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Everest Three Passes Trek (19 Days)

Everest Three Passes Trek (19 Days)
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This demanding trek thoroughly explores the Khumbu region, linking the central Everest and Gokyo trails with an additional trail to the east and the west. It includes three passes over 5 300m/17 400ft that, and with the possibility of inclement weather conditions, demands initial fitness and stamina, thorough acclimatisation and long slow-paced ascents. The transverse route can be tackled in either direction. The easier anticlockwise direction is described below.

Fly to Lukla, and trek to Namche Bazaar for a rest and acclimatization day.

The eastern arm adds a trek to Chhukhung for a second acclimatization day; walk to Chhukhung Ri or Island Peak BC – for fantastic views of the Nuptse – Lhotse and north Ama Dablam glaciers. The first pass, Kongma La, crosses onto the Everest Base Camp trail. Head for Gorak Shep, the last village; visit the Everest Base Camp and climb Kala Patthar for sunrise views of the Everest group.

Walk south to Duglha then tackle the Cho La to Tagnag. Cross the Ngozumpa Glacier and head for a rest day at Gokyo; climb Gokyo Ri for superb views of Nepal’s longest glacier, Cho Oyo and four other 8 000m peaks along the Mahalangur Himal.

The western section includes the steep ascent to the Renjo La above the Gokyo Lake; for altered views of the valley, glacier and the eastern giants. The descent to Marulung faces west offering new dramatic landscapes in the Rolwaling District. Before the village, the trail joins an old Tibetan salt route; walk with the traders to Thame and on to Namche Bazaar. Return to Lukla for your flight to Kathmandu.

Day 01: Arrival   Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport (1 300m/4 260ft). We will meet and transfer you to your hotel.

Day 02: In the City Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour OR a free day. Trek preparation

Day 03: Kathmandu – Lukla (2 640m/8 660ft) – Phakding (2 610m/8 560ft), 35 min flight, 3-4 hrs trek 

Day 04: Phakding - Namche Bazaar (3 440m/11 290ft), 5-6 hrs

Day 05: Namche Bazaar: Rest, acclimatization and exploration day

Day 06: Namche Bazaar – Tengboche (3 870m/12 700ft), 5-6 hrs  

Day 07: Tengboche – Dingboche (4 360m/14 300ft), 5-6 hrs   

Day 08: Dingboche – Chhukhung (4 730m/15 520ft), 3-4 hrs             

Day 09: Chhukhung: rest day. Explore Chhukhung Ri or Island Peak Base Camp

Day 10: Chhukhung – Kongma La (5 540m/18 180ft) – Lobuche (4 940m/16 210ft), 9-10hrs  

Day 11: Lobuche – Gorak Shep (5 160m/16 930ft) – Everest Base Camp (5 360m/17 590ft) – Gorak Shep, 8-9 hrs.   

Day 12: Gorak Shep – Kala Patthar (5 550m/18 210ft) – Dzonglha (4 830m/15 850 ft), 8-9 hrs

Day 13: Dzonglha – Cho La (5 420m/17 780ft) – Tagnag (4 700m/15 420ft) – Gokyo (4 750m/15 580ft), 9-10 hrs   

Day 14: Rest day in Gokyo. (Explore Gokyo Ri and/or the trail to Scoundrels Point)

Day 15: Gokyo – Renjo La pass (5 345m/17 537ft) – Marulung (4 210m/13 810ft), 8-9 hrs

Day 16: Marulung – Namche Bazaar (3 440m/11 290ft), 7-8 hrs

Day 17: Namche Bazaar – Lukla (2 640m/8 660ft), 7-8 hrs

Day 18: Lukla – Kathmandu by Air (1 300m/4 260ft), 35min flight

Day 19: Final Departure: Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight to your onward destination.

NB: Cloud and turbulent weather along the mountain ranges is common and may lead to internal mountain flight delays or cancellations. We suggest you add at least one extra day after your trek before flying out of Nepal.

Day 01: Arrival: Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (1 300m/4 260ft)                    

After completing passport, immigration and visa requirements, we will meet you outside the terminal building (look for your name board) and transfer you to your hotel: afternoon free.  Evening: a welcome dinner, introduction to your guide and a briefing on the trek with a check on necessities.  Overnight at hotel. 

