Original Everest Marathon Itinerary

Original Everest Marathon November 2020

A 22 day holiday including a 15 day acclimatisation trek, a 42 kms High altitude marathon and some optional sight seeing in Kathmandu!

It’s the highest marathon in the world and it’s also a whole world that you’re signing up to. To reach the start of the race, you’ll journey through the Sherpa land of the Khumbu valley, an adventure into the land of Sagamatha, the sacred ‘Mother of the Universe.’

Day 1 Kathmandu Hotel Shanker

We’ll be meeting in the exotic city of Kathmandu. It was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and has many important Hindu temples and Buddhist Stupa. It’s a city to be experienced at least once in your life – the vibrant colours, a riot of sights, sounds and smells and riches side by side with poverty. If you’re arriving by plane, you’ll be met at the airport and taken to the wonderful Hotel Shanker. Originally the royal residence of the rulers of Nepal from 1894 until 1964, it was converted into a luxury hotel. Having been damaged in the 2015 earthquake, it has been beautifully restored and it’s gardens and rooms are an oasis of calm.

Day 2 Sightseeing around Kathmandu

After a feast of a breakfast we’ll get down to preparing for the trek, with team meetings, medicals and packing. There’s time for a walk into Thamel, the shopping area where it’s possible to buy everything, from prayer flags to fabulous rugs and jewellery. Maybe a swim in the pool before getting into the exacting task of packing for the trek, followed by dinner in the hotel.

Day 3 Flight to Lukla and trek to Phakding at 2610m

Day 3 Flying to Lukla and trekking to Phakding at 2610m We’ll be up very early to get to the airport for the flight to Lukla. If the weather’s good and the gods are with us, we’ll get an early flight. We’re going from 1,400m to 2,860m (9,383 feet), a huge jump in altitude and the start of the acclimatisation process. The noise and pollution of the city is left behind and we walk into a world of lush greens, the bright white of steep mountain peaks and the deep blue of the Dubh Kosi river below. Luggage bags are loaded onto the Zopyo’s and taken to the first lodge near Phakding, 2610m. This is our first opportunity to turn prayer wheels and send our thoughts to the Gods.

Day 4 Into the Sagamatha National Park and on to Namche Bazaar

As we follow the river upstream, crossing suspension bridges festooned with fluttering prayer flags, we pass through the ornate gateway into the Sagamatha National Park. Taking the steps down below the rock face feels a little like a passage in the Lord of the Rings. A lovely path alongside the river leads up the steep hill to Namche Bazaar - the Sherpa capital. This town, nestled in a natural bowl, has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, providing more shops and lodges to cater for the increase in trekkers. We’ll be staying here for three nights to let our bodies catch up with the extra altitude.

Day 5 Acclimatisation in Namche Bazaar

This is a day for acclimatising and exploring. You can walk up to the Everest View Hotel where the terrace looks up the valley with fabulous views of Everest and Ama Dablam. You could also call in at the Edmund Hilary School, the Sherpa Heritage Museum or just tour the shops and cafés in Namche Bazaar. It’s a great place to buy cheap extra gear. This is the day that the Nepali runners come to Namche to register for the OEM. We will eventually meet up on the day before the race when the Nepali runners arrive at Lobuche for the pre-race medical.

Day 6 The Thamo loop

We all walk along the ‘Thamo Loop’ to familiarise ourselves with the last 6 miles of the marathon. It’s a lovely route, initially through the forest and then opening out with views of the Bhote Khosi valley and Khongde 6035m and its glaciers. On the way you’ll probably see Impeyan, the Nepali national bird, similar to a pheasant - the males, with deep iridescent blue and green plumage, wander the stone-walled fields.

Day 7 Trekking to Dole 4110m

Day 7 Trekking to Dole 4110m After three days spent in the luxury of Namche Bazaar and feeling well acclimatised, we leave for Dole. The Khumbu valley drops below us as we ascend the path to the Mong La, a high point, where we can stop and take tea, before descending steeply to Phortse Tenga. Here the path divides - straight on is the Khumbu valley and we take the left fork, climbing to Dole.

Day 8 Trekking to Machermo 4410m

At 4110m, the effects of altitude are kicking in and ‘taking it easy’ is the way to go. As we walk towards Machermo, the terrain changes to a wide open, grassy valley with steep, rocky peaks either side. A large chorten signals that Machermo is just down below - the lodges laid out neatly in the field boundaries. This is to be our base for the next 3 nights.

Day 9 Acclimatising in Machermo

A day of taking it easy – you could do some washing, walk up the ridge above Machermo to the base of the trekking peak or cross the valley and walk to Dragnag.

