Everest Trek 2008
This page deals with the extended Everest trek we did in autumn 2008: during 45 days of walking we covered almost 1000km. Basically, this involved taking a rattletrap bus from Kathmandu to dusty Jiri, walking up to Namche Bazar, spending three weeks with exploring the valleys above and around Namche, and then walking down to the Arun river and finishing by climbing the Milke Danda, a significant ridge to the south of the Makalu/Kanchenjunga region. Endpoint was a village called Basantpur, a foul-smelling roadhead similar to Jiri.
First, here are a few detailed maps which divide the main trek into four smaller, more manageable bits:
- from Jiri to Junbesi: This means three days of strenous walking with two high passes en route and a well-deserved day of rest in Junbesi. There is a large and locally famous gompa (Buddhist monastery) to the north of Junbesi; we always do this as a leisurely day trip.
- then up to Namche Bazar: Another four or five days of uninterrupted ups and downs until we arrive in sunny Namche Bazar, with its shops at 3450m above sea level the Zermatt of the Khumbu.
- on to the Arun river: Roughly a week of walking brings us down from Namche Bazar to the biggest river in these parts, the Arun. We lose around 3000m height, as the river at the point we meet it is about 400m above sea level. Nevertheless, as everywhere else in Nepal, the trail involves lots of ups and downs.
- finally to Basantpur: Normally, one would finish the walk in Tumlingtar and fly back to Kathmandu (or go on to Hille and catch a bus back), but to the east of Tumlingtar there is a high ridge which affords beautiful views north, towards the Makalu and Kanchenjunga massifs. So, after a couple of rest days in Tumlingtar (and a swim or two in the Arun), another five days of walking up and along the Milke Danda, until we finally arrive at the roadhead of Basantpur.
Here are two further maps showing some details of the mountainous region above and around Namche Bazar, the high Khumbu:
- the Lobuche/Chukhung valleys: These form the eastern part of the region, with access to cold and cheerless Everest Base Camp and a well-known hill-top viewpoint called Kala Pattar (~5500m above sea level). The latter gives impressive views of Everest and the Khumbu glacier which flows down from the Western Cwm.
- the Gokyo/Thame valleys: The western half of the area, with Gokyo (in my opinion, the most beautiful and interesting of the Khumbu valleys) and Gokyo Ri (~5400m), another viewpoint with even more expansive views than Kala Pattar. The long valley above the village of Thame terminates in the Nangpa La, a high pass connecting the Khumbu with Tibet: even today, many Tibetan traders still use this route to sell their wares in Namche.
$updated from: Everest Trek 2008.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$