Day 02:  In the City  Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing   OR   A Day at Leisure 

Take a day tour to five of the Kathmandu Valley’s cultural world heritage sites: Swayambhunath, the famed “monkey temple;” the city’s historical Durbar Square with ancient temples, unique art, architecture, and the chance to see the Kumari (living goddess); Patan’s Durbar Square; the Hindu temple Pashupatinath and Bouddhanath, the world’s largest stupa.
A car and driver will take you to each site-entrance and wait for you. (Entry tickets and lunch are not included.)

Day 03: Kathmandu – Lukla (2 800m/9 190ft) – Phakding (2 610m/8 560ft), 35 min flight, 3-4 hrs trek

After breakfast, drive to the Domestic Airport for the flight to Lukla in the Khumbu region – south of Everest. Meet your local porters and begin the discovery by trekking into the Dudh Koshi Valley: to Cheplung (2 700m) and Ghat (2 530m). Another hour’s walk takes you to Phakding. Overnight in Phakding

Day 04: Phakding – Namche Bazaar (3 440m/11 290ft), 5-6 hrs

Walk through pine forests along the Dudh Koshi, crossing tributaries, to the Sherpa villages of Benkar (2 710m), Chumoa (2 820m), Monjo (2 840m) and Jorsale (2 830m). This is the gateway and permit checkpoint to the Sagarmatha National Park. Thamserku (6 618m) glistens east of the village. Follow the river to its confluence with the Bhote Koshi: the major rivers draining the Khumbu District. Climb steadily, crossing the high Tenzing- Hilary Bridge, to the first glimpses of Everest and the Nuptse-Lhotse ridge. A further 3 hr forested climb leads to the region’s administrative and trade centre at Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.

Day 05: Namche Bazaar: Acclimatization and exploration day

This is the first scheduled acclimatization day. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) experts recommend at least a 24 hr rest period. Keep active: climb high and sleep low is the acclimatisation advice.

Only Namche offers ATMs, cyber cafés, restaurants and bakeries, plus a colourful market each Friday evening and Saturday morning. The Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park Visitor’s Centre has informative displays on Sherpa culture, local flora and fauna.

The village of Khumjung (3 780m) will present a more traditional view of Sherpa life than Namche. Spend a morning walking up to the village. A circular trail is possible. At very least, visit the closer Everest View Hotel (3 880m).

A more adventurous five hour trek west to Thame (3 820m): below the impressive Kongde Ri Ridge (6 187m), offers panoramic Himalayan landscapes not visible from the Gokyo or Everest trails.

Day 06: Namche Bazaar – Tengboche (3 870m/12 700ft), 5-6 hrs

From the top of Namche, the trail contours around a hill to Sanasa (3 600m); and a trail fork: NW to Gokyo, NE to Everest. Look for Himalayan tahrs on high ground, shy spotted deer, and birds – including the colourful (male) national bird: the Danphe pheasant. Descend to water driven prayer wheels at Phunki Thenga (3 250m, lowest point north of Namche). Cross the Dudh Koshi near its confluence with the Imja Khola and climb steeply for 2 hrs up the Imja Khola Valley through rhododendron and dwarf conifers to the hilltop village of Tengboche. 

Good views from the village include the Everest group. There is an important monastery that is well worth visiting. At October’s full moon the colourful, Mani Rimdu festival is held; with Tibetan Opera and masked dancing. Overnight in Tengboche.

Day 07: Tengboche – Dingboche (4 360 m/14 300ft), 5-6 hrs

Descend to the scattered stone village of Debuche (3 820m): with a nunnery. Cross the Imja Khola to the north and gradually ascend to Pangboche (3 860m) with rear views of towering Ama Dablam (6 856m). The trail follows the river to its confluence with the Lobuche Khola and continues to Dingboche: the last year-round settlement in the region. Walled terraced fields protect barley, buckwheat and potatoes from icy winds and marauding animals during the short growing season at this altitude. Overnight in Dingboche.

