Everest Base Camp Trek & Kala Pattar
- Trekking in Nepal, amidst the legendary Himalayan mountains
- Explore Buddhist shrines in peaceful, monastic communities
- Be inspired by first-hand climbing lore from the Everest climbers that lead each trek
A Nepal trekking adventure and journey to these sacred regions will offer a lifetime of impressions and reflections.
Explorers, travelers and climbers alike have long been seduced by the mythos and excitement of Mt. Everest and the dynamic region of the Sherpa people. While the world's greatest peaks Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam characterize the mighty Khumbu region, trekkers have the opportunity to explore its lower majesty. Along the way, trekkers are showered with impressions of ancient Tibetan Buddhism as we visit and learn from our friends living in these inspiring monastic communities. Trekkers will be guided by world-famous Everest climbers.
This is a reasonable trek for the very fit enthusiast. Most days are nothing short of breathtaking while we walk amidst the Himalayan giants to the jingle of yak bells. Each corner reveals new vistas that transport our psyche further into the shadow of the daunting peaks.
Traveling to these regions with Alpine Ascents offers an uncompromising experience. We dare say that no other organization can provide the combination of expertise, intimate relationships with local Nepalis and knowledge of its mountains and environment. Our guided walking tour days will include much discourse on the peaks of the Everest region, architecture of Buddhist shrines, Sherpa Buddhism and first-hand climbing lore from the Everest climbers that lead each trek.
Like all our expeditions, we believe that the trekker should be lost in the world of mountains and travel unfettered by the rigors of food preparation, lodging and logistics. Alpine Ascents certainly offers the most comprehensive program available utilizing a distinguished staff of Sherpa, huge tents and a diverse assortment of quality meals. (Some of the food is flown in from the US. Although the local food is a part of our diet, we find a large variety of food helps keep trekkers, healthy and strong).
- Transportation to and from airport in Kathmandu
- Hotels in Kathmandu
- Welcome and farewell dinner
- Flight, round-trip, to Lukla
- All group camp supplies, such as tents, stoves, etc.
- All meals while trekking
- Park fees and trekking permits
- Sherpa, porters and guides
- Single supplement upon request
- $25 wire transfer fee (if applicable)
- International round trip airfare USA-Nepal
- Meals in Kathmandu (excluding welcome and farewell dinner)
- Personal gear
- Excess baggage charges and airport taxes
- Personal items (gifts, etc.)
- Alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks
- All expenses incurred in the event of early departure (evac fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc)
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Alpine Ascents
Day by Day Itinerary
USA-Bangkok-Kathmandu. (Overnight in Bangkok and arrive on Day 3 in Kathmandu.) Upon arrival check into the renowned Yak and Yeti Hotel, a cornerstone of the Kathmandu scene, and attend a welcome dinner with other trekkers and climbers. (Most trekkers use Thai airways via LA/Bangkok/Kathmandu).
Kathmandu. From the centrally located Yak and Yeti we begin our exploration of Kathmandu. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to both Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures which lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in both Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes the 3000-year old Swamayabhu (monkey temple), the great Stupa of Bodnath and the chaotic Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath. This temple is home to many Hindu ascetics or Sadhus.
After final administration requirements, we fly via Twin Otter STOL or Russian M-17 Helicopter to the landing strip in Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we meet and join our Sherpa staff, load the yaks and begin the ascent to base camp. Our first day is an easy walk to lush environs of Phakding, located on the Dudh Kosi river.
We follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300' through Himalayan pine and Doedar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300'). The village of Namche is an historic trading post where Nepalese and Tibetan traders exchange salt, dried meat, gold and textiles. Besides being a superb place to shop for traditional crafts, Namche remains the central trading post in the Khumbu, attracting Himalayan and lowland merchants. Our group spends two days in Namche affording us the opportunity to acclimate, visit local markets and spend time with friends in town. Our camp is perched high above the city and we make our way to nearby high points to capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks.
Visit sights in Namche Bazaar including the Sherpa museum and local marketplace.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we travel to the village of Thame (12,464'). We have the unique opportunity of visiting the home of Lakpa Rita Sherpa, our Sirdar (lead Sherpa). His family has been a mainstay of this small community, raising yaks and farming. This gives us an intimate view of Sherpa culture while visiting a traditional home. Interestingly enough a number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from Thame. The ‘Thame' experience is one rarely afforded to trekkers.
