>1. "We took about 24 days Lukla to Lukla (or was it Kathmandu - Kathmandu?) " - Well it is quite a difference . Isn't it ? Did you do the KTM-LKL and back by flight ?
Yes, we flew that section both ways.
>2. " Refueling" - Did you mean that I have to take care about food only for the Hongu valley which takes 2-3 days ?
Yes. + possibly Mera peak (and Island peak) base and high camps.
>Is Chukung a village where I can buy some food ? Where is it ?
Yes, it is quite a big place (you`ll find it on all maps of the area) halfway between Dingboche and Island Peak, at the foot of Chukung Ri (has a page on SP - <a href=http://www.summitpost.org/show/mountain_link.pl/mountain_id/4914>http://www.summitpost.org/show/mountain_link.pl/mountain_id/4914</a>). There are 6 big lodges there. Before crossing the Ampu Labtsa pass we slept close to it, at Panch Pokhari (=5 lakes). After an early start we crossed the pass and hiked down to Chukung to spend the night there. We took a day of rest and then went back to Imja Tse HC.
>After the Hongu valley there is the Amphu labsa pass which takes some days more , and then Imja tse valley and all the way down back to LKL . Am I right ?
The pass takes a few hours (in the morning) to cross. You can get down to Chukung the same day. Chukung - Imja Tse HC (or BC) is also 1 day. From HC to the summit and down to Chukung was also 1 day for us.
>3. "if you have adequate communication channels, this could be decided and arranged at a later point in time."
>Sorry , I'm affraid I didn't understand .
Satellite phone, carrier pigeon or a porter/guide to walk to the nearest phone, etc. Eg. any way to contact the NMA (in KTM) / agency from the mountains to prepare your Island Peak permit if you don`t have one when you set out and later decide you want to climb.
>4. "You can rent equipment in Lukla " - Do they have snow boots , crampons , ice axes , helmets , harnesses ? enough for all the climbers coming on this season ?
Ice axe, crampons probably. I`m unsure about the others. You can try contacting them via the internet, some / most of the lodges / sherpas have e-mail addresses (and can check their mail in KTM or in Namche). Even `in season` there are not many people visiting Nepal nowadays. (Renting an ice axe costs 25-30 NRP/day. A tent 100 NRP/day.)
>Is the equipment in good shape ?
It will most probably have been used several times, but you can find ones (most of them) that you can trust.
>5. Is it necessary to take a guide ? Privetly directly or by an agency ? Can you give a name of a good one ?
The NMA permit has to have the name of a guide on it. The easiest is to arrange this through an agency. You can arrange everything else on your own (cheaper, but more time, more organizing) or have the agency arrange everything or anything in between.
If needed, I can give you the names, addresses of several guides. +The agency we worked with.
If I went again to these peaks, I would probably just contact a guide directly and skip the agency as much as possible to save on costs, but I`m not too fussy and don`t have too high requirements. I`m not sure what you expect / would like.
>6. Which kind of permit is needed for this Hinku-Mera-Hongu-Imja circuit ?
- Mera peak climbing permit (350 USD for 4 people)
- Island Peak climbing permit (350 USD for 4 people)
- Sagarmatha national park trekking permit (1000 NRP/person)
- +the maoists... (we paid 5000 NRP/person +our guide also had to pay 1000 NRP)
I hope this helps