Hey NWPhil, are you planning on day hikes from Kathmandu/Pokhara or are you going on a trek to Everest or Annapurna base camp? This will make a huge difference in how you approach this.
Send me some details on your itinerary.
Don't have one yet, per say.
We are going to do our very own itinerary as we go - well, whithin limits, as it will be only me and my wife, aside porters and guide.
The idea is to go from Lukla to Gokyo lakes area, and then cross to EBC, finalizing at start point. Looking at 21 days plus - meaning that, the usual 21 day trek includes about 5-6 days in Kathamandu and Lukla, for aclimatization and tours.
We might add up that to the 21 days of trekking, but not sure yet
see standard hik itinerary below:
Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu / dinner with cultural program.
Day 02 : Explore Boudhnath and Pashupatinath / Trip preparation.
Day 03 : Fly to Lukla and start Everest trekking.
Day 04-05 : Trekking to Namche / Acclimatization rest day.
Day 06 : Trek to Kumjung.
Day 07-08 : Trekking up the Gokyo Valley and enjoy views of massive Cho Oyu.
Day 09-10 : Climb Gokyo Ri / savour the stunning looks of Mt. Everest and pristine lakes.
Day 11 : Trekking on the moraines of the Ngozumpa Glacier to Thangna.
Day 12-13 : Cross the challenging Chola pass and trek to Lobuche: enjoy the superb beauty of Nature.
Day 14 : Trekking Kala Pathar for views across Khumbu Glacier to Everest.
Day 15 : Exploration to the Everest Base Camp.
Day 16-18 : Trekking down to Lukla to end the Everest circuit trekÂ via Pheriche, Thyangboche.
Day 19 : Himalayan flight back to Kathmandu / Rest day.
Day 20 : Free day in Kathmandu.
Day 21 : Trip ends / Airport transfer.(...)"
After 3 trips to Nepal (and 5 treks in total) here are my comments....
Times of the year - October/November is perfect - you'll probably get no rain - at most a shower or two between Lukla and Namche. Very pleasant through the day, bit chilly at night, especially above 4000m.
Itinerary - Looks a bit tight to me - remember high altitude means altitude sickness if you don't aclimitise .... and if you do aclimitise, then mild discomfort. I'm used to trekking long days (10-14 hours) here in New Zealand, but in Nepal have always taken my time and it has paid big dividends, especially when trying to take half decent photos (I have tried to start by 7:30am and finish my trekking by lunch-time, allowing the afternoon to meet the locals, reading, photography. If you haven't been at altitude immediately before arriving at Lukla, then look to spend 2-3 nights at Namche - do day trips to Thame and Kumjung, allowing the recovery at night at a reasonable altitude (3300m) - it will set you up for the rest of the trip, which you will enjoy more. Also take Diamox as a preventative - I found I have gained about 1 day in terms of acclimitisation schedule. The general recommendation is only gaining 300m altitude per day. Take time early in the trip to aclimitise is the best recommendation I can give. I would suggest ......
day 1 Lukla - Phadking or Mondo
day 2 to Namche
day 3 Namche (day trip to Kumjung)
day 4 Namche (day trip to Thame)
day 5 ......onwards (I think its 3 days from Namche to Gokyo)
Gear - last time (and the only time I was using digital), I carried Canon 350D, 17-85 and 70-300. I left my 10-20 in Kathmandu. The pop up flash was sufficient for the 1-2 flash photos I took. I find that the telephoto can be very useful, more than the ultrawide. Image stabilisation is important - with the lack of oxygen it is much harder to handhold a camera. I took sufficient batteries last time for the whole trip - electricity is very limited / non existant beyond Namche. If I was using full frame, I'd take a 24-105 IS and a 70-300 IS L. A lightweight tripod would be handy, so would a polarising filter. Keep your kit simple, with lack of oxygen at higher altitudes, everything is an effort, so there is a tendency to take the easy option, so lenses rarely get changed, tripods only get used when they have to (I didn't take a tripod on 4 of the 5 treks I have done).
Nepal is a wonderful place, the scenery is spectacular and the people are fantastic - enjoy your trip