Waking early we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We tour this 400 year-old gompa and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we tour the monastery we discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Before departure we will hopefully have the opportunity to meet and receive a blessing from the Thame Rinpoche (head priest). From Thame we walk to the beautiful village of Khunde, one of the largest villages in the Khumbu. The day's walk is moderate and rather pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. This is also the home of Sir Edmund Hillary's hospital and school.
We continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683'), the cultural and religious center of the Khumbu. At the monastery we attend Buddhist ceremonies and rituals performed by local monks. Vistas from Tengboche are spectacular. The jagged peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega stand to our south as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam are visible to the north. The Monastery at Tengboche is one of the most well-known in the world as the Rinpoche is revered throughout the Buddhist community and has authored a number of books and essays. In the past our groups have had an audience with the Rinpoche and received his blessing. Views from this locale (one of the finest on earth), include Kwangde 20,293' , Tawachee 21,457', Nuptse 25,843', Lhotse 27,883', Everest 29,021', Ama Dablam 22,487', Kantega 22,235', Thamserku 21,674'. We lodge in the village of Deboche.
We climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907') which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high altitude research center. The center attracts world renown physicians who acquire data to analyze the effects of high altitude on human physiology. During our stay we visit the research center and have time to chat with staff physicians. We will also spend an additional day further acclimatizing and hiking.
From Pheriche we continue through this high alpine region to the settlement of Lobuje (16,174'), where we spend one night. This trail passes through a famous Sherpa memorial. Lobuje is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier.
The trail winds through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924'), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp. While our Sherpa are setting up camp we make an ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300'), a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori. Many Everest photos are taken from the summit of Kala Pattar. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives the trekker the true flavor of the nighttime rigors of mountaineering.
We leave Gorak Shep and cross the moraine of the great Khumbu glacier to reach Base Camp, which lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. Everest Base Camp at 17,300' is a sprawling tent city set amidst glacial debris. Here the climbers begin final preparations for their ascent of Mt. Everest. We spend a few hours at base getting a sense of the community and meeting climbers before returning to Gorak Shep. During our visit to camp we venture to the edge of the notorious Khumbu Ice Fall. From here, we see climbers en route as they negotiate this complex maze of ice.
We begin our return to lower altitudes and quickly feel the difference in our lungs. This night is spent in the village of Dingboche (14, 450'). Dingboche is a stunning village of stone huts known as the summer village for local herders. The mountain views are outstanding from the Imja valley as Makalu stands in the distance.
Enjoying the downhill walks we take our time and return to Namche Bazaar. This seemingly remote village is suddenly a center of commerce where we spend two days shopping, drinking coffee, getting shaves, sampling food and enjoying all the thrills of "urban" life. Our 1998 expedition was lucky enough to attend the first Sherpa play, which dealt with both modern and traditional themes.
Our final walk (a long one) to Lukla takes most of the day. From Lukla we prepare for the flight back to Kathmandu. For our last night in the Khumbu, we have a celebration and learn traditional dance from our Sherpa friends and staff. It is a memorable night with much laughter and general merriment.
Early morning flight to KTM (weather permitting) and we spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the deluxe services of the Yak and Yeti hotel.
Walking tour of the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the Thamel section. Here we assist trekkers with their final shopping needs followed by a farewell dinner.
Early morning departure for Bangkok. Arrive USA.
About The Operator:
Alpine Ascents International
A Brief History
Founder Todd Burleson has traveled the globe incessantly (from 8 Everest expeditions and the 7 summits, to Greenland, Mongolia and Iran) not only for his love of guiding but his never-ending pursuit of perfecting the Alpine Ascents approach. In 1986 there wasn't much of a business model for international guiding, but making a living at something you love has its merits. While Todd's proficiency in climbing was well regarded, he had a propensity for not only guiding and teaching, but looking at mountains as to how they might be successfully and safely guided (routes, camps, guide ratios, supplies and itineraries). From our early successes on Himalayan Peaks, this approach soon took hold on mountains around the world. Willi Prittie joined on with Todd and added his relentless pursuit of perfection and joy of the mountains to the zeitgeist of Alpine Ascents. This unique combination snowballed into some of the finest logistics, training and guiding in the industry.
