Hiking Nepal In Edmund Hillary’s Footsteps

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first people to summit Mt. Everest. Their expedition started in Kathmandu, and led them to the village of Jiri; from there they trekked across 100 miles of mountains and jungle

Each year, tens of thousands of people journey into Nepal’s Sagarmāthā National Park to witness Everest Base Camp firsthand. Most fly into the tiny airport of Lukla to begin their journey, but an adventurous few retrace Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic steps from the beginning.

Most people who travel to Everest Base Camp today begin their journey by flying into “the world’s most dangerous airport” in the town of Lukla. From Lukla, it’s just a few days’ hike into the Himalayas along a path that has been neatly cultivated to facilitate thousands of tourists.

Of the tens of thousands of people that travel into Sagarmāthā National Park every year, mere hundreds do so by entering from the adjoining Gaurishankar Conservation Area, where Hillary’s journey began. The 65 miles from Jiri to Lukla constantly change with the elevation. The area down low is like the Costa Rican rain forest — vegetation is lush and green; turquoise rivers rage through every valley. Up high reminded is like areas in California — massive rock faces littered with pine trees; ridgeline after ridgeline filling the sky.

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