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This site is a celebration of my visit to the Everest region of Nepal in Autumn 1999. I have included my trek diary and around 250 photographs to show what the Khumbu area is like and maybe tempt you to go and visit the area yourself. If you have been to Nepal or would like any further information please get in contact, either by e-mail to Mike Sanderson or via my guestbook.
I first visited Nepal in 1992 when I went on a short trek to the Annapurna region. Like most visitors I fell in love with the scenery and the Nepalese people and vowed to return. To make sure of this I avoided going on a mountain flight to see Mount Everest! In the autumn of 1999 I had saved enough of my hard earned cash to return.
Before my trip I spent quite a time on the web trying to find a site such as this which would answer questions such as - how fit I would need to be, how cold does it really get at night at Gorak Shep up in the Khumbu, how likely are flight delays at Lukla, how much clothing should I take, etc. In the Trek Notes section I have included lots of information which I hope will be useful to anyone who is considering trekking in Nepal. The rest of this web site documents my trip to Nepal in Autumn 1999. As in my Annapurna trip I went with Exodus Travels. The main reason for this is that I only had a fixed holiday period from work and could not afford any delays. I was happy with Exodus in 1992 and as I wanted to visit the Everest region via a Lukla flight I decided to rely on their organisation to minimise any delays and ensure that my trek went smoothly. I need not have worried, they were again excellent. I chose a trek that visited the Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp. I was away from the U.K. for 24 days, 17 on the trek, 5 in the Kathmandu valley and 2 in the air!
On trek I flew to Lukla and walked up the Dudh Kosi valley stopping off at Phakding before walking up through the Sagamartha National Park up to Namche Bazaar. After an acclimatisation day at Namche I walked up past the Edmund Hillary School and enjoyed the view of Mount Everest and Ama Dablam from the Everest View Hotel before visiting the villages of Khumjung, Kunde and Sanasa. From Sanasa I trekked over the Mong La pass into the Gokyo valley with overnight stops at Dole and Machermo before passing the beautiful turquoise coloured Gokyo Lakes and up the Ngozumpa Glacier to Gokyo itself. I had a wonderful peaceful day on the ridge above Gokyo surrounded by the Himalayan giants with Cho Oyu at the head of the valley. Then I walked down the opposite side of the Gokyo valley, stopping overnight at Na and Phortse before passing through Pangboche with wonderful views of Ama Dablam to camp at Pheriche. I then walked up the valley with Tawoche and Cholatse to my left, up the side of the Khumbu Glacier to camp at Lobuche at the foot of Nuptse. Up before dawn in the freezing cold and on towards Gorak Shep, the last settlement before Everest Base Camp. Kala Pattar, the black rock in front of Pumori was the afternoon challenge. Up and up I walked, as I climbed higher I kept turning round to see Everest looming over Nuptse. Soon a complete panorama unfolded with the Khumbu Glacier and ice fields in the foreground and the Himalayan giants, Nuptse, Everest et al., behind. I sat quietly for half an hour taking it all in, as it was one of my life ambitions, to be away from all the hustle and bustle of modern life at the whim of nature. The next day I walked up the valley from Gorak Shep towards Everest Base Camp, past the frozen turquoise lake that I had seen from Kala Pattar, past the memorials to Rob Hall and others who died on the 1996 Everest expedition. The trail became a rocky scramble along the Khumbu glacier with amazing scenery, a very desolate place. There were no expeditions in residence. On my way down I stopped off at the 8000m Inn before returning to Lobuche and taking the high track above Pheriche to look up the Imja Khola valley for views of Island Peak and Makalu. I camped overnight at Dingboche where I was treated to a marvellous alpenglow sunset on Everest and Ama Dablam. I stopped at Tengboche monastery the next day and enjoyed wonderful views of the Everest massif and Ama Dablam before walking back down to Namche Bazaar. Finally, a long days walk back to catch the plane back to Kathmandu from Lukla.
I arranged a few days in the Kathmandu valley to unwind before I travelled home. In Kathmandu I visited the temple complexes at Swayambunath, Pashupatinath and Bodhnath and spent much time in the bookshops of Thamel. I also spent time at Patan, Bhaktapur and Changu Narayan.
By reading my trek diary and looking through my photograph gallery you will be able to be get an idea of what to expect in the Khumbu. If you do decide to go then prepare yourself well and after you come back let me know how it all went.