With this recipe, Todd and Willi began sculpting a reputation - as a climber's outfitter. This included Willi maniacally developing the Alpine Ascents Mountaineering School, with the theme that any graduate should possess enough safety skills to call themselves a climber. Enter Gordon Janow who brought his eclectic background of writing, business and many years of traveling through Asia to galvanize Alpine Ascents as a business and mind set. This led to other strategic and opportune partnerships with old climbing friends such as Vernon Tejas, Peter Athans, and Jose Luis Peralvo, as well as recruiting, developing and training a host of younger guides that eventually became the core of the Alpine Ascents guiding staff. The office staff, not to be outdone, put the expertise of Matt Lepisto and Kristine Kitayama, and more recently Brent LaDoux, Alayna Cullen, Garrett Madison and Savannah Klunder, along with Todd and Gordon to the task of organizing and creating all that manifests the visions of guides and climbers alike. Most of the original members are with us today, keeping it a jovial and enthusiastic (bordering on obsessive) team.
Alpine Ascents International Today
Alpine Ascents International leads expeditions that have become benchmarks of quality in the climbing community and operates what we believe is the finest mountaineering school in the country. This expertise is based upon years of accumulated experience, not just from individual mountain guides, but through experience on particular mountains where details are fine-tuned over time. We maintain our ongoing process of multi-leveled and critical evaluation for each expedition. Innovations like daily weather reports, established season-long base camps, environmental pioneering, and operating our trips with small climber-to-guide ratios led by Alpine Ascents guides are just some of the factors that keep us in the forefront. Our guides are the primary reason that Alpine Ascents has built such a unique reputation. Many of our guides have been with us for most of their careers and have had the opportunity to participate in a wealth of climbs and programs. Our guides are generally not seasonal employees, who teach a few courses and head back to "other lives", but are dedicated and committed to a life of climbing.
Along with these elements, our commitment to the environment and ethical global business practices make Alpine Ascents the most respected and well-rounded mountain guiding company in the industry. Alpine Ascents is proud to be one of a small minority of companies authorized to guide on Denali, Mt. Rainier and throughout Washington's Cascades.
Program Philosophy ~ Mission Statement
Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally-conscious mountaineers and offering courses and expeditions of unsurpassed quality throughout the world. Our business practices stress ethical and culturally aware travel.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the physical conditioning level needed for this trek?
Climbers must be in very good to excellent physical condition. We strongly recommend following the advice of our guides to acclimatize properly.
Who is the guiding team composed of (How many guides? Climber to guide ratio?)
Your expedition leader will be one of our International Mountain Guides. They will be accompanied by a staff of highly experienced Sherpa, porters and cooks.
What is the best season to trek?
The best time to trek is in the pre-monsoon springtime, March and April and the post-monsoon Fall, October-November.
How many climbers are on this expedition?
Generally, our maximum for this climb is 15 trekkers plus guides.
Will I be sharing a tent or lodging with other climbers?
During the trek we will be lodging in teahouses or tents depending on the village. Trekkers will be either sharing a teahouse room (2 per room) or a tent (2 per tent).
How much will my pack weigh?
During the trek we will only be carrying gear and supplies for the day. At no point do we carry camping gear or equipment for overnight. During the trek daypacks will weigh no more than 20 lbs.
What gear will I need?
Please review the annotated gear list.
How does your gear rental system work?
Those requesting rental gear must submit an expedition rental form with payment by fax or mail. All rental gear will be mailed to the trekker prior to the climb. Trekkers are expected to clean all rental gear and return it to us by mail following the expedition.
Any further advice on gear and using your gear list?
While all items are required there may be times when some of the items on the gear list may not be used (such as warm weather or changing conditions). The gear lists are created by the guides to assist in having trekkers be prepared to travel in any conditions.
As it is impossible for us to list all brands for certain gear, we do have a current suggested brand list for most items on the gear list. We also list manufacturers which have a strong track record of providing quality gear. Please feel free to call our offices with any gear questions or substitutes.
How is drinking water treated?
