|AMA DABLAM BASE CAMP - EVEREST BASE CAMP - KHUMBU TREK
Nepal Mt. Everest (29,035'), known in Nepal as Sagarmatha - "Bow of the Mother Earth" or in Tibetan as Chomolungma - "Mother Goddess of the Snows" - is a mountain of superlatives. The experience of gazing on its splendor is an indescribable thrill and, for many, the realization of a long-held dream.
The trek starts at 9,000 feet in Lukla, after a 40-minute flight from Kathmandu. on a 19-seat Twin Otter or 22-seat helicopter. The airstrip clings tenaciously to a ridge high above the gorge of the Dudh Kosi River. The airstrip is one of several local facilities and projects built by Sir Edmund Hillary in the Khumbu.
The seventeen-day trek offers magnificent views of Everest, spectacular scenery, fascinating high mountain villages - some seemingly captured in time, and a wonderful introduction to the Sherpa people who live in the shadow of Sagarmatha. These descendants of Tibetan traders, of kind Buddhist faith, overwhelming friendliness, and cheerful good nature, captivate the heart of every adventurer to the region.
We visit all the major Sherpa villages, including Lukla, Namche Bazaar, Pheriche and, of course, the famed Tengboche Monastery, where the sight of alpenglow on the summit of Mt. Everest and the views of Ama Dablam are memories to be treasured forever.
Then we head for the heights as we take the most direct hiking route from Namche Bazaar to Ama Dablam Base Camp then on to Kala Patar (18,192'), a stunning rocky outcrop, where we revel in close-up views of Everest. We also visit the site of the Everest Base Camp.
This trek will offer a fantastic trekking experience with close-up views of some of the most beautiful peaks in the Himalaya, from Mt. Everest (29,035'), Lhotse (27,890'), Nuptse (25,580') and Pumori (23,190), to Kangtega (22.340'), Thamserku (22,208') and the stunning obelisk of Ama Dablam (22,494.').
On this trek, a crew of Sherpas takes care of us throughout the trek, setting up camps. cooking tasty meals. and walking with us during the day. Porters or yaks carry all the gear, leaving us free to walk with only a light daypack. And, of course, the Ama Dablam 2000 NFB American Expedition Team accompanies our group, lending valuable insight, mountaineering stories, and interpretation of what you see to bring every detail of this exciting adventure alive. You will be part of the expedition and enjoy all of the excitement, ceremonies and pageantry that a Himalayan mountaineering team undertakes.
Our itinerary also includes time for sightseeing around the fascinating Kathmandu Valley. Spring, 2000 Departure: March 17 - April 8th Trip Length: 23 Days Grade: Strenuous hiking, high elevation 17 days trekking.
Day 1/March 17: START FLIGHT TO KATHMANDU (cross International Date Line).
Day 2/March 18: ENROUTE (Overnight Bangkok).
Day 3/March 19: ARRIVE IN KATHMANDU (early afternoon). A member of the team or a member of Wilderness Experience will be waiting outside the customs/immigration area of the airport. We will brief you on the immediate arrangements and escort you to the hotel. Later in the afternoon, we will meet you again for a trek briefing and a general orientation to Kathmandu. (For those who are up to it, we can take a walk through the old medieval city of Thamel). Meals are on your own while in Kathmandu, and we can make a number of recommendations (all very reasonable). Overnight at the Hotel Marshyangdi.
Days 4 - 5 / March 20 - 21: TOURING THE KATHMANDU VALLEY. Kathmandu is one of three medieval city-states in the valley, along with Bhaktapur and Patan. Our half-day morning sightseeing tour will include key sights around the Kathmandu Valley. In the afternoon, Kathmandu is yours to explore. By western standards, the city is intimate: visit the many interesting sights, shrines, and markets, or stroll in Katmandu's fascinating bazaar. Don't miss Durbar Square, Thamel, Freak Street, Swayambhunath (the "Monkey Temple," overlooking the entire Valley; go at sunrise or sunset!) and the King's Palace. Overnight at the Hotel Marshyangdi.
Day 6/March 22: MOUNTAIN FLIGHT TO LUKLA 9,200'. (Weather permitting), and trek to Phakding (8,700'). During the short but spectacular flight we will leave the Kathmandu Valley and head into the Himalaya, the world's highest mountains rising before us. Our destination is Lukla, perched high on a mountainside above the Dudh Kosi (River of Milk), where we make unforgettable landing. After we disembark, we collect our gear, and the Sirdar will organize the porters, Sherpa guides and pack animals for the beginning of the trek. From Lukla, the trail descends 1,500 feet down to the Dudh Kosi. The inhabitants of the Khumbu are Sherpas, people who migrated across from Tibet over 500 years ago and still practice evolved forms of Tibetan Buddhism and dress in much the same Tibetan style. Looming above us, in the distance, is Khunmbila (18,800'), the sacred peak of the Sherpa people, our sentinel to the spiritual and geographic heart of the Khumbu. Khumbila remains unclimbed (sacred peaks may not be climbed) and it represents the "protector" deity of Tibetan Buddhists. Our first camp will be in the village of Phakding.
