This trek was supposed to be long and challenging and so far it really was. For the past sixteen days we crossed from one valley to another, went through high mountain passes and stood at the foot of the highest mountain of all - Mount Everest. At the end we also climbed Island Peak (6189 m / 20305 ft) to get a taste of the true Himalayan mountaineering. Now only the final part was left: complete the Everest circuit and descend back to Namche and then further down back to Lukla and Kathmandu.
After Thame Valley, Gokyo, Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar only one big goal remained in our trek and that was the 6,189 m / 20,305 ft-high Island Peak or as it is locally known - Imja Tse. We spent a night in the relative comfort and low altitude of Dingboche and on the next day headed up the Imja Valley - the fourth major valley in the Everest area and the last we hadn't seen so far.
Gorakshep and EBC
Time now to see Everest from up close! After an easy trek from Dzongla to Lobuche we had some busy time ahead of us: walk to Gorakshep, see the Everest Base Camp (EBC) on the same afternoon, sleep at Gorakshep; on the next day climb Kala Patthar early in the morning and in the afternoon descend all the way down to Dingboche. A bit of a marathon but after 10 days in the mountains and two high-passes of 5400 m I felt pretty well acclimatized and eager for some interesting new sights.
Through Cho La to Dzongla
With two major valleys in the Everest region (Thame and Gokyo) behind us it was time to see the most popular one - Khumbu. Its name comes from the famous Khumbu glacier that flows from the Western Cwm (cirque) of Mount Everest. Khumbu is the most developed valley in the Everest region too, with villages and lodges lined along the trail to serve the thousands of tourists visiting each year. The crowds on that trail turned me off initially and made me choose a longer circuit trek instead of going straight to the Everest Base Camp (EBC) but its main attraction - being able to see the highest mountain in the world from up close - was still there so I was looking forward to it. But before that we had to cross through another high mountain pass: the famous Cho La.