Everest Kangshung Face
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An adventure tour combining our ‘High Road to Lhasa' with an exhilarating trek to the ‘Hidden Face' of Everest
A remarkable program that will appeal to the avid trekker who is also seeking an appreciation of the rich cultural heritage of Tibet. Essentially this expedition includes all the highlights of our 'High Road to Lhasa' journey (including time in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse) with a ten-day trek to the Kangshung Face of Everest - a spectacular trek that is undertaken by only a select number of groups each season. We follow trails through conifer and rhododendron forest, past sacred lakes and across the verdant yak grazing pastures set beneath a backdrop of Lhotse, Makalu and the huge Kangshung Face (East Face) of Everest. After the trek we drive to the Rongphu Valley to appreciate the huge dimensions of the North Face of Everest before heading back to the Kathmandu Valley.
- Sightseeing in Kathmandu - Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine) and the giant Buddhist stupa at Boudhanath
- Fully supported camping based trek including 3 hearty meals per day prepared by our cooks
- View spectacular Kangshung Face of Everest
- Views of Makalu, Lhotse and Kangchenjunga
- Panoramic Himalayan views
- Three days sightseeing in Lhasa, including the Potala, former home of the Dalai Lama.
- Visit Rongphu Monastery
Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu
On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for the trip briefing and the completion of your Tibet visa application. Sunday evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
Day 2 Sightseeing Tour. Rest of day at leisure.
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Durbar Square, Patan, Swayambhunath or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
Day 3 Fly Kathmandu to Lhasa
The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes an hour and is without doubt one of the most spectacular flights in the world. The flight path takes us just east of the Everest massif, with unrivalled views of the remarkable Kangshung face of Everest. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city – a drive that takes around two hours.
Days 4-5 In Lhasa
Two days are scheduled to appreciate the rich cultural history of Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera. The Jokhang The Old City of Lhasa was built around the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet.
Day 6 Drive to Gyantse 7–8 hours
From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley to the Yarlong Tsampo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba La (Khamba Pass) at 4900m. The views are outstanding – in the foreground is the vast freshwater Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake, while to the south the snow-capped ranges merge with the main Himalayan range. We drive around the lake before crossing the Karo La (5200m) to reach Gyantse.
Day 7 In Gyantse and drive to Shigatse – 2 hours
Gyantse is a remarkable place that has escaped much of the Chinese influence evident in other major Tibetan towns. It is dominated by the ancient fort that was besieged by British forces in 1904 during the famous Younghusband Expedition. We also visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten) – built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels. In the afternoon we drive to Shigatse.
Day 8 In Shigatse & drive to Shegar 6 hours
In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the 'Great Scholar ). Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama. During the Cultural Revolution much of the Tashilhunpo and the nearby fort were destroyed, and what we see today is a huge complex in various stages of rebuilding. Of particular interest are the huge temple to the Maitreya Buddha (the 'Buddha to Be ); the tomb of the 10th Panchen Lama (who died in 1989), which is said to be encased with over 300kg of gold; the Palace of the Panchen Lama; and the tomb of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas. The latter, recently reconstructed, contains the remains of the former Panchen Lamas that were retrieved after their separate tombs were demolished by Chinese troops in 1966. Also of interest is the main Assembly Hall, adjacent to many of the important chapels that are in everyday use. Later in the day we drive to Shegar and overnight.
Day 9 Drive to Kharta Valley (7 hours)
From Shegar we divert from the main highway and drive south towards the Everest region. From the top of Pang La (5150 metres) we gain views of Everest and the lie of the surrounding country. From the pass we descend to the village of Phadhruchi where the jeep track divides - the track to the west heading to the Rongphu Valley - the one to the east leading to the (Phung Chu) Arun Valley and the village of Kharta - the administrative headquarters of the region. We camp at the nearby village of Yuba.
Day 10 Commence trek to Dhampu (3 to 4 hours)
From Yuba (3650 metres) we follow the jeep trail along the banks of the Kharta River. At the end of the jeep road we cross a substantial bridge and follow a well defined trail that gradually winds above a series of small scattered settlements set amid barley fields. Two to three km above the bridge the trail splits. The lower trail continues up valley eventually diverting to the Langma La, while we follow the upper trail that ascends steeply in places towards the valley leading to the Shao La. There are good views back down the valley towards our camp and the Kharta district and the snow capped ridges to the east. In particular we can appreciate the forested hillside to the south of Kharta village that marks the upper limit of the monsoon. En route to camp we may pass villagers laden with planks of wood that have been carried from the Kama Valley. Our first camp is on a grassy meadow known as Dhampu (4300 metres) - the first of many magnificent alpine camps.
Day 11 Dhampu to base of Shao La (3 to 4 hours)
The first few km on this stage is hard going across a large boulder field. The trail ascends a series of 'glacial steps' before reaching a series of glacial lakes at the head of the valley located at the base of the Shao La (4700 metres).