Day 7/March 23: TREK TO NAMCILE BAZAAR (11,270'). We will follow the deeply forested trail north up the Dudh Kosi Valley to Jorsale, where we officially enter Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, established in 1976 as the first national park in the Himalaya to help protect an area of great environmental, religious, and cultural importance. We then continue along the trail and begin the steep climb up "Namche Hill", amidst lovely forests of rhododendron, fir, and magnolia, to the Sherpa market town of Namche Bazaar. As we climb the steep hillside, we catch our first glimpse of the snow-capped panorama of Himalayan giants to come. Namche Bazaar is the unofficial capital of the Khumbu, the local center for trading and supplies. The town - numerous homes, trekkers' inns, shops, and a small monastery - is beautifully situated in a terraced amphitheater facing the hanging glacier below Kwangde (19,865'). We will camp in Namche Bazaar.
Day 8/March 24: REST DAY IN NAMCHE BAZAAR FOR ACCLIMATIZATION. We take a rest day in Namche Bazaar for acclimatization. There are a number of local excursions which we might enjoy on this day. We can hike up above Namche to the Sagarmatha National Park Visitor's Center and Museum, where there are terrific views of the Everest region and numerous educational displays on the culture, geography, geology, climatology, and wildlife within the park and the Khumbu. It is also possible to make a short but steep hike up to Syangboche and the Everest View Hotel. For those up to it, a full-day trek to the village of Thame through the picturesque valley of Nangpo Tsangpo leading to Cho Oyu is possible. Thame is the birthplace of Tensing Norgay and home of many of our Sherpas. Return to Namche Bazaar and camp overnight.
Day 9/March 25: TREK TO THYANGBOCHE MONASTERY (12,700'). Today we descend into the deep Dudh Kosi gorge and come to a fir forest where we begin to climb steeply to the site of the famous Tengboche Monastery, destroyed by a fire in early 1989, but now rebuilt. Arriving at the top of the ridge, Ama Dablam (24,494') and the great massif of Everest (Sagarmatha or Chomolungma - 29,028') hover majestically above us. Tengboche Monastery is the spiritual center of the Khumbu, a training center for new monks. The Rimpoche of Tengboche resides here and the area is considered holy; nothing may be hunted or killed. Expeditions to the world's highest peaks have traditionally stopped here to receive the blessing of the high lama. We will camp overnight near the monastery.
Day 10/March 26: TENGBOCHE MONASTERY. This area is perhaps one of the most beautiful and spectacular on earth. In the morning, we will participate in a Sherpa Puja ceremony (Buddhist blessing for the climbers), then we will trek to Pangboche, crossing a narrowing of the Imja Khola River on a suspension bridge from which we get a spectacular view of Ama Dablam. We will then ascend to Pangboche Gomba (13,075'). The gomba, the oldest in the Khumbu, was built some 300 years ago at the time that Buddhism is said to have been introduced into the Khumbu. According to the legend, a venerable old lama tore out his hair and cast it around the gomba. The large black juniper trees surrounding it sprouted from those hairs. They are so large because it is forbidden to cut them. Continue on to Dingboche where will spend the night.
Day 11/March 27: DINGBOCHE (approx. 14,000'). This is a rest day for acclimatization. There are spectacular day hikes possible in this high valley. You can either laze around the settlement or make a day trip out of Dingboche, to see the views of Makalu and other nearby summits. There is a trekkers' aid post in Pheriche (approximately 45 minutes walk from Dingboche), set up by the Himalayan Rescue Association. The post does research on altitude illness as well as providing medical care to trekkers and porters. Day 12/March 28: AMA DABLAM BASE CAMP (14,720'). Out of Dingboche we cross a few moraines to make out way into the Ama Dablam Base Camp.
Day 13/March 29: AMA DABLAM BASE CAMP (14,720'). Rest day. Help organize the climbing gear/food, if you want, or take hike up towards Camp 1 at the beginning of the southwest ridge route. Participate in the Sherpa Puja. a Buddhist blessing for the Sherpas and climbers. The Puja is quite colorful and lasts all morning. With our prayer flags flying overhead, it's time for feasting, drinking and dancing..
Day 14/March 30: LOBUCHE (16,174'). Up along the broad valley floor to Dughla (15,100'). We then climb to a ridge crest where we find a number of stone memorials. These are built in honor of climbers killed on expeditions to nearby summits, mostly Everest. Then continue to the yak grazing pastures at Lobuche. You will start to feel the altitude here; the views, however, are superb.
Day 15/March 31: GORAK SHEP (17,000'). From Lobuche the trail follows a trough beside the Khumbu Glacier and on to the several stone huts called Gorak Shep (Dead Crow). In the afternoon, we make the classic walk up to Kala Patar (Black Rock) (18, 192') for the traditional Everest views and photos. If you want really spectacular pictures of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse, early morning/late afternoon from Kala Patar offers the best view you'll get of Everest without climbing it.
