Day 1 - Kathmandu: Arrival Day
Welcome to Kathmandu, the capital and cultural hub of Nepal! We’ll be waiting with a warm greeting and easy transfer to your hotel. Plan on an evening briefing on last-minute specifics about your trek and an early lights-out: you have a big day ahead.
Day 2 - Kathmandu to Lukla Flight and Phakding
Altitude: 2,800m/9184ft (Lukla) & 2,652m/8,698ft (Phakding) Walking Distance: 8km (3-4 hours) - All distances and time estimates are approximate. Flight time: 35 min
After a short morning flight to Lukla, you’ll be introduced to your guide and porter. Kick off your trek with an easy walk through Chaurikharka village and descent towards Dudhkoshi Ghat (2,530m/8,300ft). The trail follows the bank of the Dudhkoshi River until Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft), where we will be staying for the night to acclimatize. Enjoy your free time in Phakding, a popular stopping point.
Day 3 - Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Altitude: 3,440m/11,283ft Walking Distance: 10-12km (5-6 hours) - All distances and time estimates are approximate.
We’ll have breakfast in Phakding before gearing up for the trek to Namche Bazaar, the biggest sherpa village in Nepal. Our trail takes us first over the Dudhkoshi River via a long suspension bridge, and then through a beautiful pine forest to Monjo, about two hours away. Soon thereafter, we will approach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park for a brief permit check and then descend to Dudh Kosi River (spotting Mani stones along the way!) en route to Jorsale. Lunch will be served here, and then it’s uphill to Namche. Our path along the riverbank is flanked by two crossings, one of which is the Hillary Suspension Bridge. It’s a tough climb up the hill to our resting place, but you’ll be rewarded in Namche Bazaar with your first glimpse of Everest in its majesty.
Day 4 - Namche Bazaar: Rest and Acclimatization Day
At this point, we take a well-deserved break! Today will be spent resting and allowing our bodies to become acclimatized to the lofty altitude. There’s an optional 2 hour hike to Everest View Point, an uphill walk that will help speed acclimatization. Otherwise, spend the day exploring Namche Bazaar. Check out the Sherpa museum for an overview of the Sherpa culture and history of mountaineering. On Saturdays, the Hatt Bazaar is open for trading and an intimate look at the locals’ marketplace. It is part of the larger Namche Bazaar, a shopping hub filled with all manner of trekking and mountaineering clothing and equipment.
Day 5 - Namche Bazaar to Tengboche
Altitude: 3,870m/12,684ft Walking Distance: 10km (6 hours) - All distances and time estimates are approximate.
Breakfast in Namche Bazaar fuels us for another day of trekking towards Everest Base Camp today! Breathtaking views of the Himalayas - Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Kwangde - are some of the highlights not be missed. A short drop takes us to the riverside, then it’s across the river upwards through the forest pass. Brace your legs for a continual uphill trek at this point, alternating between a gradual grade and some seriously steep ground! Our destination, Tengboche, is known as one of the most beautiful places in the Everest region. Its views, which include Ama Dablam, are legendary. We’ll stop in on the Tengboche monastery, which is one of the largest in Khumbu. Nourish your spirit with a guided tour of the monastery grounds, followed by chanting and prayer with the resident Buddhist monks.
Day 6 - Tengboche to Dingboche
Altitude: 4,400m/14,435ft Walking Distance: 11km (6 hours) - All distances and time estimates are approximate.
Our trek today kicks off with a walk through the rhododendron forest to Deboche followed by a bridge over the raging Imja Khol River. We’ll pass the valley wall and then traverse the plains to Pangboche village, the biggest settlement of Sherpas in the region. Enjoy a great opportunity to observe a typical Sherpa village and have lunch with the locals! The intrepid can brave a brief hike to the Pangboche monastery, one of the oldest in the area. Our afternoon trek will be a difficult one, as the landscape gives way to dry, deserted mountains and we hike towards Dingboche.
