Everest Base Camp 2008

OK, so this is the one that all hikers dream about, a trek to the base of the tallest mountain. A non-technical climb that only requires you to put one foot in front of another while taking you through some of the most spectacular mountain panoramas anywhere on earth. Of course, we had to do it !

You start the trip by flying into the precariously situated mountainside village of Lukla. The 30 minute flight is an adventure in itself as you wing your way up the steep-walled valley of the Dudh Kosi and land on an airstrip that is merely 527 meters long with a near 20% incline.

From there you trek up a route that takes you through lush valleys, remote Tibetan monasteries, sherpa villages and across mountain passes. Nine days and approximately 40 miles later, after walking past innumerable stupas and manis and dodging countless porters, dzopkes and yaks, you reach the foot of the Khumbu glacier. You walk along the glacial moraine till you are stopped in you tracks by the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. You are at Everest Base camp, hallowed ground that has been the launching pad for all those who have attempted to summit Everest from the south. And the reward for climbing to the top of Kala Patthar (5645 mts / 18500 ft)? Stunning views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Pumori and Everest !

Mount Everest is located in the eastern part of Nepal in a region called Khumbu and is contained within the Sagarmatha National Park. There are no roads in the Khumbu region, so the only options for getting around are walking and flying in. Rather than start from Jiri, which would have added another week to the total time, we opted to fly into Lukla and start the trek at 2860m. There is a check point for entering the Park near Jorsalle (day 2 of trek) and you will need to show your permit and pay the entry fees.

The blue dotted line traces the onward trekking route from Lukla to Kala Pathar and Everest Base Camp. The green dotted line traces the modified route we took on the return trip.

Itinerary (Oct. 20 - Nov. 6 2008)

Oct. 21 Arrive Kathmandu
Oct. 21 Fly Kathmandu to Lukla, Hike to Phakding
Oct. 22 Phakding to Namche Bazaar
Oct. 23 Acclimatization day at Namche. Hike to Everest View Hotel
Oct. 24 Namche Bazaar to Tyangboche
Oct. 25 Tyangboche to Dingboche
Oct. 26 Acclamatization day at Dingboche, Hike to Nangkartsang Peak
Oct. 27 Dingboche to Lobuche
Oct. 28 Lobuche to Gorakshep, Hike to Everest Base Camp
Oct. 29 Summit Kala Patthar , Gorakshep to Lobuche
Oct. 30 Lobuche to Tyangboche
Oct. 31 Tyangboche, Khumjung, Namche Bazaar
Nov. 1 Namche Bazaar to Phakding
Nov. 2 Phakding to Lukla, Fly to Kathmandu
Nov. 3 - 5 Kathmandu (Pashupatinath, Boudhnath, Patan)
Nov. 6 Fly to San Francisco

Trip Overview

Duration :        13 days (Oct. 21 - Nov. 2, 2008)

Distance :        115 km/71 miles

Total ascent :   7836m/25720 ft.

Highest point :  5649m/18500 ft. (Kala Patthar)

Click here for a Google Earth KML file of the trip.


Our Story

Prior history

Prior to this trip we had made completed the following high-altitude (> 10,000 ft) treks:

High-Altitude Treks
Description Highest Point reached Highest Point Viewed Comments
2003 : Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu

Dead Woman's Pass/Huarmiwanusca: 4200m/13800 ft

Followed by a high point (4910m/16100ft.) on the drive from Arequipa to Colca Canyon.

Ausangate (6384m/20945ft.) On this trip we had a view of Ausangate (a.k.a. Cusco) enroute to Manu Biosphere. It was the highest peak that we had viewed till that point.
2004: Mount Whitney Summit 4418m/14494ft The highest peak in the contiguous (48) states.
2005: Mount Dana Summit 3979m/13053ft Practice climb for Mount Kilimanjaro in Yosemite National Park, California.
2005:Mount Kilimanjaro 5895m/19320ft Highest point in Africa. The highest point we had set foot on beating the point in Peru that we had reached in 2003.
2007: Altiplano in the Atacama desert, Chile Several short hikes at altitude (> 4200m). No climbing was involved Llullaillaco (6739m/22110 ft.) We were able to view Llullaillaco (pronounced you-yai-yaco) from the Altiplano from more than 100km. away. This beat our previous record of Ausangate. On the flights to Santiago we had a close view of several Andean peaks but we were not able to identify any. It is quite possible that we could have sighted Aconcagua (6962m/22841ft.). But since we could not identify it, we could not count it.
2008: Ansel Adams Wilderness Donahue Pass (3370m/11055ft.) 6 day backpacking trip through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

On this trip to the Himalayas, we fully expected to catch sight of Mount Everest (8850m/29035ft.) and that would break the Llullaillaco marker with finality.

Here is a list of the highest mountains in the world. Reviewing this (at least the top 14 which belong to the exclusive 8000m+ club) will provide some context to this trip.

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