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Everest Base Camp Trek offers many attractions apart from the thrill of getting close to the highest mountain in the world. You get a glimpse of beautiful sceneries, mountains, and wildlife and witness Himalayan festivals. Some of these attractions are:
Lukla Airport: The World's Most Dangerous Airport
Lukla airport is at an altitude of 2,846 m/ 9,337 ft. It was built in 1964, about 11 years after the first ascent to Everest. Only helicopters and small, fixed-wing, short-take-off-and-landing aircraft are accessible in Lukla airport.
Interesting facts about Lukla Airport
Lukla Airport also named the Tenzing-Hillary Airport, got this name after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. They were the first two men ever to set foot on top of Mount Everest.
There is a 15 kg baggage allowance to Lukla (from Kathmandu). Lukla Airport has at least 50 flights per day during peak season. There is no air navigation or radar system at Lukla airport. But there is a use of radio communication for landing and take-offs. Before the airport was opened in Lukla, it was only accessible by road and took five days from Jiri.
Is Lukla airport the highest in the world?
Luka airport is one of the highest airports in the world. However, Daocheng Yading Airport is the highest civilian airport.
How far is Everest base camp from Lukla?
It is approximately 62 km/ 38.5 mi away from Everest Base Camp.
Can you see Everest from Lukla?
One does not have a view of Mount Everest from Lukla, but the scenic beauty of the mountain on all sides can be enjoyed.
Is it safe to fly into Lukla?
Flying to Lukla is an adventure in itself, for it is known as the 'The World's Most Dangerous Airport.' The airport has a short runway, just 527 m/ 1,729 ft long and 30 m/ 98 ft. wide. It is surrounded by steep mountainous terrain on all sides. At these altitudes, the air density is significantly lower than the sea level. This can reduce airplane lift. The weather in the Himalayas is very unpredictable, and bad weather corresponds to poor visibility.
However, safety precautions are in place. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has high standards for pilots. Pilots can only land at Lukla Airport after completing 100 short take-off and landing flights. At least one year of experience in Nepal is required. And they should have completed ten flights to Lukla with a certified instructor.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is an unforgettable adventure that not only offers the thrill of getting close to the highest mountain in the world, but also provides opportunities to witness stunning sceneries, mountains, and wildlife, and participate in Himalayan festivals. One of the highlights of the trek is the Lukla Airport, also known as the Tenzing-Hillary Airport, which is considered to be the world's most dangerous airport due to its unique location and challenging runway.
Built-in 1964, Lukla Airport is situated at an altitude of 2,846 m/9,337 ft, and it is accessible only by helicopters and small, fixed-wing, short-take-off-and-landing aircraft. Interestingly, it was named after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who were the first two men ever to set foot on the top of Mount Everest.
Despite its reputation as the world's most dangerous airport, Lukla Airport receives at least 50 flights per day during the peak season, which is a testament to the safety precautions in place. However, the airport's short runway, only 527 m/1,729 ft long and 30 m/98 ft. wide, and its surrounding steep mountainous terrain, make it a challenging place for pilots to land and take-off.
While one does not have a direct view of Mount Everest from Lukla, the scenic beauty of the mountain on all sides can be enjoyed. The distance between Everest Base Camp and Lukla Airport is approximately 62 km/38.5 mi.
Despite the risks associated with flying to Lukla, safety measures have been implemented to ensure the safety of passengers and pilots. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has high standards for pilots, and they can only land at Lukla Airport after completing 100 short take-off and landing flights, at least one year of experience in Nepal, and ten flights to Lukla with a certified instructor.
In conclusion, the Everest Base Camp Trek offers not only a chance to witness the magnificence of Mount Everest but also an opportunity to experience the unique challenges and rewards of landing at the world's most dangerous airport, Lukla.
Namche Bazaar, situated in the heart of Khumbu Valley, is a picturesque mountain town at an altitude of 3,440 m/ 11,286 ft. Its location on an inclined arch-shaped mountain offers stunning views of the majestic Himalayan range. This place is an ideal stop for acclimatization before embarking on the adventurous journey ahead.
