Makalu Everest Trekking via Sherpani Col 0f the great Himalayan trail is undoubtedly the most challenging. We cross the highest passes in the Himalaya including the Sherpani Col, West Col and Amphu Labtsa, all above 5500 metres, enroute to the Everest region before crossing the Cho La to Gokyo Lakes. This trek is unsurpassed in terms of awe inspiring views of the most famous mountain region in the world.
The approach to Makalu Base Camp has been compared to the Yosemite Valley, on a grand scale! To reach some of the most amazing mountain scenery in the Himalaya, you first have to cross the challenging Kongma Danda covered in cloud forest draped in hanging orchids. There are few villages along the approach to the fifth highest peak in the world, Mt Makalu (8485m), the summit of which stands 3km above Base Camp. The mountaineering route over the glaciated Sherpani Col (6180m), West Col (6190m) and Amphu Labsta (5845m) to the Everest region involves the highest and hardest passes in the entire Himalaya, however the rewards of such an undertaking are more than worthwhile! During this trek there will be sections where the trail is very rugged or ill-defined, some trails have been trekked only once by a small party, and so the going will be tough. Space in some camp sites will also be very limited.
It may be necessary to make changes to the itinerary at any time due to unforeseen circumstances such as adverse weather, snow or trail conditions, river water levels, or group movement. Your trip leader will advise any changes should this occur. All participants on the GHT should be flexible and open minded. The GHT should be seen as exploratory in the true sense of the word.
Below is Great Himalayan trail – Everest Makalu trekking itinerary and talk to a team of local trekking guide and leader for customized trekking itinerary, cost deals and of about great Himalayan trail trekking to Everest Makalu travel trek guide.
Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
On arrival at Kathmandu airport, we receive you there and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day is free on your own, walk around Thamel market is a colorful tourist market.
Day 2: In Kathmandu (1330m)
Kathmandu guided tour and preparation for trekking pack up and final and last trekking gear buying. On Kathmandu tour, we visit historical and heritage sites of Kathmandu valley like old palaces squares, temples and stupas.
Day 3: Fly Kathmandu to Tumlingtar, drive to Num (1040m).
An early start for breakfast before transferring to the airport for the short 35 minute flight to Tumlingtar. We fly above mountain ranges before reaching Tumlingtar which sits on a wide plateau in the Arun Valley. We meet our transportation and drive to Num where we will make our first overnight camp.
Day 4: Trek to Seduwa (1500m, 4.5hrs)
The trail descends steeply from the western end of the Nun ridge through the cornfields of Lumbang. Below Lumbang the trail becomes very steep as it drops on slippery rocks through jungle to a suspension bridge over the Arun Kosi at 620m. From the bridge the trail climbs steeply to a primitive teashop at 820m, then through rice, corn and buckwheat fields. The landscape here is picturesque with tiny terraces planted with corn and barley. Finally we make a long climb to Seduwa.
Day 5: Trek to Tashigaon (2100m, 5hrs)
Climbing along the ridge from Seduwa we pass the National Park Forest Nursery project and then climb gently northward through rice fields to Manigaon on the next ridge. There are several streams to cross that may or may not have bridges. From Manigaon the trail turns west and makes a gradual climb high above the Kasuwa Khola to a mani wall at 1890m. It’s an easy walk through terraced fields and forested areas to Hindrungma village and on to Ropesa, where we may find monks sitting beside the trail collecting donations for the small gompa nearby. Our route crosses meadows and several streams before reaching the Tashigaon School and eventually the village proper. This is the last permanent settlement in the valley. We make the long climb on a stone staircase to the corn fields at the top of town at 2100 metres where we make camp for the night.
Days 6/7: Trek to Kongma Danda (3500m, 7hrs).
This is a tough day, with an elevation gain of 1400m on a steep trail. Initially climbing over a ridge we pass by a herders’ hut and then the trail levels out and climbs to a shepherds’ hut called Chipla atop another ridge at 2520m. The route now becomes steeper with switchbacks through forest to Unshisha, a tiny meadow at 3180m. Once we gain the ridge we will continue a short distance through sparse forests before making a final descent to Khongma (3560m). There are no buildings and many of the tent sites are on the sloping hillside in this often muddy camp site.
