Everest North Base Camp Trek
The ultimate goal, and highlight of this trip, is the visit to the Advanced Base Camp used by expeditions climbing Everest from the north. Here you stand just below the North Col from where the sheer grandeur of Everest’s north face smacks you in the face! This trek takes you as close to the summit of Everest as any non-climber can go.
After flying to Lhasa via Kathmandu we follow the Friendship Highway through some of the most amazing landscapes on Earth. We spend three nights in Lhasa, staying right in the centre of the old city. This will allow plenty of time for both acclimatisation and easy access to the city’s main attractions: the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple. Leaving Lhasa in our Toyota Land Cruiser, we travel through Tibet, staying in the best traditional hotels Tibet has to offer. We pass small Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen wandering across the wide arid plains and awe-inspiring mountain peaks. There will be plenty of opportunity to explore the wealth of cultural interest found in Tibet, both in Lhasa and the other towns we pass through on our journey.
The approach to Base Camp takes the same historic route, pioneered by Mallory & Irvine. The walk from Base Camp to ABC takes you along some spectacular moraine on good paths between giant ice pinnacles cumulating in views of the giant ice face of the North Col tumbling down towards Advanced Base Camp. Wow!
If you wish to stay at ABC please book the overnight extension.
Days 1 to 3 Fly to Kathmandu and enjoy a day of sightseeing.
Days 4 to 6 Fly to Lhasa with two days to acclimatise and sightsee.
Days 7 to 10 Four days of overland travel across the Tibetan plateau takes us to Rongbuk from where a 8km trek leads to Base Camp. We will make plenty of stops along the way, visiting the towns, markets and monasteries.
Days 11 and 12 Acclimatisation at Base camp.
Day 13 The Rongbuk Glacier is an impressive frozen ocean of ice waves. From here the views of the glacier and the Himalayan peaks are some of the most dramatic in Tibet. Along the east side of the glacier is the trail that expeditions use to begin their climbs of Everest and this is the trail we are taking. Camp 1 [5460m] is set in a barren world of moraine hills under beautifully sculpted yellow-orange granite cliffs. The next camp is too far to reach in a single day, so to help us acclimatise we spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring the snout of the east Rongbuk Glacier.
Days 14 and 15 The trail to the Interim Camp climbs and descends over the gravel hills, always staying above the west edge of the ice. Intermediate camp [5760m] is a good place to spend a night acclimatising before advancing to Camp 2. Nearby, the first ice seracs (ice pinnacles) rise like white sails from the dark debris-laden surface of the glacier; we will go and take a good look at these. A second day is spent here acclimatising.
Day 16 About two hours beyond Interim Camp, the central moraine leads into a confusion of ice formations at the confluence with the Changtse glacier. Camp 2 (only ten minutes from here) is set in a beautiful location; glaciers large and small spill into the valley from every direction and the appropriately named Serac Highway continues to extend its strange gravel arm through the centre of the ice pinnacles.
Day 17 Depending on how the group feels, a decision must be made between moving tents up to ABC (Camp 3) [6340m] or visiting it as a day hike and spending a second night at camp 2. Unless the group is particularly interested in sleeping at ABC, we return to Camp 2 today. If the group sleeps at Camp 2 it makes the walk back to Base Camp tomorrow much more manageable. It is a long walk from ABC to Base Camp; anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.
Camp 3, the Advanced Base Camp for the North Col route up Mount Everest, is situated within a group of flattened gravel mounds beside the glacier. The pinnacles, the frightening group of rock palisades that kept the Northeast Ridge unclimbed for so long, are just another 1.5km further up from camp 3. Most amazing of all is the ridge extending above the Pinnacles to the southwest; the striated rock summit of Everest. The top of this mountain appears phenomenally close; it is little more than 2400 metres higher than ABC. This is the closest non-climbers can get the top of Everest. With a pair of binoculars, you are almost there!
Day 18 The return to Base Camp is a long down hill journey, but we complete it in one day, if we start out from Camp 2 it is much more enjoyable than from camp 3. We will have a chance to get our eyes off the end of our boots once we arrive at Base Camp.
Days 19 and 20 Two days driving takes us back to Kathmandu.
Day 21 A final free morning in Kathmandu, with a transfer to the airport in the evening to catch your flight home
Day 22 Arrive back in the UK.
It is vitally important that you have adequate travel insurance for your trip with Adventure Peaks. We recognise the complexity and variety of choice in the insurance market and know that many of you either have your own preferred insurer or have annual multi trip cover in place already. If this is the case, please ensure that your insurer is aware of your Adventure Peaks itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken.
Adventure Peaks do not provide any advice on travel insurance, although it is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have travel insurance which covers the activities which you are likely to be undertaking on your holiday. Cover must include emergency medical, helicopter evacuation, repatriation and rescue expenses.
It is strongly recommended that suitable cancellation insurance is purchased at the time of booking as all deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Suggested insurance companies include:
Expeditions or Treks