Everest Circuit & The Cho La

Nepal

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Spectacular traverse from Gokyo Lakes to Kala Pattar affording incredible views of Mount Everest

Details

Duration: 21 Days
Starts in: Nepal
Group Size: 4-16

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrive Kathmandu

You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the Radisson hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 4.30-5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. This evening we will head out for dinner, this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members.Overnight: Radisson Hotel

Free day in Kathmandu or drive to Ramechap (approx 5 hours)

Depending on the season, you will either have a free day to explore Kathmandu's bustling streets and significant landmarks or embark on a bus ride to Ramechap, a small town that operates flights to Lukla, the gate way trekking in the Everest region. Overnight: Private eco-camp*NB: Domestic flights to/from Lukla during Spring and Autumn trekking seasons (March-May and October-December) may operate from Manthali Airport, Ramechap. This is determined by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and dates are subject to change. Your leader will brief you on flight arrangements locally.

Fly Lukla (2800m). Trek to Ghat (2600m). Walk approx 2 hours.

We have an early start with a short flight to STOL airstrip at Lukla. The Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla was established by Sir Edmund Hillary to help access the Everest region and the Sherpa people. It is a picturesque flight with marvelous views of the Eastern Himalaya. Once at Lukla we are immediately presented with views of huge peaks surrounding the village, offering a glimpse of what is to come. Our crew assembles and we head downhill towards the Dudh Kosi, a raging river that flows from the highest peaks. The broad and well-marked trail meanders around fields of potatoes and buck-wheat, passing through small villages and rows of dahlia trees to our first overnight private eco campsite at Ghat.

To Monjo (2850m). Walk approx 4-5 hours.

Today we cross and re-cross the thundering glacial river, named 'Dudh' (milk) Kosi (river) because of its colour. Sections of today's walk are through pine forest and cleared areas reveal terraced fields and a variety of crops. We pass small groups of donkeys, yaks and dzopko carrying trading goods and trekking gear along the trail. A dzopko is a yak-cow crossbreed while a yak is a full-blood long haired male, more commonly found at higher altitudes. Spectacular mountain peaks unfold above us and seem to hover above the tree-line as they rise above the deep river valley. Shortly after leaving camp we cross the Kusum Khola, a tributary stream to the Dudh Kosi, and the peak of Kusum Kangru (6369 m) can be seen to the East, at the head of the valley. Further along the trail, across the valley to the North-West, Nupla (5885 m) and Kongde Ri (6093 m) rise above the forested ridges. At a turn of the trail, Thamserku (6808 m) rises majestically, seemingly from the river floor. We will see our first Mani walls today. These stone structures are a compilation of many stone tablets, each with the inscription 'Om Mani Padme Hum' which translates to 'Hail to the jewel in the lotus', and is mantra (chant) venerated by Buddhists and Brahmans alike. Buddhists will walk to the left of these Mani Walls and chortens, but you may notice that people of the lowlands who have no knowledge of Buddhism do not follow this practice. The allure of the mountains is hard to resist, but we must be patient, as it is very important to acclimatise slowly and thereby fully appreciate our time at higher altitude. Today's walk is not a long one, and you will be eager to press on. Slow down, and enjoy the journey. Overnight at our private eco camp site located above Monjo.

To Namche (3440m). Walk approx 4-5 hours.

We start the day by passing through the gates of Sagamartha National Park. This national park was established to address the rising problem of deforestation and to stem the use of firewood in the surrounding areas. Only local villagers are permitted to collect wood for personal use but must first gain approval from authorities. We follow the trail to the confluence of the Dudh Kosi (river) and the Bhote Kosi, cross a spectacular a suspension bridge with fluttering prayer flags and start our ascent to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital of Nepal. It is a challenging climb but serene pine forests landscapes and the first glimpse of Mt Everest (8848m) provides a much needed motivational boost. The trail continues to meander up to Namche, a popular acclimatisation town nestled around the horse-shoe shaped valley. Today’s trek will all be worth it once you see the beautiful peaks of Kongde Ri directly opposite the valley. After lunch there are opportunities to explore Tibetan trader's stalls and markets in search of a bargain.Overnight: eco-lodge

