Everest Three Passes
This trek allows you to get off the normal trekking routes and experience the thrill of crossing some of the most beautiful mountain passes in the world. We visit the four main valleys in the Everest region by crossing the three famous high passes that join up the valleys – the Kongma La, Cho La, and Renjo La – all at approx. 5400m.
The trek starts with an exhilarating 40 minute mountain flight into the airstrip at Lukla. From here we trek slowly upwards to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar, following the valley of the Dudh Kosi river. It is not long before we glimpse our first view of Everest as it peeks above the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. With careful acclimatisation it is not long before we find ourselves high up in the heart of the Khumbu region. We visit Tengpoche monastery en route before continuing on to Chukhung from where we make the crossing of the Kongma La to Lobuche. From here, after a few days visiting Base Camp and climbing Kala Pattar, we cross over the Cho La to Gokyo. And from here we cross our third pass, the Renjo La and make our way down to Thami and eventually back to Namche and Lukla.
This is fast becoming a classic trek which gives some of the best mountain views and most enjoyable trekking in the world. We recommend this trek for those who are experienced trekkers and who may be looking to visit Nepal for a second time.
Fixed Trip Dates
Spring 2021 4 – 22 Apr, 11 – 29 Apr, 25 Apr – 13 May, 9 – 27 May
Autumn 2021 3 – 21 Oct, 10 – 28 Oct, 24 Oct – 11 Nov, 7 – 25 Nov
Day 01 : Arrive Kathmandu, transfer from airport to hotel
Day 02 : At leisure in Kathmandu, preparation for trek
Day 03 : Fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding
After a very early start, and an early take-off from Kathmandu Domestic Airport, a 40 minute flight is all it takes to propel us into the Everest region of Nepal. The landing at Lukla (2800m) is spectacular and on arrival we are greeted by our sirdar and trekking crew who organise the luggage. We start the trek with a gentle walk to Phakding (2800m), a further 3 hours to the north. The trail leads through Lukla, past hotels, shops and airline offices to the edge of the Lukla plateau where the trail drops to meet the intersection of the Jiri trail at Chablung. From here the trail follows the Dudh Kosi north through the village of Ghat and then finally to Phakding where we spend the night.
Day 04 : Phakding to Namche Bazaar
From Phakding the trail continues north up the Dudh Kosi valley. The trail leads us to Jorsale (2810m) where we enter the Sagarmatha National Park. From here we continue on an ever-steepening trail to Namche Bazaar (3440m), known simply as Namche. En route we cross the spectacular suspension bridge high above the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and the Dudh Kosi, and shortly after glimpse our first view of Everest, way off to the north-east. The trail to Namche is steep and seems long, but eventually we reach the remarkable Sherpa capital perched high on the hillside and dominated to the east by the immense bulk of Kwangde (6187m).
Day 05 : Acclimatisation day in Namche
Acclimatisation is important before trekking higher, and this is the first of two scheduled stops which allow us to gradually become used to the effects of altitude - the lower pressure and the thinner air. We can spend the day by taking a side trip to Thami or Khumjung, by visiting the National Park Visitor Centre on the hill above Namche or by simply resting and browsing in the shops in the town. Namche is a fascinating place simply to 'hang out' and take in the culture of the mountains, from the trading of visiting Tibetans to the stories of departing mountaineers.
Day 06 : Namche Bazaar to Tengpoche
From Namche we trek north-east on a direct line to Everest, starting up the hill to the Visitor Centre and continuing on a reasonably flat easy trail high above the Dudh Kosi. Ahead of us we can see one of the most beautiful mountains in the Khumbu - Ama Dablam (6856m), as well as Everest still far off in the distance. We pass through the settlement of Sanasa before making our descent to the Dudh Kosi and the village of Phunki Thanga. Of course, 'what goes down must go up', and from here it is a steep long climb up the side of the hill to the saddle on which Tengpoche monastery is located at 3870m. As we enter the grounds of the monastery we are welcomed by the most magnificent mountain view in the world. The long climb seems well worth it as we gaze upon a panorama of Himalayan giants, including Everest as it peeks above the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge.
Day 07 : Tengpoche to Dingboche
The trail initially descends through beautiful rhododendron forests and reaches a bridge across the Imja Khola where the river rushes through a narrow gorge, and from here it is a short walk to the settlement of Pangboche (3860m). After this point the trail and surroundings become distinctly alpine in appearance as we trek above the tree line. The trail is relatively easy, with a gentle climb towards Dingboche at 4410m. Dingboche is a long thin settlement nestled below a ridge that separates it from its neighbour Pheriche, at which there is a Himalayan Rescue Association medical centre. To the east we have fantastic views of Lhotse at 8501m, and the popular climbing peak of Island Peak at 6189m.