Day 10 Walking to Gokyo 4790m

The route to Gokyo is a delight. The valley becomes steeper and narrower and then opens out to the dry Ngozumpa glacier, (the largest in the Himalaya). The sparkling turquoise First and Second lakes are one of Nepal’s most memorable sights. The lakes, nestled into the mountain are sacred and home to a pair of Brahminy Ducks. A mass of stone cairns sit close to the lakes as monuments to the dead. The tea houses of Gokyo, 4790m have a view over the Third Lake and Gokyo Ri. There is an option to climb this ‘hill’ but at 5357m it feels more of a mountain. Once there, you experience spectacular views of Everest.

Day 11 Descending to Kangjuma at 3550m

After gaining all that lovely height, it’s time to go down again, all the way to Kangjuma. Losing altitude the walking feels so easy.

Day 12 Trekking to Tengboche 3990m

Now we’re back on the race route with a steep uphill to Tengboche, famous for its Buddhist monastery. This is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region and it can be visited in the afternoon. There’s also a particularly good coffee and cake shop. The views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Tawache dominate the skyline.

Day 13 Trekking to Dingboche 4410m

After leaving Tengboche, the path crosses the river and we follow it to Lower Pangboche, stopping at a race control point for tea. On these steep rocky mountain sides it’s possible to spot Himalayan Tahr, a threatened species of wild goat. We go off the marathon route at the junction of the river and head uphill to Dingboche for a two night stay at 4410m

Day 14 Acclimatisation in Dingboche or Walking to Chukhung 4730m

This is a day of resting or if you feel good, taking a walk further up the valley to Chhukhung. This is the way to Island Peak and Mera Peak. Dingboche is far quieter than the main valley; the field pattern of stone walls feels very welcoming and a respite from the continuous flow of EBC traffic. Sea Buckthorn grows here and is made into a delicious drink that is a powerhouse of nutrients – just what’s needed for the final push to Gorak Shep.

Day 15 Trekking to Lobuche 4910m

Returning to the race route, we walk through Pheriche, control point 3. The route then takes us up to Dhugla, control point 2 and a climb up to the Thokla Pass through an increasingly rocky landscape. Here are the tombstones, hung with prayer flags, memorials to those who have died on Everest. From here it’s not far to Lobuche. At 4910 there’s not much in the way of vegetation – the big mountains are getting closer and even in the sun, it’s far colder .

Day 16 Gorak Shep or the summit of Kala Pattar 5550m

This is a day of options. If you want to save yourself for the race, it’s wise to stay and rest but If you want to experience more of the mountain and you’re feeling good, you can walk up to Gorak Shep and then either go onto the top of Kala Pattar or more gently to Everest Base Camp at 5465m, before returning to Lobuche for the night.

Day 17 Trekking to Gorak Shep 5200m

Everyone has a pre-race medical and kit check in Lobuche before moving up to Gorak Shep. It’s cold up here at 5,200m, even with the sun shining from a cobalt sky. Assembling on the flat area between the teahouses and Kala Patthar, we have a practice start and lots of photos. From now on, it’s a countdown to the start so everyone will be getting as much rest and sleep as the altitude allows.

Day 18 Race day from Gorak Shep 5200m

This is the day that has been the focus of so many minds, for many months. It’s cold at the start at 6.30am and full body cover is needed. By the time the sun shines and a few hundred meters have been descended, the skin can be bared. Doctors and marshals are stationed along the route at the controls and the team leaders and a doctor make up the ‘Sweep Team’ at the back of the race, ensuring everyone is accounted for and taken care of. At the finish at Namche Bazaar, the question is whether any of the internationals will be able to snatch the winning time from the Nepali’s this year? In the evening we have the prize giving for Nepali runners.

Day 19 Returning to Lukla

n the morning we’re making our way downhill to Lukla for the final night in the mountains. We can help in the removal of plastic from the mountains by carrying sacks of crushed plastic down to Lukla for recycling.

Day 20 Return to Kathmandu

Day 20 Return to Kathmandu If we’re lucky, we’ll get an early morning flight to Kathmandu. Returning to Kathmandu is a bitter-sweet experience – the longing for that wonderful shower versus the leaving behind of the bright, clean air of the mountains.

Day 21 Back in Kathmandu optional siteseeing

Day 21 Kathmandu After a huge Hotel Shanker breakfast you could visit the World Heritage Site, go shopping or relax by the pool. Then in the evening it’s time to get ready for dinner and the Awards Evening.

Day 22 Flying home or the next stage of your journey

t’s time to say good bye to the friends you’ve just spent the last three weeks with. If you’ve arranged your international flight for the evening, you have almost a day to spend in Kathmandu, or you might be staying on for your next adventure...

Arrival in Kathmandu is 15th November 2019 with the expected leaving date (unless you stay on independently) being 7th December 2019.application process


The Trek

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