To Kyangjuma (3550m), Walk approx 3-4 hours

Our trek will start with an incline to Syangboche airstrip and along the ridgeline towards Everest View Hotel. We are welcomed with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains including Everest, Lhotse, Thamserku, Khangtega, Ama Dablam and many more. After a quick break, we continue towards Khumjung and visit Sir Edmond Hillary’s famous “Schoolhouse in the clouds.”This school was the first in the entire Khumbu region being built in 1961 with the help of the Sir Edmund Hillary and the Himalayan Trust. The school originally opened with only two classrooms but has since expanded to cater for over 350 students. We descend and follow the trail for approx 25 minutes to our new exclusive campsite at Kyangjuma. For those who are feeling the early effects of altitude can opt for a shorter acclimatization walk of around 2 hours directly from Namche to Kyangjuma. Overnight: Private eco-campsite

To Portse Tenga (3600m). Walk approx 6 hrs

Heading North-East we initially follow the main trail to Thyangboche as it contours around the hills, before we branch off on a climb on the flanks of the sacred peak of Khumbila (5761 m). We traverse for some time across yak pastures as the trail gradually ascends to Mon La. Below us is the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and Imja Khola and across the valley Thyangboche monastery is framed by Ama Dablam and Kantega. We reach a stupa draped with prayer flags atop a ridge at 3992 metres and then descend steeply through forest to the Dudh Kosi. Crossing the river we pass a water-powered grain mill and eventually to our private eco camp at Portse Tenga. After afternoon tea an optional walk up the ridge beyond camp will bring us to the village of Portse.

To Dole (4000m). Walk approx 3 hrs.

The early morning sun warms the camp site and we head north, still following the Dudh Kosi towards its source, the magnificent Ngozumpa Glacier. An initial short climb gets us onto the trail for the steady climb towards Gokyo. Since leaving the main trail we have seen progressively fewer trekkers and locals and the relative isolation of the trail is a pleasure. Sections of red birch, fir and dwarf rhododendron forest are interspersed with areas of yak pasture as we gradually gain altitude. We pass pleasant waterfalls and can rest and gaze at the glaciers that flow from Taweche and Cholatse on the opposite side of the valley. Behind us, spectacular ridges lead to the peak of Khumbila and the numerous unnamed peaks that reach almost 6,000 metres. In the distance Kantega and Thamserku rise above the foothills. It was at Dole that one of the more recent and "credible" yeti sightings took place. Ask your trek leader for details and draw your own conclusions. Overnight private eco campsite in Dole.

To Machhermo (4410m), walk approx. 3 hrs.

Continuing a steady but constant climb, we reach the "village" of Machhermo for lunch. Like the few small villages in this valley, Machhermo has only a few buildings and these are empty much of the year. Villagers in Khumjung and Khunde generally own land here high up the valley, where they graze yaks in the summer months. Our camp sits in the valley amidst stunning surrounds and is one of our most popular stops on the circuit. This is a valuable acclimatisation day as we prepare for the higher altitudes and our ascent of Gokyo Ri (5483m). This afternoon can be spent relaxing or you may wish to stretch your legs and take a walk up the ridge behind Luza for a view of the Gokyo Valley. Just a short walk from camp is the Machhermo Porter Shelter and Rescue Post which is well worth a visit, here you can learn more about altitude and the work of IPPG (International Porter Protection Group). Overnight private eco camp.