Day 08 : Acclimatisation day in Dingboche
This is the second of our acclimatisation days and it allows us to become adjusted to the thinning air. Whilst by no means compulsory, a recommended aid to acclimatisation is a side trip to Chukhung at 4730m. This is a short hike eastwards up the Imja Khola valley and is rewarded with fantastic views of Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Island Peak. Alternatives are to climb the ridge above Dingboche, walk across to Pheriche, or walk ahead to Duglha (4620m).
Day 09 : Dingboche to Chukhung
This is a short day - max 2 hours - up to Chukhung at 4730m. The rest of the day can be spent exploring or simply resting for the trek ahead. Options are an ascent of Chukhung Ri, walking towards the Kongma La for 1-2 hours or walking towards Island Peak base camp.
Day 10 : Crossing Kongma La to Lobuche
We start early and make steady progress on, at first, an easy trail that eventually becomes steeper. After 2 hours the terrain becomes more alpine and we are in a high mountain area that affords terrific views of the peaks all around us.
It is usual to reach the pass - the Kongma La at 5545m - after approx. 4 hours of steady walking. The pass itself is quite small and rocky and so we stay only long enough to take some photos and refuel before we begin the descent to the Khumbu glacier. It takes us approx. 3 hours to descend from the pass and cross the famous Khumbu glacier and then we are in Lobuche at 4930m.
Day 11 : Lobuche to Gorak Shep, side trip to Everest Base Camp
We start early from Lobuche and trek along the western side of the broad Khumbu Valley, through meadows and over scree slopes, as we continue beside the moraine of the huge creaking glacier. The trail is rough in parts and it is important to progress slowly as we are now above 5000m for the first time. Soon the pyramid peak of Pumori (7145m) comes into view and underneath this, dwarfed by its more exotic neighbour, we see the small black peak of Kala Pattar (5545m). This is the best vantage point for views of Everest and is our objective for tomorrow. The trail then descends to the moraine and down to the small settlement of Gorak Shep (5160m) where we rest before we continue along the side of the Khumbu Galcier to the site of the Everest Base Camp. We then return to Gorak Shep with the round trip taking approx. 6 hours.
Day 12 : Ascent of Kala Pattar, continue to Dzongla
The ascent takes approx. 2 hours of steady walking, stopping occasionally to take in the view of the increasing bulk of Everest. From the summit it is
possible to see many of the key features of this great mountain - the South Col from which Hillary and Tenzing made their first ascent in 1953 is clearly visible. After spending time taking photographs and experiencing the greatest mountain view in the world we descend back to Gorak Shep and then continue our trek onto Dzongla. The trek to Dzongla, at 4830m, takes about 4 hours of steady walking and we arrive early afternoon.
Day 13 : Dzongla to Tagnag
From Dzongla to the Cho La at 5420m takes about 3 hours of steady progress. This is divided into 3 distinct sections, firstly a relatively easy trail until we reach a rocky scramble and then the final push to the pass on snow across an easy glacial path.
The views from the pass are stunning and we rest here before descending to Tagnag on a long trail that takes approx. 3 hours.
Day 14 : Tagnag to Gokyo
This is a short day as we cross the Ngozumpa glacier to Gokyo. Although this is the longest glacier in the Himalaya it is not that difficult to cross and we reach Gokyo in 2-3 hours. Gokyo is a beautiful spot next to the so-called 3rd lake with many lodges and amazing views of Cho Oyu to the north and the Renjo La pass across to the west.
Day 15 : Gokyo to Lunde
The ascent to the pass is at first on a flat trail to the west around the lake but it soon starts to steepen on a series of short switchbacks. After 2 hours we are high on a plateau that eventually leads to the steep ascent to the pass itself at 5360m. This is usually reached in approx. 3 hours from Gokyo.
From the pass it is a steep descent on a man-made path and then on easy mountain trails to Lunde at 4380m where we spend the night.
Day 16 : Lunde to Namche Bazaar
This is an easy day as we descend through Thami and back to Namche where we arrive at lunchtime. This takes approx. 4-5 hours of easy walking on a descending trail.
Day 17 : Namche Bazaar to Lukla
The final day of our trek, and a sense of relief for some and sadness for others as we retrace our steps along the trail above the Dudh Kosi. We start by descending steeply out of Namche and shortly before we cross the suspension bridge below Namche we get a last chance to see Everest before it is out of sight until the next time. We lunch at Phakding and then continue down the trail, rising up to Lukla to arrive by mid-afternoon.
Day 18 : Lukla to Kathmandu
We return to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu with a 40 minute flight back to the domestic airport. Here you will be greeted and transferred back to your hotel in Kathmandu. Arrival times back into Kathmandu vary, however it is usual to arrive back at your hotel by mid-afternoon at the latest.
Day 19 : Transfer from hotel to airport, fly home
We recommend that you book a flight out of Nepal in the late afternoon or early evening to ensure that you have enough time should there be any delay when flying back from Lukla.