Our trek to Everest Base Camp with IMT exceeded all of our expectations. Before the trip we were fully informed about the required shots, medications, clothing and gear. As experienced backpackers and hikers we are used to planning our own trips. However, it was a pleasure to have a detailed itinerary taking into account the need for acclimatization and our interests, as well as know that all of the lodging and dining stops were well taken care of.
From start to finish, our guide, Sonam, was warm, attentive, knowledgeable and responsive to all of our needs. He accommodated our slower pace and worked with us to make some changes to our plans based on our ability and interests. Sonam answered all of our questions and taught us about the topography, Sherpa culture, and Buddhist philosophy. His experience as a guide extended to knowing the best places to stop to eat and his obviously good relationships with many of the tea house owners made it very comfortable and easy for us as customers. We stayed at some wonderful places - and perhaps not typical - like the Rivendell Lodge in Deboche, with a beautiful dining room, slippers for all the guests, a hot shower, and the best apple pie! The Italian Pyramid was also a spot off the beaten path. As a former Buddhist monk Sonam also facilitated our visits to the Buddhist monasteries on the trek, including a view of the relatively new 3-D mancala in the Tengboche monastery.
In addition to the trek itself, IMT provided several extras that made the trip even more special.
Documentarian Alok Tuladhar gave us a tour of Kathmandu. We visited the Swayambhunath Temple, one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites, and Bhaktapur, the ancient capital of Nepal.
On the way to Base Camp we visited Sagamartha Next, a learning center focused on the Khumbu region’s need to deal with waste and recycling, an art gallery, and a waste lab. We were impressed by the state of the art interactive map and virtual reality, the art work and the visiting artists studio.
Near the end of our trek we also toured the Khumbu Climbing Center in Phortse which provides safe technical climbing education for Nepali guides and climbers. It also hosts a modern climbing wall, plenty of climbing gear, and a library.
Back in Kathmandu we went to dinner with Sonam and his wonderful wife, Pushpah, where we were treated to wonderful Nepali food and live folk dancing.
Words are inadequate to describe the beauty of the Himalayas but each day brought a more amazing sight. Some of my favorites were the Kalapathar hike from Dingboche, and the hike to Lobuche high camp. The wonderful service we got from IMT made such a once-in-a-lifetime experience possible.