After reaching Luka, at 9,000ft / 2,743 m, walk immediately. This can be tough, but the first day's walk is a gentle descent to the village of Pakding (8,500 ft / 2,590 m), just more than three hours away from the airstrip. After reaching the valley floor, cross a narrow suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi at Chopung. Make sure that there is no yak or dzopkyo (a cross between a yak and cow) coming from the opposite side-the right of way in the region favors animals!
You go from Pakding to Namche Bazaar, the fabled headquarters of the Sherpas. Namche was the most vital trading post between Tibet, mainland Nepal and India. With the decline in trade, however, the local economy has depended on the climbing and trekking groups. Every Saturday, a weekly bazaar turns this hamlet into an oriental film set. The first part of the walk up from Pakding is easy.
You enter the Sangarmatha National Park at Monjo early in the day. The Everest Region has been declared a national park and your trekking permit is checked here. This part of the trek has magnificent forests of rhododendrons and magnolias (a large magnolia tree looms near the entrance of the of the National Park). The trek till the confluence of the rivers Dudh Kosi and Bhote Kosi, you barely climb 900ft / 275m. Cross over to the right bank of the Dudh Kosi over a dramatic suspension bridge, then switch back steeply the next 2,000 ft / 610 m to Namche Bazaar. From where you get the first view of the Lhotse-Nuptse wall and the tip of Everest.
Take rest at Namche or go on short walks. One such walk is to the top of the ridge above town, to the national park headquarters. From near this building, a panorama awaits you: Kusum Kanguru, Thamserku, and Kang Taiga on the right; Ama Dablam, the Lhotse-Nuptse wall with Everest showing its crest from behind, and Taboche to your left
The trail takes you past the Syangboche airfield to Khunde (12,400 ft / 3,780m), another sherpa Village. This landing strip at 12,200 ft/ 3,718 m is used to fly out rather than to fly in because of the acclimatization problem. The trail is through thick birch and fir forest. In spring, the rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal, dazzles you. Khunde and Khumjung are twin villages on either side of a stream with Khumbu's sacred mountain, Khumbila, towering above.
While going from Khunde to Tangboche monastery, stop at monastery at Khumjung to look at what is ostensibly a yeti skull! When taken to America for verification in 1960 by Hillary, the scalp was found to be made of antelope skin. The path from Khumjung joins the main trail to Tangboche at Sanasa. It winds its way to Treshinga and then dips steeply to the Phunki Tenga village (10,660 ft / 3,250 m), where you cross over to the other side of the Dudh Kosi. Being the lowest point on the trek, it is also the warmest. Switchbacking up a tough climb, reach Tangboche, the most sacred monastery of the area.
After descending from the ridge, it is a three-hour walk to Pangboche (12,800 ft / 3,900 m). Pitch your camp above the trail for a view of Ama Dablam. A side trail from there takes you to a yersa (a high altitude shephered camp) at Mingbo, spectacularly situated in a valley between Thamserku and Ama Dablam. This is where the base camp is set up for climbing Ama Dablam.
A simple climb brings you to Dingboche. Just lounge around there, or take a walk. The next two days are tough. Climb up to the tea shops at Chukung, then to the Chukung Ridge at 17,700 ft / 5,395 m , on a steep trail after crossing the Imja Khola river. Makalu, Imjatse (also called Island Peak), and Baruntse peaks are to your east. In the north, you are just under the Nuptse-Lhotse wall. With the cold night approaching, descend fast to Dingboche.
On way to Lobuche, you are on the Khumbu glacier and get the first taste of walking on a lateral moraine. A retreating glacier leaves rocks and stones behind: walking can be taxing on your calves. Take your time and do it in six hours.
The ascent to the Kala Pathar or the Black Peak (18,200 ft / 5,547 m ) is your rendezvous with climbing history. From this ridge top in 1951, Shipton and Hillary got a glimpse of a route over the Khumbu icefall. From Lobuche, walk on the moraine for two hours to reach Gorak Shep. From there, start your climb up the Kala Pathar. As you go up, Everest reveals itself a bit and farmed by Khumbuse and Nuptse, finally unmarks itself completely.
Reach the yak herders' summer camp at Dozonglha. The camp is pitched beneath the north wall of Cholatse with the magnificent Thamserku beckoning from the valley.
The climb up the Cho La is over a flat field but turns quite steep. In fact, for a short stretch you would be doing four-point climbing! Another steep ascent would bring you to the top of Cho La (17,612 ft / 5,368 m). A sharp descent on the other side would lead to the scree on the other side would lead to the scree on the Nima Gawa glacier. After crossing the glacier and climbing a ridge for half an hour, you go down to Thagnak (15,300 ft / 4,663 m), another summer camp.
Descend to the Ngozumba glacier flowing from the base of the Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang. Walk on the glacier for two kilometers and then for another two hours on its lateral moraine, climbing up to Gokyo (15,700 ft / 4,785 m). Pitch your camp on the shores of the Dudh Pokhri lake which is covered with ice in spring.
The most enchanting view still awaits the climber at the Gokyo Ri (17,576 ft/5,357 m ) above Dudh Pokhri: four of the fourteen peaks above 26,248 ft / 8,000 m - Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, and Makalu - and huge glaciers tumbling down into valleys, spires, and jagged precipices. This is the wildest arena on earth - nature in its most savage incarnation, yet serene and sombre. Descend from this grand theatre to the moraine, ad in seven hours reach the lush forests around Dole meadow.
Back at Namche. After two weeks of isolation, it looks like a metropolis. It's worth your while soaking in the charms of Khumbu for another day.
Mr. Surender Singh
V.P.O - BIr, Teh - Baijnath, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India - 176077
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