In just 3 weeks, our Everest-View Glacier School may be the easiest way to learn the fundamentals of glacier travel with ice-axe and crampons, while gaining high altitude experience in the spectacular grandeur of the Khumbu Himalaya. We will teach you everything you need to know to make a summit attempt towards the end of our itinerary on the fun trekking peak of Lobuche East (6119 metres/20,075 feet). It is a beautiful place to learn, practice your skills and to take an up-close look at the high peaks of the Himalaya, including Everest, the famous south face of Lhotse, Makalu and the north side of Ama Dablam (photo right by Valerie Hovland: Climbers ascending the summit ridge of Lobuche East. You can see all the way down to the lake where we set up basecamp).
Our Everest View Glacier School maximizes many years of accumulated wisdom in the Himalaya, a long and proven record of safe and fun trekking through Nepal, Tibet, China, Africa, and many other fascinating destinations around the world. Our friendly guides and trip leaders are experts at leading interesting groups of men and women throughout Nepal. In addition, they have an intimate knowledge of the Sherpa people and customs and temples and shrines in each picturesque village you stroll through. We must also give credit to our polite and highly experienced, hard-working trekking sherpas, cooking, and office staff. Many of these excellent sherpas who work for us have an intimate knowledge of the beautiful trek to Everest and the comfortable villages we will visit, because this is their home region. They live in this land grew up on farms here, have family and friends in the fun areas we will pass through, making our visit less of the usual tourist experience and more involved with the unique and genuine culture of the Khumbu Valley. They go out of their way to help make your visit remarkable, enjoyable along the way, and create lasting ties with the majestic landscapes and the inhabitants who reside there. This is a truly wonderful trek with an enthusiastic and polite group of friends.
The proposed itinerary allows enough time for proper acclimatization and rest days. The weather at this time of year is normally quite good and stable.
Throughout the trek 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). At night we stay in warm, comfortable teahouse lodges for most of the trek. The wind is the most chilling factor, and can be quite variable, with everything from a flat calm, to brisk at basecamp. There may be snow, rain, mosquitoes in wet areas, blowing dust, heat, and bright sunshine. It is slightly chillier during April trip than in May or October. The coldest portion of the trek is the morning we walk up Lobuche East, where it can get below freezing on average and it may be windy. back to top
The trip begins in the ancient and colorful city of Kathmandu, and the staff will personally meet your flight at Tribhuvan airport. Tour Kathmandu, a beautiful exotic Hindu and Buddhist city with an abundance of ancient temples. If this is your first visit, we strongly suggest you tour the temples, including the Monkey Temple, atop a small mountain above the Vishnu Mathi river and the Thamel neighborhood, the Pashupatinath Temple, where the cremations are conducted along the Bagmathi River, Boudhanath , an enourmous white massive stupa first built in 600 AD that you can walk around, absolving a lifetime's sin, and finish at the Kathmandu Durbar or King's Square, where the 400 year old Kathmandu capital was situated.
Touring the exotic temples of Bakhtapur, in the Kathmandu Valley (Felix Berg). A holy man praying near the Baghmati River in Kathmandu (Chris Kinny).
We will take this day to finalize arrangements (such as issuing your trekking permit, etc), in between enjoying food and drink at some of the many westernized restaurants in the Thamel neighborhood. Today is an ideal day to pick up extra bits of trekking and climbing kit from the plethora of mountain shops selling a surprising variety of good quality new and used mountain clothing, shoes, and nearly everything you might find in a trekking shop in your home country. The local "supermarkets" are great places to stock up on imported chocolates, sweets, and some surprisingly tasty local trekking foods like energy bars, nuts, granola bars, etcetera. back to top
In a small twin engine, twin pilot, 18 seat propeller driven "Twin-Otter", the trusty workhorse of the Khumbu-Everest trekking trade, we will fly for 40 minutes from Kathmandu to the airstrip at 2,840 metre/9,300 foot-high Lukla and stroll a couple of hours down and through the forested and farmed Dudh Khosi valley with a small clean river ripping through a narrow green rocky mountain studded valley to the picturesque small town of Phakding, where we camp in a field on the river bank at 2,650 metres/8,700 feet. Throughout the entire trek, every day, our bags will be carried by porters and yaks. Interacting with the people transporting our equipment, as well as their livestock, will be an interesting part of our trip, and allow us to set foot into the local culture.
