Trek to Everest Base Camp with Vegan Mountaineer Kuntal Joisher

Have you dreamed of visiting Everest Base Camp and taking in the incredible views of some of the tallest mountains in the world? Summiting one of the smaller Himalayan peaks?

I know it’s on my wish list. And if it’s on yours, I’ve got great news for you!

Vegan Mountaineer Kuntal Joisher (you might know him from the Q&A I did with him a couple of years back or one of his many Huffpost pieces on mountaineering) is attempting to summit Mount Everest again this spring, and he wants to take you to Base Camp with him.

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The details of your Everest Base Camp Trek:

Trip Highlights
• Accomplish a true bucket list item: trek to base camp at Mount Everest
• Visit one of the most dangerous airports in the world
• Experience Sherpa culture and hospitality along the way
• Trek with a superman Sherpa Mingma Tenji, and listen to his stories from his climbs!
• Climb to summit of Kala pattar, and sleep one night at the base camp (an experience that most of the trek operators don’t offer).
• See stunning Himalaya views, including Khumbu Ice Fall, Makalu, Ama Dablam, more

Mount Everest towers above the Khumbu at over 29,000′ and is perhaps the most iconic symbol of challenge and adventure on Earth. On our classic Everest Base Camp Trek, follow in the footsteps of legends as we ascend from verdant Lukla to the vast glaciers and razorsharp ridge-lines of the Nepal Himalaya, home to the world’s highest peaks. At Base Camp, stand face-to-face with the fabled Khumbu Ice Fall and its towering seracs. We hike to the summit of Kala Pattar (18,100′) for an unobstructed view of Everest’s windblown summit.

April 7th – Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu. Gear shopping etc. I’ll be around the entire day to help the team with gear shopping and any last minute shopping before we take off the next day.

April 8th – Day 2: KTM to Lukla flight, Lukla to Monjo trek. (5-6 hours of trek, 10 kms)
After breakfast, we will be escorted to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport for an early morning flight to Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft), a gateway destination from where our trek begins. After an adventurous 40 minute flight above the breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach the Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a dramatic landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains peaks. Upon arrival at Lukla, we meet our other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Monjo. Overnight at a lodge in Monjo.

April 9th – Day 3: Trek Monjo to Namche Bazaar. (4-5 hours trek, 8 kms)
From Monjo, we come to the check post and entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. We pass through the last village of Jorsale before reaching Namche Bazaar. The trail climbs through the forests and bridges until we reach the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. After a final steep ascent of about two hours we get first sight of Mt. Everest peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. Upon this juncture, we stop to admire the view. We still need to hike about 1.5 hours to reach Namche Bazaar, gateway village to Mt. Everest and main trading center of this region. We stay overnight in Namche Bazaar.

April 10th – Day 4: Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar. (6 kms, 4 hours trek)
This is the first of the two days set aside for “acclimatization”. Health experts recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest day too instead of being idle. We spend the day taking a day’s hike to the Sherpa villages of Khunde and Khumjung, and then via Everest View Hotel we head back to Namche Bazaar in the afternoon. In the evening one can explore Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazzar is the main centre of the Everest (Khumbu) region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, a bakery and a colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday. If we trek a few hundred vertical feet during the day, it will help us to properly acclimatize.

April 11th – Day 5: Trek to Deboche. (12 kms, 6 hours trek)
Upon breakfast in Namche, we set out towards Deboche village, enjoying superb view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Ama Dablam and close up view of Thamserku. Our trek follows more or less smooth trail with few ups and downs which will not bother us as the magnificent view of the Himalayas keeps our company all through the journey. Along the way, we can spot wildlife musk deer, a herd of Himalayan Thar and multicolored pheasants. The trail then follows through the pine forests and after we cross the prayer flags festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, we reach Phungi Thenga, a small settlement with a couple of teahouses and a small army post amidst the alpine woods. After having a relaxed lunch at Phungi Thenga, we gear up for a slightly tougher climb through the pine forests before we reach Tengboche. Tengboche is a great place for close up views of Mt Ama Dablam, Mt Nuptse, and Mt Everest, and it has the biggest Buddhist Monastery of the Khumbu region. We pay our visit to the monastery and then set out towards Deboche village. A 30 minute downhill hike from Tengboche takes us to Deboche. Overnight at a lodge in Deboche.

