GHT Everest Section (Solukhumbu), Lower Trail
This section of the Lower GHT offers beautiful Himalaya views, among which a view of Mt Everest (on day 11). You cross several passes of around 3,000 m, which offer splendid views of the Himalayas and of green valleys. You pass through authentic Sherpa and Rai villages and beautiful rhododendron forests. An added advantage of this section, is that there are very good tourist facilities, but few tourists compared to the popular Khumbu/Everest area.
Teahouse/Camping (with a small group (max 8 pax) this trek can be completely done as a teahouse trek)
: TIMS, Entrance Makalu Barun National Park, Entrance Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project
- Day 1 Kathmandu-Khadbari (1041 m) Khadbari is about an hour drive to Tumlingtar, which has an airport with direct flights to Kathmandu (Yeti and Buddha Air).Khadbari is the district headquarters of Sankuasawa District. It has a big bazaar, where you can even find walking sticks. There is one bank (Nabil bank) with an ATM that accepts international cards. Internet cafe’s are there as well. There are a few restaurants and seven (simple) hotels.
- Day 2 Khadbari (1041 m)- Majuwadanda (800 m) 5 hrs From the centre of Khadbari a small path leads down to the west. The trail goes down steeply and at several points offers beautiful views of the Makalu range. After about 1 ½ hour you reach a small river with an old wooden suspension bridge (320 m), which you cross. You follow a large path, which follows the Arun River in northwest direction; it is flat, easy walking. After about an hour you reach Chewabesi (329 m), which has a few restaurants where you can stop for lunch.From Chewabesi the trail continues till you reach a big suspension bridge over the Arun River, which you cross. At the other side you arrive at the village of Kattike Pull (340 m). The scenery is very idyllic, with the spread out houses, rice fields and the beautiful Arun River to your right.The trail climbs high above the river, but keeps on following it. It is a nice walk through the countryside again, with beautiful views of the Arun Valley below you. After about 2 hrs you reach the tiny settlement of Majuadanda (800 m). Majuadanda has a small guesthouse with 3 rooms and a place to camp: Sagarmatha Hotel and Lodge.
- Day 3 Majuwadanda (800 m)-Salpa Phedi (1530 m) 8 hrs This is quite a long and tiring day, with a total distance of about 22.5 km, but you can chose to camp earlier.Leaving Majuwadanda, the trail goes up, sometimes steeply and other times rather flat, offering views to snowcapped mountains of the Makalu range at the horizon. After about 45 min you go down again, mostly gradually, but at some points pretty steep as well. Now and then you pass a small settlement, like Chalishe (781 m) and Tabutar (604 m). Besides terraced countryside, the walk also goes through subtropical jungle.You might meet men with huge loads, about 2 times the size of the person carrying it. They are carrying Himalayan medicinal herbs, destined for the Chinese market.About 2 hours after the start of the walk, you arrive at a small river, which you have to cross. This brings you at the side of a big river, Liknuwa Khola, which you will be following upstream for the rest of the day. You pass a small guesthouse with a campsite, Kulung Kirant Hotel (2 very simple rooms) and cross a big iron suspension bridge, close to the village of Tabutar. The trail is so called Nepali flat: lots of flat parts with some steep climbs and descends.You pass the small settlement of Gothe Bazar, which has a weekly market at Tuesday. There is a teashop, which can be a good lunch stop. The trail remains Nepali flat, with some steep ascends, passing tiny settlements like Lankuwa (828 m). You enter again a subtropical forest, with now and then a small settlement surrounded by terraced agricultural land or a teashop where you can stop for tea. The trail is most of the times ascending now.You pass the village of Tendo (1434 m; 4 hrs after Gothe Bazar), which has a school, which you could use as a campsite. Shortly after Tendo, you have to cross a self-made small bridge over a wild flowing river. Although you are at around 1400 m only, the landscape reminds to high altitude landscape. It’s another good half hour walking to the Rai village of Salpa Phedi (1530 m), where are a few guesthouses and campsites.