Day 08: Dingboche – Chhukhung (4 730m/15 520ft), 3-4 hrs                         

The trail now winds between stone walled fields in an alpine landscape. Views improve towards the head of the Imja Valley. Lhotse towers to the left, Ama Dablam’s north face to the right. Trek up to Bibre (4 570m), a collection of yak herder’s goths (huts). Beyond a terminal moraine slope, pyramidal Island Peak (Imja Tse, 6 189m, a popular trekking peak) soars into view. Icy streams later intersect the trail, ~30 min before Chhukhung. After lunch, stroll towards a rocky knoll (5 550m) on Chhukhung Ri for tremendous views of Lhotse, Peak 38, Island Peak, Makalu, Baruntse, et al and their glacial systems. Return to Chhukhung for the night.  

Day 09: Chhukhung: Rest day – explore Island Peak Base Camp

A second scheduled acclimatization day is recommended before tackling the highest pass on this trail. Stay active: the views further up the valley on the moraines towards Island Peak (6 189m) are tremendous. Head for its BC (4 970m) along the Lhotse glacier, passing the Imja Tsho (lake). The huge south face of Lhotse (8 414m) – Lhotse Shar (8 393m) towers to the north. To the south, the immense fluted ice walls that flank Amphu Lapcha La (5 845m) dominate the horizon. Ama Dablam’s north eastern face provides an unusual view of this glorious peak.Return to Chhukhung for the night.     

Day 10: Chhukhung – Kongma La (5 535m/18 160ft) – Lobuche (4 940m/16 210ft), 9-10 hrs            

An early start is recommended for this long, high and remote route. The ascent requires some five hours and the difficult descent another couple of hours. The trail traverses a hill northwest of Chhukhung, crossing the Nuptse glacier moraine before crossing the Niyang Khola and ascending it’s valley below towering walls of rock. It then turns westwards, through a boulder strewn landscape toward a hilltop and on into a shallow depression of frozen lakes. After passing these, the trail ascends, over loose scree, to the flag-bedecked summit. Picnic en route.

To the east is the starkly beautiful rock and ice landscape of the ascent; the western view falls away to the Khumbu Glacier. The descent is over unabated loose scree until firmer ground is finally reached on the moraine. The route across the glacier is marked by cairns and is relatively easy. A path from the top of the opposite moraine leads north to Lobuche. Overnight in Lobuche.

Day 11: Lobuche – Gorak Shep (5 160m/16 930ft) – Everest Base Camp (5 360m/17 590ft) – Gorak Shep, 8-9 hrs

A desolate trail along the moraine heads for the last, seasonal, village of Gorak Shep below Pumori. After an early lunch, trek to cold EBC: positioned on the Khumbu Glacier opposite the dreaded icefall – the most nerve wracking section of an Everest ascent.

During the April-May ascent season, porters scurry in and out with supplies like an army of ants and the site is a riot of colourful tents perched on the dirty ice. Out of season it is bleak and silent, bar birds wind and avalanches.  Everest and the Cwm are hidden behind the West Ridge. Walk back to Gorak Shep for the night.

Day 12: Gorak Shep – Kala Patthar (5 545m/18 193ft) – Dzonglha (4 830m/15 850ft), 8-9 hrs

From the village, a pre-dawn climb (2-3 hrs) up Kala Patthar, offers sunrise over: Everest (8 848m/29 028ft), Lhotse (8 516m), Nuptse (7 861m) and Changtse (7 550m, north of the Rongbuk Glacier). Then Pumori (7 145m), Lingtren (6 697m) and Khumbutse (6 623m) amidst countless other peaks that crowd your horizon. Cho Oyo (8 201m) can be seen further to the west:

Drop back to Gorak Shep for breakfast and then retrace your steps down to Lobuche for lunch.

The trail to Dzonglha branches off the main Lobuche – Dingboche route at Duglha, before the snout of the Khumbu Glacier is reached. Contour to the west beneath Awi Peak around a flat bottomed depression before entering a wide shallow valley, beneath Taboche and Cholatse. Walk up the gentle slope, past the large Cho La Tsho to the village. Overnight in Dzonglha.

