Everest Trek

Flight to Lukla

We had been booked on a 6:15 flight so it was an early start. The airport seemed a bit chaotic at first but our new guide, Santos, took us through. The plane was small, only taking about 16 passengers. The flight with the views of the Himalayas was stunning and the landing at Lukla, on an uphill runway on the edge of a mountain, was incredible. While waiting to be organised for the day's trek we watched some planes landing and taking off - quite a sight and an impressive operation!
Lukla Airport
Lukla Airport
Plane taking off
Plane taking off
Kongde
Kongde

Trek to Monjo

We then took on the 6 hour walk to Monjo. Although the overall height gain was very small, the path undulated so there was quite a lot of ascent. We were on the main trail for Everest Base camp so it was much more crowded than it had been in the Annapurna region. The trail passed several mantra rocks and prayer wheels as we were now in Buddhist country. Entering a village through an archway was meant to cleanse you of all demons.

The valley and glacial river are very beautiful with superb mountain views. We had several stops on the way up including one for lunch and one for ginger tea. There was a warm welcome with tea and cake awaiting us at Monjo. Because of the altitude, we were now in a mode of self-denial regarding alcohol.

Memorial Gate
Memorial Gate
Prayer wheel and Mantra stone
Prayer wheel and Mantra stone
The Dudh Valley
The Dudh Valley
Kusum Khangkaru
Kusum Khangkaru
Crossing a bridge
Crossing a bridge
River Dudh
River Dudh
Waterfall
Waterfall
View from the track
View from the track
River near Monjo
River near Monjo
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Trek to Namche Bazaar

This walk was considered to be one of the most strenuous of the trek - mainly because of altitude. We took it slowly. The views were incredible and there were many photo stops, including our first view of Everest.

After lunch in the hotel we took a walk up to a viewpoint above the town. Here we had our first views of Aba Dablam, a spectacularly beautiful mountain which was to become a much-photographed favourite. The views all around were stunning and many more photos were taken. There was also a football pitch/ play area where some young Nepalese boys were playing with joyous enthusiasm. The altitude seemed not to be a problem for them. As the sun went off the area we went back down to dinner and early bed.

Mountain view
Mountain view
Sherpa House
Sherpa House
Khumbi
Khumbi
Bridge on the way to Namche
Bridge on the way to Namche
Tabuche
Tabuche
Everest
Everest
Kongde
Kongde
Kongde
Kongde
Tap by National Park Offices
Tap by National Park Offices
Zopkio carrying our luggage
Zopkio carrying our luggage
Nupla and Kongde
Nupla and Kongde
Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar
Thamserku
Thamserku
Thamserku
Thamserku
Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
Thamserku
Thamserku
Everest
Everest
Khumbi Yul Iha
Khumbi Yul Iha
Kusum Khangkaru
Kusum Khangkaru
View from above Namche Bazaar
View from above Namche Bazaar
Evening view from our lodge
Evening view from our lodge
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Trek to Tashinga

The route was quite short and fairly level though the 'ups' were much more difficult than usual because of the altitude. We had several photo stops as well as the usual stops to allow porters and yaks to go past. At the end of the walk, Santos took us off the main track onto a lovely quieter track through woodland.

After lunch Santos offered us the chance of a helicopter flight the next day. We succumbed as it was not a chance we would have again. We then relaxed in the sun for the afternoon.

Nuple and Kongde
Nuple and Kongde
Lhotse
Lhotse
The track with Nupla and Kongde
The track with Nupla and Kongde
Everest and Lhotse
Everest and Lhotse
Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam
Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
Close up of Ama Dablam
Close up of Ama Dablam
Indian Gentian
Indian Gentian
Tashinga Lodge
Tashinga Lodge
View from Tashinga Lodge
View from Tashinga Lodge
Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
View from Tashinga Lodge
View from Tashinga Lodge
Kangtega
Kangtega
Thamserku
Thamserku
Thamserku
Thamserku
Yak
Yak
Rufous-bellied Nilava
Rufous-bellied Nilava
White-winged Grosbeak
White-winged Grosbeak
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To the monastery

