Traversing through Nepal’s most precious landmarks—the town of Namche Bazaar, 5 of the world’s highest freshwater lakes in the Gokyo Valley, three mighty passes of Cho La, Renjo La, and Kongma La, along with the beautiful endowments of the Sagarmatha National Park, the Everest Three High Passes Trek is your absolute and wholesome experience of the Everest region. A 17-day excursion featuring the Everest Base Camp, splendid views of the world’s highest mountains from multiple points, and an ultimate cultural revelry of the tiniest villages of Nepal, the trek is twice as rewarding as it is demanding. So, if you’re up for a challenge that goes down in your history gloriously, this is right where you should be. Read through the itinerary for a brief yet comprehensive idea of what you’re dreaming of here, cross your hearts, and then dive right in.
Fly to Lukla and hike to Phakding (2610 m) : 3-4 hrs
The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is said to be one of the most adventurous in the world—offering splendid views of the snow-capped Himalayas from up top, which is to say that you’ll be starting your 17-day adventure on a high note.
The trek commences from Lukla, the first lap of it being a 3-hr hike to Phakding with a lunch break in between. You’ll be crossing colourful Tibetan Buddhist prayer walls, monasteries and monuments, your first encounter with the prominent Buddhist Tibetan culture of the area. You’ll reach the teahouse where you’ll be staying the night by afternoon, leaving you with more than a couple of hours to acclimatize and explore around. In the meantime, you’ll have to make sure that you’re drinking 4 to 5 litres of water a day, as this is essential all the way through the trek.
Hike to Namche Bazar (3440 m), 5-6 hrs
The second day begins with a hot breakfast, after which you’ll start the day’s trek to Namche, the most prominent ethnic settlement with a bustling bazaar as the heart of the village. You’ll be crossing the villages of Toktok, Benkar, Monjo, and Jorsalle on the way, along with some known suspension bridges. The highlight of the day will be entering the Sagarmatha National Park, the official entrance to the Everest Region! Following that, you’ll be walking by the river till you make it to the final high-suspension bridge, just before you begin the long walk to Namche Hill. It takes an additional 2 hours to reach the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar from here. You’ll be based in Namche for 2 nights, as you have lots of exploring to do around here. In total, you will have covered 14 km on foot, over 5 to 6 hours with ample breaks in between.
Acclimatization and exploring Namche Bazar.
Taking rest is vital for trekkers to acclimatize the body and to avoid AMS further up the trail. This never means we must stop walking—in fact, it is always suggested to hike to higher elevation and sleep at lower on acclimatization days. So, you have the option to hike up to Hotel Everest View at sunset for an utterly beautiful panoramic view of the mountains. Apart from that, you can also explore the twin Sherpa villages Khumjung and Khunde, visit the Sherpa museum, and hang around the animated lanes of Namche Bazaar.
Hike to Tengboche (3870 m), 5-6 hrs
Begin the day with a filling breakfast and a gorgeous mountain sunrise. The hike for the day starts with a 20-min uphill walk, after which things stay vividly pleasant till you reach Kyanjuma, which is 1 hour away. The trail descends then, taking you across the Dudh Kosi river via a suspension bridge at Phungi Tenga, where you’ll stop for lunch. What follows is a 3-hr uphill hike to Tengboche, the land of beautiful sunsets and the most active cultural monastery of the region. The excursion spans a total of 12 km and takes nearly 6 hours to accomplish. You’ll stay overnight at a plush little teahouse in Tengboche.
Hike to Dingboche (4410 m), 5-6 hrs
The trail continues through a forest of Rhododendrons, Birch and Blue Pines until you reach Pangboche, where you’ll be first greeted by an extension bridge after 2 hours of hiking. You stop for a lunch break at Somare, after which the trail cuts through isolated pastures and fields till Orsho. The road split here, with the left one taking you to Pheriche and the right one to Dingboche. The hike towards Dingboche is by the river of Ijma Khola and a total of 2-hr trail. From the village, you’ll be able to spot a number of marvellous mountains of the Himalayan chain, including Amadablam, Island Peak, Lhotse, Tawache, Tsolache, and Lobuche. You’ll stay the night here in a quaint little teahouse.
Acclimatization and exploring Dingboche
Today’s hikes will be only to explore the area around, in an effort to stay at the same height and get your body used to it. The first hike is a 3-hr affair, and you should be back down by lunchtime. The second hike is slightly more demanding, and naturally, more rewarding too. It will take you to Nangkar Tshang, from where the views of Mount Makalu and the surrounding peaks are worth your while. You come back and go to the same cosy bed yet again tonight.
