I've been snooping around the forums for a while and have got loads of helpful information from all the posts here. But I decided I would clearly ask my questions just to confirm some of my doubts with the trip.
I plan to do the EBC trek with 2 friends of mine. We were initially thinking hooking up with an agency but decided against it because we wanted more freedom with the places we sty and the food we eat. So we decided to do it on our own as from what I've gathered the route is pretty straightforward.
We plan to be in Kathmandu by the night of 28th April. I'm assuming it takes one day to get the TIMS and permits in order so we might leave the 29th for that and make 30th our Lukla flight day.
1. I've gone over loads off itineraries and the range from 13 days to 23 days depending on umber of rest days taken and if people want to add in Gokyo (which we badly want to do). We are trying to get back to Kathmandu by the 17th of May. So before we finalized anything we wanted to know if its possible to do both EBC and Gokyo between the 30th (that's when we take the Lukla flight hopefully) and the 16th (that's when we get back to Lukla and hopefully get a flight to Kathmandu the next day weather permitting).
2. We are hoping to do the Cho La Pass from the Gokyo side. In case the weather doesn't seem permitting, whats the alternate route we can take from Gokyo to get back to the EBC trail and how many extra days will this add?
3. We did not want to hire any guides or porters. But from what I've gathered about the Cho La pass, its better to respect it rather than challenge it. Is it possible to get a guide/porter for the trip from Lukla instead of having to hire them from Kathmandu ( I believe this adds the overhead flight cost as well). Are the porters hired from Lukla recommended?
I would also like some help with the itinerary. I've made a rough one by referring to quite a few around the internet. Please let me know where it is possible to cut down on days or where it is mandatory to add days.
30th April: early flight to lukla and trek to Phakding.
1st May: Trek to Namche Bazaar
2nd May: Rest day at Namche Bazaar (any good places around to hike?)
3rd May: Trek to Dole.
4th May: Trek to Machermo
5th May: Trek to Gokyo Lake
6th May: Hike to Gokyo Ri and relax around Gokyo
7th May: Trek to Thaknak
8th May: Cho la Pass if the weather allows. Then on to Dzongla. I've heard its better to quickly get down to Lobuche from Dzongla. Is that true? Looking at a long day here.
9th May: Trek to Gorak Shep.
10th May: The EBC day.
11th May: Hike up to Kala Pattar and then get down to DingBoche.
12th May: Trek to Namche Bazaar. 7 hour day.
13th May: Trek to Lukla and get ready.
14th May: Lukla to Kathmandu.
This is very skeletal and based of what I've read. I know some might suggest to take another acclimatization day and if that is needed then we push it to 15th May. Also where is the best place to take the second acclimatization day?
Please advice me on if this itinerary is possible and suggestions to change it if there are places that we ABSOLUTELY must see and are not added on the list.