Everest’s daunting summit soars so high that trekking to its base camp (17,590') is still an adventure of the highest sort. Join National Geographic on a 14-day Himalayan trek to Everest’s Southern Face Base Camp through some of the world’s most spectacular mountain scenery. Spend two days discovering the historic treasures of Kathmandu. Stay in villages set against soaring, jagged pinnacles; get to know the unique culture of the Sherpas; and walk trails lined with mani stones, engraved with Tibetan Buddhist prayers. Discover remote mountain monasteries and learn about the Sherpas’ spiritual perspective on the mountains they call home.
Trek to the foot of breathtaking Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
Set out on challenging hikes to Kala Pattar (18,192'), Nangkartshang Peak (16,672'). and Everest Base Camp (17,590').
Explore Sherpa villages and the ancient Thami and Tengboche monasteries.
Visit a school established by Sir Edmund Hillary in the mountain village of Khumjung.
Itinerary - 19 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Kathmandu, Nepal
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel, where we’ll gather for an orientation. Spend the following day discovering medieval Kathmandu. Venture into Pashupatinath and visit Nepal’s largest Buddhist stupa, the Bodhnath Stupa, both part of UNESCO’s World Heritage site.
Shangri-La Hotel Kathmandu (Day 1: D; Day 2: B)
Day 3 — Lukla/Begin Trek/Phakding
Weather permitting, fly over the mountains to Lukla (9,200'), perched high on a slope in the Khumbu region of the Himalaya. Here, we’ll meet our porters, Sherpa guides, and pack animals and start out on our trek, descending 1,500 feet to the Dudh Kosi (River of Milk). As we follow the trail to the village of Phakding, we’ll pass mani walls, boulders carved with Tibetan Buddhist prayer inscriptions. (5 miles hiking, 3 hours) Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 4 & 5 — Namche Bazaar
The trail continues north up the Dudh Kosi valley to Monjo, where it officially enters Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Catch a first glimpse of Everest during a steep climb that brings us to the Sherpa market town of Namche Bazaar, our home for the next two nights. We’ll spend an extra day here to acclimatize, heading out on short hikes to take in views of Everest. (Day 4: 6 miles hiking, 5-6 hours; Day 5: 3-4 miles hiking, 2-3 hours)
Mountain Lodge (B,L,D daily)
Day 6 — Thami
Set out on a trail along the Bhote Kosi to the remote village of Thami, the last outpost on the ancient trading route over the Nangpa La (pass) between Tibet and Nepal. Cross the Bhote Kosi and hike steeply uphill to Thami. (2-3 miles hiking; 4-5 hours) Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Khumjung
Venture into Thami Monastery (13,000'), then retrace your steps before turning uphill toward the lovely village of Khumjung, where Sir Edmund Hillary established a school in 1961. Pay a visit to the school and learn about “Sir Ed’s” other projects in the community. (7 miles hiking; 5-6 hours) Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Tengboche/Debuche
Set out through the Dudh Kosi gorge to Tengboche Monastery on one of the most beautiful valley walks on Earth. The monastery is the home of the Rimpoche of Tengboche. After our visit, descend to our lodge in Debuche. (7-8 miles; 5-6 hours) Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10 — Pheriche
Today’s hike takes us down through a beautiful forest to the village of Pangboche. With the stunning peak of Ama Dablam towering directly overhead, hike up to the remote village of Pheriche, where we will spend two nights at a lodge. The next day, head out on one of the most scenic hikes of the trip, an optional 2,100-foot climb to Nangkartshang Peak (16,672') to see Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu (three of the six highest peaks in the world). (Day 9: 6 miles hiking, 5-6 hours; Day 10: 5 miles hiking, 6-7 hours )
Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 11 & 12 — Lobuje/Gorak Shep
Continue along the valley floor to Dughla (15,157'), where we stop for lunch before hiking on Lobuje. The next day, walk to the edge of the Khumbu Glacier then hike up to the village of Gorak Shep, nestled under the soaring summits. Climb up Kala Pattar (18,192') for a dramatic close up view of Everest. (Day 11: 4 miles hiking, 5-6 hours; Day 12: 5 miles optional hiking, 2-3 hours)
Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Everest Base Camp/Lobuje
Weather permitting, we’ll head out on the final climb to Everest Base Camp, tucked into the mountainside under the sparkling Khumbu Icefall. Return to Lobuje for the night. (9 miles hiking; 9-10 hours) Mountain Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 14, 15, & 16 — Descent to Lukla
Retrace your steps along the Imja Khola to Debuche. The following day, hike down a steep trail to the Dudh Kosi and climb to Namche Bazaar for the night. The final day of our descent, we’ll have a long and leisurely trek back to Lukla. (Day 14: 9-10 miles hiking, 6-7 hours; Day 15: 8-9 miles hiking, 5-7 hours; Day 16: 9 miles hiking, 8 hours)
Mountain Lodges (B,L,D daily)
Day 17 — Lukla/Kathmandu
Weather permitting, we’ll fly back to Kathmandu today and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We have scheduled an extra day in case of a delay in our flight. Shangri-La Hotel Kathmandu (B)
Days 18 & 19 — Kathmandu/U.S.
Explore the town of Bhaktapur, which has preserved its ancient character. See the temples and palaces of Durbar Square and examine the intricate Sun Dhoka, a gilded copper gate crafted in 1753. This afternoon, Kathmandu is yours to explore. The following day, depart Kathmandu on your homeward-bound flight.
Shangri-La Hotel Kathmandu (Day 18: B,D; Day 19: B)
National Geographic Active Expeditions are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $900. Airfare to/from Kathmandu and within Nepal is not included in the expedition cost. The group flight within Nepal is $380 (subject to change).
While on the trek, we will be hiking 4 to 10 hours per day (2 to 10 miles), on moderate to steep grades and at elevations ranging from 9,300 feet to 18,200 feet. Some days will be rest days with optional hikes to properly acclimatize.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
What To Expect
We will stay 4 nights in comfortable
Nepalese-style hotels, and 14 nights in simple, rustic
mountain lodges with shared basic facilities.
Porters and pack animals will transport our gear. Participants should be in excellent health (a signed medical form from your doctor will be required).
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