TREKKING INTO THE SHERPA HEARTLAND
What to expect on this trip
Arrivals and Departures: It is your responsibility to book your international flights to/ from Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport. Emirates Airlines has good flights from both Boston and New York (stopping over in Dubai) and Qatar Airways has good flights from New York (stopping over in Doha). Be sure that you arrive in Kathmandu at the latest early in the day on the first day of the tour. If possible, we highly recommend arriving one night prior to the start of the trip and we will help you make the necessary arrangements to stay at our Sherpa homestay (at an additional cost). For your departure, we highly suggest that you stay one additional night in Kathmandu in the event of flight cancellations out of Lukla.
Trip Preparation: This trek is a moderate trek through remote mountain villages of the Everest region (Solo Khumbu) of Nepal. Each day averages 3-8 hours of trekking (4-8 miles) with altitude gains and losses ranging from 500’ - 3,000’ (one day is around 5,000’ elevation loss). Although the actual time on the trail and distances covered are not lengthy, it is the high elevation, environmental conditions (it can be dusty and cold) and basic facilities (except a few comfort lodges) on the trails that make this trip for more adventurous minded folks. You need to have a good base level of fitness and hiking experience, but so long as you have no major health concerns or limitations, this trek should be a good fit for you. In order to prepare for the hikes on this trip, we encourage you to exercise 4-6 days per week for 1-3 hours at a time for several months leading up to the trip. Activities such as biking, hiking, walking, skiing, and running are great conditioning. Please consult your physician about your participation on the trek if you have any concerns regarding your health. In general the key to having a great experience is having an open mind, flexible attitude and adventurous spirit!
Weather: The best time to travel in Nepal is late September to November and March to May. The weather is similar during our fall and spring treks in the Everest region, both being the high season. In the fall, you get slightly more stable weather and predictably clear blue skies, while in the spring the wildflowers and rhododendrons are blooming. Temperatures should be similar during both seasons, averaging in the 50s/60s (℉) during the day and dipping into the 40s/30s (℉) at night, with the possibility for freezing overnight at some of the higher villages. Keep in mind that the lower latitude of Nepal and high elevation makes for a strong sun, so hiking temperatures are quite comfortable, but once the sun dips behind the mountains, it can feel cold as it is a dry climate and the lodges do not have central heating. The farmers in the lower villages will be harvesting and getting their fields ready for winter in the fall and planting and ploughing their fields in the spring, so you’ll most certainly see agricultural activity during both seasons. The Everest climbing season is in the spring and Amadablam climbing season is in the fall.
A Day on the Trail: Our lodge-to-lodge treks are led by experienced Sherpa guide(s) and supported by porters to carry luggage and equipment. A trek day typically starts around 8-9 am, following breakfast. We go at a leisurely pace, allowing time to stop for pictures and simply enjoy the scenery. Sections of the trail may be quite busy with other trekking groups and caravans of porters, yaks and donkeys transporting goods throughout the region. It is important to be patient and have the right mindset, as at times we will need to pull to the side of the trail to allow these big caravans to pass. Typically we stop along the trail at a local teahouse for tea, snacks or lunch and then continue on to our lodge for the evening. In the late afternoon and evening you can relax, wash, read or take a walk through nearby villages and to sites of interest. The evening meal is served between 6 and 7 p.m. in the dining room of our lodge and following dinner your lead guide will brief the group on the next day's hike.
Meals: While staying at our Sherpa homestay in Kathmandu, you will be offered delicious, hygienic local cuisine for breakfast and dinner. For lunch you will have the option to eat at one of Kathmandu’s many excellent restaurants or at our homestay.
While on the trek, we enjoy dinner and breakfast at the lodges and lunches at local tea houses along our trekking route. Generally meals are fixed menus supervised by our talented Sherpa staff and prepared by village lodge operators. The food is usually plentiful and delicious, although you should be aware that the menus are not normally extensive, as they are limited by what’s locally available and able to be transported by foot. Eating local dishes is highly encouraged and we ask that group members be flexible and go along with what our guides suggest for the group. Set group meals are more efficient, effective and eco-friendly. In other words if five members of the group order five different items, it takes longer to prepare and is not cost-effective, nor is it eco-friendly as more fuel is required to cook and more water to clean dishes. Our guides will ensure cleanliness, proper hygiene and nutrition at the various tea houses along the trek.
Typical breakfasts at the lodges include porridge and eggs, along with local breads served with jam, butter or honey. Lunch and dinner may include various brothy or noodle soups, rice and noodle dishes, momos (Tibetan dumplings) or the Nepalese national food – dal bhaat. This dish consists of boiled rice with a specially prepared lentil soup and side dishes such as vegetables, root vegetables, and curries. Dal bhaat in the mountains is very nourishing and is a light and healthy hiking food.