Along with Jack, we headed to Nepal for a Winter trekking circuit in Dec 2018. Why Winter? Well, the crowds are MUCH smaller, the air is clearer, the weather more predictable and its easy to find space for yourself.
We set out to trek unguided and without porters, staying and eating in teahouses along the way. The plan was to follow a combination of the “Three Passes” and “EBC” (Everest Base Camp) routes with some variations. We carried a trekking pack each with our gear, some snack type food, water and emergency items.
Starting with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, hiking up to Namche for an acclimitisation stop before heading on to Tengboche and then Dingboche for a second acclimitisation stop. From here we headed out to Chukkung and then over Kongma La pass (5535m) on a very long day to Lobuche. Turning right we headed up to Gorak Shep before watching sunset on Mt Everest from Kala Patthar (5644m) on Christmas Day. After a -20degC night, we headed off to EBC on boxing day.
Returning from Gorak Shep to Lobuche, the weather had a bad day and our hopes of heading over Cho La pass were lost in cloud and snow. Sadly Gokyo and Renjo La would also have to wait for another time as we trekked back through Pheriche before spending a couple of days in the most delightful village of Phortse. This flexibility to change plans is one of the advantages of being self guided. From Phortse we headed back to Namche for New Years Eve. We took a side trip out to Thame before starting the trek back to Lukla.
We found the teahouse operators, other folks on the trail and even guides with other groups all helpful with information at various times. Beautiful people, stunning landscapes and peaceful trekking well made up for the odd frozen toilet and sometimes limited food options in the ‘off’ season.