Footsteps of Hillary
Got your trekking pants on? Good. Fly from Kathmandu to Phakding then start walkin’. Check out Namche Bazaar, have a lil’ look at old Everest, bliss out in the coolest monastery in the world, eat cake, visit Everest Base Camp.
RETURNING TO NEPAL:
Thank you for choosing to visit Nepal. It is a decision you can be proud of because by visiting you are helping Nepal get back on its feet after the devastating earthquake of April this year. The following trip notes reflect our itineraries before the earthquake occurred. As Nepal rebuilds, there are likely to be changes. We may not be able to visit some destinations and sights, some accommodation may be closed and some activities may not be available. We are working closely with our operations team in Nepal to finalise as much as we can.
We will be able to let you know about some of these changes in advance before you travel. Others may need to be communicated to you by your tour leader once you are already in the country. We ask all our travellers to be flexible, patient and understanding both as you prepare for your travels and while on your trip in Nepal.
Click here to view updates about the Nepal Earthquake.
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016:
From 1st January 2016 this trip name will change to Everest Base Camp. As Nepal recovers from the earthquake some itinerary changes may be necessary.
Day 1 - Kathmandu (1360m)
- Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
- Pre-departure meeting at the hotel tonight (check with reception for and an optional group dinner in the evening. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information.
- Kathmandu, the colourful capital of Nepal, is a fascinating blend of traditional architecture and symbols of the 20th Century. Its rich artistic and cultural heritage is evident where ornately carved balconies mingle with beautiful shrines and temples. If you arrive early we recommend you check out Durbar Square with it's temples, markets and busy atmosphere. It is also worth the climb to visit the Swayambhunath - the 'monkey temple'. Explore the network of street markets and alley bazaars and Pashupatinath. For those with a few extra days in Kathmandu, the neighbouring towns of Patan and Bhaktapur are well worth a visit.
- Optional Activities
Hotel Shakti or similar
- Kathmandu - Durbar Square - NPR750
- Kathmandu - Guided tour of Swayambhunath Temple - NPR200
- Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa - NPR200
- Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple - NPR1000
- Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur - NPR1500
- Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR500
Day 2 - Phakding (2652m)
Sitting at 8848 m Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world, is one of the greatest trekking destinations. Locally known as Sagarmatha, the mountain has long been revered as the home of the gods. First conquered by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, Everest has traditionally been the ultimate goal for mountaineers. On this trip you will take on the challenge of reaching the mountaineer's base camp and gain an insight into the world famous Sherpa culture. You will cross glaciers and broad plains, traverse valleys and climb high passes to reach the picturesque Everest Base Camp. Our accommodation comprises small, basic teahouses along the track. These basic but cosy remote houses are operated by the mountain Nepalese to cater for trekkers and also offer simple yet filling and delicious meals to sustain our efforts. This is a challenging trip and involves difficult trekking at high altitudes but the whole experience is simply awe-inspiring!
This is a trek that requires an excellent level of fitness as there are plenty of ascents and descents and the walking is very strenuous. The weather can be harsh in December and January, with a combination of snow and frosts.
This trip includes one or more overnight stays over 3500 metres/11500ft, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We would expect the majority of a group to notice the effects of being at high altitude, and while most will only feel discomfort, it is not uncommon for a small number of people to need extra care which will be provided by our leaders and local staff. All our trips that spend time at High Altitude follow our standard altitude safety measures.
A number of medical conditions or medications can also reduce your body's ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. You may also wish to discuss medication such as Diamox that may help aid acclimatisation.
Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times your leader makes the decision to either delay or stop your ascent based on your medical conditions and AMS symptoms.
This trip is lead by an experienced English speaking local guide and two assistants who help with the daily logistics. Though you are expected to help carry your gear, there are porters provided to assist.
Details of the trip, which are subject to change due to weather conditions or any other factors outside of Gecko's control, are as follows (please note all trekking times are approximate).
Today we have a very early (approx. 6.30 am) flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (45 minutes). If the weather is good, the views of the Himalayas from the small plane are amazing! After breakfast in Lukla (2840 m), a short safety talk and an introduction to our porters, we gear up and commence our trek. Today is a fairly gentle introduction, following the milk-white Dudh Kosi River approximately three-hours to Phakding.
Overall Altitude gain between places we sleep is -190m.
(Walking time: approx 3 hours)trekking lodge or similar
Day 3-4 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
Day 3: Today we trek 9 km to Namche (approx. 6 hours), the administrative centre of the Khumbu region. This will be your last chance to check your equipment and hire any additional gear for the high altitudes from Dingboche onwards. Namche Bazaar is also the last chance for a hot shower, yummy feast, to enjoy the local nightlife or to take to the pool hall and video parlours. Overall altitude gain between places we sleep is 830m.
