Face it, you may never actually climb the world's highest peak. But you shouldn't miss out on the chance to see it. The 13-day route from the village of Lukla through Namche Bazar to Everest Base Camp is the all-time classic Himalayan trek, delivering up clear shots of Everest and, as a bonus, Himalayan giants Ama Dablam, Kangtega, and Tawache. The weather is clearest in October and April, when the icy peaks cut into the pale-blue sky and the red, green, and orange Tibetan prayer flags assume a preternatural brightness. There's no shortage of willing Sherpas and outfitters to guide you, but to get the most authentic trekking experience, you'll need to choose carefully. Karma Quest – which is owned by Wendy Lama, a Californian who spent 15 years helping develop ecotourism in Nepal, and her Nepali mountaineer husband Karma – hires local guides with eco-trekking training and a knack for immersing visitors in Sherpa culture. En route to base camp, they might bring you to a meal with their own family, invite you to a Sherpa wedding, or, in the fall, take you to the colorful Mani-Rimdu Buddhist prayer festival at Tyangbuche.
Credit: Nigel Killeen / Getty Images
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