- Day 4 Salpa Phedi (1530 m)-Sanam (2834 m) via Salpa Pass (3340 m) 8 hrs This is also quite a long stretch. The distance is only 14 km, but you have to climb about 1800 m, till the Salpa pass, at 3340 m, after which you descend 500 m. The Salpa Pass brings you into Solukhumbu district. It is beautiful to see the landscape changing as you get higher: you start among rice fields, passing small settlements, climb into forests, which turn into bushes, and higher up you walk through dense rhododendron forests.After about 2 hours you reach the Sherpa settlement of Thulophokte (2286 m), which has a guesthouse with a campsite, which is a good place for lunch. Thulophokte has a small Buddhist monastery, Chochen gompa, belonging to the Gelugpa sect. Ask the people in the house next door for the key!About 2 hours after Thulopokte you reach a small guesthouse with camping facilities, Salpa Pass Hotel and Lodge (2936 m). If you don’t want to go all the way to Sanam, this is the place to stay.From the guesthouse it is about 1 ½ hours to the Salpa pass (3340 m). You notice that you are arriving by the beautiful mani walls (walls with stones with Buddhist prayers and drawings carved on them). From the pass you have a good view to Mount Dudh Kunda (6465 m) (with good weather).From the pass you can go to Salpa Lake (3414 m), which is about an hour walk, and the Shilicho viewpoint (4158 m), about 2 hours walk. From this viewpoint you have a spectacular view of a large part of the Himalaya Range: Mt Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Mera Peak and Everest, among others.From Salpa Pass it is about 2 hours descending through beautiful pine and rhododendron forest to Sanam, a small Sherpa village. Sanam has two lodges, next to the monastery.
- Day 5 Sanam (2834 m)-Khiraule (2535 m) 8 hrs Today is a day of long ups and downs: you descend about 1500 m till 1350 m, after which there is a tough climb of 1200 m, to Khiralule at 2535 m.From Sanam the trail goes down through rhododendron forests, passing some mani walls. With good weather you can see the snow capped Mt. Numbur (6959 m) at the horizon. After 45 min you pass a small lodge where you can camp as well.About 2 ½ hours after having left Sanam, you reach the big village of Gudel (2042 m), which is mainly inhabited by Kulung Rai people. From here you can see Mera Peak (6476 m) and Mt Chamlang (7139 m). In Gudel are 2 small lodges (1 with a campsite).Take the path that is following the stream downwards through the village. It is about 1 ½ hours further down to the bridge over the Hongu Khola at 1350 m. After crossing the bridge, the only way is up for the next couple of hours! You pass the Rai village of Bung, which is spread out over the hill (here is 2 small guesthouses, 1 at the top of the village). It takes about an hour to climb out of the village. You pass the National Park office of Makalu Barun National Park.The trail keeps on climbing through forest and agricultural plots, passing small settlements once and a while. After about 2 hours you reach Khiraule (2535 m). There is one lodge with a campsite, next to a Buddhist monastery.
- Day 6 Khiraule (2535 m)-Sibuche (2800 m) via Surke La/Charakot Pass (3070 m) 7 hrs Summary of the program of today: climb till the Surke La (also called Charakot pass) at 3070 m, then go down more than 1000 m till the Inkhu river (1985 m), then go 800 m up again to Sibuche (2800 m).The trail goes through beautiful rhododendron forests, passing a stupa with a few mani walls. You are surrounded by forested hills as far as you can see. The trail passes the small settlement of Charakot (2936 m). From here you can take a trail in northeast direction to Panch Pokhari, a beautiful mountainlake (6 hours).The GHT continues in western direction however, leading to the Surke La/Charakot Pass at 3070 m (about 2 hours from Khiraule). From the pass a steep path leads you down through rhododendron forests to the village of Najingdingma (2700 m; 1 hr). The village is surrounded by grass fields where yaks are brought to graze in summertime. In Najingdingma are 2 guesthouses.From Najingdingma, you continue over a small trail which is steeply going down through the forest. After about 1 ½ hour you reach the wild flowing Hinku river, which you cross by a suspension bridge high over the river (1985 m). After crossing the bridge, the trail goes steeply up again. After about 1 ½ hour you reach (the start of) Sibuche (2555; here is a small guesthouse without a name). It’s another half hour climbing till the end of Sibuche (2800 m), from which you have a splendid view of Mera Peak.
