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Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience

Leawood, Kansas
14 posts
Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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I'm 60 years old and "experiencing" Mt. Everest is on the bucket list. I'm trying to understand if a trek to EBC is the best experience, including fabulous views of Mt. Everest, or if taking the sightseeing trip to view Mt. Everest is just as amazing. I know the trek is much more of an experience/adventure than just seeing Everest, but just trying to understand how the two compare, if you even can compare. Length of time for a trek is not a concern. I would really appreciate thoughts from those that have done both the trek and the sightseeing flight to Everest.

Thanks

27 replies to this topic
OG Australia
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1. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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I have flown into Tibet from Kathmandu which involves taking a left turn just past Chomolungma ( Everest ) and so in between it and Kanchenjunga. I have also flown from Lukla to the airfield above Namche and back to Kathmandu. I have not taken a scenic flight to view the mountain as such, but the flight into Lhasa I assume would be at least a match.

Been to Gokyo as a walk in from Jiri and been to Rongbuk Gompa and the North Face base camp in Tibet as a drive from Lhasa back to Nepal. The view of the Khumbu Himal and Everest from a pass about two hours drive from Rongbuk Gompa is something. Catch the appropriate Micheal Palin episode of his series Himalaya for a tv glimpse.

The view from Gokyo Ri combined with glacier and lakes is astounding. I have not been to the ebc area to compare, but on photo evidence, I am glad we chose Gokyo.

The last time I flew out of Kathmandu to Bangkok, we rose above the January mist/ smog and the views of the various Himals was breathtaking.

For mine, the ultimate Chomolungma experience is with the view of Rongbuk Gompa in the foreground and the mountain behind it. This combines landscape and culture and you have an unimpeded view from the ground up.

Second is Gokyo Ri due to lakes, 360 view and glacier combined. Culture comes from the walk in.

Views from the air are of course amazing, but sterile, in that they can fuel a dream, but that dream is not fertile until your feet are on the ground. Or like looking at food without tasting it. But this is just my opinion.

Edited: May 15, 2021, 12:03 pm
OG Australia
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2. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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Ps: back in 1999 one walked to the the north face base camp from Rongbuk Gompa. It took over an hour for memory maybe two. But that slow walk at 5000 to 5200 along a stream with the mountain directly in front of you penetrates deeply.

The experience at the actual base camp amongst the tents was less interesting until you walked past them to the furthest point you can go before there is only the mountain itself if front of you and one would be just about stepping onto it.

I know this is not a Nepal experience but I add it to enthuse you about having your feet on the ground in the area for more than a short touch down at Nepal base camp would offer if such a flight remains on your mind.

Edited: May 15, 2021, 12:22 pm
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3. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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WALK you won’t regret it

Aalborg, Denmark
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4. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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Walk, a flight cannot compare to doing the walk yourself.

Brussels, Belgium
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5. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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However, you don't get a very good view of Mount Everest from anywhere in Nepal, you only see the summit triangle, the mass of the mountain is hidden behind other mountains. Other summits like Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, of the south face of Lhotse, are more spectacular. In Tibet indeed, you have a much better view of Everest.

You can also consider Pikey Peak, where you can see at least 7 8000 meter summits (far away, of course).

Lake District...
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for Nepal, Kathmandu
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6. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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For me, the trek every time, OK as above rightly says, the view of the mountain from an aeroplane is technically better, but by trekking there, you get to live it and breath it...

So my advice would be to trek there first, then take the mountain flight, then come back on here and tell us all which memory will stay with you the longest🤔🤔

Good Luck

Rob

Espoo
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7. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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Tibetan side EBC was closed to tourists already a few years ago, can not get closer than about 20 km from the summit now. Kala Pattar viewpoint is only 8 km from the summit, Gokyo Ri & Renjo La about the same 20 km, but with numerous other magnfifient mountains in view also. Walking to the BC under your own power, preferably from a road head, is an extremely satisfying experience.

Commenting with iPhone from summer cabin, I'll ellaborate from home later tomorrow.

Espoo
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8. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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First I admit I have not been to the North side of Everest, only seen pictures and read descriptions, also followed the tourist scene in Tibet for the past few decades.

In any case the experience is different in several ways. There is a paved road all the way to the BC, but tourists are not allowed there anymore, that came in effect already several years ago. That means you (mostly and usually) drive up too fast without acclimating, and see the whole massif from 20 km away. Which (the mountain) must look quite impressive. But that is mostly that, besides the Rongbuk monastery.

From the south side there is no road and to safely approach the mountain takes about 9 days of hiking from Lukla airstrip or 12-16 days from different road heads (recommended). Walking in is a cultural and mental experience which adds tremendously to the complete journey. If you have the time, do it.

Khumbu is crowded during the high season October - mid November, but late November to first week of December is perfect time also, except that some side trail lodges might be closed. Spring is the lower high season, and there is an actual Base Cap there, but, again, now outsiders are not allowed to enter the camp like before unless the agency one is using (if is) has an expedition there and are willing to arrange a visit, or even overnight stay.

Here are some of my thoughts about some worth while route variations which take you away from the crowds at least part of the way and offer splendid views:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293889-i9243-k12869225-Considerably_Better_EBC_route_with_no_extra_days-Nepal.html

Gokyo is also a great place, but more than twice as far from Everest than Gorak Shep/Kala Pattar viewpoint. I like KP better than Gokyo Ri, and it is almost 500m higher also. But with time, why not both? Easier to go EBC first because acclimatisation is more through ascending slowly. Most people tend to hurry on standard Gokyo route, because the distance is short. So here is a better idea for Gokyo only, Cultural Gokyo trek:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293889-i9243-k12475073-A_Much_Better_Gokyo_Itinerary-Nepal.html

Leawood, Kansas
14 posts
9. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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Thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I was hoping trek would be the consensus, and indeed it was. With time not being a limitation, I really like the idea of combining Gokyo Lakes and Kala Patthar as part of the trek to bc as I love mountain lakes.

As I'm traveling by myself, the idea of being part of a group trek has the appeal of sharing the experience with others. I'm also very cognizant of my age and that people acclimatize at their own rate. As such, being part of a group trek means I must keep-up with the group or risk not completing the trek.

Any recommendations on guided treks that allow the extra time that may be needed to acclimatize or other ideas on how to design a trek that allows for acclimatization as well as some companionship?

OG Australia
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10. Re: Ultimate Mt. Everest Experience
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Companionship can be achieved just by being on the trail, lunching at lodges and at lodges during the evening. Sometimes you just fall loosely in with the progress of others....and drift off if need be.

Statistically more altitude problems arise with groups on a schedule or just having a tightish schedule. Your free of that!

Hiring a good guide can provide a lot of information and experiences. You have time at the moment to research guides and seek recommendations. Some here have had great experiences so we can recommend.

arkienkeli’s links are worth considering, particularly heading over the Kenjo La from Gokyo. Doing that after Kalar Pattar does make it a pretty good Khumbu circuit.

Plan your walk, unless you go in deep winter or summer, there will be others around. A slow walk means you can organise the best of both worlds of people and personal.

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