Trekking the Everest Region in Khumbu
Renowned for its majestic mountain peaks and friendly cultural villages, trekking to the Everest base camp is one of the most popular hiking adventures in Nepal. There are few places in the World where you are surrounded with such an amazing array of mountains, including Everest itself. Its not easy to do a trekking circuit in the Khumbu, the valleys running into the High Himalaya are just too steep, but that should not put you off the scenery is unrivalled and well worth seeing twice. If you want a greater challenge that just reaching Base Camp, a task in itself not to be underestimated, them you can get permits to climb one of the trekking peaks in the region. The most famous of these are Mera Peak and Island Peak. If you wish to see Everest but don’t want to trek up to the mountain itself, a day above the regional capital of Namche Bazaar there is a hotel where it can be seen from a beautiful terrace.
Throughout the picturesque routes, there are plenty of lodges and tea houses to rest and enjoy a meal along the way. You don’t have to worry about getting lost because there are plenty of local Sherpas who can guide you to the next village. The best time of year to trek the Everest region is from March through mid-May and from September through mid-November. The winters are very cold, and many of the lodges may be closed. Summers are wet, and the stunning mountain peaks are often blocked by the clouds. April and May are excellent seasons with spectacular splashes of colorful rhododendrons, verdant trees and dramatic hedgerows.
Essential trekking equipment
Gearing up with the right equipment is essential for a comfortable and safe journey. Here’s a list of must-haves:
-Lightweight and Functional Clothing: The clothing you take should be adaptable to keep you dry, warm and cool. Trekking during the day is typically warm, but the nights dip with cooler temperatures. Make sure to pack a variety of clothing to suit all of the weather conditions that you will be facing.
-Hiking Boots: Typically, you’ll be trekking from five to six hours at a clip along the trail. Having quality boots that are well-broken in will ensure comfort and performance. If you’re planning a hike during the winter, high boots are recommended.
-Soft Pair of Shoes: Having a soft pair of shoes to walk around the villages after a long hike will be a welcomed relief. Sneakers or athletic shoes that are light will provide your feet with a break from the heaviness of hiking boots.
-Lightweight Knapsack: Lightweight knapsacks are ideal for brief trips from the lodge. If you plan to spend the night away, make sure the knapsack is large enough for a sleeping bag, change of clothing and miscellaneous items like cameras.
-Lightweight Sleeping Bag: Most of the lodges will offer blankets, but having a sleeping bag will provide some extra comfort and avoid some of the odours often associated with blankets that have been used.
-Other Essentials: Having sunblock, binoculars and fabric Band-Aids are important for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. Make sure the Band-Aids are fabric-made, so it will stick to a sweaty foot. In addition, apply band aids as soon as there is irritation before any blisters develop.
Highlights and Attractions of the Trek
The trek to the base camp winds through rushing rivers, green terraced villages, suspension bridges and lush forests. Everest National Park stretches over 1,000 square kilometers with jaw-breaking vistas of the peaks at Pumori, Island Peak, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Trekking through the park is a treat with the gorgeous scenery of hemlock forests, juniper and birch trees. There are scenic alpine plant communities with glaciers above the tree line. Wild animals, including Himalayan tahr, musk deer, goral and serow, lazily walk the grounds. You may also, if very fortunate, see a red panda.
After passing through the entrance to the Sagarmatha Park, the trail leads along a river and through the village of Jorsale. There are two bridges that begin the steep ascent to Namche. In Namche, there are bakeries, internet cafes, pizza houses and two museums. Trekkers can hike to the nearby Khumjung village for a visit to the Sacred Cave and the Khumjung Monastery. The cave was a frequent haunt of Guru Rinpoche and showcases ancient stones with Buddhist markings. The Khumjung Monastery displays a scalp allegedly from a yeti.
The Gokyo route to Everest base camp is one of the favourite routes among diehard trekkers. It includes the ascent of Gokyo Ri and cross over the Cho La pass, a difficult route that is closed during some seasons. The route leads through Sherpa villages with well-cultivated fields and tea houses with Illy coffee. Through the Dudh Koshi Valley, there are five spectacular lakes bursting with an iridescent turquoise colour. There are also panoramic vistas of Everest and Cho Oyu.
The classic route takes you past the monastery at Thangboche, through the high summer pastures to the Khumbu Ice flow. Here you can choose to trek to the Base Camp, situated on the glacier itself or to Kala Pattar, a knoll high on a ridge of neighbouring peak Pumori with unrivalled views back of Everest itself.
Care must be taken because of the altitudes reached on these treks. A medical post in the upper valley is manned during the main trekking seasons to assist any trekkers affected by the thin air.
The treks to the Everest region are unforgettable journeys through ancient routes for upfront views of the Himalayan Mountains. With the world’s most impressive mountain range as the backdrop and the cultural exploration of the Nepal villages, trekking Nepal is the perfect mélange of outdoor adventure and history in the making.