Day 7 - Dingboche: Rest and Acclimatization Day
This is your chance to rest up before the last leg of our adventure! Savor a full day of exploring Dingboche and the surrounding valleys of Chhukung and Imja, the latter of which links with Island Peak, the high passes of Amphu Laptsa, and Makalu Barun National Park. Taking an optional trek to the valleys will pay off in rewarding views, but taking it easy is the most important thing today. You’ll need your rest for the penultimate day of ascent tomorrow.
Day 8 - Dingboche to Lobuche
The next part of our adventure brings over craggy mountain terrain to Lobuche, a small settlement with amazing views of Mt. Lobuche, Mt. Pumari and the Nuptse. Prepare to snuggle up for a cold night, as we are now almost three miles above sea level and the evenings can be downright chilly!
Day 9 - Lobuche to Gorakshep and Everest Base Camp
Our day kicks off with an initial, relatively easy trek from Lobuche to Gorekshep. The subsequent, straight trail to Everest Base Camp is harder, involving rocky dunes and moraine, formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris. On the way to our destination, we'll approach the famed Khumbu Glacier and icefall, located on the slopes of Everest. At the Base Camp, our goal, you'll have the chance (during the spring climbing season) to meet climbers attempting to scale the mountain's summit. Break out your cameras for unbelievable views of breathtaking beauty.
Day 10 - EBC to Kalapather and Dingboche
From the EBC it's a rocky, challenging climb in cold, thin air to Kalapather. Your reward for this hard work, however, is one of the finest panoramic views of the Himalayas to be found! The stone huts of Dingboche, a historic summer village, await. Relish the views of Makalu in the distance, knowing that we start climbing training tomorrow!
Day 11 - Dingboche to Chukung, Climbing Training
As we make our way to Chukung, climbing training commences. It is possible to make the Island Peak summit with no prior climbing experience (assuming sufficient physical fitness), but having past climbs under your belt will make you a stronger and more confident climber. You'll enjoy the summit more if you aren't quite so anxious about the actual climbing! Staff will give you hands-on training on the use of implements like the ice axe and climbing boot, and demonstrate moving up and down on ropes.
Day 12 - Island Peak: Summit, Return to Chukung
Today's the big day! Prepare to get started before the thin light of dawn as we make our ascent with head lamps, scaling the rocky trail up. Our timing is superb: we'll drink in a glorious Himalayan sunrise atop a shining glacier and prepare for the tough, ultimate climb. A brief trek against a plateau of virginal snow brings us to the steep, precipitous final headwall. Time to put those climbing skills to use! The scramble for the summit is arduous, but you'll never be more proud of yourself! After a brief, triumphant time at what feels like the top of the world, it's (carefully!) downwards towards the charming village of Chukung.
Day 13 - Chukung to Tengboche
We retrace the original steps of our ascent as we make our way back down the mountain again. The fascinating culture of the Sherpas is on display once more - don't miss a peak at the yak-herding stations.
Day 14 - Tengboche to Namche or MAnju
The walk from Pheriche back to Tengboche is mainly downhill, although it does, counterintuitively, require an hour scaling a hill. We'll be in Namche by late afternoon and off to bed before our last day on the mountain.
Day 15 - Namche to Phakding and Lukla
After breakfast, we trek toward the Hillary Suspension Bridge and then pass through several local villages. Our arrival in Lukla brings an evening in a proper hotel and, traditionally, a party with your trekking crew: you made it! Thanks to great teamwork and perseverance, you've accomplished a physical feat of which others only dream. This is your last night on the mountain, which can be bittersweet.
Day 16 - Lukla to Kathmandu
In the morning, you'll hop a brief flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, where your journey both began and ends. You'll transfer to your hotel upon landing for some much-needed solo rest and reflection after your trek conquering the Himalayas. We'll reunite in the evening for a farewell dinner at one of the best Nepalese restaurants in town, where we'll be eager to hear your feedback on the trip.
Day 17 - Kathmandu: Departure Day
It's your last day in Nepal! Grab some breakfast, and then take in some last-minute shopping in Kathmandu. We'll make sure you arrive at Kathmandu International Airport with plenty time before your flight home. At this time, we'll say our goodbyes and bid you farewell, armed with warm memories and gorgeous photos to show your loved ones.