Come spend the holidays with us doing a winter fast pack through the Khumbu! We will cross three stunning high altitude passes and we will have the trails mostly to ourselves. And at the end, be will wrap up this expedition by celebrating New Years Eve in Kathmandu!
Plan on cold nights, blue-bird days and empty trails as we attempt a winter Lollipop route in the Everest region. We will fly into the high altitude airstrip in ‘Lukla’ and then travel quick, fast, and self-supported to the Gokyo valley before traversing east using Chola and Renjo passes. Those who are feeling strong can go up and visit Everest Base Camp and climb Kala Patar for stunning 360 degree panoramas. We will also attempt to cross Kongma Pass before looping back to Namche and retracing the stick of the lollipop back to Lukla.
This is an inaugural trip for HAL in the Khumbu region. It is meant for hardy souls who are looking to visit this region when most other trekkers stay away. Members need to realize that nights will be cold as well as some of the passes. However, days should be sunny with clear skies if the past is a predictor of the future. Like all things in the Himalaya, there is no certainty that we will be able to cross all of the passes, fortunately we can detour around them if needed.
Like all of our other trips, you can count on long, hard days with lots of climbing alongside jaw dropping views. You can also count on acclimatization days where we climb high and sleep low, great gear advice, carrying your own weight, and a fun small-group experience with time to stop and visit temples. Last, you can count on us adjusting the itinerary to meet group needs, vagaries of the weather, and other mundane reasons if needed. We have acclimatization days, but we also have a fairly aggressive schedule.
This trip is co-lead by Sudeep Kandel and Seth Wolpin. Both have a lot of experience with fast packs in Nepal including FKTs on the Annapurna and Manaslu circuits. Sudeep floats up trails and will help us understand the skinny on all things local. Seth climbed Everest in 2011 and crossed two of the passes on the Great Himalaya Trail in 2014. He will share stories if we get snowed in somewhere and Kokuri rum and hot chocolate are available.
All inclusive cost is $2,850 (includes round trip airfare in Nepal from Kathmandu to Lukla, lodging, food, drinks….pretty much everything except your booze and snicker bars). Maximum group size is 10, minimum is 5. Preference given to applicants with solid histories of endurance ‘stuff’ and high altitude experience. Promises of chocolate may, or may not, help as well.
The numbers: 18 days. Total Distance: 122k/76mi. Gain: 7,315m/24,000ft, Loss: 7,315m/24,000ft. Max elevation: 5,601m/18,376ft, Avg Elevation: 4,130m/13,551ft. Fun: Impossible to quantify. All inclusive cost: $2,2850. Max Participants 10.
- Day 1, Saturday Dec 16th: Arrival Day. Fly in sooner if you can so you have more time to get over your jet lag and see the sites in Kathmandu. One of us will meet you at the airport with a silly sign.
- Day 2, Sunday Dec 17th: Briefing, gear check, shopping trip to Thamel where gear stores abound. Group dinner and early to sleep.
- Day 3, Monday Dec 18th: Early morning flight to Lukla, start fast packing from the air strip. It is a long day on trails with a tough little climb to Namche Bazaar (3440m) where we will sleep for two nights while we (hopefully) acclimatize.
- Day 4, Tuesday Dec 19th: Namche Bazaar (3440m) Acclimatization Day: Hike high above Namche.
- Day 5, Wednesday Dec 20th: Thame 3820m, Beautiful village. Not too far up th valley from Namche.
- Day 6, Thursday Dec 21st: Stay in Lumde: 4368m
- Day 7, Friday Dec 22nd: Another night in Lumde: 4368m Acclimatization Day
- Day 8, Saturday Dec 23rd: Cross Renjo Pass (5,360m) and descend to Gokyo (4,790m)
- Day 9, Sunday Dec 24th: Climb Gokyo Ri? (5360m). Sleep in Gokyo (4,790m).
- Day 10, Monday Dec 25th: Head east by crossing the wide Ngumba Glacier. Climb and cross Cho La (5,420m) descend to Zongla (4,830m)
- Day 11, Tuesday Dec 26th: Gorak Shep. This is not a nice place to stay and pretty damn high. But for those who want to be up here, there isn’t much of a choice.
- Day 12, Wednesday Dec 27th: This is it! Up early and a climb up to Kala Patar (5,550). snack, and then walk to EBC (5,364) and down to Loboche (4,910m).
- Day 13, Thursday Dec 28th: Get up really early and cross Koma La (5,535m) and descend and sleep at Dingboche (4,410m). If we are running short on time we will skip this pass and head down in the direction of Namche.
- Day 14, Friday Dec 29th: Long day dropping down. Monastery visit in Tengboche (3,860m) and then drop and contour all the way down to Namche (3,440)
- Day 15, Saturday Dec 30th: Pretty easy walk (except last part is uphill!) to Lukla (2,840m). We will stay with Chewang Sherpa who guided Seth in 2010 on Island Peak. He has a shiny new lodge.
- Day 16, Sunday Dec 31st: Flight back to KTM. If all goes well we will arrive early in the day.
- Day 17, Monday Jan 1st: Buffer Day/Party in Kathmandu
- Day 18th, Tuesday Jan 2nd: Departure Day (though we hope you stick around and go on a safari or otherwise explore Kathmandu).