanced basecamp (ABC)".
Yak train heading up to interim camp (Bruce Manning). Interim Camp at 5800 metres/19,000 feet, where we acclimate for a day or two before heading up to ABC (Tim Spear).
Next, we spend two days working our way up to ABC. 6,400 meters/21,000 feet, ABC must be the highest basecamp in the world. It is located on a rocky moraine next to the Rongbuk Glacier.
Franck walking up the Rongbuk to ABC (Tim Spear). Our comfortable ABC at 6400 metres/21,000 feet, A view of the mountain at sunset from ABC (Ryan Waters).
Upon reaching ABC, we will take another rest and acclimatization day, this time going over our equipment, safety procedures, climbing techniques, cooking and camping methods, and working to form ourselves into a more cohesive team. back to top
After resting and completing our training, we will begin our climb of Everest.
Through the following weeks, we will climb up and down the mountain, according to the schedule suggested below, exploring the route, establishing camps, and building our acclimatization and strength levels. We will also descend to the Chinese basecamp several times, in order to rest well. Following the proposed itinerary below should give us the best chance to ascend in safety and maximize our opportunity to reach the summit during the "weather windows" which open in May. back to top
After ABC, there is a steep ice and rock climb up to North Col (Camp 1) at 7000 metres/23,000 feet. This is a pass between the Everest North East Ridge and Changtse at 7600 metres/24,900 feet.
To reach camp I, we ascend the glacier to the foot of the col where fixed ropes are used to reach the North Col at 7,000 metres/23,000 feet. From the North Col, we ascend the rocky north ridge to set up Camp 2 at around 7,500 metres/24,600 feet. The route goes up the north face through a series of gullies and steepens into down sloping slabby terrain before reaching the site of Camp 3 at 8,300 metres/27,200 feet.
Distant view of the second step at 8500 metres/27,900 feet, ladders on right (Franck Pitula). On the second step at 8500 metres/27,900 feet. We fixed 300 metres/1000 feet, of rope here. Looking at the summit from 8400 metres/27,550 feet. Climbing the second step. (Ryan Waters). back to top
From Camp 3, we will make our final summit push. Climbers must first make their way through three rock bands known as the first, second, and third steps.
The first step is only about 3 metres located at 8,500 metres/28,000 feet. The second step is located just above the first step at 8,500 metres/28,000 feet, and is about 50 metres/160 feet, high. The third and final step is slightly further up from the second at 8,800 metres/28,870 feet, and is about 20 metres/60 feet, high.
Step 2 in particular, is exceptionally difficult to cross, even with the presence of an aluminum ladder placed by a Chinese team in 1975. After surmounting the 3rd Step, the summit is ahead. Once above these steps, the final summit slopes (50 to 60 degrees) to the top. The team must traverse the distance (about 1.5 km/1 mile) up and down within a single day. back to top
The third and final step onto the summit. Ryan on the Summit. (Ryan Waters). Franck Pitula on the summit. A sunburned Felix back in ABC after summitting.
We are very excited to be offering a traverse of Everest. There are two ways to do it, from Nepal to Tibet, and from Tibet to Nepal. We are able to offer both options as we have expeditions from both sides. If you are interested in doing this, please contact us as soon as possible.
From the summit, you will cross over and ascend the other side of Mt. Everest where camps will already be established from our Nepal expedition.
A view of the famous Hillary Step coming down from the summit on the Nepal side (Fabrice Imparato).
After packing up all of your equipment, supplies, and rubbish, you will make a short return trek and drive to Tingri, have a feast at the restaurant and stay in the hotel. The following morning, you are up early, and drive all the way down to Zhangmu, hire porters to carry everything over the Friendship Bridge, then catch a bus into Kathmandu, where you can enjoy a hot shower and a grand Nepalese western-style feast. In Kathmandu, you can have a day to relax, celebrate, tour the valley, write postcards, and do a bit more shopping, before heading home. We hope you had a safe, enjoyable, and successful adventure. Thanks for joining in! back to top
Thank You for joining our Everest Tibet Expedition.