For some people, they are looking for a real challenge. They want to get away from the crowds and to experience the intensity of the Himalayas. The mighty Himalayas are the tallest, largest mountains on the face of the Earth. This trek takes on the mighty Himalayas without any technical mountain climbing. The trekker here will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular and breath-taking scenery in all of the Himalayas. This trek includes places like Gokyo and Namche Bazaar. It will offer the best views of not only Mt. Everest, but also Mt. Kanchenjunga, Makalu, and Cho Oyo, each over 8,000 meters in elevation. There are plenty of other snowcapped peaks that touch the incredibly blue Himalayan skies to behold.
This is the land of the Sherpa and Rai people, and in 21 days, the trekker will get to explore and appreciate their unique and delightful culture. There will be quite a number of high mountain passes to cross. From their lofty elevations, look down onto the incredible valleys to see the terraced farms as well as the mountains rising overhead. We will stop at Buddhist monasteries that date back centuries. There are Mani Walls, stupas and chhortens to pass by. There are fast flowing streams, narrow suspension bridges, tiny little tea houses and carpets of wildflowers of a variety of colors and shapes along the way. See high mountain glaciers and beautiful blue mountain lakes. Watch waterfalls as they cascade down the sides of the mountains.
There is no doubt, the Everest: The Hard Way is the ultimate trek. It isn't for everyone. You should be in good physical shape and ready for adventure. This trek will challenge you in every way, but those who choose to do it will be highly rewarded.
The Himalayas does not give up her secrets so easily. It only gives it to those who are willing to make the extra effort to become one with the mountains. For those that do, what an incredible adventure of a lifetime. There is nothing else on the planet that even comes close to the wonders and beauty of Everest: The Hard Way! Are you up for it?
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to your hotel.
DAY 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
DAY 3 – Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding (elev. 2610) 3 – 4 hours
DAY 4 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 5 – Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar
DAY 6 – Trek to Thame (elev. 3800 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 7 – Trek to Lumde (elev. 4370 m) 4 – 5 hours
DAY 8 – Trek to Gokyo elev. 4790 m) via Renjo-La (elev. 5360 m) 7 – 8 hours
DAY 9 – Rest Day in Gokyo
DAY 10 – Trek to Gokyo Ri (elev. 5360 m) and Thangnak (elev. 4700 m) 2 – 3 hours
DAY 11 – Trek to Dzongla (elev. 4830 m) via Cho-La Pass (elev. 5368 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 12 – Trek to Gorak Shep (elev. 5140 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 13 – Explore Everest Base Camp
DAY 14 – Trek to Lobuche (elev. 4910 m) 2 – 3 hours
DAY 15 – Trek to Chhukung (elev. 4730 m) via Khongma-La (elev. 5368 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 16 – Trek to Pangboche (elev. 3930 m) 4 – 5 hours
DAY 17 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 18 – Trek to Lukla (elev. 2840 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 19 – Fly to Kathmandu
DAY 20 – Buffer Day in case of Bad Weather/Free Day in Kathmandu
DAY 21 – Departure
OTHER DETAILS ABOUT THE TRIP:
DAY 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu: You arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport where a representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will greet you and take you to your Three Star Hotel by private car. You will enjoy a welcome drink as well as an evening orientation about your trip as well as equipment check. Spend the night in the hotel.
DAY 2 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley: There is plenty to see and do in the Kathmandu Valley, and with our private vehicle and your own personal guide, you will spend the day seeing the highlights of the Valley. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, plus a chance to see local culture, taste local foods and to immerse yourself in all the Kathmandu Valley has to offer.
DAY 3 – Flight to Lukla (elev. 2840 m), Trek to Phakding (elev. 2610 m): After breakfast, we will take a domestic flight to Lukla where we begin our trek in the Everest region. It is just a 45 minute flight, and what a flight it is! We literally follow the backbone of the Himalayas eastward. On the flight you will see not only Mt. Everest, but also the peaks of Kanchenjunga III, Mt. Lhotse IV, and Makalu V. Each of these peaks is over 8,000 meters, literally forming the roof of the world. We land in Lukla village where we begin our trek. There are no roads to Lukla, so this village is only accessible by air or a seven day trek from Jiri village. We will be heading toward Phakding village. We actually go downhill from Lukla as we travel through the rugged foothills of the Everest region. Trekking time is around three hours and we will stay in a local lodge at Phakding.
DAY 4 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m): Our walk begins early in the morning. It is a fairly easy trek, even starting out rather level as we follow the Dudh Koshi River. The land will start to move uphill gradually as we make our way toward the main district city of Namche Bazaar. We will cross the Hillary suspension bridge, and until we finally come to the steepest part of today's trek that leads us to Namche Bazaar. There are plenty of views of the high mountains along the way, as well as becoming immersed in the local Buddhist culture of the Sherpa people. We will check into a local guesthouse for the night.