Day 4: Today is an acclimatisation day where we will also visit the local museum and surrounding villages. The best way to acclimatise is to do a strenuous walk up to a high altitude then come back down to sleep. Remember - it doesn't matter how fit you are, anyone can be affected by altitude, so have a chat to your doctor before you leave to talk about the symptoms and what to expect.trekking lodge or similar
Day 5 - Khumjung (3970m)
You'll come to appreciate the tern "short walking day". Stop by the National Park Museum, Everest View Hotel and a hospital built by Sir Edmund Hilary on our way to Khumjung. Continue the ascent alongside Everest panoramas of towering Himalayan snow peaks. Perhaps visit the nearby small hospital run by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. View a yeti skull at the Khumjung Monastery (if you're lucky!). Stay in a lodge in Khumjung.
(Walking time: approx 2 hours)trekking lodge or similar
Day 6 - Thyangboche (3875m)
As far as monasteries go, this one takes the cake. If you don't feel a sense of calm sitting at 3867m in Nepal's spiritual centre of Tibetan Buddhism while looking at Mt Everest, then you might be a robot. Perhaps stop off for a hard-earned coffee and cake from the Khumjung bakery. Rejoin the trail to Everest, keeping eyes peeled for Danphe Pheasant and Himalayan Thar. Enjoy views of Kantega, Ama Dablam and Everest. Stay overnight at Thyangboche.
(Walking time: approx 5 hours)trekking lodge or similar
Day 7-8 - Dingboche (4360m)
Everest is so close you could touch it. We know you're excited but pace yourself because altitude sickness can sneak up when you least expect it.
Day 6: Climb above the tree-line and trek approximately six hours covering the distance of 8 kms to Dingboche. Indulge in lunch at village of Pangboche, with the peak of Ama Dablam in the background. Overall altitude gain between places we sleep is 600m.
Day 7: Today is another acclimatisation day. Staying the night in Dingboche we take day hikes to Amadablam base camp, Nagarjun Hill or Chukkhung.
Explore the beautiful Imja Khola Valley and view the surrounding peaks.trekking lodge or similar
Day 9-11 - Kala Patar (5545m) - Base Camp (5364m)
Yes folks, it's the one you've all been waiting for - Everest Base Camp. Look out for expedition groups on their way to the summit. They're the rock stars of the climbing world (without all the groupies).
Day 9: The trek to Lobuche (4930m) is tough and covers 7 km, bringing us close to our ultimate goal! View the peaks of Taweche and Cholatse from the chorten atop the Pheriche Valley. Eat lunch at the foot of the huge terminal moraines of Khumbu Glacier. Visit a line of memorial cairns, built in memory of Sherpas and other climbers who have died on various Everest expeditions. Spectacular views of Pumori, Lingtren, Khumbutse, and, across the border in Tibet, Changtse. Overall Altitude gain between places we sleep is 490m.
(Walking time: approx 6 hours)
Day 10: Follow the broad valley that runs parallel to Khumbu Glacier. Ascend gradually to the moraines of Changri Nup Glacier. Experience the sensational sunset views from the amazing vantage point of Kala Patar. Gains views of Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest.
(Walking time: approx 3 hours)
Day 11: Wake early for the trek along the glacier to Everest Base Camp (5364 m). If trekking between March and May, you'll almost certainly encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions. See the notorious Everest ice fall.
(Walking time: approx 7 hours)
Day 12-14 - Thyangboche (3875m) - Lukla (2827m)
Day 12: Head downhill to Dughla and enjoy a long tea break in Pheriche. Visit a trekkers' aid post. Great views of Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega. Re-trace your steps to Debuche and on to Thyangboche
(Walking time: approx 6 hours)
Day 13: Descend from Thyangboche to the suspension bridge at Phunkitenga. Cross the Dudh Kosi river and ascend to Trashinga. Grab lunch in Namche Bazaar and enjoy a final opportunity to visit the shops.
(Walking time: approx 7 hours)
Day 14: Set off on the last, steady 5 hours of the trek. Arrive back in Lukla and celebrate (or sleep off) what you've just achieved. Say goodbye to our Sherpa crew at Lukla. Get together with the rest of your group and pool your tips if you haven't already.
(Walking time: approx 5 hours)
Day 15-16 - Kathmandu (1360m)
Weather permitting we take a short early morning fight from Lukla to Kathmandu on day 15 (approx 45 minutes). We'll return to our accommodation and have free time during the afternoon for further sightseeing or shopping. Time to celebrate with a tongba (hot millet beer) and a plate of ziva (pastry fingers filled with cheese), while you relax your weary but incredibly toned legs. You've earned it.
