Above the ice-clad realm of Camp III on the North Face of Everest unfolds one of world's most spectacular mountain panoramas: the huge rock palisades of Everest's Northeast Ridge, the wind-blown snows of the North Col, and most compelling of all, the instantly recognizable rock summit of Everest, or Chomolangma in the Tibetan language. The top of the world appears very close from here—and it is, only a little more than 8,000 feet above the high point of our trek. The surreal world of Camp III at 21,100 feet is the destination of The World's Highest Trek—the closest that non-climbers can get to the roof of the world.
This legendary route up the North Face of Mt. Everest was pioneered in the 1920s by British mountaineer George Mallory—who said he wanted to climb Everest "because it is there." On June 6, 1924, last seen above Camp IV heading toward the summit, Mallory and his friend Andrew Irvine disappeared into the mists of history. The legend of Mallory and Irvine is one of mountaineering's enduring myths, and the question of whether they died while still on the ascent or after having reached the summit intrigued mountaineers for 90 years. In 1999, an American expedition led by Conrad Anker located Mallory's body below Everest's Northeast Ridge.
Kathmandu, Nepal / Lhasa, Tibet’s Holy City
After exploring Kathmandu’s colorful bazaars, we take a spectacular flight to Lhasa, Tibet. Our explorations here include the Potala Palace and the massive monasteries of the Lhasa Valley, and we mingle with Tibetan pilgrims in the Jokhang Temple.
Shigatse (12,631') / Nyelam
Our journey across the Tibetan Plateau brings us across a rugged, stunningly beautiful landscape of villages, remote valleys, high mountain passes, and alluring views of the high Himalaya. We acclimatize with a hike to the holy lake of Dara Tsho (14,350').
A seven-day warm-up trek brings us through beautiful high country to the south base camp of Shishapangma (26,397'), the world’s 14th highest peak. Our pace allows time for day hikes into beautiful remote side valleys. Shishapangma, just 50 miles north of Kathmandu, was the last of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks to be climbed and is the only one entirely within Tibet.
We drive to Rongphu Monastery (16,450'), spectacularly situated below the northern base of Mount Everest. Dza Rongphu is acclaimed as the highest monastery in the world; it may well have provided some of the inspiration for James Hilton’s classic novel, Lost Horizon.
Everest Base Camp to Camp III
Following the main Rongphu Glacier and the East Rongphu Glacier, we trek to Camp I (18,050') on Mt. Everest. To assure proper acclimatization, we camp at least two nights at an interim camp (19,000') between Camp I and Camp II (19,900'), spectacularly located below the glaciers spilling off Everest’s North Peak. Conditions allowing, we hike to our highest camp, Camp III (21,100'), below the mighty rock palisades of Everest’s Northeast Ridge.
Return Trek to Everest Base Camp / Dingri Valley
We descend by the same scenic route back to Everest Base Camp, then drive to our final camp near the Dingri Valley.
Return to Kathmandu
A beautiful overland drive brings us back to the warmth and greenery of Nepal, and we depart via Kathmandu on Day 30.