The allure of Everest has captivated daring adventurers since the 1920s, with many making huge sacrifices to reach the summit.
Almost 3,500 metres below the summit, however, is Everest Base Camp, and although not your average adventure, it is steadily becoming a destination of choice for ordinary people looking to catch a glimpse of the world’s highest peak.
Arriving into Kathmandu, you are immediately immersed in the charming confusion of Nepal’s capital city. While hurtling towards modernity, Kathmandu stoically maintains its traditional, religious and cultural uniqueness, as evidenced by its many World Heritage-listed sites.
From Durbar Square, the beating heart of the city, to Freak Street where hippies gathered in the 1960s and 1970s on their way to Europe, the experience of Kathmandu is as unique as each person who visits it.
From the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s only a short flight to Lukla and the majesty of the Himalayas. Landing at the airstrip, built by Sir Edmund Hillary and sherpas in the 1960s, you will realise that it is now that the real adventure begins.
Along narrow mule tracks, you will trek for 12 days between snow-capped mountains, into birch and rhododendron forest, across pristine rivers and through alpine meadows. Under the expert care of local guides and sherpas, you will experience the exquisite scenery and culture of the Himalayas as you steadily ascend to your destination.
From the pine and cedar woods along the Dudh Kosi River you will trek to the Pema Choling Monastery, perched on a hillside high above the village of Phakding. Climbing still, you cross the river and make your way through blue pine and rhododendron forest. As you traverse Sagamartha National Park on the way to Namche, the snow-capped peak of Mount Everest will appear in the distance.
With a day to acclimatise in Namche, you can explore a town that was once the staging point for trading expeditions to Tibet. Even today, Tibetans are often seen in the village, trading rugs and Chinese-made goods, clothing, salt and dried meat.
Farewelling Namche, you will then make your way to Tengboche, by far one of the most spectacular treks of the adventure. As you journey through pine, fir and black juniper forest, the mighty mountain as your beacon, you will follow the snaking path to victory.
Crossing a line of Cairns, the temperature begins to drop and you will trek in single file, following in the footsteps of those before you and willing the finish line closer. From Loboche alongside the Khumbu Glacier and down to Gorak Shep, you are now among the glaciers of the world’s highest peaks. And just as you think your goal may be unattainable, you will reach Everest Base Camp. With colourful prayer flags flapping in the crisp mountain air, you will look around you and begin to appreciate the enormity of your accomplishment.