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Top Ten Treks in The World - #2 - Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal

Everest Base Camp Trek - NepalMysterious and exotic, Nepal holds prime position in the imagination of every mountain lover and trekker in the world. For me, it's where my passion for hiking began. I headed to Nepal knowing little about trekking or the culture, but never regretting it. Nepal is home to the bulk of the Himalaya and of course Mt. Everest, planet Earth’s highest peak. In fact, of the world’s fourteen highest peaks, eight are in Nepal. While it was my first trek, I woudn't recommend it as a starting point. The birthplace of Buddha and home of the famed porters and mountain climbing Sherpas is a mixture of mountains and ancient culture make Nepal a magical land of superlatives and an absolute delight for walkers and trekkers. However, it is an extreme physical challenge and not a journey that should be entered into lightly.

Himalaya means “abode of the snows,” and the main purpose of any respectable pilgrimage to Nepal is to reach out and touch a piece of these wild and jagged mountains, to feel their power and of course, to walk among the high peaks and deep valleys. It is the embodiment of a trek. It is no surprise Nepal is one of best places in the world to do just that. Considering 80% of the villages of Nepal are not connected by roads, walking is the means by which everybody and everything is transported, usually by porters. Trekking is second nature there and a habitual way of life.

It’s hard to imagine any other trek that offers as much classic Himalayan scenery step after step, day after day, than the trek to the foot of Mt. Everest. In addition to the fantastic vistas, there are rewarding visits to the friendly villages along the trails. While most of the culture is Sherpa, who are akin to Tibetan Buddhists, you will also find some migrant Hindu Nepalese who work in the shops and guest houses. This gives you a taste of the two predominant cultures in Nepal. Synchronize your visit with the market days and you will probably see traders who have ventured from Tibet to the markets in Namche and even farther south. Their distinctive red braided head garb makes them easy to spot.

There are two primary destinations for the average trekker. Everest Base Camp at 5,300m / 17,500’ is the stepping off point for most mountaineering expeditions to summit the peak and is the destination most people imagine when trekking to Everest. We actually skipped the namesake destination as we were early in the season, before the mountain climbers took up residence. Instead, we headed for the other destination. More impressive from a trekker’s standpoint it is a small chunk of rock nestled at the foot of Pumori Mountain overlooking Everest Base Camp. This modest piece of earth is called Kala Pattar (Black Rock) and its peak sits at 5,550m / 18,200’ commanding stunning views of Mt. Everest, the surrounding massif, Everest Base Camp, the Khumbu Glacier and finally, the famous, deadly Khumbu Ice Fall. All are part of one of the most breathtaking 360 degree panoramas available in the world! Amazingly, this is all accessible without using a rope and ice axe.

You can read a more complete story of our hike at our sister site www.greattreks.com or purchase our book A Journey Along the World's Great Treks.

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