- Day 7 Sibuche (2800 m)-Paiya (2767 m) via Narkung La/Chaduk La (3161 m) and Kari La (3059 m) 7 hrs Between Sibuche and Paiya there are 2 passes to cross. Most of the day you are walking in beautiful forests, with now and then a small settlement. From the end of Sibuche, it takes about an hour walking to the first pass, Narkung La (also called Chaduk La) at 3161 m. From the pass you have a splendid view of Mt Numbur (6959 m).After the pass, the path goes down steeply to the small settlement of Pangoam (2945 m), which has a small lodge. At the end of the village, the trail bends to the left, to Kharikhola. If you want to go to Lukla (as in this itinerary), you go straight here. The trail continues descending through the forest for another 1 ½ hours till you reach a small wooden bridge at 2400 m. From here the climb to the second pass begins. It’s a beautiful trail through the forest, high on the slope, with views of Mt Numbur. On the way you pass several lodges. After about 1 ½ hours you reach the second pass of today, Kari La, at 3059 m. With good weather you cannot only see Mt Numbur, but also the Dudh Khosi Valley up till Namche Bazar and even the Cho Oyo (8188 m) in the distance.The trail goes down quite steeply and after ½ hr joins the main trade route from Kharikhola, and the famous Jiri-Lukla trekking trail. After about an hour you reach the village of Paiya (2767 m), which has 5 lodges. You can notice that you are on a more touristy area by the good facilities: all lodges have a hot shower, a warm dining, clean rooms, with beds with soft mattresses, shops, recharge possibilities, and an extensive menu!
- Day 8 Paiya (2767 m)-Lukla (2840 m) 4 hrs This is quite a short day. You walk mostly through the forests, meeting many lodges along the way. The day starts with a gradual climb of about 1 ½ hours, after which the trail goes down steeply to Surke (2290 m; 45 min). Along te way you have beautiful views of rugged snowcapped mountains, like Khumbi Yul La (5761 m), Khongde (6168 m), Numbur (6959 m) and Kusum Khangaru (6367 m). Shortly after Surke, you cross a bridge (at 2276 m), which is the lowest point of today. From here it is a long but steady climb of about 1 ½ hours to Lukla (2840 m). In Lukla there are plenty of lodges in all categories. Besides you find shops, bakeries, email café’s and bars and even discotheques here.Lukla is the starting point for many treks in the Everest Region, like the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Gokyo Lake Trek (or a combination of these 2) or the trek over the Tashi Labsta into Rolwaling. Besides, it is the starting point for many climbing expeditions, the most famous one to Mt Everest (8848 m).Those who want to end their trek, can fly to Kathmandu from Lukla.
- Day 9 Lukla (2840 m)-Kharikhola (2007 m) 8 hrs To go to Kharikhola, you have to walk back to Paiya, which takes about 4 hours. The descend to Surke (2290 m) takes a bit over an hour, and from here it is another 3 hours, mostly climbing, to Paiya (2767 m). About half an hour after Paiya you reach the junction between the way to the Kari La and Kharikhola. The trail is climbing slowly to Thamdada (2871 m; 45 min). After another 15 minutes you pass a lodge (Sonam Lodge), from where the trail descends steeply through the forest. Far below you flows the roaring Dudh Khoshi River. You pass the small settlement of Kare (2572 m; 45 min; 2 basic guesthouses) and Bupsa (2353 m; 45 min; a couple of lodges with good facilities (like hot shower)).After Bupsa you leave the forest behind and walk amidst terraces with wheat and vegetables. It is another good half hour descending till you reach a suspension bridge over the Khari Khola (1984 m), from where the trail gradually climbs to the village of Kharikhola (2007 m). Kharikhola is a rather big, spread out village, and offers plenty of possibilities to stay.