DAY 5 – Acclimatization in Namche Bazaar: It is important to spend a day acclimatizing to the higher elevation as altitude sickness can be quite serious. The day will not be spent just lying around (unless you want to), but we will hike to Everest Viewpoint for a magnificent view of Mt. Everest. From here, you will see the spectacular peaks of Everest, Amadablam, Nuptse and many more. It is only a two hour hike to Everest Viewpoint and we will spend a few hours there enjoying the view as well as having lunch. We will return to Namche Bazaar where you can spend the afternoon exploring the village. There is a lot to see here. We will spend the night in our local guest house.
DAY 6 – Trek to Thame (elev. 3800 m): Today's trail winds its way past Buddhist stupas and chhortens with prayer flags fluttering in the ever present breeze. There are some great views along the way as we make our way to the village of Thame, spending the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 7 – Trek to Lunde (elev. 4370 m): The trail takes us across a moraine as we follow an ancient foot path toward Tibet. Centuries ago, traders used this route to bring gold and black salt from Tibet while food grains were taken upwards to the north. We follow the path of these early traders to our destination of Lunde Village where we will spend the night at a local tea house. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 8 – Trek to Gokyo (elev. 4790 m) via Renjo-La Pass (elev. 5360 m): Today we climb to one of the highest elevation of our trip at Renjo-La Pass where we will have a breathtaking, 360° panoramic view of the peaks of the High Himalayas. We can see from up here Mt. Everest along with Lhotse, Cho-Oyu, Makalu and many more. There are at least four 8,000+ meter mountains to see as well as beautiful alpine valleys below. You will see beautiful glaciers as well as the rooftops of Gokyo village below. Gokyo is our destination for the night as we descend down the mountain. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours. We will spend two nights here at a local mountain lodge.
DAY 9 – Rest Day: Today is a day to explore the beautiful Gokyo Valley. There are hikes to several of the Gokyo lakes as well as stunning views of Cho-Oyu. Gokyo itself is a very pleasant and picturesque village to experience.
DAY 10 – Trek to Gokyo-Ri (elev. 5360 m) to Thangnak Village (elev. 4700 m): The morning starts early as we hike to the top of Gokyo-Ri for a fantastic sunrise over the highest peaks of the Himalayas. From here are incredible views of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho-Oyu, Pumori, Ama Dablam and others, all in their brilliant white snowcapped peaks. The effulgent sun dramatically displays these mountains in a rare glory that only those who come for sunrise can truly appreciate. After our visit to Gokyo-Ri, we pass Ngozumpa Glacier on our way to the village of Thangnak. We will have lunch and dinner here, and will spend the night in a local mountain lodge. Trekking time is 2 – 3 hours.
DAY 11 – Trek to Dzongla (elev. 4830 m) via Cho-La Pass (elev. 5368 m): Today is one of the highest elevation of our trip as we ascend to the top of Cho-La Pass for a magnificent view of the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas in Nepal. It is a steep ascent, but rewards the trekker with more incredible mountain views. After Cho-La Pass, we descend to the village of Dzongla where we will spend the night in a local tea house. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 12 – Trek to Gorak Shep (elev. 5140): We do some backtracking to reach the village of Labuche where we will join the more popular trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC). We will probably encounter more tourists today and tomorrow than any other time on this trek. It is the only way to reach EBC where we will see the Khumbu and Changri Glaciers. There are great vistas along the way where we will see the mighty Himalayas. Trekking time 6 – 7 hours to reach Gorak Shep where we will spend the night in a local mountain lodge.
DAY 13 – Exploring Everest Base Camp: This is where history was made as Sir Edmund Hillary and his party begin their ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953. While we can't go any higher without a climbing permit, we will have time to explore EBC. There are great views of the high peaks that surround Mt. Everest along with seeing Everest Ice-Fall and numerous glaciers. We will return to our local mountain lodge in Gorak Shep.
DAY 14 – Trek to Lobuche (elev. 4910 m): We get to enjoy another great sunrise from Kala Pathar (elev. 5545 m). Rising early, we make our way to this overlook where we will see the sun rising over Mt. Everest and a number of other great peaks of the Himalayas. It is a breathtaking scene as the rays of the morning sun rise over the mountains, turning them from grey to reddish-orange and finally brilliant white. We return to our lodge for breakfast and then begin the trek to Lobuche village. Total trekking time is 2 – 3 hours.
DAY 15 – Trek to Chhukung (elev. 4730 m) via Khongma-La (elev 5368 m): It is another day of trekking at high altitudes as we take a rocky trail to Khongma-La Pass for more great views of the mountains. Here we can see Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Island Peak, Lhotse and more. Each of these mountain passes offers us different mountains to view. The panoramas are superb as we behold the wonders of Creation. Today's trek is between 6 – 7 hours, and we will overnight in a local mountain lodge.
DAY 16 – Trek to Panboche (elev. 3930 m): It is another day of a high mountain pass, this one is Chhukung-Ri at 5550 m. Today is a great view of Mt. Makalu along with Island Peak, Barunte Himal, Ama Dablam, Lhotse and more. We continue to descend to the village of Chhukung and then cross a yak pasture on our way to the village of Dingboche. We will stop for lunch at Dingboche before we continue on to Pangboche village where we will spend the night in a local mountain lodge. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 17 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m): The first stop on our trip is the monastery at Tengboche, which is the highest Buddhist monastery in the world. Located in the Khumbu region, it is famous for its views as well as its monks. We will tour the monastery before we start to descend toward the Dudh Koshi River where we will have lunch. Follow lunch, we continue downhill until we reach the principal city of the region: Namche Bazaar. We will spend the night in a local mountain lodge.