To Gokyo (4759m). Walk approx 5-6 hrs

Following the valley high above the river, we commence the ascent to Gokyo village. There are excellent views of Cholatse at the village of Pangka and we stop to enjoy them. We are now in high alpine country and as we approach the Ngozumpa Glacier we trek onto the moraine and rock that extends down from it. We enjoy excellent views of Kantega to the south and Cho Oyu to the north. Each mountain has its individual character and presence, and you can understand why mountain people have such spiritual significance. Once we have ascended the snout of the glacier the path levels. We pass the first of the lakes, Longponga, before reaching, Taoche Lake, a larger body of water and a place where ducks are often seen swimming in the freezing waters on their annual migrations to and from Tibet. As we walk up the valley our path parallels the Ngozumpa Glacier while separating us from the glacier is the massive lateral moraine. Overnight eco lodge.

Ascent of Gokyo Ri (5483m). Walk approx 4 hrs

An early start is made to take advantage of the early morning views. The steady yet unrelenting ascent of Gokyo Ri will take two to three hours, depending on your level of fitness and acclimatisation. It is not a race and times of up to six hours are cherished by those who thought they would not make it at all. If you find the climb hard work don't hesitate to ask one of the guides to carry your day pack. You will be elated when you reach the summit with its spectacular view. Probably the most comprehensive view of 8,000 metre peaks in Nepal, many people consider it to be Nepal's best. Surrounding us are Cho Oyu (8153 m), (a mountain that defeated a British Expedition of climbers, including Hillary, in their lead-up to their successful assault of Everest), Gyangchung Kang (7922 m), Lhotse (8501 m), Makalu (8475 m), Cholatse (6440 m), Taweche (6542 m), Kantega (6685 m), Thamserku (6808 m), Lobuche (6145 m) and Mt Everest (8848 m). Hundreds of other peaks fill the scene, whilst below us the Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest in Nepal, stretches through the valley. The striking colour of the lakes below completes the picture. The only way to get a better view of the entire Everest region would be to climb an 8,000 metre peak! Although further from Everest than Kala Pattar, the traditional viewing point, here we see more of the mountain and enjoy a more relaxed environment to view the peak. Overnight eco lodge.

To Thangnak (4800m). Walk approx 4-5 hrs

We weave our way towards Thangnak on a trail that meanders through a section of the largest glacier in Nepal. It's an exciting hike, as we leave Gokyo and begin the approach towards the Cho La. There are great views today of Cho Oyu and Cholatse. Keep an eye open for Himalayan Thar on the rocky slopes. Overnight eco-lodge.

Cross Cho La (5420m) to Dzongla (4843m). Walk approx 8-9 hrs

We start early to take advantage of the stable early morning weather pattern that generally prevails in the Himalaya. Depending on the snow conditions, it will take us approximately 5 hours to reach the saddle of the pass from Thagnak. There will be time on the top of the pass to soak in the experience before the descent into the valley and the camp on the other side. This is a special day and for some the highlight of the trip. The views are excellent all day. Words fail to describe the beauty and the sense of achievement of this pass crossing. Finally as we descend to our camp beside the steep north face of Cholatse, the stunning peak Ama Dablam comes into view. Overnight private eco campsite.

To Lobuche (4930m). Walk approx 3 hrs

The early morning sun is welcome after a cold night and reveals a dramatic panorama of spectacular peaks. We traverse high on the flanks of Awi Peak, above the village of Chola and continue past Cholatse Lake. Beyond the lake, the Chola Glacier flows steeply from a saddle between the cliffs of Cholatse and Taweche in a rugged and beautiful display. We crest a small rise and before us unfolds the stunning form of Nuptse (7745 m), rising above the Khumbu Glacier. We continue our traverse until we join the busy trail from Thyangboche to Lobuche, where the volume of people and yaks may come as quite a shock. The successful 1953 British Expedition to Everest thought of this place as a warm and pleasant rest point.The hill above the settlement affords fine sunset views of Nuptse. Overnight eco lodge.

