By James Holmes
The enclosed map highlights our expedition’s planned routes. Most Everest expeditions hike directly up the Khumbu Valley to Everest base camp (green line). In addition to the Khumbu Valley, our expedition is covering the Hinku Valley (yellow line) and Gokyo Valley (blue line) in order to examine how differing tourism intensities impact the environment in the neighboring valleys, as well as to acclimatize away from the crowds. Using Lukla as a starting point, we headed east and spent 12 days in the Hinku Valley, including an ascent of Mera Peak (6,470m). From Lukla again we headed north and took the western fork above Namche to enter the Gokyo Valley (blue line). We are now in the village of Gokyo (4,790m) where the oxygen available in the air is less than half that of sea level. We will soon head east over the Cho La pass (5,420m) and hopefully reach Everest base camp (5,364m) by April 17, the most auspicious date for a Buddhist puja ceremony. After completing our environmental work on Everest and Lhotse, we will return to Lukla via the Khumbu Valley (green line) and sample as we go. Hopefully, by the end of the expedition we will have valuable ecology, snow, and human geography data that we can compare across the three valleys and benefit the scientific research and conservation efforts of Sagarmatha and Makalu Barun National Parks here in Nepal.
- Yellow Line - Hinku Valley / Mera Peak - March 27 to April 7
- Blue Line - Gokyo Valley / Cho La Pass - April 8 to April 16
- Green Line - Everest & Lhotse / Khumbu Valley - April 17 to approx. end of May