Sagarmatha Everest National Park
Sagarmatha National Park covers an area of 1148 square kilometers in the Khumbu region of Nepal. A World Heritage Sitet the park includes the highest peak in the world. Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest 8848 m.) and several other well known peaks such as Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Ama
Dablam, Thamerku, Kwangde, Kangtaiga and Gyachyung Kang. As Mt. Sagarmatha and the surrounding area is of major significance not only to Nepal but to the rest of the world, its status as a national park since 1976 is intended to safeguard its unique cultural, physical and scientific values through positive management based on sound conservation principles. Geology:
* According to the continental-drift theory, the Himalaya were uplifted at the end of the Mesozoic Era, some 60 millions years ago. The resulting young mountains of this region are still rising and the net growth is a few centimeters per century.
Vegetation, Wild Animals and Birds:
* Vegetation in the park varies from pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron woods at mid-elevations, scrub and alpine plant communities higher up and bare rock and snow above tree line. The famed bloom of rhododendrons occurs during the spring (April and May) although much of the. flora is most colorful during the monsoon season (June to August). .
* The wild animals most likely to be seen in the park are the Himalayan tahr, goral, serow, musk deer and Himalayan black bear. Other mammals are weasels, martens. Himalayan mouse hare (Pika), jackals and langur.
* The park provides a habit for at least 118 species of birds. The most common birds to be seen are the Impeyen pheasant (the national bird of Nepal), blood pheasant, cheer pheasant, jungle crow, red billed and yellow billed coughs and snow pigeon. Fairly common birds are the Himalayan griffon, lammergier, snow partridge, skylark and many others.
* The summer climate is cool and wet and winter is cold and dry. Almost all of the annual precipitation, averaging less than 1000 mm, falls during the summer monsoon, from end of May to September. Climatically, the best time to visit the park is between October and May, except for December to February when, daytime temperatures often drop below 0 C and there is heavy snowfall.
* The park is populated by approximately 3000 of the famed Sherpa people, originating from Tibet in the late 15th or early 16th century A.D. Their lives are interwoven with the teaching of Buddhism. The main settlements are Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Khunde, Thame, Thyangboche, Pangboche and Phortse. There are also temporary settlements in the upper valleys where the Sherpas graze their livestock during the summer season.
* The economy of the Khumbu Sherpa community has traditionally been agriculture, livestock herding and trade with Tibet. With the coming of international mountaineering expeditions in the 1950s, the region also attracted larger numbers of foreign trekkers. Today the Sherpa economy is becoming increasingly dependent on tourism.
How to Get There:
* Fly in and out of Lukla, followed by 15 days walk.
* Bus to Jiri and trek for 21 days, flying back to Kathmandu from Lukla.
* Fly in and out of Phaplu and trek for 16 days.
* Fly in to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu and a 10 day walk to the park.
* There are trekker lodges with food available in places like Namche Bazaar, Thyangboche, Pheriche and Lobuche and along most of the main trekking routes the small villages have basic accomodation.
* There is the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) at Pheriche which has medical facilities and also accepts credit card as payment.
* The National Park ranges from 3000 m to 8000 m and above in altitude. Visitors need to be careful and aware of High Altitude sickness (HAS). Do not climb to fast or too high in one day, no more than 400 m in a day. Signs of HAS include: headache, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness, loss of appetite, nauseousness and general tiredness.