Day 12 Base of Shao La to Joksam (5 hours)
An early start is imperative to ascend the Shao La (4970 metres) and gain our first views of Everest (8848 metres), Makalu (8475 metres) and Lhotse (8501 metres). From the pass there is a steady descent to yak pastures before a steeper descent to the valley floor and the trail on down to the Kama Valley. The rocky trail makes this stage quite demanding on the knees as it winds down through birch groves and dwarf rhododendrons to the camp at Joksam (4000 metres). This is an idyllic camp, situated amid pine and fir forests just above the Kama Valley. This change of vegetation reflects the monsoonal influence and summer rains that surge up the nearby Arun Valley throughout the summer months.
Day 13 Joksam to alpine camp (5 hours)
From the valley floor there is a steep 300 to 400 metre ascent through the conifer forest to a ridgeline high above the Kama Valley. Here we gain magnificent views south towards the Arun Gorge and Nepal. Our trail then crosses alpine ridges that support the summer camps of yak herders' from Kharta village. We also pass a series of beautiful lakes before ascending a ridge and gaining our first uninterrupted views of the Kangshung Face of Everest. We camp in one of the idyllic meadows.
Day 14 Camp to Pathang (3 hours)
Depending on the selection of the camp it will take just a matter of hours to descend to the camp at Pathang (4550 metres), a beautiful meadow camp beneath the impressive peak of Chomo Lonzo (7790 metres). Options are available to ascend to the sacred lake immediately above the camp. The trail heads up the hillside to the north and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the lake. At the far end of the lake is Sacred Cave carved out of the hillside which is said to be one of the many places where the sage Padmasambhava meditated during his journeys through Tibet. Within the cave are a number of simple shelters and prayer rooms where offerings are made by the occasional pilgrim.
Day 15 Day hike to Pethang Ringmo (Kangshung Face Base Camp) (7-8 hours)
From Pathang the trail heads across the meadow before ascending across a loose scree slope. The climb up and across the scree slopes is tiring and it is good to get back onto the more established shepherd trails. Rounding the hillside the Kangshung Face of Everest comes again into view, while across the valley the impressive glaciers at Chomo Lonzo can also be appreciated.
Day 16 Pathang to base of Langma La (5 hours)
The trail from Pathang heads back down the valley before diverting north towards the Langma La. It leads gradually across the yak pastures and en route we gain views of the summit of Makalu. Our camp at Shurimo (4800 metres) is located at the base of the pass.
Day 17 Cross Langma La to camp (6 to 7 hours)
The climb to the Langma La takes two hours. From camp we climb a well graded trail with further views of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. From the pass (5330 metres) there is a steep descend to the valley floor. As the valley opens out we pass yak herders' camps from Kharta and the nearby villages. Here there is no shortage of fine campsites.
Day 18 Camp to Yuba (4 hours)
From camp we head down to the confluence of the Kharta Valley and gain views of the Kangchenjunga massif rearing above the ridges beyond Kharta on the Nepal- Sikkim Border. Our trail then leads past the substantial village of Lunrubling as we complete our circuit back down to Yuba village and the site of our first camp (3650 metres).
Day 19 Drive to Rongphu Monastery (8 to 10 hours)
From Yuba we drive back to the village of Phadhruchi before continuing onto the Rongphu Valley. Rongphu Monastery is situated 15 kilometres below the Base Camp and was reconstructed after the excesses of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's. From our camp here we gain unrivalled views of the North Face of Everest.
Day 20 Optional trek to the Base Camp
We have reserved a full day to walk to the famous 1922 base camp from where the interwar British Expeditions mounted their assaults on Everest. Return to Rongphu overnight.
Day 21 Drive to Zhangmu (9 -10 hours)
An early start is necessary to complete the drive back to the highway and the Chinese/Nepal border at Zhangmu. After re-joining the highway, we drive across the rolling plains of the Tibetan Plateau to reach the Lalong La (5042m). From here we head down the spectacular Sun Kosi Gorge to the border town at Zhangmu, where we spend the night. Please note that the facilities at the government-run hotel here are basic.
Day 22 Drive to Kathmandu (5–6 hours)
After completing Chinese immigration and customs formalities we transfer our gear by truck down the eight-kilometre stretch that leads to the Friendship Bridge and Nepal. You will require a re-entry visa at this border, so please have your documentation ready. After clearing Nepal's customs and immigration, our chartered bus will complete the drive to Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 23 Trip concludes in Kathmandu
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport.
- 22 breakfasts, 17 lunches and 16 dinners
- airport transfers
- flight Kathmandu/Lhasa approx US$460
- expert bilingual guide
- group medical kit
- accommodation at the Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu
- Basic hotels and lodges in Tibet/Lhasa/Shegar/Shigatse
- the use of a World Expeditions trek pack which includes a quality sleeping bag, down or fibre fill jacket and insulated mat (valued at over US$500)
- portable high altitude altitude chamber for group use
- private transportation
- all park entrance fees and trekking permits
- yaks to carry all personal and group equipment
- sightseeing and site entry fees as listed
- souvenir World Expeditions kit bag
- 23 day trip
- 9 day trek
- 10 nights hotels
- 1 night Tibetan lodge
- 11 nights camping
Trip Main Activities
- Adventure Touring
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc. Porters and mules carry all group gear and your trek pack.