Hidden Valleys of the Khumbu & Everest Base Camp Trek

Soaring to an ultimate 8,850m, Mt Everest and its buttress the Lhotse wall dominates all other peaks in view and interest. Hundreds of trekkers make their way up the Khumbu Valley to witness the sun rising behind the highest point on earth and pay a visit to a temporary home on the icy Khumbu Glacier climbers call Everest Base Camp. With rising demands locals have created basic lodges all along the valley and so if you do not wish to sleep under canvas the option is there. However the ease of travel along the valley restricts you from being able to see the amazing variety of landscapes, flora and fauna only the other side of the valleys can offer and very rarely do you find yourself not sharing the trail with many other fellow trekkers and trains of pack animals.

The Hidden Valleys of the Khumbu is a trek that allows you to make your pilgrimage to the must see places before you die but doing it the right way. First we fly into the world͛s most amazing airport – Lukla at 9,300ft, spend a day acclimatizing and then make our way slowly up through Namche Bazar staying at Luxury lodges to an elevation of 11,300ft. Beyond this point we leave the trekker͛s highway to trek and camp as we explore the stunningly beautiful Khangtaiga, Mingbo La, Imja, and Amadablam Valleys where yaks graze freely and other trekkers rarely roam. We head into the stunningly beautiful Dingboche valley and onto Gorakshep, the gateway to Everest Base Camp. On a clear day the trekker is rewarded with picturesque views. The ascent of Kalapathar (18,200ft) begins at Gorakshep with a series of switchbacks and eventually leading the windswept summit ridge with prayer flags for views of Everest from top to bottom. Then as you descend down the valley you once again leave the main trail at the village of Pangboche to skirt around the base of Mt Tawoche on a trail that enjoys a panoramic view of the southern horizon that is dominated by Mt Amadabalam, Mt Khangtaiga, Mt Thamserku and Kwangde Himal Phortse. A quiet village between two popular valleys, Phortse enjoys a superb view of Mt Khangtaiga and the visits of the not so popular Snow Leopards that prey on the baby Yaks. Finally you make your way to the Gokyo Valley trail that leads you back to Namche and then to Lukla.

Hidden Valleys of the Khumbu & Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

Day 1 / KATHMANDU
Upon arrival into Tribhuvan Kathmandu International Airport and are personally met and transferred to hotel. Tonight there is a welcome dinner and briefing. Overnight The Inn Patan (Dinner)