During the trek we will provide unlimited amounts of boiled water at mealtimes. Trekkers can fill up water bottles at meals. Bottled water can also be purchased in teahouses at additional cost. Water that can be treated is nearly ever present along the trekking route.
What will the meals on the expedition be like?
During the trek we will be served meals in the teahouses but prepared by our own staff. Meals during the trek are made from food both purchased in Nepal and the U.S. Typical meals are rice, pasta or potato dishes along with vegetable and egg dishes. During lunches we will also have a cooked meal.
Can I bring some food from home?
You may bring power bars, Gu, Power Gel, cereal bars or similar high energy foods, powder Gatorade is also recommended to fight dehydration. All meals will be provided on this expedition.
Are there any innoculation requirements?
No requirements at this time
What is the best air route to my destination?
Most routes from the States to Kathmandu are via Bangkok. Climbers that arrive early or depart late will incur in an additional airport pick up fee.
When should I book my flight? Do I need to use your Travel Agent?
Fares are generally less expensive when booked early. You may use our Travel Agent (Charles Mulvehill 1-800-727-2157) or book flights yourself. Please note that flights booked online are often difficult to change. Please send us a copy of your flight schedule as early as possible as this allows us to book pick ups and hotels.
What time should I arrive and leave and where do I meet the guides?
Those arriving on the scheduled date (or those who have made prior arrangements) are met at the airport by an Alpine Ascents representative (look for the sign) and taken to the Yak and Yeti Hotel. Although it is likely that you will meet your team leader at the airport and other members during the day, we will have a scheduled meeting that day. This meeting will include introductions, final review and an overview of the itinerary and trek.
What if I arrive early or depart late? Can you arrange extra night lodging? Is there a single room option for this expedition?
We are happy to make arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotels rooms, airport pick ups and arrange for private rooms. Please indicate that you would like a private room on your application and we will contact you with information on single room supplement costs.
Are there any entry or Visa requirements?
The easiest way to obtain a visa is in the Kathmandu airport. Upon arrival in the KTM airport fill out the necessary forms and proceed to the visa line. As visa prices change often we suggest taking a variety of cash denominations, such as (2) $20.00 bills (1) $10.00 bill (1) $5.00 bill. We will obtain a trekking permit for you in KTM. Current visa cost is $30.00 and is subject to change. Please obtain a one month visa. Please bring 2 passport photos (one for the visa and 1 extra).
Is there any communication while we are on the mountain?
In Kathmandu telephones and internet access are readily available. Our guides will carry satellite phones in the mountains. The quality of the reception varies from location to location.
Can I contact the others on the trek? How about the guide?
You can always call our offices and we will have your Trek lead guide contact you. 30 days prior to departure, we will mail a list of the other team members to you.
How much should I budget for this expedition? How much cash should I plan to bring?
$500 should easily cover any extra expenses and tips. Most trekkers prefer to bring about $1000 and have credit cards.
How much should I tip my guide and staff?
$150 total is the suggested tips for all Sherpa guides and you may have some perfunctory tips at hotels and at time of transport. Tipping is not required but a common practice. Climbers may also opt to tip the Lead guide ($150+ is an average tip)
What paperwork do I need to send in?
Each climber should submit an application and flight information.
When is the money due for this expedition? What kind of payment do you except?
We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, personal checks and Alpine Ascents gift certificates. To reserve a space the deposit is $700.00 and balances are due 90 days prior to departure. Unpaid balances can result in forfeiture of trip.
What is your cancellation policy? What is your refund policy?
Note: Alpine Ascents International highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all programs.
Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Alpine Ascents International must adhere to a stringent refund policy. Specific brochure cancellation and refund policies may supercede those enumerated below.
- Each deposit, regardless of amount, includes a $200.00 non-refundable registration fee.
- All Expedition balances are due 90 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified.
- Full refunds, less registration fee, will be provided 90-days or more prior to departure date.
- 50% refunds will be provided 60-89 days prior to departure date.
- No refunds will be provided 59-days prior to departure date.
- Participants whose balances are not received by the 90-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their place on the expedition.
- All refund requests must be made in writing and be received in our office within the 90-day period, as stated above.
What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?
Communication is sometimes difficult in the mountains. However our guides and local staff will make the necessary efforts to obtain the necessary transportation and reservations to get you home as quickly as possible if for any reason you need to depart early.