Day 13: Dzonglha – Cho La (5 420m/17 780ft) – Tagnag (4 700m/15 420ft) – Gokyo (4 770m/15 580ft), 9-10 hrs

Start early for the three hour climb to avoid cloud at the summit. Walk through the boulder-strewn, valley, crossing streams, towards the rock wall ahead. Scramble up a series of boulders beneath a granite buttress to a ridge. The Cho La Glacier lies ahead. Behind is the Cholatse Tsho with Ama Dablam taking centre stage amongst distant peaks.  Climb the icefall and cross the glacier carefully as it rises and curves to the west around a buttress to the flags on the narrow neck of the pass.

Summit views back to the east overlook Cholatse, Baruntse, Lobuche West and East and Ama Dablam. To the north the high border ridge of the Mahalangur Himal presents the vast white wall from Ghyachung Kang, west, across Ngozumpa II and I to Cho Oyu: from which Nepal’s longest, Ngozumpa, glacier is formed. These peaks are all above 7,600m. To the west is the Ngozumpa Glacier, with Pharilapche and Kyajo Ri standing out amidst other peaks.

The long descent into the Gokyo Valley is marked erratically by stone cairns and is across loose scree on hidden ice. This eventually leads down to a tiny valley on the far side of which is a grassy hill that drops to the summer grazing hamlet of Tagnag on the edge of the glacier. From here there is a wider panorama of mountains.

Cross the kilometre wide glacier and the far moraine – to drop down onto the Namche Bazaar-Gokyo trail. Turn north and pass Taboche Tsho, the second of Gokyo’s six sacred lakes and continue, for another half hour, to Gokyo. The village is set on the side of the moraine and overlooks the blue-green Dudh Pokhari (lake) which nestles in a crescent of high peaks at the foot of Gokyo Ri and the Renjo La. Cho-Oyu (8 201m) and the ice ridge to Ghyachung Kang (7 952m) are visible behind low ridges. Overnight in Gokyo.

Day 14: Gokyo: Rest and exploration day

Gokyo offers two exploration options: the second has similarities to the views from the Renjo La.

A gently rising 3km trail north of the village explores the route past the remaining lakes. They, together with melt water from the glacier are the source of the Dudh Koshi that is followed down to Lukla. Aim for Thonak Tsho (4 870m), Ngozumpa Tsho (4 980m) and Scoundrel’s viewpoint (5 000m) on a low hill. From here there are tremendous close-up views of Cho-Oyu, the ice wall and Ghyachung Kang plus Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Makalu. Allow ~2h to return to Gokyo. The Cho-Oyu Base Camp at the northern end of the sixth, Gyazumba Tsho (4 990m), is too far for a day’s walk. Return to Gokyo for the night.

The trail to the Gokyo Ri viewpoint (5 360m/17 590ft), begins after a short walk around the lake. Set out early to avoid mid-morning cloud: for the two hour climb to its summit. Below is the broad, rubble-covered Ngozumpa Glacier, gouged from the wall of towering peaks on its eastern flank. Above  very nice view of  Mahalangur Himal that includes Cho-Oyu (8 201m) the ice wall and Ghyachung Kang (7 952m), the north face of Everest (8 848m/29 028ft), Lhotse (8 516m), Nuptse (7 861m), and Makalu (8 463m). To the south Cholatse, Taboche, Thamserku, Kangtega, Kusum Kangru and many more, all over 6 300m, some unnamed, rear their peaks. 

Day 15: Gokyo – Renjo La (5 345m/17 537ft) – Marulung (4 200m/13 780ft), 8-9 hrs

A dawn start is needed to ensure that Marulung is reached before sunset. Snow and ice can slow progress. The 3-4hr climb to the La rises gradually up the flank of Gokyo Ri before zigzagging up an ever steeper ribbon of scree above the northwest corner of the lake to cross a ridge. It continues to rise, less steeply to the summit: and stupendous views in all directions. To the east, the Cho La – Everest group dominate a horizon of innumerable peaks. Below, a diminutive Dudh Pokhari and Gokyo lie beneath the glacier. To the west Henjola (5 925m), Ghyajung Thak (5 657m) and a new panorama to the Rolwaling Himal is on view.

From the summit, the trail wends its way down stone staircases and loose scree, passing the small Angladumba, Relama and Renjo Tshos. It then enters a narrow valley littered with giant boulders, before reaching the summer village of Lungden above the Bhote Koshi: which drains the western Mahalangur Himal. At Lungden the trail joins the ancient trade route from Tibet via the Nagpa La (5 716m). There is a support lodge here: not always open. Another hour’s walk leads to Marulung on the east bank of the Dudh Khosi. Overnight in Marulung.