Namche Bazaar has a rich history as it was once a trading hub. After Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's successful climb of Everest in 1953, it transformed into a bustling tourist hub. Despite the transition, Namche Bazaar has retained its ancient culture and royal hospitality. The town is replete with shops, cafes, restaurants, and guest houses that cater to the needs of tourists. One of the popular local delicacies is the yak cheese and butter.
The town boasts of several attractions, including the Sherpa Culture Museum that displays the past physical memories of the Sherpa community. There is also a beautiful monastery, Namche Monastery, and a museum of local medicinal plants and Tibetan herbal medicine. The healing center and Namche Library are also worth visiting.
Why is Namche Bazaar famous?
Namche Bazaar is famous as a gateway to Everest and serves as the ultimate gateway for Gokyo valley, three high passes: Cho La, Renjo La, and Kongma La pass. It offers majestic views of Mount Everest and other breathtaking mountain peaks. This town is a great location along the hike to Everest Base Camp, with plenty of deals and cool bars for a beer on the way from the base camp. The natural landscape of Namche Bazaar is also remarkable, making it a valuable destination for any traveler.
Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is an absolute gem, known for high mountains, glaciers, and deep valleys. Several rare species are found in the park. The presence of the Sherpas, with their unique culture, adds further interest to this site. It was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, owing to its outstanding qualities.
Established Year : July 19, 1976
Area : 1,148 sq. km/ 443 sq. mi.
Location : Solukhumbu District, Nepal
UNESCO World Heritage Site Declaration : 1979
Major Ethnic Group : Sherpa
Major Religion : Buddhism
Major Glaciers : Khumbu, Imja, Ngozumpa and Nangpa
Ramsar Site : Gokyo and the associated wetlands
Major Rivers : Dudh Koshi, Bhotekoshi and Imja Khola
Climate : Temperate to the Arctic
Main Mammals : Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, and Red Panda
Major Trees : Pine, Hemlock, Fir, Juniper, and Birch
The Sagarmatha National Park contains the infinitely majestic snow-capped peaks of the Great Himalayan Range. This includes the world’s highest Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest). Overall, the area represents a major stage of Earth's evolutionary history and is one of the most geologically interesting regions in the world. It contains high, geologically young mountains and glaciers and deeply-incised valleys that combine to form a breathtaking landscape.
Likewise, the national park is home to extensive Sherpa settlements and their unique culture. Twenty villages containing more than 6000 Sherpas live in this region. The intricate linkages of the Sherpa culture with the ecosystem form highlight of the park. The Sherpas animistic practice and following Buddhism religion in general form the basis for the sustainable protection and management of the park.
Sagarmatha National Park is a special treat for wild flora and fauna enthusiasts. The national park boasts more than 1,000 floral species. It is also quite a paradise for bird species. More than 208 bird species such as Impeyan pheasant, bearded vulture, Himalayan snowcock have been identified by Birdlife International. Similarly, other iconic species such as snow leopard and red panda, Himalayan Thar, musk deer also inhabit the national park.
Sherpa Culture Museum
Sherpa, the ethnic group that inhabits the Himalayan region of Nepal, has become synonymous with climbing high altitude peaks. But there is so much more to this ethnic group. They originally migrated from Tibet to Nepal approximately 600 years ago and have adapted to the unique lifestyle of the Himalayan region.
The Sherpa Culture Museum is located in Chhokrung along the trek to Everest Base Camp. It is a 20-minute walk from the center of Namche to the top of the hill. It contains all old and lost Sherpa relics and represents the Sherpa life before the tourism industry flourished in the region. It provides a perfect place to experience the centuries-old Sherpa life.
This is a reconstruction of a traditional Sherpa house and shows old artifacts and everyday objects used by the Sherpa. With a family room, prayer room, stables, and courtyard, you can get an overall view of all aspects of traditional Sherpa life, from home to religion. The dairy barn is on the ground floor, much like a traditional Sherpa family house.