To Gorak Shep (5288m) & Base Camp (5360m). Walk approx 7-8 hours

We trek alongside the Khumbu Glacier as the path winds over the rocky moraine towards the settlement of Gorak Shep. We are high, among the glaciers of the world's highest peaks. Following our arrival at Gorak Shep we have an early lunch before we commence our trek to Everest Base Camp. In the pre monsoon season many expeditions can be seen at base camp and this excursion is one of the highlights of the trek. Overnight lodge.

Kala Pattar (5545m), & trek Dingboche (4330m), walk approx. 7-8 hours

Kala Pattar is not a Nepali name but a Hindi name and translates to "black rock". From these black rocks atop the hill the views are spectacular. Most eyes are locked on the mass of Everest and its rocky buttresses immediately before us. Many of the famous ascent routes are quite clear. Below us the Khumbu Glacier snakes towards the icefall and Western Cwm. We can see the area where expeditions set their base camp but the original site was at Lake Camp, now known as Gorak Shep. Take a look in every direction and soak it in. The view south and our route out, is particularly beautiful. In the afternoon we make the return trek to our private permanent camp at Dingboche, soon after setting off we reach the site of a row of cairns to Sherpa climbers who died on Everest, before we continue to the small settlement at Tugla. Our path on an old lateral moraine takes us to the sheltered village of Dingboche and our private eco camp. To the east at the head of the Imja Khola valley sits the pyramid peak of Imja Tse (6189 m). This afternoon we can walk up the ridge behind Dingboche for sunset views of Nuptse, Lhotse and Chhukung Peak.

To Kyangjuma (3550m). Walk approx 7 hours

There may be a tendency to rush as we gradually descend downhill but there is still much to appreciate. We follow the Imja river and eventually cross the Pheriche river to our lunch stop at Deboche. We continue after lunch through serene rhododendron and birch forests to reach Thyangboche monastery and our overnight camp at Kyangjuma. Overnight: Private eco-camp

To Ghat (3440m), walk approx. 7 hours

If the weather is clear, the mountain views as we approach Namche Bazaar are outstanding. As we approach the end of our trek, we have time to peruse the tibetan shops for souvenirs or even wander the Sherpa capital and relax with a coffee. Leaving Namche we descend through the forest towards the Dudh Kosi, and continue our return journey crossing and re-crossing the river. It will seem like a long time since we ascended through the villages on our first days of the trek, as we have witnessed many stunning views on our trek into the highest mountain range in the world. We exit Sagarmatha National Park and reach Ghat for our overnight camp. Overnight: private eco-camp

To Lukla (2800m). Walk approx 5-6 hours

Retracing our steps along the valley, we pass through a variety of settlements and forests before a gentle climb to Lukla. We savour our final mountain sunsets of the trek as we complete this exhilarating journey. Our last evening of the trek is a perfect time to celebrate a successful journey and say thanks to the team, especially the porters who will return to their villages from here.Overnight: eco-lodge.

Fly to Kathmandu or return via Ramechap

We start the day with a stunning morning flight over forests and villages to Kathmandu directly or to return via Ramechap. Upon arrival, you be will be transferred back to the Radisson Hotel and have the remainder of the afternoon free. There will be plenty of time to relax or do some last minute shopping/sightseeing. Overnight: Radisson Hotel or similar

Trip concludes in Kathmandu

After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport.

Additional Information

Combining our classic Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes treks with a stunning crossing of the non-technical Cho La pass provides an unsurpassed circuit trek of the Everest region. We make climbs of the popular Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar along the way, which provide magnificent photo opportunities of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, and views as far as Kanchenjunga in the east and the Tibetan 8000m peak Cho Oyu to the north. We will also view Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, Cholatse, the beautiful pyramid of Ama Dablam, as well as countless other Himalayan peaks. There is also time to visit the famous Base Camp, and during the months of March, April & May, will view the many expedition camps. Each night you will be accommodated in our private eco campsites as well as handpicked eco lodges. Another dimension to this adventure is the famous Sherpa culture providing a truly unforgettable experience.

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    $3,360/person

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