Breaking NewsAs of April 2006 the king has agreed to restablish parliament due to heavy protests. It appears as though the situation is settling down somewhat. It appears that a new government is being formed in Nepal and the Maoists have a cease fire for the time being. Generally, things are in a state of change and turmoil currently. However, I have not heard of any recent threats to climbers.
OverviewThere is basically one route to Kala Pataar... from the airfield in Lukla up the same trail to near the Mt Everest base camp. Spectacular views of Everest and many other beautiful Himalayan Mountains along this route. It is getting popular and booking from Kathmandu to Lukla can be an adventure. We did it on our own and saved a bundle of money over the commercial travel agencies. You can book a porter or guide in Lukla if you want... but if you have a topo and can follow trails you really dont need them. You should plan on taking at least about 8 days from Lukla to Kala Pataar to properly acclimatize. But if you feel the effects of altitude, I would recommend planning another 2 "slack days" in your schedule so that you can acclimatize even more if necessary. No point in going half way around the world and planning your schedule so tight that you cant acclimatize and make the summit.
This peak is a nice trekking peak that offers spectacular views of Mt Everest and is quite near Everest Base Camp. Be sure to click the "View More Information" link above for very valuable information.
Getting ThereI would be glad to share info with anybody considering this trip.. just email me. My buddy and I did a month through China Tibet and Nepal on a shoestring budget and had a great time. I highly recommend Lonely Planet's guide "Trekking in Nepal " for lots of good info. Flights from Kathmandu to Lukla do get delayed and cancelled a lot so plan some slack time, but we were lucky and got out the first flight the first day we tried. We flew into Kathmandu from Gongar airfield near Lhasa, Tibet. But there are many other ways to get to Kathmandu.
William Marler adds:
To get to Nepal you will have to fly from either India, Thailand or Singapore.
To get to New Delhi India try (there are many others). I will add US airlines when I have a moment
Once you get to Katmandu you will have basically two options:
1 - Fly on Royal Nepal’s Twin Otter flights or Yeti Airlines to Lukla. A small air strip about ten days from Everest Base Camp ( eight from Gokyo peak allowing for acclimitization) 1 hour flight approx.
2 - Take a local bus, Mini Bus hired by you or your Sherpa provider to Jiri. This is a small village at the end of the road. From here it is about a 14-16 day trek to the Everest region.
Note: Effective May 2004, bus service has been suspended due to a recent attack on a bus to Jiri. See this site ( courtesy of Vito Corleone) for lots of good news on the uncertain situation:
If you have the time do the walk. For three reasons:
1 - You will have a chance to walk through one of the most lush and beautiful lowland areas in Nepal. This is an area that a lot of trekkers miss when flying to Lukla. You will also cross over two high passes with excellent views in all directions.
2 - By taking 2 weeks to arrive in the Khumbu are and having already crossed over two high passes you will be better acclimitized once you arrive in the high peaks area. You will enjoy this more as you will be huffing and puffing less.
3 - You will be following the route taken by most of the early expeditions. There is a lot of history along that path, why not soak it up. You will also have the bragging rights that you did the same route as they in years gone by.
Flying is fast and that has its advantages. But if you have ever been at Lukla after several days of no flights after bad weather you will understand this. (Trekkers fighting over seats to make their connecting flights home)
Red TapeA treking permit is required and can be bought in Kathmandu. It was a bit of a circus buying it, but that was part of the fun. If you dont care for the packed in like sardines kind of fun you can usually hire a local to do it for you for a fee.
We bought our Trekking Permit at the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park in Monjo. It took about 10 Minutes and cost 650Rs (in May 2000).
When To ClimbMarch -May tend to be best...out of season you get the monsoons and that can make for a miserable trip. During the March- May time you may even possibly run across an expedition atempting Everest.
William Marler adds:
Late September, October and early November are the busiest times. The reason for this is the best visibility in the mountains. The Monsoon of June, July and early August have passed and the dust from the plains of India has not made its way back into the atmosphere. It is tradeoff with the "crowds" though. February, March and April are less travelled and you still get good views but as April approches the sky can get hazy.
Raina adds: December is a great time to trek the Khumbu. The crowds from the fall have left, and it is still not deep winter. It is statistically dry, clear and crisp.
CampingLodging is readily available in the small villages along the trail. Local inn keepers will rent you a bunk and a breakfast for 3-5 dollars a night (1993 prices)at their "teahouse". Water is available along the routes as is beer and other essentials. Prices rise the higher up the mountain you go. You can camp also, but the tea houses are nice and give a chance to mingle with others from around the world.
Mountain ConditionsVery good maps are available at book stores all along the streets in the Thamel district of Kathmandu. Trails are well marked trails... take your camera and more film than you think you will ever need... quite an adventure.. I highly recommend this climb... the only downside is that tourism has changed the landscape and the environment there.
Miscellaneous Info/Current EventsSee this United States State Department travel Warning dated April 7,2004.
Vito Corleone adds in April 2004:
Although there was certainly an escalation of violence in Nepal especially since February 2004, and the situation in the country appears to be worse than during the last years, the Everest region above Lukla is still very safe. There are no Maoists to be seen there. Been there in March/April 2004 and had no problems at all. It was business as usual, although there was a strong army presence at a few places. I met several trekkers that had to pay a forced "donation" on the way between Jiri and Lukla. Although walking in from Jiri seems to better because of several reasons (especially akklimatization), if you want to avoid encouters with Maoists, fly in to Lukla and you will have no problems at all.
The frequent "bandhs" (strikes) and blockades that became such annoying in Nepal don't take place in the Khumbu above Lukla. It is probably the safest part of the country at the moment.
However, the situation in Nepal can change quickly, and you have to check what western embassies say (not only the American) before going. Also have a look at www.yetizone.com for information on the situation in Nepal
In 2002 William Marler submits the following information:
This once peaceful kingdom has been suffering recently from bouts of violence. Several hunderd police and military have been killed by ambush in the past year. Visitors should be warned that they may be approached by bandits and taxed.
Note on Nepal.
There has been a recent cease fire and talks are set to take place the 2nd week of March 2003.
Over the past several years over 7,000 Nepalese have lost their lives to violence including locals, communist rebels, police and military. Your Guides or Sherpas will inform you on where and where not to go in Nepal. Even the school courriers that run betwwen Lukla and the school in Khundi (run by the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation) have been stopped and robbed. It is not sure how the Annapruna region is being effected. Let us all hope that this terrible situation clears itself up soon. So that locals and climbers can all enjoy this wonderful place in peace.
If you have information about this mountain that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.
Helping the Sherpa CommunityThere is nothing sadder than to see people come from around the world and trash and destroy this beautiful area and not give back. Please consider supporting the Sherpa community by making a donation to any of the following organizations:
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation- provides direction and financial support to community based humanitarian programs around the world. Currently the foundation is involved in establishing a climbing school for Sherpas as well as the Babu Chirri School Project to build schools in the Khumbu region where Babu was from. The organization is also active in promoting climbing safety and technique in Mongolia. There is very little overhead in this operation, and a very high percentage of donations go directly to benefit the projects.
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
PO Box 6666
Bozeman, MT USA 59715
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
William Marler adds:
There are several organizations dedicated to helping the Sherpa community. Here are just two. Should you wish to contribute to this worthwhile cause contact either of the following organizations though the information below.
The Sir Edmond Hillary Foundation
222 Jarvis Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Sir Edmond Hillary Foundation
The American Himalayan Foundation
909 Montgomery Street, suite 400
San Francisco CA 94133
Telephone (415) 288-7245
Fax (415) 434-3130
American Himilayan Foundation
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