The museum is connected to a library, a conference hall, and a resource center containing a collection of documents related to the exploration of Mount Everest. This is a valuable research facility for anyone studying and preserving this unique and beautiful culture. Likewise, it also helps to collect and share knowledge about the Himalayan region in general.
Lhakpa Sonam, a local photographer, runs it. The museum consisted of many press clippings and photographs of Mount Everest climbers, including Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. Recently, a new photo gallery was built in the courtyard. An entryway ticket is charged to maintain the expenditure of running this museum.
Tengboche Monastery, also known as the Dawa Choling Gompa, is the largest in the Khumbu region. It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Sherpa community following Vajrayana Buddhism. It has strong links to its mother monastery - the Rongbuk Monastery in Tibet. It is situated at 3,867 m /12,687 ft at the confluence of Dudh Koshi and the Imja Khola rivers.
The monastery is constructed with stone masonry. It has a large courtyard and storerooms for religious ceremonies and activities. The main building has Dokhang - the prayer hall. This also has a large statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. A nunnery is also established at Devoche, a short walk from Tengboche.
Tengboche is a part of the " Sagarmatha National Park Sacred Sites Trail Project." This circular trail covers ten monasteries in a clockwise direction ending in the Tengboche Monastery. Mani Rimdu Festival, an important festival of Sherpa, is celebrated at Tengboche Monastery. This is a major attraction for tourists.
Can you see Everest from Tengboche?
Yes, you can see the Everest from Tengboche. It is situated within the Sagarmatha National Park and is also known for its panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the well-known peaks of Everest (8,848.86 m/ 29,031.7 ft), Tawache (6,495 m/ 21,309 ft), Nuptse (7,861 m/ 25,791 ft), Lhotse (8,516 m/ 27,940 ft), Ama Dablam (6,812 m /22,349 ft), and Thamserku (6,608 m/ 21,680 ft).
How old is the Tengboche monastery?
Lama Gulu built the Tengboche monastery in 1916. The monastery has been destroyed and repaired over the years. For example, the 1934 earthquake required reconstruction. Similarly, the devastating fire of 1989 also caused its destruction and had to be rebuilt.
How do I get to Tengboche monastery?
To reach Tengboche Monastery, you need a 3 to 4 days’ hike from Lukla. The trail follows a crossing of Dudh Koshi river (3,250 m/ 10,660 ft). A further climb leads to Tengboche monastery.
Gorakshep & Kala Patthar
Gorakshep falls on the way to EBC and is the world's highest altitude of human settlement. It lies at an elevation of 5,164 m/ 16,942 ft. This is not inhabited all year round. It sits on the edge of a frozen lakebed covered with sand with the same name. It marks the end of lodges and will be your base camp for trips to the Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar. With a few exceptions, you cannot stay overnight at EBC. Therefore, most hikers need to stay overnight in Gorakshep.
Kala Patthar, which means 'black rock' is a notable landmark located on the south ridge of Pumori (7,161 m/ 23,494 ft) above Gorakshep. It is not a proper mountain and has only a 10 m/ 33 ft prominence but it is the place to get the most accessible close-up view of Mt Everest (8,848.86 m/ 29,031.7 ft), Nuptse (7,861 m/ 25,791 ft), Lhotse (8,516 m/ 27,940 ft), and Changtse (7,543 m/ 24,747 ft).
Trekking here comes at no extra cost, and it does not require any additional amenities such as meals or accommodation. Likewise, you are already acclimatized while making your way up to Gorakshep, and you do not spend much time at the altitude for long. Hence, the high altitude at Kala Patthar does not pose a risk.
Trekking to Kala Patthar is usually done early to get the dawn light. However, the sun rises behind Everest and Lhotse, and you won't get a good shot at this time. Therefore, late afternoon is the best time to climb as the sun sets. At this time, you will get the perfect view of Everest and Lhotse in the golden sunlight.
How long does it take to climb Kala Patthar?
Kala Patthar is a mere 3-4 hours return trip to Gorakshep. It is usually taken early in the morning, the first day of descending back to Lukla.
What is the height of Kala Patthar?