Mount Everest as seen from Kala Pattar. Photo credit: Kuntal Joisher

Mount Everest as seen from Kala Pattar. Photo credit: Kuntal Joisher

April 12th – Day 6: Trek to Dingboche. (6 hours, 12 kms)
After early morning breakfast we start our walk towards Dingboche. We pass through several Chortens and Mani walls and small villages. The place where we stop for lunch not only serves delicious food but also allows a fantastic close-up view of Mt Ama Dablam. In the afternoon, we walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Mt Ama Dablam. From here onwards, the walk is fairly moderate as we enter the Imja Valley. The valley gradually unfolds as we approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. We descend into the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche. On arrival at Dingboche, we will see beautiful array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals. We do a short acclimatization walk around Dingboche. Overnight at Dingboche.

April 13th – Day 7: Trek to Nyanga Kar summit 16000 feet, return to Dingboche to sleep.
We spend our second day of acclimatization at Dingboche. A refreshing breakfast while admiring a looming Ama Dablam (6856m/ 22493 ft) to the south is really fantastic. To better appreciate Mt Ama Dablam, Mt Lhotse and numerous other peaks visible from Dingboche, we climb the ridge on the north behind the village. We follow the ridge to the top and get to the summit of Nyanga Kar at 16,000 feet. This will be an ideal acclimatizing excursion. Upon this uncture, we can see three of the world’s six highest peaks, Mt Lhotse, Mt Makalu and Mt Cho Yu. To the west, loom the towering peaks of Cholatse (6440 m/21,126 ft) and Taboche(6542 m/ 21,463 ft). As we look northwest, we see an array of peaks rising at the head of the Khumbu Khola valley. The Lobuche West and Lobuche East peaks are most dominant along with Lhotse which stands over 8500 meters (8501m/27, 890 ft). From a vantage point high on the ridge, we can scan the sweeping Imja Khola valley as well as the picturesque fields and pastures of Dingboche. Overnight at Dingboche.

April 14th – Day 8: Trek to Lobuche village (8 kms, 5 hours).
We start the day with a climb to Duglha through the Khumbu Khola valley. The walk along the arid terrace is rewarding with awesome views of mountains on all sides. As we come to a yak herder’s place called Dusa, the valley begins to narrow and we continue through Phulung Karpo, the camp site of the first successful Everest Expedition in 1953. Above Phulung Karpo is Chola Lake. As we move on, the majestic view of Mt. Pumori (7138 m/ 23418 ft) comes into view. As the trail descends and curves, Mt. Pumori disappears from view and we come across a roaring stream. After crossing a small wooden bridge, we ascend to Duglha. Beyond Duglha, we climb up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass through boulder- strewn slopes as we ascend Chupki Lhara, an eerie ridge top with dramatic mountain views. At the top of the ridge, we will find an array of stones with prayer flags used as memorials to Scott Fischer (American mountaineer) and 10 times Everest submitter Babu Chiri Sherpa (a Nepali mountain guide) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. As the trail drops to the Khumbu Glacier moraine, we find ourselves facing several great peaks – Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal. We are now in the vicinity of Everest but the great mountain still remains elusive. Mt Nuptse towers to the right as the trail crosses the Khumbu Glacier. As we pass along a murmuring stream leaving the Khumbu Glacier behind, we now begin to feel a little out of breath due to high altitude. Overnight at Lobuche. (B,L,D)

April 15th – Day 9: Trek to Gorakshep and then to Everest Base Camp. (10 kms, 6 hours)
The trail to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass through the pyramid sign post. Ahead on the trail we see crest of north ridge of Everest along with Mt. Pumori, Mt. Mahalangur, Mt. Lingtern, Mt. Khumbutse, Mt. Nuptse, etc. A small ascent would take us to Thangma Riju from where we perceive 360 degree vista of snowy mountains. Climbing steeply up to the top through the torrent of Changri Glacier, we catch our first glimpse of Kala Patthar, a grey-green knoll beneath the Mt. Pumori. As we reach Gorak Shep, we will find snow-capped mountains looming all around us including the top of the world – Mt. Everest. After a brief lunch and rest, we take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come through the Indian army mountaineers’ memorials. Only upon reaching the Everest Base Camp do we really appreciate the Everest climbers who brave the hazardous route through the Khumbu icefall. Mountaineer’s tents stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the Spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. Everest actually is not visible from here. By now we have met the ultimate objective of our trip. Overnight in base camp!