Days 8/10: Trek to Dobato & Yangla Kharka (3557m). Rest day
Steep switchbacks take us to the top of the ridge at 3840m where there is a stone chorten adorned with prayer flags. This is a superb viewpoint with Makalu in the distance. Following along the ridge line through rhododendrons we ascend a stone staircase, and few false summits along the trail, before gaining a side ridge. This is Ghungru La (also known as Tutu La; 4050m). Descending to a lake we then climb steeply up a shallow gully to our major pass crossing - Shipton La. The pass was named when Eric Shipton and Sir Edmund Hillary used this route enroute to Dharan after their 1952 Everest reconnaissance. Descending from the La we pass two lakes at 4020m, and climb through large boulders to Keke La (4170m). On the other side of the pass the route enters a valley filled with rhododendron forests. In spring the valley floor is a carpet of brilliant wild flowers. We camp tonight at Dobato. The following day sees us descend steeply to the valley floor where we cross the Barun River before starting our gradual ascent to Yangla Kharka (3557m)
Days 11/12: Trek to Langmale Kharka (4400m / 5hrs) & rest/acclimatization day
It is a short trekking day to Langmale Kharka to aid acclimatisation; we take in the impressive mountain scenery found in this area. Great rock walls tower above as we make our way through the enormous U-shaped valley. Snowy peaks are the stunning backdrop to this valley often referred to as the Yosemite of the Himalaya and it is a magnificent place to spend a well deserved rest day.
Days 13/14: Trek to Makalu Base Camp (4870m), rest/acclimatization day.
Makalu Base Camp affords stunning views of its south face, with the south buttress of Makalu offering views of Baruntse (7220m), Everest and Lhotse. The Hillary and French base camps are far up the glacier, past Barun Pokhari, and these are now the traditional base camps used by climbing parties to Makalu. An optional walk from BC is a spectacular climb up grassy slopes to the top of the ridge. At the 5250m mark there is an outstanding view of Everest, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar as well as both the south-east and north ridges of Everest, along with the Kangshung Face and the South Col. Makalu looms above the ridge to the north.
Days 15/16: Trek to Swiss Base Camp (5150m/5-6hrs)
The second half of trek to Swiss BC is tricky and involves boulder hopping as we follow the Barun Glacier directly beneath Makalu enormous west face. Swiss Base Camp is situated amongst the moraine in a sandy spot directly opposite the mighty West Pillar on Makalu. Very few campsites at this close to one of these 8000m giants. We have a full day set aside to rest and acclimatize and will aim to reach a vantage point above camp with a (weather permitting) great view of Everest and the fabled Kangshung Face.
Days 17/18: Trek to Sherpani Col Base Camp (5700m/6-7hrs), cross Sherpani Col (6180m) to Baruntse High Camp (West Col 6100m, 10-12hrs trek)
We have allowed 2 days to position ourselves for the crossing of the Sherpani & West Cols. Depending on our group movement and progress we may need to be flexible on our approach. As we near the Sherpani Col base camp the trail is much less defined and with more boulder hopping, and now that we are climbing high cloud may obscure the trail. We camp high at the snout of the glacier at 5688m with the Sherpani Col 3 hours above us. If conditions are favourable and the group are moving at a good pace we may attempt to make the crossing of both Cols in a day, but in all likelihood we’ll be camping at Baruntse C1 on the West Col -6100m on the first night and descending the Col to the Hinku valley the next day. Although these are the most demanding days of our trek, we are deep in the Himalaya and the massive scale of the mountains around us are an awesome sight to behold. There will be sections of roped up travel and abseiling, and our Sherpa guides and mountaineering leader will manage the coming days as snow and weather conditions dictate.
Days 19/21: Cross West Col to Hinku Basin & Amphu Labsta Base (5400m)
After our crossings are completed we descend into the Honku valley nearby five large glacial lakes which sprawl out before us. They are known as Panch Pokhari (five lakes). The Amphu Labsta pass is situated immediately at the head of the valley to our right and is basically the low point on the ridge between the Honku and the Imja valleys. For this day or so we are in the Honku. A new vista of peaks span out before us including Ama Dablam to the distant west, and many unnamed peaks. Amphu Labsta Base Camp is set close to the rocks that lead up to the pass. On these stages we ask that members be flexible and co-operative. Camps will be set where conditions allow, and your leader will keep you advised as to each days plan.
Day 22: Cross Amphu Labsta (5845m) to Chukung (4730m, 10-12 hrs).
An alpine start for our pass crossing. Ferrying across all our loads together with all party members, crew, porters and members takes time. The approach to the pass from the Honku is deceptive. Facing east and southward there is much more sun and little snow, just a collection of rocks that gradually lead up to the gap we travel through. On the north facing side we find steep slopes of snow that we must take care to descend by fixed ropes to the snow basins below and subsequent moraine and alpine valley beyond. The views from this 5845m pass crossing to the peaks of Khumbu are unmatched. Any spare moment whilst we are climbing and descending will allow us to appreciate the spectacle of the peaks of the region.
Days 23/24: Trek to Dingboche (4360m), Dzongla (4843m)
Day 23 brings us to Dingboche and our comfortable private permanent campsite. Over the past week we have made crossings of some of the most challenging terrain found in the Himalaya. From our camp we have excellent views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Chukung Peak and Imja Tse (6189m) are had from both in the valley or from the ridge above the camp. Massive glaciers drape beneath cliffs that soar up to 3,500 metres in this dramatic valley. The following day we proceed to Dzongla, another spectacularly situated camp, on our way to our next pass, the Cho La.