Day 16/April 1: EVEREST BASE CAMP (17,800'). Trek up the Khumbu Glacier to Everest Base Camp. Return to Gorak Shep.
Day 17/April 2: HIKE TO DINGBOCHE.
Day 18/April 3: NAMCHE BAZAAR. A steep descent to the Dudh Kosi and another climb up to Namche Bazaar.
Day 19/April 4: PHAKDING (8,700'). A long but leisurely trek down the Dudh Kosi, to the village of Phakding.
Day 20/April 5:: LUKLA (9,300'). Down the gorge of the Dudh Kosi and then a short climb up to the small mountain airstrip at Lukla.
Day 21/April 6: RETURN TO KATHMANDU. The next day will be spent either in Kathmandu or Lukla, depending on our luck with the Lukla flight. Flights in and out of this tiny mountain airstrip are commonly delayed and we have no way of predicting the length of the delay; it's something we just have to live with. With luck we'll get out the first day. All camp meals at Lukla included while waiting. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to Hotel Marshyangdi. We must schedule an extra day at the end of all treks with Lukla flights so as not to interfere with your homeward-bound flights. This trek begins with a flight to Lukla, and flight delays can happen flying in as well as flying out. If the start of the trek is delayed, it may be necessary to shorten the trek to allow us to be in Lukla in time for the flight back to Kathmandu.
Day 22/April 7: FREE TIME TO EXPLORE KATHMANDU. If we are lucky enough to fly out of Lukla on our scheduled day of Departure (Day 21), we will have a free day to explore the Kathmandu Valley, where there are many touring possibilities (see Day 4). The Lonely Planet travel guide Kathmandu and the Kingdom of Nepal is an excellent resource to carry with you while exploring the Valley. Overnight at Hotel Marshyangdi. Day 23/April 8: FLY HOME. Transfer to airport. Leave Kathmandu on homeward-bound flights.
NOTE: THIS SCHEDULE MAY CHANGE SLIGHTLY DUE TO FLIGHT SHEDULES TO/FROM NEPAL. ALSO, WE HAVE SCHEDULED AN EXTRA DAY THAT MAY NOT BE NEEDED, ALLOWING THE GROUP SOME FLEXIBILITY ON THE TREK.
LAND COST: TBD
Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations. If you prefer single accommodations, a single supplement fee will be required.
LAND COST INCLUDES: accommodations, trek permits, airport transfers, ground transportation, group camping equipment, sightseeing as noted, leadership, trek arrangements, all meals on trek, guides and porters, tents, foam sleeping pads, community cooking gear, services of camp and commissary crew, baggage porterage, and flights within Nepal.
NOT INCLUDED: Meals in Kathmandu, visas, optional tips to Sherpa staff, airport taxes, cost of obtaining a passport or immunizations, insurance of any kind, or items of a personal nature (sodas, liquor, laundry, etc.)
DELAYS: The cost of delays is not included if the trip is delayed because of bad weather, cancelled or delayed flights or delays on other modes of transport, sickness or other situations for which Ama Dablam 2000 NFB American Expedition or its agents cannot make provisions.
QUALIFICATIONS: This trek is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active. The most important requirements are a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude! This is a long trek with considerable time spent at altitudes above 14,000 feet. Trekking at high altitudes is strenuous. It is suited for strong people in good health who enjoy walking, even up steep hills (there is very little level walking in Nepal). We expect participants to be experienced hikers in top physical condition. Most gear and camp supplies will be carried by porters or pack animals, leaving members free to carry only a light daypack. No technical climbing or other special abilities are required. Every participant should be equipped with a spirit of adventure and a willingness to undergo the potential hardships of outdoor living and long days on the trail. A good physical conditioning program should be undertaken to get in shape for the trek. Jogging and bicycling are excellent for fitness. Consult your physician for advice.
CLOTHING/EQUIPMENT: Most group equipment is provided, including comfortable and roomy two-person tents, full-length comfortable foam sleeping pads, kitchen and dining tents, and other community equipment. You only need to bring a sleeping bag and personal hiking gear. We'll send you a detailed list of recommended clothing and equipment after you sign up. Good sleeping bags can be rented in Nepal or from Wilderness Experience.
HEALTH MATTERS: All trip members will be sent a packet of important health information relevant to this trip, as well as a medical certificate that must be signed and returned to us. Ama Dablam 2000 NFB Expedition may have a climbing physician accompanying us on this trek. Medical attention and drugs will be administered free of charge by our physicians in the field. However, hospital facilities for serious problems are often unavailable and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. All costs of evacuation, hospitalization, and other medical expenses are the responsibility of the individual involved. Ama Dablam 2000 NFB American Expedition assumes no liability regarding provision of medical care.
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