Day 16: Marulung – Thame (3 750m/12 300ft) – Namche Bazaar (3 440 m/11 290ft), 8-9 hours                     

Below Marulung the ancient trail crosses to the west of the Bhote Kosi and on to Tarngga (3 700m). It then crosses the Langmuche Khola: which drains the Dig Tsho that caused devastating floods along the Bhote Koshi when it burst its banks in 1985.

Trek to Thame for lunch. This is a sprawling village with magnificent views. Its hill Gompa is 340 years old and houses impressive images of Chenresig, Guru Rinpoche and Buddha Sakyamuni. A colourful Mani Rimdu festival is held here in May.

The trail then continues its descent to the hamlet of Samdo before dropping steeply to Thamo; and the Khari nunnery. Beyond is a hydro electric scheme that supplies power to the upper Khumbu region. At Phurte, the Laudo Monastery is a popular study and meditation centre for foreigners: linked to the Bouddhanath monastery in Kathmandu. Continue to Namche Bazaar for the night.

Day 17: Namche Bazaar – Lukla (2 800m/9 190ft), 7-8 hrs

From Namche, the long final trail descends to more comfortable altitudes, passing through the friendly farming villages of Jorsale (exit point from the National Park), Monjo and Phakding: then cross the suspension bridge at Thado Kosi before rising to Ghat, Cheplung and the final haul to Lukla: where your porters will take their leave. Overnight in Lukla.

Day 18: Lukla – Kathmandu (1 300m/4 260ft), 35min flight.

After an early breakfast, take the return flight to Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel. Rest of day free.

Day 19: Final Departure

Transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight to your onward destination.

NB: Cloud and turbulent weather along the mountain ranges is common and may lead to internal mountain flight delays or cancellations. We suggest you add at least one extra day after your trek before flying out of Nepal.

Cost Include

  •  All the airport/ Hotel transfers
  • Two Star Hotel in Kathmandu, Thamel for 3 night with the  bed and  breakfast
  • Well come and farewell dinner
  • Full day Kathmandu city tour on  private car/Van/ Bus
  • Professional govt. registered tour Guide
  • Domestic flight ( Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu)
  • Full meals ( Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) during the treks
  • All necessary paper work permit and TIMS ( National Park Permit and TIMS)
  • An English speaking professional govt. registered trekking Guide and porter ( 2 trekkers 1 Porter ) above the 4 trekkers 1 assistant Guide
  • Hot drinks ( tea and coffee)
  • Safe drinking water ( Chlorine/ Iodine water)
  • All the Mountain accommodations
  • 4 nights' accommodations with the independent bathroom/ hot shower which is very good after many days trekking
  • Rest of the night comfortable private room with sharing toilet and Bathroom
  • Guide and Porter salary, meals, accommodations, insurance, flight and equipment
  • All the government and local taxes
  • A comprehensive medical kit
  • Trekking equipment four season sleeping bag down jacket rain coat walking poll many more as per necessary

Cost Exclude

  • Kathmandu city tour monument fees
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu except welcome and farewell dinner
  • All the soft and alcoholic drinks
  • Mineral water
  • Boiled water
  • Personal  expenses
  • Hot shower except 4 night
  • Travel insurance and evacuation
  • Tip ( not compulsory but expected)

Route Map:

Trip Facts

Trip Name: Everest Three Pass trek

Duration: 19 days

Trek Days: 16 days

Country: Nepal

Region: Everest Region

Altitude: 5364m (EBC) 5545m (Kalapathar) 5540m (Komba La) 5420m (Cho La) 5345m (Ranjo La)

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Highlights: Mountain Views of Mt. Everest and other Himalayas, Sherpa Culture

Activities: Trekking, Sightseeing,

Accommodation: Hotel/Guest House

Transportation: Private Car/ Van/ Bus in Kathmandu / Flight Kathmandu/Lukla/Kathmandu

Best month: February-May/ September- December

Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Cost: Ask the Landmark Discovery Treks

Group Member Min: 2 Maximum -10

 

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