Hike to Chhukung (4730 m), 2-3 hrs
Not all days of this trek are heavy on the feet, and today is one of the lighter ones. After breakfast, we get set for Chhukung, another tiny village with scurrying mud paths and a hint of the Tibetan culture. The highlight of the day will be the sunset over Mt. Lhotse and Kwangde from the town. You stay overnight here.
Hike to Kongma La (5535m) and Lobuche (4930 m), 7-8 hrs
Today’s hike is slightly excruciating, so you’ll start early in the morning. It is advised to carry plenty of water and snacks for the route since there are no food facilities between Chhukung and Lobuche. Reaching the first of the three high passes is exhilarating, with brilliant views of the mountains to accompany you in the glory. Once you’ve relished the view from the pass, you hike back down to Lobuche, where you’ll be staying the night.
Hike to Gorakshep and Everest Base Camp (5160 m)
Post-breakfast scenes ask you to continue the trek on the left bank of the Khumbu Glacier. It’s a steep climb till you reach the Changri Glacier, after which Gorak Shep is a short descend away. The entire walk can be done in 2.5 hrs, after which you’ll pause for lunch. Post lunch, you’ll drop your luggage at the room and go out again for a hike to the glorious Everest Base Camp. At the end of the long and eventful day, you stay overnight in Gorakshep.
Hike to Kalapatthar (5545 m) and Dzongkha (4830 m), 5-6 hrs
You’ll begin the day at wee hours today, the first target being the 2-hr hike up to Kala Pathar. What you’ll be looking at from this renowned viewpoint is likely to be etched in your memory forever. A 360˙ view of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Khumbutse, Pumori, Lingtren, Amadablam, Thamserku, and Lobuche peaks at sunrise is served on a platter right in front of you. You hike back down, have breakfast, and continue with a 4-hr hike to Dzongla in your re-energized spirits, where you’ll stay the night.
Hike to Cho La (5420m) and Thakna (4700 m), 7-8 hrs
The day of the second pass will start with a heavy breakfast, due to the lack of food provisions on the way. Naturally, you’ll also be carrying water and dried nutritious food for the way. It’s also advised that you start the trek early on in the morning since it can get windy later in the day. The hike, as apparent, is slightly challenging and takes nearly 7 to 8 hours to finish because you’ll also be stopping at the mighty Cho La in between. You stay overnight at Thakna, with pleasant breezes and starry skies.
Hike to Gokyo Ri (4750 m) and the fourth lake of Gokyo Valley
A day full of gorgeous views awaits you with every passing hour in today’s hike; you’ll be crossing the beautiful Gokyo Valley with its five famous lakes. You begin by crossing the Nzojumba Glacier till you reach Gokyo Cho (Cho means lake), in 2.5 or so hours. This point hails with views of Cho You and the second lake. A view of the third lake, Dudh Pokhari awaits you further, after which you stop for lunch and rest. Post lunch, you walk to the 4th and the 5th lake. You then come back to the village for an overnight halt.
Exploring Gokyo, hike to Gokyo Peak (5560 m)
Today, you’ll be exploring the valley further, with a hike up to the Gokyo Peak at sunrise, which is a 2-hr climb. You’ll be treated with a view of 4 out of the 8 eight-thousanders, including Mt Everest (8848m), Mt. Lhotse (8510m) Mt. Makalu (8463), Cho Oyu (8153m), along with Pumori, Amadablam, and more. After a day of exploring around, you come back for a sweet night’s rest.
Hike to Renjo La (5417 m) and Lungden (4350 m), 7-8 hrs
The final high pass will greet you today, with yet another magical view of the Himalayas from the top. You’ll start early in the morning, as today’s hike also spans 7 to 8 hours. Today’s bed will be waiting for you in Lungden, a small Nepali village on the circuit.
Hike back to Thame (3800 m) and Namche Bazaar (3440 m), 6-7 hrs
After having explored the three passes, the National Park, 5 lakes, and extraordinary mountains up close, it’s time to gradually make your way back. You’ll first come down to Thame, a beautiful village of the Sherpa tribe. The easy walk continues after lunch to Namche, your final halt for the day. You can relax at one of the cafes, grab a beer, and celebrate tonight in your own way.
Hike back to Lukla (2800 m), 7-8 hrs
Your body may be tired after a fortnight of strenuous hiking, so be extra careful today. You’ll be descending the Namche Hill followed by a long stretch back to Lukla via Phakding. A cosy bed in Lukla will be all set to gobble you in tonight.
Adios Everest, fly to Kathmandu
After your final hot breakfast in the area of Everest, fly back to Kathmandu. It is again the same picturesque flight of 35 minutes. Get back to the hostel, take a hot shower, give your clothes for laundry, and treat yourself to endless scrumptious delicacies, because you did a phenomenal job over the last handful of days!
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