Mount Everest. Photo credit: Kuntal Joisher

Mount Everest. Photo credit: Kuntal Joisher

April 16th – Day 10: EBC to Kala Pattar, and descend to Gorakshep. (12 kms, 8-10 hours)
Today is the climax of our trip. We start early in the morning to catch the dramatic views from Kala Pattar and witness the first light of day caress the peaks of the mountains, particularly, Mt. Everest. However, we need to be prepared for an early morning departure, amid predawn darkness and cold temperature (-10 to -14 C). Further, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself. During the ascent to Kala Pattar, we can pause to catch breath at several outstanding view points from where we can snap great pictures. After several hours of ascent, we reach Kala Patthar. From Kala Pattar, we scramble up to the top of a rocky outcrop marked by cairns and prayer flags. Mind-blowing Himalayan panorama unfolds before our eyes as they wander from one mighty massif to another. We can take as many pictures as we want with our camera but do noy forget to imprint the vista into our mind’s eye so that it lasts a lifetime. Back to Gorakhshep for a good night’s rest. (B,L,D)

April 17th – Day 11: Trek from Gorakshep to Pangboche. (12 kms, 5-6 hours)
We retrace our way back to the village of Pangboche, at the base of Ama Dablam.

April 18th – Day 12: Pangboche to Namche. (15 kms, 5-6 hours)
Retrace our way back to Namche for a hot shower and good food!

April 19th – Day 13: Namche to Lukla (18 kms, 6-7 hours)
Our fantastic trek culminates on a happy note with everyone back safe and sound with faces that show happiness! This last evening in the mountains is the ideal opportunity to spend some relaxing moments with whole crew as the porters will not accompany with us to Kathmandu. Overnight at Lukla.

April 20th – Day 14: Fly back to Kathmandu, rest, re-treat, shop. (This is also our extra weather day, incase things go wrong at Lukla).

April 21st – Day 15: Fly back home.
After early morning breakfast, head to the airport and fly back home.

Cost:
1600 USD per person (ex-Kathmandu) – Indian passport holders
1800 USD per person (ex-Kathmandu) – other countries.

Please note:
1.) often the Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight gets delayed by a few hours or may even be canceled for one, two, or more days due to unfavorable weather conditions. Such conditions may arise even in the best seasons. Hence, in such cases, you must be prepared for long waits either at Kathmandu or Lukla airports, as this can happen either at the start or end of the trek or even both! Still, we suggest you to be prepared for possible delays/cancellations, and if possible to come with some extra buffer days (1-2 days) at the end of the trip to accommodate such delays.
2.) Mingma Tenji Sherpa (rare Sherpa who has climbed 9 out of 14 highest mountains of the world) and myself along with one (or more) Nepali guide would be walking with you on this trip. However during the return journey Mingma and myself would be with the team until start of Day 11. From that point onward the Nepali guide would be responsible for taking the entire team back to Lukla and then Kathmandu. The Nepali guide would speak good English and would be able to handle all the requirements of the team.

Cost Includes:
• All arrival and departure transfer services to and from Airport both Domestic and International.
• Good Hotel in Kathmandu as per Itinerary. Breakfast included.
• Services of an experienced government license holder trekking guide for the trek. Additionally myself and Mingma Tenji Sherpa would also be guiding the group, and our fees are also covered in the costs.
• Flight Tickets for Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu sector.
• 3 meals a day (Breakfasts, Lunch and Dinners and hot drinks such as tea, coffee, hot lemon etc) throughout the duration of the trek. We’ll make sure that the entire team is well fed and well hydrated. All meals for the entire staff is included as well.
• Clean and hygienic lodge accommodation for the team and staff during the trek on twin sharing basis. One night stay in tents at Everest base camp.
• Per person 15kg baggage allowance during trekking carried by porter/Yaks.
• Trekking Permit (National Park entry fee), and TIMS card (Trekking Information Management System)
• All wages, equipments, medical and accidental Insurances for all involved staff. We pay market competitive wages to the entire staff involved and every staff member also has been insured.
• First Aid medical kit for the Group and the staff.
• All necessary paper work, office service charge and Government Taxes levied in Nepal.
• Help with building a training plan to get ready for the trip.

Cost Excludes:
• Lunch and Dinner during your stay in Kathmandu. There are several awesome food joints in Thamel (the area we are going to stay in), and you can go sample around.
• Any packed food/snacks, energy drinks, mineral water, alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates, items of personal nature, Laundry Expenses etc.
• Expenses incurred towards usage of landlines, mobiles, satellite phones and internet
• Any extra expenses arising out of various/unforeseen situations like natural calamities, landslides, political disturbancess, strikes, changes in Government regulations.
• Medical Insurance and emergency rescue evacuation if required.
• Airfare of international flights.
• Nepal entry visa fee (Visa issuance is easy at the arrival).
• Tips for the staff
• Any other item not mentioned in “COST INCLUDES” section.

For more information:

Or to book your spot, contact Kuntal directly at kuntalj AT gmail DOT com .

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