We arise early and have a typically wholesome breakfast of omelettes, toast, porridge and hot drinks, then walk 4-7 hours up through the fir trees and ever-rarer herds of Himalayan Tahr, an endangered large wild mountain sheep. Topping the rim of the Sun Khosi Gorge, we slowly and steadily walk into the steep village of 3,440 metre/12,800 foot high Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa region, which we will have time to explore. It’s important to drink lots of liquids during today's trek, and you will certainly appreciate the stunning views of Numbur Peak (6,959 metres/23,000 feet) over several cups of tea, in our terraced campsite, in what used to be a potato field on the upper slopes of the town. In 30 minutes walk on a trail traversing the slope towards Everest, we will see our first views of the stunning Ama Dablam and perhaps Everest itself. back to top
The Himalayan Tahr can grow to a metre high and weigh upwards of 100 kg. (http://www.americazoo.com/goto/index/mammals/420.htm). A Himalayan musk deer. They have very interesting well-developed upper canines, and in males these may reach a length of 7 cm / 3 inches and protrude from the mouth in a fang-like manner (WWF H-W Schuldei Leipzig Zoo). One of the varieties of grouse pheasants that are abundant in Everest National Park. Males have a bright plume under their tail that they raise like a peacock periodically as they putt around (mckaysavage).
We rest, acclimate, and relax, in order to soak in the comfortable exotic landscape of this Sherpa kingdom. One of the main features of spending a day in Namche is the opportunity to walk 15 minutes down the slope to partake in the tumult of this bustling sherpa and tourist village, especially the many tasty restaurants, tea-shops, pubs, billiard rooms, and internet cafes. All of the electricity here is locally made micro-hydro electric power, and the telephone and internet connections are wireless/satellite.
From Namche we drop down to the river and the famous tea-stop of Fungki Thangka and have a steep climb up through tree nurseries where you could help with the replanting of the Khumbu valley, which is starting to show signs of over-forestation by sherpas heating water for trekker's hot showers. If you are interested in helping, please check out our Service Trek website. Throughout this part of the walk, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of endangered herds of Tahr. Finally cresting a rise in a forest of gorgeous Sub-alpine fir and Hemlock, walking at the feet of the Khumbu giant peaks of Kusum Kanguru and Thamserku, we reach the Buddhist monastery at Tengboche, which we can visit. The monastery burned in 1989, apparently due to an electric kettle being left on. Tragically the gompa's book collection was ravaged, and during the following years, groups of monks were seen spending hours each day writing with ball-point pens on stenographer's pads, trying to recall ancient texts from memory, which were burned when the fire tore through the library. Here we will find inspiring views of Mt. Everest , Nuptse, Lhotse , Ama Dablam, and a very welcome tea and overnight stop. back to top
At the gompa of Tengboche, which burned in 1989, Steve doing some exploring (Liz Stevens). The Pangboche Lama blesses all of us. Here he is blessing our trek employee and trek leader, Ms. Kandu Sherpa. Kandu's sister Maya works for SummitClimb and has become the first Nepalese woman to climb Ama Dablam , Pumori, and Cho Oyu . Kandu would also like to become a climbing Sherpa one day (Liz Stevens).
We will pass through Pangboche, 3900 metres/12,800 feet, a religious village and the home of the Khumbu Lama, the most respected Buddhist leader in the upper Khumbu valley. From Pangboche village, one can enjoy the most stunning views of Ama Dablam, Everest, and the imposing south face of Lhotse.
From Pangboche we enjoy a walk along the beautiful Dudh Kosi gorge, to the enourmous flat valley where lies the village of Pheriche. At 4,250 metres/13,900 feet, it’s where the famous Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) health clinic is located. Pheriche is the last permanent Sherpa settlement. Here we have spectacular views of Nuptse, Lobuche, Cholatse, Ama Dablam and many others. We will stay here for the night. back to top
Two bridges over the Pangboche gorge. The new bridge is the higher one. Sherpas love to hang prayer flags all over their bridges. Looking down on Pangboche at 3,900 metres/12,800 feet (Steve Miscione).
