The Himalayas have enthralled mountaineers and walkers for years with some of the most legendary peaks in the world. For spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam a trek in the Himalayan region is a must. One of the classic trekking routes is to Everest Base Camp. You’ll get up close to the mountains and see Sherpa culture along the way. This is a 12-15 day trail including acclimatisation days that is completed successfully by thousands of people each year. Here’s a lowdown on the route.
For most people, the adventure begins in Lukla where small planes and helicopters fly in to the tiny and precarious airstrip surrounded by mountains. There is no room for mistakes and a landing here is quite an experience. Before heading off on the trek you should have organised your gear and a guide and possibly a porter. Trekking alone is not advisable.
The trail heads up through the villages and lowland meadows to Phadking. From here the trail climbs steeply to Namche Bazar at 3480m. This is a tough climb and most trekkers spend a day acclimatising in Namche which has cafes and shops. Just outside the village, trekkers get their first glimpse of Everest. The trekking route continues through small villages and across rivers to Khumjung and then the famous monastery at Tengboche. Stopping off at the Everest View Hotel is a great pit stop for photos. You’ll find tea houses all along this route as well as prayer wheels.
At Tengboche the famous monastery is a popular stop. It is an impressive structure and set in a beautiful backdrop. There is also camping and a guest house at this site. From here the path continues to Pheriche. It crosses the Imja Khola River and trekkers will see lots of beautiful carved mani stones.
At Pangboche, there is a beautiful gompa which is worth a stop on the route. Pheriche is famed for having the trekking aid post and for doing research into altitude sickness. It lies at 4240 metres. This is a popular place to acclimatise before climbing higher and the village has a number of cafes and short walks in the area. From here the trekking is harder as the route climbs to Phalang Kharbo and Dughla. Many people take time to acclimatise further in Dughla at 4620 metres. This route continues through even thinner air and sparse terrain to Lobuje. En route there is a memorial to those who have died on this trek.
From Lobuje it is colder and more tiring but the walk continues to Gorak Shep which is at 5160m. Depending on the time of day there is a choice. Some people overnight at Gorak Shep before continuing to Kala Pattar the next morning. Others carry on to Kala Pattar and return to Lobuje from Gorak Shep which is a 2 hour journey. At Kala Pattar the best view of Everest can be had without actually climbing it. From Gorak Shep it is a six hour round trip to Base Camp.
Once the highest point has been reached it is time for the descent back to Lukla, and a flight back to Kathmandu. This is a classic trek and with some planning it is the trip of a lifetime.
Images provided by: Saligram Aryal, Mountain World Treks (Kathmandu, Nepal)
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