Jiri Travel Guide -A Gateway to Everest

The 9th British expedition conquered Mount Everest in 1953. Comprising of few of the greatest climbers including; Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Sherpa, Eric Shipton and George Lowe, they started their trek to the serene Khumbu valley from Kathmandu itself and passing through the equally eclectic hills of Jiri, a small town in the northeast of Nepal.

Overview

 

Jiri (Nepali: जिरी) is a small town located in the Dolakha district, Nepal. Located at an altitude of 1,905 m (6,250 feet) on the eastern hills of Nepal, a commute from Kathmandu to Jiri can be completed in 6 to 8 hours. The 184 km passage through winding roads makes the ride seem longer than usual.

A local market at Jiri
A local market at Jiri

Though smaller in size, the region offers an authentic taste of its nativity which can rarely be enjoyed outside Jiri. It’s mostly inhabited by the ethnic tribes of Jirels and Sunuwars, but because of the commercialization of Everest trek and increase in incoming tourists, people of many other ethnicity have occupied the region too.

Also known as “Gateway to Mt. Everest,” the trail leads slowly upwards to the mountains into Khumbu valley.  Trek to Lukla from Jiri usually takes 7 or 8 days.

History

As only 5% of all trekkers who attempt the difficult trek to Everest Base Camp start at Jiri, the other 95% choose to fly into the small airstrip at Lukla.

Everest via Jiri was the original trail used by Col. John Hunt and his team in 1953’s Everest expedition. The first party, together with 150 porters, left Kathmandu for Mount Everest on 10 March, followed by the second party with 200 porters on the next day. On 29th May, the expedition’s second and final assault with Hillary and Tenzing finally helped conquered the Everest, ending the 70 days expedition.

The small town of Lukla was used as a gateway to enter and exit Khumbu valley because the only airport in Lukla ”Hillary-Tenzing Airport” didn’t exist back then. Today, most of the trekkers and climbers choose to fly to Khumbu, with only few numbers of trekkers choosing the original trail for Everest base camp trek.

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Resources

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