Himalaya – the name says it all. Straddling the border between Tibet and its southerly neighbor, the Kingdom of Nepal, the world’s tallest mountains soar to the heavens, seemingly piercing the unimaginably blue Tibetan skies. For the peoples of the Himalayan kingdoms, these mountains are sacred; for on their lofty heights dwell the gods and goddesses of the Indic religious traditions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
Rising above them all is the “goddess” of all mountains, the colossal Everest. Reaching a stupendous 29,017 feet, the world’s tallest mountain exerts a powerfully magnetic pull. Indeed, for many an intrepid explorer, the lure of the summit has proved irresistible, albeit at times tragically so. Known as “Peak XV” by the early Indo-British surveying team that established its summit as the world’s highest, the mountain was later named after Sir George Everest, head of the Great Trigonometrical Survey. While this is the name by which most Westerners know the mountain, to Nepalis it is Sagarmatha, “The Forehead of the Sky.”
We begin our journey photographing the historical (two World Heritage site) and the modern hustle and bustle of Kathmandu before taking the breathtaking mountain flight to Lukla, our trailhead. We then undertake the popular trek to bask in the glory of Everest’s majestic south face in the Khumbu, land of the Sherpa. Staying in comfortable mountain lodges or private camps, we hike along the historic trekking route that was pioneered by the like of Sir Edmond Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Outline Itinerary – 2012
Days 1 & 2: USA TO BANGKOK (OR DELHI) Fly from your home town to Asia. wE recommend taking one the new non-stop flights to Delhi on Jet Air, Air India, Continental (from NYC) or American (Chicago). Alternate options are transpacific to Bangkok.
Day 3: ARRIVE KATHMANDU – Like Lhasa, Kathmandu conjures images of mysterious and exotic travel destination. Located in Central Nepal, the Kathmandu area is the center of Nepali cultural and political life. Indeed, the Kathmandu Valley has been a hub of civilization for over two millennia. After checking into our hotel, we take a walking tour of “old” Kathmandu.
Day 4: IN KATHMANDU – We have the day to help us get over jet-lag while we photograph and explore Kathmandu Valley.
Day 5: FLY TO LUKLA – START TREK (9,380 ft.) We begin our Everest trek with an exciting flight in a Twin Otter plane to the small airstrip at Lukla, 9,275 feet, where we will meet our trekking staff. The first day's walk is moderate, as we make our way down from Lukla to a riverside camp by the Dudh Kosi (the “Milk River,” named for its color), in an area known as Phakding. Lodge
Day 6: TREK TO NAMCHE BAZAAR (11,300 ft) – A long and challenging day with many ups and downs from Phakding to Namche. Along the trail are villages interspersed with forests of rhododendron, magnolia trees, and giant firs. Towards the end of the day, about halfway up the final hill to Namche, we find our first views of the snowed-capped summits of Lhotse (27,916 feet) and Mt. Everest (29,035 feet). Lodge
Day 7: TREK TO KUMJUNG – Leaving Namche, we have relaxed hike to a lovely side valley reaching the village of Kumjung by early afternoon. Lodge
Day 8: TREK TO THYANGBOCHE – The morning takes us downhill, through terraced fields and pastures, crossing the foaming Dudh Kosi river on a cable-suspension footbridge before climbing through a forest to one of the most beautiful spots in the Himalaya, the monastery called Thyangboche. Sunrise and sunset are magnificent, with the rocky tip of Everest peeping from behind the dramatic Lhotse/Nuptse wall, the beautiful Ama Dablam, and many other peaks shifting through the pink spectrum of alpenglow colors. Lodge
Day 9: TO DINGBOCHE –Today we gain altitude as we continue our hike towards Everest. Camp
Day 10: TO LOBUCHE – Hiking well above the tree line we reach the glacier moraine region of Everest. Camp
Day 11: TREK TO HIGH POINT (KALA PATHAR OR EVEREST SOUTH BASE CAMP)– Departing just before dawn we make the strenuous trek to Kala Pathar via Gorak Shep. Conditions and stamina permitting we also have the option of hiking to Everest's South base Camp. Camp
Day 12: TO PERICHE – Start our return trek to Lukla. Reach Periche today. Camp
Day 13: RETURN TREK TO NAMCHE BAZAAR – We make our return trek to Namche Bazaar. Lodge
Day 14: TREK TO LUKLA – Today we end our trek by making our way back to Lukla. We will make camp in Lukla, as we will rise early the next morning to catch our flight back to Kathmandu. Lodge
Day 15: FLY TO KATHMANDU Weather permitting the morning flight will get us back to the Nepali capital, where we will return to the cozy confines of the Yak & Yeti Hotel. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure to shop, wander the bazaars and enjoy exotic Kathmandu. Malla HOtel or similar.
Day 16: IN KATHMANDU – Kathmandu’s legendary temple sites and stupas are truly amazing, and are simultaneously revered as sacred reliquaries and bustling with contemporary social life. WE have the day to explore the city. This evening we will gather for a special Farewell Dinner, as we bring our incredible journey to a close. Malla HOtel or similar.
Day 17: KATHMANDU TO BANGKOK (OR DELHI) From Kathmandu we will fly to Bangkok or Delhi, where we will overnight before connecting to our return flight to the USA the next day.
Day 18: RETURN TO USA Depart Bangkok (or Delhi) and arrive in the USA the same day.
For detailed day-to-day itinerary or to book this trip please call us at 1-800- MY INDIA.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Alan moved to California in 1972, to pursue his photographic career. Commencing in commercial photography, specializing in portraiture, it wasn't long before the beauty of California's majestic scenery made a dramatic impact on Alan's photographic vision. Although basically self taught, Alan has studied with internationally renown photographers including the late Galen Rowell, Chris Burkett and Lou DeSario.
Alan has initiated a “green” approach to his photography. With 27 years of darkroom experience in producing fine art prints, Alan, like many other photographers, was limited to utilizing traditional, potentially hazardous, photographic chemicals. Alan is now using the chemical-free, Giclee process, which offers the additional benefit of 100+ year archival life to the finished prints. Alan, being of the "old school" of photographers, is a firm believer in the "hands on" approach to producing his images; committed to the creative process, commencing with the visualization of the scene before pressing the shutter and continuing until he has printed, matted and framed that image.
For more on Alan, please visit his website.
Other Photo Cultural Journeys:
Photograph the Bishnoi tribals and camel caravans in Thar Desert, the vibrant colorful Pushkar Camel Fair, the Royal Bengal Tiger at Rantambore Nationla Park and of course the Taj Mahal.
- Photographer's Tibet
On the Roof of the World, locked away for centuries, Tibet has always held a unique place in the human imagination, conjuring an unearthly realm beyond our reach. Known for its stunning landscapes, colorful festivals and friendly people, Tibet is a photographer's paradise.
QuickEscapes – Kerala
After this hard high altitude tour, take in some R&R in the calm and leisurely paced life on the backwaters of the Arabian Sea, enjoy the pristine beaches of Kerala and an ayurvedic spa. We fly you to Cochin via Kathmandu.
Other itineraries featuring Nepal:
Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.
Hiking to Everest's base
Photo: Mike Useem
Everest South Base Camp
11 day trek
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels, meals, ground transportation,
porters, local guides and entrance fees
Fully escorted trip
Oct. 4 – 21, 2012
From: $4200 per person
Photo: Alan Plisskin
Trail to Namche Bazaar
Photo: Alan Plisskin
Photo: Alan Plisskin
Photo: Alan Plisskin
Temple in Kathmandu