Trek the same exact trail that was used by the first mountaineers who summited Mount Everest in 1963. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary began their famous ascent all the way from Jiri, a village in the foothills below the Everest region peaks. By the end of the Everest Classic (from Jiri) Trek, find yourself at the legendary Mount Everest. Observe mountaineers as they prepare to summit the highest peak in the world at 8,848 meters / 29,029 feet.
At the time, all trekkers and mountaineers came from Kathmandu to Jiri, where the road ended. For this reason, Jiri has unofficially deemed “The Gateway to Mount Everest.” Today, so few tourists visit that it is a little paradise that adds amazement and a diversity of scenery for those who wish to begin the Everest Base Camp Trek from there.
Placing yourself on the trail from Jiri not only puts you on a historically significant route, but it also provides for more time to acclimatize. With an extra few days in the itinerary to reach Phakding, where the normal EBC trail starts, trekkers are in peak condition to ascend to higher altitudes. A bonus is that those first few days are sparsely populated by other trekkers.
Start from Jiri and pass various peaceful, serene villages nestled among sprawling terraced hillsides. The small number of tourists on the trail allows us to have better connections with the villagers that we meet in the guesthouses and throughout the trail. Locals belong to the Sherpa ethnic group and trekkers find them exceptionally hospitable and welcoming. In Junbesi, we can visit Thupten Chholing, a large Buddhist monastery with several hundred nuns and monks.
At Phakding, we align with the normal Everest Base Camp Trek route. Pass more villages, mani walls, and other Tibetan Buddhist shrines, and reach Namche Bazaar – the trade and tourism center of the Khumbu region. The magical views begin to greet us.