The trip ends on Day 16, but Kathmandu has a lot more to offer those who wish to prolong their stay.
At the end of your tour please consider donating to the KEEP Porters Clothing Bank. As you will have come to realise on your tour, porters play a vital role in the tourism industry enabling tourists to visit Nepal’s most picturesque and difficult terrain. The majority are subsistence farmers who travel from lower areas of Nepal to the higher elevated trekking routes to find employment. Contrary to the belief that porters are well-adjusted to the cold and altitude of the Himalayas, every year many porters suffer from a variety of illnesses such as altitude sickness, snow blindness, hypothermia and frostbite and some even die as a result. The Clothing Bank was set up in 2009 to provide ill-prepared porters with better clothing suitable for trekking in a mountain environment and reduce the number of unnecessary illnesses and fatalities which occur each year. Usually donations of used jackets and trousers/pants from Westerners do not fit Nepali porters who tend to be smaller. However donations of other clothing items such as socks, boots, sunglasses, warm gloves and sleeping bags are always welcome. Your leader can ensure that your donation is passed on. If you would like to make a financial contribution to KEEP please do so through the Intrepid Foundation and we will match your donation dollar for dollar.Hotel Shakti or similar
What to Know
• Gecko's expert English-speaking local tour guide and trekking staff.
• 13 day trek along the classic route to Everest Base Camp. Total trip 16 days.
• Return local flights from Kathmandu to Lukla.
• Twin-share lodge accommodation, generally in rooms with sleeping mattresses.
• Porterage on trek.
• Ascent of Kala Patar.
• Acclimatisation days in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche.
• Gecko’s kit bag and first aid kit.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, all other meals & drinks, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, fully comprehensive travel insurance (obligatory on all trips and must include helicopter evacuation and repatriation), tips, items of a personal nature, laundry, additional cost of showers on trek (if available) and flights unless specified.
Safety InformationINTERNAL FLIGHTS:
There have been a number of recent air accidents in Nepal. We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for internal flights on this trip, including Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air. EU clients please see our safety page for important information regarding internal flights in Nepal.PERSONAL SAFETY - NEPAL:
Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are common, particularly in airports and on buses. Take care when walking around at night. Avoid walking on your own and don’t carry large sums of cash. Keep valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Bars and restaurants now close at midnight as part of a government crackdown on illegal activities. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours have been detained by the police.HELICOPTERS:
With the exception of medical and emergency evacuations, due to the safety risks involved we are unable to use helicopters as a substitute for cancelled or postponed internal flights or for any other itinerary alterations.FESTIVALS:
Travelling in India and Nepal whilst the Holi festival is on (a lunar festival but generally held in March every year), can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader in high risk situation.TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 03 Oct 2015 - 18 Oct 2015 Available US $1,565 Book Now 24 Oct 2015 - 08 Nov 2015 Available US $1,625 Book Now 07 Nov 2015 - 22 Nov 2015 Available US $1,675 Book Now 21 Nov 2015 - 06 Dec 2015 Available US $1,625 Book Now 05 Dec 2015 - 20 Dec 2015 Available US $1,655 Book Now 26 Dec 2015 - 10 Jan 2016 Available US $1,515 Book Now 13 Feb 2016 - 28 Feb 2016 Available US $1,560 Book Now 05 Mar 2016 - 20 Mar 2016 Available US $1,560 Book Now 19 Mar 2016 - 03 Apr 2016 Available US $1,560 Book Now 16 Apr 2016 - 01 May 2016 Available US $1,560 Book Now 14 May 2016 - 29 May 2016 Available US $1,560 Book Now 10 Sep 2016 - 25 Sep 2016 Available US $1,560 Book Now 01 Oct 2016 - 16 Oct 2016 Available US $1,610 Book Now 23 Oct 2016 - 07 Nov 2016 Available US $1,675 Book Now 05 Nov 2016 - 20 Nov 2016 Available US $1,675 Book Now 19 Nov 2016 - 04 Dec 2016 Available US $1,675 Book Now 03 Dec 2016 - 18 Dec 2016 Available US $1,610 Book Now 24 Dec 2016 - 08 Jan 2017 Available US $1,560 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Footsteps of Hillary
Justine - Australia, 21 Jan, 2014
Great trip, placed together with another great couple. Despite the cold and the level of difficulty it was great. Only suggestion you need a high level of fitness to enjoy the trek, moderate is ok but not as enjoyable.
Footsteps of Hillary
Vincent - Australia, 13 Feb, 2014
The Trip was great. Is definitely a place to visit before you die. The tour leader was also amazing - definitely recommending Indra Kumar Rai.
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What to know
An excellent level of fitness is essential. You will trek on hilly or mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 5000 metres, for up to 7 hours per day.