- Day 10 Kharikhola (2007 m)- Ringmu (2739 m) via Taksindu La (3062 m) 8 hrs This is a typical GHT lower route day, with lots of ups and downs. Summary of today’s programme: you go down about 500 m till 1492 m, and cross the Dudh Khosi, then you climb 1560 m to the Taksindu La at 3062 m and go 300 m down again to Ringmu.Leaving the centre of Kharikhola, first of all you climb a bit to the end of the village, where the monastery is situated. From here the trail goes down steeply, passing on the way the beautiful spread out village of Juving (1672-1553 m). There are a couple of lodges here. The Jiri-Lukla route is really a mule highway. On the way you are likely to pass huge mule caravans, carrying rice or other necessities up to Lukla.It takes about 2 hours from Kharikhola to the suspension bridge over the Dudh Khosi River (at 1492 m). After this, the long climb to the pass starts, going through the countryside and forests. The forest opens up once and a while offering great views to the snowcapped Himalayas, like Kusum Kangaru (6367 m), Mt Numbur (6959 m), Khatang (6853 m) and Karyalung (6681 m).After about 2 hours you reach Nunthala (2192 m), a big village with many lodges, surrounded by agricultural terraces. The trail goes mainly through the forest now, and above about 2800 m the rhododendron forest starts. After 1 ½ to 2 hours you reach the small settlement of Taksindu (2862 m), which has a few lodges as well. With good weather Taksindu offers great views over the Himalayas. From here it is another good half hour to Taksindu Pass at 3062 m.From the pas it is about half an hour descending through pine forests to Ringmu (2739 m), a Sherpa village surrounded by grass fields. Along the way you pass a beautiful old stupa, surrounded by a big mani wall. Ringmu has a couple of guesthouses.At the end of Ringmu is the junction between the trail to Salleri and Phaplu to the south and Jungbesi to the west. You can fly back to Kathmandu from Phaplu, about 4 hours walking from Ringmu.
- Day 11 Ringmu (2739 m)-Sete (2538 m) via Lamjura La (3532 m) 9 ½ hrs This is a very long stretch: 24.76 km, with a 3532 m high pass to cross, the Lamjura La, and a total ascend of 2038 m. However both before and after the pass there are plenty of lodges where you can stay overnight to shorten the day.From Ringmu, the trail gradually descends to a suspension bridge at 2606 m (15 min). You are entering the forest, climbing gradually again, till you are high on the slope, following the Dudhkund Khola far below you.After about an hour you arrive at the small village of Salu (2945 m), from where you have an amazing view of the Himalayas. Walking to Phurtyang/Phurteng (3004 m), the view gets better and better. At the far left you can even see Mt Everest (8848 m). Besides, you have a beautiful view of Thamserku (6608 m), Kangtega (6685 m), Kusum Khangaru (6367 m) and Mera Peak (6476 m). Awesome! In Phurtyang there are 2 teashops (both called Everest View!), to enjoy the view with a hot or cold drink. The trail goes down again through grasslands now, with now and then some pine trees, till you reach the charming town of Junbesi (2679 m; about 4 hrs from Ringmu). At the entrance of Junbesi is a beautiful stupa. In Junbesi you find a tourist information centre, and many lodges.From here the long climb to the Lamjura La starts. At the beginning you are walking mostly in grass lands, with a view to hills full of pine trees. At about 2850 m you reach the village of Thaktok Bhug, a very spread out village (with houses up till almost 3200 m). Spreaded throughout the village are some lodges as well. After the village the trail goes through (mainly) rhododendron forests. The Lamjura La pass is at 3532 m, a climb of about 3 ½ hours from Junbesi. Quite often there is snow at the pass.Shortly after the pass are a few teashops. While mostly after a pass the trail goes steeply down, here the trail keeps on going more or less flat, passing a couple of lodges After Goyom (1 hr), the trail starts to descend more steeply. After about half an hour you pass another settlement Dakchu (2960 m) (with several lodges and after another 45 min you reach the small settlement of Sete (with a few lodges).
