29 March – 07 June 2017 (71 Days)
Our Lhotse expedition uses the same logistical support for the trek and acclimatization on Lobuche as our Everest Members.
This expedition is designed for experienced expeditioners who have previously climbed Everest. As the couloir is very narrow and has rock fall danger, we only accept a very small number (maximum 8 Members) on the route.
Himalayan Experience is concerned by the unstable nature of the Khumbu Icefall so we intend to have Members and Sherpas travel through this area as little as possible. Himalayan Experience Members will spend more time on Lobuche and surrounding peaks during the acclimatisation, so as to avoid at least one trip through the Icefall for Members, and several trips for the Sherpa Staff. The traditional Everest/Lhotse Base Camp is crowded and is on active ice that moves and melts around the tents during the course of the expedition. Himalayan Experience will camp further down the valley, closer to Pumori where there is more sun and the ice does not move, so that our Sherpa staff will not have to spend so much time maintaining our Base Camp infrastructure, and we will be less crowded.
Members will be encouraged to use both the Everest/Lhotse and Lobuche Base Camps in order to do long strenuous day and camping trips on surrounding peaks before the first acclimatisation trip through the icefall.
The first trip into the Western Cwm will be directly to Camp 2 (6,400m) where members will spend 2 nights before continuing up to Camp 3 (7,200m) on the Lhotse Face. We will spend one night here before descending back down to Camp 2 for another night. The following day we will return to Base Camp.
There will be practice ladders at Base Camp so that Members will have the chance to become familiar with how to walk across these before travelling through the Icefall for the first time. Himalayan Experience will place an emergency tent and equipment at Camp 1 at the top of the Icefall. However this camp has an inherent avalanche danger, so members are not encouraged to stay in this camp. Starting from C3 on the Lhotse face, the route follows the normal Everest trail up to the traverse over to the Yellow Band. Beyond the Yellow Band and close to the Base of the Geneva Spur, Lhotse climbers make a sharp right turn, taking them directly up a steep slope to Lhotse C4. Tent spaces are cut out of this slope just beneath and to the right side of the Lhotse couloir.
Climbers depart from Lhotse C4 in the dark, crossing an open area before entering the Lhotse couloir. The Lhotse couloir is approximately 600 metres, of mostly consistent 50 to 60 degree snow slope. The couloir varies in width, but is generally narrow. Several short sections are steep, involving rock scrambling. The couloir is well-protected, with stellar views of the SE ridge of Everest. At the top left of the couloir, you reach the summit block which is a steep section of rock climbing that tops out on the tiny summit where there is a large cornice. From the summit you have a unique and unparalleled view of Mt. Everest and its surrounding peaks.
On the descent, there is a series of abseils, before arm-wrapping back into C4. Then you follow the normal fixed line traverse on the standard Everest Route back to C3. The summit program will be dependent upon weather and snow conditions, but in general will be a single push on 7 consecutive days from Base Camp as follows:
Base Camp – Camp 2 - Camp 3: Camp 4 – Summit – Camp 4: Camp 4 – Camp 2: Camp 2 – Base Camp.
There is a danger in landing helicopters at altitude, however now with better quality equipment operating in Nepal it is possible to fly directly from Base Camp to Lukla or even directly to Kathmandu. Himalayan Experience will pay for the normal trekking trip to Lukla and flight out. Those wanting to use helicopters will need to pay themselves.