The adventure starts in Lobuche, on Day 10 of the expedition. From here, we have a relatively short traverse across the moraine field and rolling terrain towards Dzhongla, 4830m/15,846ft. This small village is nestled below the Cho-La pass, 5420m/17,782ft, which takes you from the Khumbu valley into the Gokyo valley. After a pleasant 2-3 hour hike, we start our 2 day preparation for the climb of Lobuche East.
After lunch, we practice the skills necessary for safe travel on the ice and how to use the fixed lines safely. You’ll get accustomed to your boots and crampons and learn how to safely use the jumar (ascender), harness and ice-axe. Importantly, this is a great time for rest and recuperation and enjoyment of the spectacular view.
For the very hardy, weather dependent and at the discretion of the guides – if there are interested parties who would like to walk up to the Cho-La pass, this can be an optional add-on, most likely on Day 11.
Day 11 is officially a rest day. Time to go back over newly learnt skills and practice wearing your boots and crampons (slightly overdressing for Dzhonghla!). Eating and drinking form large parts of the day’s activities. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch some rays of the sun and bask in the courtyard of our lodge as we wait with anticipation for the days to come. Cho-La pass for the stronger participants with an interest in doing this is an optional add-on.
Jumar ascender training New skills and competencies learned in an afternoon; an amazing personal achievement
The glacial crossing leading to the Cho-La Pass – ahead to the left and return to Dzonghla to the right
Day 12 – after an early lunch, we head off to our base camp at the side of a beautiful lake on the southern aspect of Lobuche East. Ang Nuru and his Sherpa team will set up our tents and start cooking food and boiling water for hot drinks. We’ll ensure that everyone’s gear is ready for action and bags are packed appropriately. Any last minute questions about the climb ahead can be answered at this point. After an early supper comes an early bedtime and the exciting build-up to your summit attempt. The move from Dzhongla to base camp takes about 3 hours, with an altitude gain of approximately 450m/1476ft. All food, drink and snacks for the summit attempt will be supplied by Ang Nuru’s Sherpa team. Remember, the cost of doing Lobuche East includes the rental of any technical climbing gear that you may not have (see the dates and prices page for full details).
Day 13 – wake-up call at around 00:30, with breakfast and hot drinks at 01:00. We’ll aim to leave camp by 01:30 or earlier. We make our way up am easy, rocky/gravel switch-back trail for the first couple of hours and then onto the snow/ice at crampon point. This part of the climb takes between 2-3 hours and sees us move by torchlight. As the sun rises, you’ll have great views of Makalu, Ama Dablam and most impressively of all, the Everest massif, including quite clearly the summit of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. The snake like projection of the Khumbu Glacier, weaving its way from between Everest and Lhotse and travelling down the valley from whence you came over a week ago now provides another visual highlight. The route of your trip to Base Camp is clearly laid out before you, like looking down upon a map. As the sun’s rays hit you, the realisation of what you are doing and of what you are about to achieve will start sinking in. Awesome! Rob, Kev, Ang Nuru, MK and any additional Sherpa(s) will be constantly checking on you during the ascent to make sure that all is well. Depending on the numbers of members attempting this climb, there will be a minimum ratio of 1 guide to 3 members, although in general, we work to a ratio of 1 guide to 2 members, giving you, we hope, a justifiably elevated sense of security, which is our aim.
Soon after crampon point, we start our climb on the fixed lines to the summit. These final 3-400m/984-1312ft of vertical ascent are at a good level of steepness and with a significant level of exposure off to our right hand side (in the direction of Everest). You’ll be working hard physically and psychologically to maintain your progress and certainly, you’ll have a sense of what high-altitude climbing is all about at this point. Remember, anyone can do this, but this is the moment where psychology starts playing its role. If you’ve made it this far, then you’ve got what it takes physically, but as with so many things in life, psychology counts too. We’ll be on hand to coax you through those more challenging moments and hopefully we’ll all be standing on the summit by early- to mid-morning. A careful descent should see us back at Base Camp for a late lunch. This is a truly challenging, yet extremely rewarding day, there for the taking and we feel that we can offer you the right ingredients for success. Because summit day is a little shorter than on Island Peak, we try to make the easy descent to Pheriche mid-afternoon to allow celebratory drinks and a more comfortable bed that evening. If for any reason this is not possible, then we stay at Base Camp as needed.
Day 14 – a well-deserved lie-in, breakfast and then departure for Namche which will take 3-4 hours. Afternoon at leisure in Namche and probable celebrations in Cafe Danphe that evening.
Day 15 – Namche Bazaar to Lukla
Day 16/KTM 3&4 – Lukla to Kathmandu with 2 nights in the hustle and bustle of the capital and of course a much deserved massage!
KTM 5 – Depart Kathmandu
IMPORTANT NOTE: Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary, but as this is adventure travel in a remote, mountainous region, we cannot guarantee it. The weather conditions, health of team members and staff, may all have an impact on our schedule. We will in all cases endeavor to run our trips to schedule, but please be prepared to be flexible if necessary.