Day 25: Cross Cho La to Gokyo (4759m)
The views today are magnificent as we leave the Everest watershed and enter that of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. The crossing involves a steep scramble up rock boulders and then a walk across the gently ascending, snow-covered glacier that caps the pass, the views of the route ahead, and of the glacier itself, is breathtaking. We descend steep boulder strewn slopes to the Gokyo valley below. This is a valley of turquoise lakes and great glaciers. For the first part of the descent there are discernible paths that zigzag down the mountainside – slippery in snow! The ground then levels out and the path all but disappears as we hop across a field of boulders. Finally we climb a gentle slope to the top, from where it’s all downhill, following a narrow river valley all the way to its base at Dragnag, a small Sherpa settlement nestled beneath great rock walls, just a stone’s throw from the Ngozumba Glacier. Continuing on we reach Gokyo in the late afternoon.
Day 26: At Gokyo, ascend Gokyo Ri (5483m)
The steady and unrelenting ascent of Gokyo Ri will take around two hours. You will be elated when you reach the summit with its spectacular view. Probably the most comprehensive view of 8,000 metre peaks in Nepal, many people consider it to be Nepal’s best. Surrounding us are Cho Oyu (8153m), (a mountain that defeated a British Expedition of climbers, including Hillary, in their lead-up to their successful assault of Everest), Gyangchung Kang (7922m), Lhotse (8501m), Makalu (8475m), Cholatse (6440m), Taweche (6542m), Kantega (6685m), Thamserku (6808m), Lobuche (6145m) and Mt Everest (8848m). Hundreds of other unnamed peaks fill the scene, whilst below us the Ngozumba Glacier, the largest in Nepal, stretches through the valley. The striking colour of the lakes below completes the picture. The only way to get a better view of the entire Everest region would be to climb an 8,000 metre peak! Although further from Everest than Kala Pattar, the traditional viewing point, here we see more of the mountain and enjoy a more relaxed environment to view the peak.
Day 27: Trek to Renjo La high camp, walk approx. 4hrs.
We trek around Gokyo Lake to set up our wilderness camp below the Renjo La pass ready for our crossing tomorrow.
Day 28: Cross Renjo La to Taranga (4368m/6.5hrs)
The crossing of the Renjo La Pass will be exciting and relatively straight forward. The landscape is progressively that of the Tibetan Valleys beyond the border. There is a chance we will meet Tibetan Traders descending from the Nangpa La pass that leads through the Himalayas from Tibet with their caravans of woolly yaks laden with goods. Overnight camp at Taranga.
Day 29: Trek to Thame (3820m/3hrs).
We turn south and down valley towards Lukla for our return to Kathmandu. There are Sherpa villages to be explored as we descend the gorge. We will spend the night at the pretty village of Thame with its spectacular monastery. We will bid farewell to our Full GHT & Everest Rolwaling Traverse groups.
Day 30: Trek to Namche (3440m, 5 hrs).
We are now trekking towards the busy main trail through the Khumbu Valley to Namche. On arrival in Namche there will no doubt be earnest celebration of a challenging but satisfying expedition, the likes of which has been enjoyed by very few people. Sagarmatha National Park Headquarters just above our Sherpa hotel offers a very interesting display of photographs, memorabilia and information on the park, and the hill above is a wonderful vantage point for the spectacular view up the Imja Khola Valley towards Everest. The change from the narrow lowland valleys to the broad glacial ones is immediately obvious. The steep-sided glacial valley before us gradually winds towards the base of Everest, broken only by the moraines left by retreating glaciers. Its more gradual rate of climb is a blessing for those trekking higher. Towering to over 4000 metres above the valley floor, spectacular peaks seem to engulf us. Around us are Taweche (6542m), Thamserku (6808m), Kantega (6685m), Ama Dablam (6856m), Nuptse (7896m) and Lhotse (8511m). The greatest of all, Mt Everest (8848m), rises at the head of the valley. The Sherpa Cultural Centre next to our hotel has an interesting collection of mountaineering items and photographs.
Days 31-32: Trek to Ghat (2600m/ 6hrs) & Lukla (2800m/ 2hrs)
Leaving Namche we continue down through the forest to the valley floor to follow the Dudh Kosi downhill and out of the national park to our fixed camp at the small settlement of Monjo. The following day we pass through a variety of settlements and forests before a gentle climb to Lukla. We savour our final mountain sunsets of the trek as we complete this challenging and exhilarating journey. Our last evening of the trek is a good time to have a small party for all the team, especially the porters who will return to their villages from here. There is usually lots of music, dancing and singing and if we are lucky, one of the superb cakes that our Nepali chefs are renowned for.
Day 33: Back to Kathmandu by air (1330m)
This morning we fly to Kathmandu, a thrilling flight over forests, fields and villages, with the Himalaya in the background. On arrival, we transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 34: Trekking Holidays Ends.
After breakfast arrangements cease unless further ones have been made. Those people departing by aircraft will be transferred to the airport and assisted with check-in procedures.