- Day 12 Sete (2538 m)-Deurali (2700 m)7 hrs Again a day with lots of ups and downs! From Sete the trail continues descending, quite steeply, till you reach the charming village of Kinja (1624 m; 2 hrs). In Kinja are plenty of places to stay.Shortly after Kinja is a police post where you have to register. Besides, between Kinja and Shivalaya you are walking in the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project (GCAP). In Shivalaya (where you pass the next day) is a checkpost of the GCAP where you have to pay Rps 2,000.Just after the checkpost you cross a suspension bridge (1605 m). The river marks the border between Solukhumbu and Ramechhap, so after crossing the bridge you enter Ramecchap and leave Solukhumbu behind you. After the bridge there is a trail going left, and 2 trails going right. The upper trail to the right is the old trail to Jiri, the down trail is a new trail, which is a bit shorter and easier. This itinerary describes the new trail.The trail follows the Linkhu Khola (River). You pass the small village of Korhem (1580 m, lowest point of today). Shortly after the village, the path climbs high on the slope, and soon the Linkhu Khola is far below you. Although you are walking on an altitude of below 2000 m, the landscape reminds to high altitude landscape; grasslands and rocks, with here and there a tree. Later the landscape gets greener again, and you even pass orange trees.After about 2 ½ hours you reach the small settlement of Balding (2015 m) with some local teashops. The trail goes for a while through the forest, but soon you are walking through agricultural terraces. After about 45 min you reach the village of Bhandar (2170 m-2310 m).Bhandar is a big, very spread out village, with plenty of places to stay. It is not only on the Jiri-Lukla route, but also on the Numbur Cheese Circuit, a beautiful non-touristic trekking that brings you in beautiful Sherpa villages and spectacular landscapes (www.numburcheesecircuit.org).After Bhandar it is a steap climb of about 1 hr through the forest to Deurali (2700 m). There are a few guesthouses here as well.
- Day 13 Deurali (2700 m)-Jiri (1930 m) 6 hrs As Deurali means pass, it is to no surprise that the day starts with a descend. The trail goes down, for the first hour through rhododendron forest and then through the countryside. You pass the small village of Sangba Danda (2163 m), which makes for a nice teabreak. The trail keeps on descending; in front of you, you see the beautiful Khimti Khola (River), far below. After about an hour you reach at the small town Shivalaya (1807 m), down at the riverside, which has quite a couple of lodges. As mentioned above, in Shivalaya is the checkpost of the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project, where you have to pay Rps 2,000.The trail follows the Yelung Khola upstream, climbing high above the river firstly going through the forest and later through countryside again. With good weather you have a good view on the Gaurishankar (7135 m). You pass Mali (2180 m; 40 min), a tiny village, which has a few basic guesthouses.The trail leads into pine forests and climbs to the top of the hill and descends to the small settlement of Chitre (2328 m; one basic lodge here).From Chtire, you can head north straight towards Sherakapti (2411 m), bypassing Jiri, which saves you 2 hours on the next day. In that case you can stay overnight in the Cheese Factory. This trail is a bit hard to find though. Ask the locals in Chitre and Shivalaya for advice.A trail through the pine forest brings you into Jiri (1930 m).Jiri is a busy market town, with lots of shops and guesthouses.
- Day 14 Bus Jiri-Kathmandu 7 hrs If you want to end your trek here, you can take a bus to Kathmandu, the journey takes about 7 hours.