DAY 18 – Trek to Lukla (elev. 2840 m): Today is our last day of trekking as we make our way through rhododendron forests and across a suspension bridge over the Dudh Koshi River. We reach Phakding village, and then continue south until we reach the village of Lukla where we will catch a plane tomorrow back to Kathmandu. We will spend the night in a local mountain lodge.
DAY 19 – Fly to Kathmandu: We catch an early morning flight back to Kathmandu where we will return to our Three Star Hotel to rest or do some additional sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley.
DAY 20 – Free Day: This is a buffer day. If the weather is good in Lukla, then we will fly back to Kathmandu today. And enjoy a free day exploring the Kathmandu Valley. Your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can put together fun day of exploring the temples and sites in the Kathmandu Valley
DAY 21 – Final Departure: All good things must come to an end, and your trip to Nepal is no exception. Before leaving, why not talk to your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition about returning to Nepal for your next holiday. The vast majority of people make a return trip to Nepal because they are impressed by not only the beauty, but also the local people. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition offers trips into neighboring Tibet, Bhutan and India. Be sure to discuss your interests and plans with them today.
While traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition, your all-around safety and satisfaction is of our paramount concern. Please not that the Trip Leader has the authority to cancel or amend any part of this itinerary if it is considered necessary due to any safety concern. We leave no stones unturned to keep the itinerary mentioned above, but as this adventure includes traveling to remote areas of the Himalayas, we can't guarantee that we will not be forced to make last minute changes in our plans. Factors enter into these decisions include extreme weather conditions, unexpected natural disaster, health concerns of any of our group members, etc., can all contribute to the necessity of make unexpected changes. Your SNFT trip leader will try to insure that the trip runs as planned, but we kindly request that you please be accommodating if such changes do occur.
Please note that the Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight often gets delayed by a few hours or even cancelled due to critical weather conditions. The Lukla airport is notorious for fog which we have no control over. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking will do everything it can to avoid such a situations. Mr. Kishan Gurung, the managing director of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition has developed a strong relationship with the manager of the Lukla airport as well as with local helicopter companies. Mr. Gurung will try to arrange alternative flights if necessary if flights are cancelled. We have a 99% success rate for arranging such flights for our valued clients in case of flight delays and cancellations. For the successful flight in rescue or cargo helicopters, the cost is around USD 200 to $250 per person additional cost. If we must charter a helicopter, then the cost is around USD 3500 for up to five people. It is advisable to always be able to stay an extra day should weather conditions require. Normally, we can usually fly out the same day, but it is a good idea to be prepared.
If everything runs smoothly and you still have a few of your buffer days left, you can arrange alternative activities to participate in with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition upon your request. There are plenty of things to see and do in the Kathmandu Valley, including seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In case of flight delays or cancellations at the start of the trip, you can also choose an alternative trip, which includes trekking in the Annapurna Region, Manaslu, Langtang, Mustang or any other region in Nepal. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can offer you some really wonderful trekking opportunities in a variety of great locations. You can also choose to spend the time in Kathmandu exploring the Valley and all it has to offer. There is no need to be stuck in a hotel room; we can provide some great experiences as you wait for the weather to clear so you can fly to Lukla.
It is recommended that you set aside two to three days as "buffer days" at the end of your trip before having to depart Nepal when trekking in the Everest region. This is just good planning and will make for a much more pleasant trip. We apologize in advance for any difficulty the weather may contribute to. It is just part of being at the roof of the world.
THE TREKKING GROUP:
For this trip, there will be a Trek Leader and Sherpa Porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers = 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that if anyone in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. However, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking can run this trek for the group of any size. Generally, the maximum number of trekkers that the company has found optimum is 12.
All accommodations for the Everest: The Hard Way Trek are on twin-sharing basis with inclusive costs and are chosen based on standard hygiene and standard of food, services, locations, etc. There will be two styles of accommodations during this trek. We will spend four nights at a Three-Star Hotel in Kathmandu. During the trek, we will spend sixteen nights at standard tea houses or lodges with unheated rooms with wooden beds and foam mattresses. We can provide you with attached bath in some major towns; however, tea houses and lodges in some places have only shared washing and toilet facilities. We share a room with someone else of the same sex of our group if you are a solo traveler. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preferences and obtain a single room for an additional fee. Please understand that single rooms are not always possible at tea houses and mountain lodges. We will do our best to try and make the appropriate arrangements.
During this trek, you can enjoy the typical Nepali food along with different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) with items from pizza to chips to apple pie. You can even enjoy hot chocolates, a variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Breakfast of a day will be served from the tea house or lodge where we spend the night. Lunch will be served on the way to our destination with dinner served where we are spending the night. During your stay in Kathmandu, a welcome dinner as well as a farewell dinner along with breakfasts will be served.