Kala Patthar lies at an elevation of 5,644.5 m/ 18,519 ft. It is also one of the highest points in the Himalayas that can be reached without any technical climbing skills.
Everest Base Camp
Reaching the base camp is the ultimate trekking experience. It is a moment of great pride to reach an elevation of 5,364 m/ 17,598 ft, trekking for around six days.
Everest Base Camp has many facilities such as hospitals and a helipad. But only climbers and the Everest Marathon groups can stay here. Oher trekkers have to go back to Gorakshep upon reaching this point.
Weather in Everest has four seasons, each unique weather and temperature.
Autumn: The temperature ranges from -10 to 13 °C. The nights are colder than the days. It rarely rains at this time of the year. This is the most favorable weather for Everest Base Camp Trek.
Spring: The temperature ranges from -8 to 18 °C. There is a clear blue sky at this time of year. Daytime temperatures are perfect for comfortable hikes. It rarely rains at this time of the year.
Winter: The temperature fluctuates between -21 to 10 °C. The days are short, and the nights are cold. Winters are dry and get heavy snowfall during this time. It is usually an off-season for the EBC trek, but few trekkers still trek to the base camp in winter.
Monsoon: The temperature ranges from -2 to 20 °C. The day is hot. The night temperature can be tolerated. It is usually the off-season for the EBC trek, but it is still possible. Everest base camp gets the highest rain during this time.
The EBC weather is difficult to predict. The autumn and spring weather is more stable and, hence, more preferred for EBC trek makes it suitable for EBC trekking. However, it is always possible to hike for EBC.
Can you fly to Everest Base Camp?
Helicopter tours run daily throughout most of the year so, you can get the thrill of reaching this point without much fuss.
Everest is the highest mountain globally, and EBC is famous in its view. Mount Everest has a special place in Nepalese culture and religion. Sherpa calls Everest 'Mother of the World'. It is also deeply bound up in Buddhism. Hence, the mountain also has special religious importance.
Fast Facts about Mount Everest
Mount Everest is still growing. It rises by about a quarter of an inch every year.
Mount Everest is about 60 million years old. Mount Everest is also known as Chomolungma in Tibetan and Sagarmatha in Nepali. Mount Everest is named after George Everest, director of the governmental Survey of India. He was responsible for organizing a team and exploring the Himalayas. Only jumping spiders can reside on Everest forever.
Where is Mount Everest located?
Mount Everest is located between China and Nepal, China to the north, and Nepal to the south.
What is the new height of Mount Everest?
Its height was previously 8,848 m, but it is measured as 8,848.86 m/ 29,031.7 ft by the newest calculation. The change in height is due to the movement of the tectonic plates. The Himalayas are lifted as the Indian plate slips under the Eurasian plate.
Can a helicopter fly to the top of Mount Everest?
The helicopter cannot fly to the top of Everest. Helicopters do not operate as safely as fixed-wing aircraft at such high altitudes. The lower density of air makes it difficult to operate helicopters here.
Who climbed Mount Everest first?
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa were the first two men to set foot on Mount Everest using the southeast ridge route in 1953. While the Chinese mountaineering team of Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo, and Qu Yinhua were the first to reach the peak from the north ridge in 1960.
How many have climbed Mount Everest?
More than 7,500 people have climbed Mount Everest.
Why is Mount Everest called Everest?
Mount Everest is named after Colonel Sir George Everest, responsible for hiring Andrew Scott Waugh, who made the first formal observation of the mountain, and Radha Nath Sikdar, who first calculated its height. His name was used as a compromise in naming the peak as many local names were making it difficult for identification. Sir George Everest was a British surveyor and geographer who served as Surveyor General of India.
What are the local names of Mount Everest?
The Nepali name for Mount Everest is Sagarmatha which means "Goddess of the Sky." The Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma or Qomolangma, which means "Goddess Mother of the World.”
Does Mount Everest have any religious significance?
The local people who have lived near Mount Everest have revered and worshiped the Himalayas and considered it the home of Gods. Because of its scary status, no locals even tried to scale the mountains before the 1900s.