Monuments to fallen climbers, known as "chortens" atop the Dugla Hill, with Ama Dablam in the background (Steve Miscione). The view of Lobuche peak from the teahouse at Lobuche at 4,930 metres/16,200 feet (Liz Stevens).
One interesting thing about trek life is being woken up every morning by these Himalayan Ular Snow Cocks (Web). Sturdy and hardworking local gentleman carrying beer to sell to tourists in the teahouses (DL Mazur). These strong yaks carry our expedition equipment (Liz Strevens).
After taking a rest day in Cho La basecamp we will begin several days of training before setting out for Lobuche East. Our school will consist of learning and practicing glacier rope techniques, ice-climbing with ice-axe and crampons, crevasse rescue and snow-camping. There will be ample opportunity for you to test out equipment, ask lots of questions and, most of all, have fun. Our training will be conducted on the Cho La Glacier above basecamp. back to top
After we have finished our training, we will make the brief and beautiful trek to Lobuche East. Basecamp is located at 5550 metres/18,200 feet in a rocky hollow, near a beautiful hidden lake at the base of the glaciated South-West Face.
From the northern end of the lake near basecamp, we climb slabby terraces and snow slopes beneath the main glaciers of the South-West Face and gain access to the ridge overlooking Lobuche and the Khumbu Glacier. We may used fixed rope on some of the stepper sections going up depending on conditions. At the point where the glacier face and ridge meet we will establish our high camp (photo right by Valerie Hovland: A sherpa looking down the route of Lobuche East from just below the summit).
From the high camp we will continue up the sinuous snow arête to its junction with the summit ridge. The route to the East Peak follows the summit ridge north-west across several snow bumps along the way. Upon reaching the snow summit you are treated to magnificent views of Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Makalu. back to top
Team on the summit of Lobuche on a perfect sunny day. Team member and sherpa on the summit of Lobuche (Valerie Hovland).
From the town of Lobuche, a short day up the Khumbu glacier takes us to the rocky outpost of Gorak Shep, with three cozy teahouses at 5,160 metres/16,900 feet. We will tuck into a comfortable tea house and marvel at the lovely views of Everest , Nuptse, Pumori, Lobuche, and so many other vast mountains that tower around us, as if our tiny teahouse was a crumb of bread in the jaws of a dragon. We eat and drink a lot up here, so you will have a good chance to rest and recuperate. The nights can be very chilly up here, so you will enjoy bundling up in your warm, fleece, pile, or duvet/down jacket, and wearing your wooly hat, especially in the evening. back to top
One interesting thing about trek life is being woken up every morning by these Himalayan Ular Snow Cocks (Web).
Sturdy and hardworking local gentleman carrying beer to sell to tourists in the teahouses (DL Mazur). These strong yaks carry our expedition equipment (Liz Strevens).
Ms. Elselien te Hennepe, looking out into the Imja Tso Lake on the left of the photo on our October 2005 trek. Behind her, on the right side of the photo is Island Peak basecamp at 5,100 meters (16,728 feet) (DL Mazur).With an early start we trek to the top of Kala Patar (5,545 metres/18,200 feet) to see the breathtaking views of Everest . Here is where Shipton stood in 1952, to plan the successful ascent of Everest . After climbing to the top of Kala Patar, we shall walk down to Gorak Shep and have a relaxing lunch, followed by a short walk down to Lobuche and camp. We now walk back down the valley, retracing our steps to Pheriche, and enjoy the final stunning views of the stunning Everest massif.
Those of us who are feeling well will wake up early and walk up to Everest basecamp which lies atop the Khumbu glacier at 5,300 metres/17,400 feet. There is a good trail on rocks and scee all the way to basecamp, where you will see several spectacular crashed Russian helicopters. Then we will return to Gorak Shep for another warm night, lots of tea, and a delicious meal.
After packing up all of your equipment, supplies, and rubbish, you will make the return trek to Lukla. The following morning, you are up early, and fly back to 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 View Glacier School Expedition.