The day started with the promised helicopter flight. We were in the first flight and Camilla was lucky enough to have the front seat. The flight was superb. We followed the Gokyo valley up to the Gokyo lakes and then turned towards Everest and made our way down the Pheriche valley to the Tengboche monastery where we landed. One of our guides was waiting there, having walked up from our lodge at an early hour, and we stayed by the helipads enjoying the wonderful views and waiting for the others on the later flights. Santos came with the third helicopter and showed us round the monastery (the fourth oldest in the region). We then walked around, enjoying the different views and discovering some unexpected old man's beard and an impressive solar device for boiling water using mirrors to focus sunlight on the pan. We also saw some participants completing the fifth leg of the Everest Trail Race, including the Nepalese runner who was to be the eventual winner of the womens' race, taking just over 27 hours to complete the six-legs.

After lunch we walked back to our lodge. The uphill part was easier than the day before - we were beginning to acclimatise to the altitude.

Our helicopter
Our helicopter
Small glacial lake
Small glacial lake
Lake in Gokyo Valley
Lake in Gokyo Valley
Lake in Gokyo Valley
Lake in Gokyo Valley
Everest
Everest
Snow
Snow
Gokyo valley
Gokyo valley
Mountain view
Mountain view
Taboche
Taboche
Lake in Gokyo Valley
Lake in Gokyo Valley
Taboche
Taboche
Morraine from receding glacier
Morraine from receding glacier
Arakam Tse and Chola Tsho
Arakam Tse and Chola Tsho
Imja Khola valley
Imja Khola valley
Mountain view
Mountain view
Snowy mountain
Snowy mountain
Trekkers
Trekkers
Ngozumba Gacier
Ngozumba Gacier
Kungde and Nupla
Kungde and Nupla
Everest from Tengboche
Everest from Tengboche
Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam
Above the monastery entrance
Above the monastery entrance
At the monastery gate
At the monastery gate
Solar boiler
Solar boiler
Old man
Old man's beard and Ama Dablam
Tengboche Monastery
Tengboche Monastery
Yaks passing the monastery
Yaks passing the monastery
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Back to Monjo

Today we started our return going first to Namche Bazaar, where we had some shopping time and lunch. We then walked down steeply to the high bridge and then back along the river (two more bridges) to the lodge at Monjo where we were once again greeted with tea and cake.

Tenboche, Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam
Tenboche, Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam
Kusum Khangkaru
Kusum Khangkaru
Kusum Khangkaru
Kusum Khangkaru
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Back to Lukla

After the usual breakfast of porridge and omelette, we set off on our final trek back to Lukla. The track was very crowded with porters, dzhos and other trekkers but after about an hour we left the main track and climbed up to pass through a couple of villages on a pleasant wooded track. We rejoined the main track, via a rusting bridge, and had lunch at the same place as on our first day. After lunch we set off on the long climb back up to Lukla. We all congratulated each other and made ourselves at home in the lodge by the airport.

Steep  sided valley
Steep sided valley
Rimishung monastery
Rimishung monastery
Stupa in Thulo Gumela
Stupa in Thulo Gumela
Vegetable patch
Vegetable patch
Kongde
Kongde
View from the track
View from the track
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Kathmandu

The flight from Lukla went well and we relaxed at our hotel in the afternoon. The next morning we had a tour of Patan, including the palace square, the palace and the museum. We then went to the 'monkey temple' - so called by the hippies in the 1970s. A picture from 1964 showed how much Kathmandu has grown since then. Another lazy afternoon followed.

Buddha at Patan
Buddha at Patan
Elephant at Patan
Elephant at Patan
Prayer Wheels
Prayer Wheels
The postures of Buddha
The postures of Buddha
Bird and fish
Bird and fish
Decorated building at Patan
Decorated building at Patan
Elephants
Elephants
Prayer Wheels
Prayer Wheels
Puppets
Puppets
Door decoration
Door decoration
Many armed Hindu Gods
Many armed Hindu Gods
Door decoration
Door decoration
Identifying postures
Identifying postures
Monkey Temple
Monkey Temple
Monkey at monkey temple
Monkey at monkey temple