Day 2 / LUKLA / PHAKDING
Today you transfer to the airport and head to Lukla airstrip (9,300 ft). You will find Lukla humming with local life as you are introduced to your trek crew and dzopkyos (a pack animal that is a cross between a yak and a highland cattle). Here before you start your trek, you hand over your kit for carrying and in a short while head up the Dudh Kosi valley. Right from Lukla on a clear day, the mountains of Kwangde, Kusum Kangaru and Khumbila greet the new visitor. It is about 2 hours to lunch at Thado Kosi beside a side stream. You cross a few suspension bridges that bring you to the village of Phakding. You spend the night in Phakding 8,661 ft. (Walking 3 hrs)Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3 / NAMCHE
Today, the trail wanders past farmhouses and through rolling terrain that slowly ascends to reach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. An early lunch provides fuel for the 1,800-foot steep hike to the village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft). Namche is the largest Sherpa village. Beyond Phakding, we pass several interesting villages nestled beside the river, cross the raging Dudh Kosi several times on the smart and the newly built suspension bridges, entering the Sagarmatha National Park at Jorsale. After lunch near the riverunder the pine trees, we leave the Dudh Kosi and climb the steps up to the Sherpa capital and administrative center of Khumbu, Namche 11,300 ft. (Walking 6 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4 / TASHINGA
Temple horns and yak bells may awaken us. On a clear day as you head north Mt Thamserku and Khangtaiga rises to your right, Mt Ama Dabalam, Mt Lhotse and Mt Everest dominates the northern horizon while Mt Tawoche soars in the west. Look out for herds of Thar (goat antelope) and Impheyan pheasants that like to quietly graze on the steep slopes above or below the trail. You pass the small villages of Kenzuma and Sanasa before leaving the main trail to Tengboche to arrive at the Everest Summit Lodge of Tashinga 11300ft in a little while. Kenzuma at one time had an excellent population of the musk deer however recently they have fallen prey to snow leopards that are becoming more active every year in this area. (Walking 4 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5 / YARIN
From the quiet fields of Tashinga you descend to the teahouses of Langsasa to cross the Dudh Koshi river and arrive at the teashops of Phunki Tenga. Newly repaired water driven prayer wheels grace the trail next to the army post. It is a 2 hour ascent through a rhododendron forest that can be all flowering if you trek through in April. At the top of the hill Tengboche monastery with its grand entrance greets all visitors with a breathtaking view of Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse and Ama Dabalam. Tengboche which at one time was an advance base camp for early Everest Expeditions has several basic lodges and a very good bakery. At the north end of the monastery grounds you leave the main trail to Deboche and trek on an off the beaten trail through lovely birch forests covered in Lichen that look like Old Man͛s Beard. This undisturbed trail can be a good place to spot the Musk Deer and the rare Blood Pheasant. Your camp at Yarin, a yak summer pasture is beyond the small hydro power station at the beginning of Mt Khangtaiga Valley. This is the first day of the camping portion that explores the Hidden Valleys of the Khumbu. We will spend 3 nights at this camp. (Walking 6 hrs)Overnight Yarin Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 / YARIN (KHANGTAIGA VALLEY)
Camping at Omaga gives you an amazing opportunity to explore a valley rarely anyone visits. Being on the other side of the main trail it has no lodges and so no visitors. You can either follow the stream south all the way to the edge of the Mt Khangtaiga Glacier or scramble up the steep hillside to the east to a rocky summit. The hike can be a half day excursion to a full day trek with a packed lunch. This day offers you an opportunity to get very close to Mt Khangtaiga and its valley system giving you that perspective offered by no other trek in this region. (Walking 5-6 hrs) Overnight Yarin Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7 / YARIN (AMADABLAM VALLEY)
No other peak captures the attention of trekkers in the Khumbu than the ͚Mother͛s Jewelry Box Mountain͛– Mt Ama Dabalam. This morning we follow the Imja River to the pastures of Lapharma before heading east uphill to the base camp of Mt Ama Dabalam. This meadow right below the massif with a small stream flowing through it gets very busy in Spring. South of this spot is the abandoned airstrip of Mingbo which many years ago saw a single engine aircraft ferry supplies for an expedition to the summit. (Walking 5-6 hours) Overnight Yarin Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8 / DINGBOCHE
Today, there will be lots of ups and downs. We will have crossed, and will cross more,suspension bridges over roaring rivers fed by glaciers. We will pass the Dingboche monastery (13,030 ft), one of the oldest monasteries in the Everest region. Then you cross the raging Imja river from where you can look up into this wonderful gorgeand you will see Ama Dabalam peeking from the top. We pass the Pangboche village with its oldestmonastery in the region and ascend gradually up the windy and dusty trail which lies above the tree line with low lying juniper bushes all the way to Dingboche 14,271 ft. (Walking 5-6 hrs). Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 / LOBUCHE
By this day, we will have trekked past the highest Sherpa permanent settlements, and we will see towers of black rock and white ice. The scenery continues to become more and more stunning, with views of Tawoche (21,463 ft), Cholatse (21,128 ft), Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Lhotse Shar. This will be a great day to allow time for photography and absorbing the awesome scenery, and anticipating tomorrow. Heading towards Lobuche 16,207 ft, the trail stays high above Pheriche, another Yarsa (Yak pasture) turned teahouse site, with it’s Himalayan Rescue Aid Post. Snowy slopes surround us as we walk towards Dhugla and cross the Lobuche Khola. Then climbing north east to the ridge with the memorials. The path stays relatively flat to Lobuche, haven of the Tibetan Snowcocks, choughs and Pikkas. (Walking 5-6 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 / EVEREST BASE CAMP / GORAKSHEP
This is the much awaited day. The walk first involves crossing the terminal moraine of Khangri Glacier before descending to Gorakshep 16,962 ft – ‘Place of the Ravens’. We stop for tea and prepare ourselves before setting out across the ice and rock of the Khumbu Glacier to Everest Base Camp. After exploring and learning much about the ‘base camp life’, we return to Gorakshep. (Walking 6-7 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 / PHERICHE
Today we make a morning hike to Kalapathar (Black Rock) 18,190 ft, where we scramble around large boulders, and then photographEverest clearly with ourselves in the picture. Your chance to see the best view of the highest point on earth – Mt Everest, the Khumbu glacier and the peaks that surround and complement it since we are perched 800 ft above Base Camp at this point. We congratulate ourselves, and start our descent back to Gorakshep for lunch. We continue to descend to Pheriche (14,340 ft) and enjoy the view of the sun setting on the peaks of Khangtaiga. (Walking 6-7 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12 / DEBOCHE
Descend to Debuche 12,400ft gulping in richer and richer air! Trek: 5 hrs (7.5km). (Walking 5 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13 / NAMCHE
From Phortse you will first descend to the Dudh Kosi river that flows out from the longest glacier in the Nepal Himalaya – the Ngyozumpa. The silver birch forest here is an excellent habitat for Musk Deer and the Blood Pheasant. After the river crossing the trail ascends steeply to Mong hill and then descends to the biggest village in the Khumbu – Kumjung. Most of the lodges of Namche are owned by the residents of Khumjung. Khumjung is also home of the Hillary Trust School and a local bakery. From Khumjung you will ascend to the ridge to then descend to the airstrip of Syangboche 12800ft from where Namche lies 1500ft below. (Walking 6-7 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14 / LUKLA
We retrace our steps along the Dudh Kosi, crossing to the western bank at Benkar. It is a beautiful and easy walk descending through blue pine and rhododendron forest, with views of Kusum Kangaru behind us. We walk to Ghat for lunch, and then start the gradual climb out of the river valley arriving in Lukla in the late afternoon, giving you plenty of time to relax, explore, enjoy a hot shower, sort out equipment, and prepare for tomorrow͛s departure. In the evening, a farewell dinner may be followed by a few celebratory drinks. (Walking 6 hrs) Overnight Local Lodge with catering (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 15 / KATHMANDU
Today you transfer to Lukla airstrip to catch a flight back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival you are transferred to your hotel and relaxation. Overnight The Inn Patan (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 16 / KATHMANDU
There is a full day guided tour of Bhaktapur, Boudhanath Stupa, and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Today is also a spare day in case there is unpredicted weather in Lukla. Tonight there is a farewell dinner! Overnight The Inn Patan (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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