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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day by Day Itinerary

FRI Mar 30: Arrive Kathmandu and check into the renowned Yak and Yeti Hotel, a cornerstone of the Kathmandu scene.

SAT Mar 31: Kathmandu. City exploration and gear shakedown.

SUN Apr 1: Kathmandu. All trekkers and climbers gather together for a welcome dinner. Most will arrive on this day.

MON Apr 2: Kathmandu. From the centrally located Yak and Yeti we begin our exploration of Kathmandu. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to both Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures which lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in both Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes the 3000-year old Swamayabhu (monkey temple), the great Stupa of Bodnath and the chaotic Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath. This temple is home to many Hindu ascetics or Sadhus.

TUE Apr 3: After final administration requirements, we fly via Twin Otter to the landing strip in Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we meet and join our Sherpa staff, load the yaks and begin the ascent to base camp. Our first day is an easy walk to lush environs of Phakding, located on the Dudh Kosi river. Hiking time: 3 hours

WED Apr 4: We follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300ft/700m through Himalayan pine and Doedar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300ft/3444m). The village of Namche is an historic trading post where Nepalese and Tibetan traders exchange salt, dried meat, gold and textiles. Besides being a superb place to shop for traditional crafts, Namche remains the central trading post in the Khumbu, attracting Himalayan and lowland merchants. Our group spends two days in Namche affording us the opportunity to acclimate, visit local markets and spend time with friends in town. On the hike we capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

THU Apr 5: In the morning the group takes an acclimatization hike, gaining 1000' to take in the vista on the patio of the Everest View Hotel. In the afternoon we have time to visit sights in Namche Bazaar, including the Sherpa museum and local marketplace.

FRI Apr 6: Perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we travel to the village of Thame (12,464ft/3800m), off the main trekking path. We have the unique opportunity of visiting the home of Lakpa Rita Sherpa, our Sirdar (lead Sherpa). His family has been a mainstay of this small community, raising yaks and farming. This gives us an intimate view of Sherpa culture while visiting a traditional home. Interestingly enough, a number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from Thame. The ‘Thame’ experience is one rarely afforded to trekkers. Hiking time: 5 hours

SAT Apr 7: Waking early we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We tour this 400 year-old gompa and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we tour the monastery we discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Before departure we will hopefully have the opportunity to meet and receive a blessing from the Thame Rinpoche (head priest). From Thame we walk to the beautiful village of Khunde (12,400/3780m), one of the largest villages in the Khumbu and home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital and school. The day’s walk is moderate and rather pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. Hiking time: 6 hours

SUN Apr 8: We continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683ft/3865m), the cultural and religious center of the Khumbu. At the monastery we attend Buddhist ceremonies and rituals performed by local monks. Vistas from Tengboche are spectacular. The jagged peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega stand to our south as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam are visible to the north. The Monastery at Tengboche is one of the most well-known in the world as the Rinpoche is revered throughout the Buddhist community and has authored a number of books and essays. In the past our groups have had an audience with the Rinpoche and received his blessing. Views from this locale (one of the finest on earth), include Kwangde 20,293ft/6185m , Tawachee 21,457ft/6540m, Nuptse 25,843ft/7876m, Lhotse 27,883ft/8498m, Everest 29,035ft/8850m, Ama Dablam 22,487ft/6854m, Kantega 22,235ft/6777m, Thamserku 21,674ft/6606m. We take time to visit the community Sherpa Cultural Center and excellent nearby bakery, and descend slightly to lodge in the village of Deboche. Hiking time: 4-5 hours

MON Apr 9: We climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907ft/4238m) which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high altitude research center. The center attracts world renown physicians who acquire data to analyze the effects of high altitude on human physiology. During our stay we visit the research center and learn more about the effects of high altitude on Himalayan climbers. Hiking time: 4 hours

TUE Apr 10: Pheriche. Additional rest day acclimatizing and hiking.

WED Apr 11: Above Pheriche, the character of the terrain changes, and we begin to understand the starkness of the high alpine landscape. Our path climbs the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and continues to the settlement of Lobuje (16,174ft/4929m), where we spend one night. This trail passes through a famous memorial which honors the many Sherpa who lost their lives in the high mountains. Lobuje is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Hiking time: 4-5 hours

THU Apr 12: The trail winds past the Italian Research Center through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924ft/5158m), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives the trekker the true flavor of the nighttime rigors of mountaineering. In the afternoon we take a short walk up the moraine to look down on the chaotic Khumbu glacier and take in the closeness of these renown Himalayan peaks. Hiking time: 4 - 5 hours

FRI Apr 13: Arrival at Everest Base Camp.  We leave Gorak Shep and cross the moraine of the great Khumbu glacier to reach Base Camp, which lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. Everest Base Camp at 17,300ft/5273m, is a sprawling tent city set amidst glacial debris. Here the climbers begin final preparations for their ascent of Mt. Everest. Hiking time: 6 hours

SAT Apr 14 - SAT Apr 21: Loose plans include:  troubleshooting issues, as necessary, with Base Camp communication gear, training with Everest climbers, an ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300ft/5577m), a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori. Many Everest photos are taken from the summit of Kala Pattar.  Also, potentially tackling other nearby trekking peaks such as Pokalde (19,049ft/5806m) and exploring other trekking routes back to Lukla.

I will be trekking out either solo (i.e. not with a group) or with just my friend that is climbing to Everest Camp II.  We will be supported by porters.  Should be very interesting.

SUN Apr 22: Enjoying the downhill walks we take our time and return to Namche Bazaar. This seemingly remote village is suddenly a center of commerce where we spend the evening and morning shopping, drinking coffee, getting shaves, sampling food and enjoying all the thrills of “urban” life. Hiking time: 8 hours

MON Apr 23: In the afternoon we descend the hill from Namche and enter the lower valley, returning to lush greenery and the Dudh Kosi river. This night's stay is in Monjo, just at the head of the lower valley. Hiking time: 3 hours

TUE Apr 24: Our final walk to Lukla takes most of the day. In Lukla we begin the process of readjusting to the lowlands and prepare for the flight back to Kathmandu.It is a memorable night with much laughter and general merriment. Hiking time: 5 hours

WED Apr 25: Early morning flight to Kathmandu (weather permitting) and we spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the deluxe services of the Yak and Yeti hotel.

THU Apr 26: Free time to tour the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the Thamel section.

FRI Apr 27: Early morning departure from Kathmandu.

1 comment:

  1. This looks to be a very spiritual excursion-with a bit of grueling climbing thrown into the mix. I am so looking forward to following it all.