Introduction to the Everest Three Passes Trek
The Everest Three Passes Trek is a popular trekking route that takes hikers through three high mountain passes in the Everest region of Nepal. The trek is a challenging adventure that requires a high level of fitness and experience, as it reaches altitudes of up to 5,550 meters (18,209 feet) and involves long days of hiking over steep terrain.
The three passes that are traversed during the trek are Kongma La Pass (5,535m), Cho La Pass (5,420m), and Renjo La Pass (5,360m). These passes offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu.
In addition to the passes, the trek also includes visits to popular destinations in the Everest region, such as the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar, the Buddhist monastery at Tengboche, and the base camp of Everest.
The trek usually takes around 18–21 days to complete, depending on the itinerary and the pace of the hikers. It is recommended to trek during the autumn or spring seasons when the weather is generally clearer and more stable.
The Everest Three Passes Trek is a challenging and rewarding adventure that offers hikers the chance to experience the incredible beauty of the Himalayas and immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of the Sherpa people.
Trekking routes and itineraries: difficulty level and physical requirements
The Everest Three Passes Trek is considered a very challenging trek that requires a high level of physical fitness and prior trekking experience. The trek takes around 18–21 days to complete and involves hiking up to altitudes of 5,550 meters (18,209 feet) while crossing three high mountain passes.
The difficulty level of the trek is due to the extreme altitude and weather conditions that trekkers will encounter along the way. Trekkers should be prepared for long days of hiking over steep and rugged terrain, with some sections requiring the use of ropes and crampons.
To undertake this trek, trekkers should have a high level of physical fitness and endurance. Prior trekking experience is recommended, especially at high altitudes. It’s also important to acclimatize properly to prevent altitude sickness.
The itinerary of the Everest Three Passes Trek can vary, but typically includes the following highlights:
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu: This is the arrival day when you will be welcomed by your trekking company’s representative and transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Trek preparation and drive to Ramechhap (4-5 h) (during peak season): You will have a day to prepare for the trek, and during peak season, you may have to drive to Ramechhap due to limited flights from Kathmandu to Lukla.
Day 03: Fly to Lukla (12-15 min) and trek to Phakding (2,610 m/8,562 ft), 8 km (4 h): You will take a scenic flight to Lukla and then trek to Phakding.
Day 04: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3,440 m/11,286 ft), 10km, and 7-8 h): You will continue trekking through the beautiful Himalayan trails to Namche Bazaar, the main trading hub of the region.
Day 05: Acclimatization Day in Namche: It is important to take a day for acclimatization to help prevent altitude sickness. You can explore the local market and take a short hike to the Everest View Hotel.
Day 06: Trek to Thame (3,820 meters/12,532 feet), 9 km: You will trek to the beautiful village of Thame, which is known for its traditional Sherpa culture and beautiful landscapes.
Day 07: Trek to Lumde (4,368 m/14,330 ft), (10.5 km): You will trek to Lumde, which is a small village that offers stunning views of the Himalayan ranges.
Day 08: Trek to Gokyo (4790 m/15,715 ft) via Renjo La (5,360 m/17,585 ft), 10km: You will trek to Gokyo via the Renjo La Pass, which is known for its stunning views of the Himalayas.
Day 09: Trek to Thaknak (4,700 m/15,419 ft), (3.5 km): You will trek to Thaknak, which is a small village that offers stunning views of the Ngozumpa glacier.
Day 10: Trek to Dzongla (4,830 m/15,846 ft) via Cho La (5,420 m (17,782 ft), 8 km): You will trek to Dzongla via the Cho La Pass, which is known for its challenging terrain and stunning views.
Day 11: Trek to Gorekshep (5,140 m/16,863 ft), (11 km): You will trek to Gorekshep, which is the last stop before reaching Everest Base Camp.
Day 12: Day trip to Everest Base Camp (5,364 m/17,598 ft), 9 km: You will hike to Everest Base Camp, which is a significant milestone for many trekkers.
Day 13: Hike to Kala Patthar (5,550m/18,208ft) and trek to Lobuche (4,910m/16,108ft) 5km
Today, you will start your day with an early morning hike to Kala Patthar, one of the most iconic viewpoints in the Everest region. The hike takes around 2–3 hours, depending on your pace, and is quite steep and challenging, but the views from the top are well worth the effort. From the summit of Kala Patthar, you will get a panoramic view of the Everest massif, including the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest (8,848 m/29,029 ft). After enjoying the views and taking some photos, you will descend back to Gorak Shep and have breakfast.
After breakfast, you will continue your trek to Lobuche, a small settlement located at the foot of the Lobuche East and Lobuche West peaks. The trail is relatively easy and will take you around 2–3 hours to complete. Along the way, you will pass through the famous Khumbu Glacier and see memorials for climbers who have lost their lives on Everest. Once you arrive in Lobuche, you can rest and relax for the evening and enjoy a warm meal before heading to bed.
Day 14: Trek to Chhukhung (4,730m/15,518ft) via Kongma La (5,535m/18,159ft) 10.5km
Today will be a challenging day as you cross the Kongma La Pass, the highest of the three passes you will be crossing on this trek. The trail starts with a steep ascent toward the pass, and you will need to use your hands to scramble up some sections. As you climb higher, the views become more and more stunning, with panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks in every direction.
Once you reach the top of Kongma La, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Ama Dablam, Makalu, and other peaks. The descent from the pass is steep and challenging, and you will need to be careful with your footing. The trail then flattens out as you reach the Chhukhung Valley, where you will spend the night in a teahouse.
Day 15: Trek to Deboche (3,820m/12,532ft) 13.5km
Today, you will descend further into the Imja Khola Valley as you make your way toward Deboche. The trail is relatively easy, and you will pass through several small villages and enjoy stunning views of Ama Dablam and other peaks along the way. You will also pass by the famous Tengboche Monastery, the largest monastery in the Khumbu region, before reaching Deboche, where you will spend the night in a teahouse.
Day 16: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3,440 m/11,286 ft) (12 km)
Today, you will retrace your steps back to Namche Bazaar, where you will spend the night. The trail is relatively easy, and you will pass through several small villages and enjoy stunning views of the Himalayan peaks along the way. You will also cross several suspension bridges over the Dudh Koshi River before reaching Namche Bazaar. Once you arrive, you can rest and relax for the evening and enjoy a warm meal before heading to bed.
Day 17: Trek to Lukla (2,840 m/9,317 ft), 18km (6 h)
The final day of the trek involves retracing your steps back to Lukla. The trail descends through rhododendron and pine forests, passing by the Dudh Koshi River and several small villages. You will have one last chance to take in the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas before reaching Lukla. Upon arrival in Lukla, you can enjoy a celebratory dinner with your trekking group and porters.
Day 18: Fly to Ramechhap and drive to Kathmandu
In the morning, you will fly back to Ramechhap and then take a drive to Kathmandu. This is a great opportunity to reflect on the incredible journey you have just completed and to share your experiences with your fellow trekkers. Once you reach Kathmandu, you can relax and unwind, explore the city, or do some last-minute souvenir shopping.
Day 19: Departure day
Your adventure in Nepal comes to an end today. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home or to your next destination.
Best time to go on the Everest Three Passes Trek
The optimal time to embark on the Everest Three Passes Trek is during the autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) seasons. These periods provide the most reliable and unobstructed weather conditions, allowing for a safe and awe-inspiring trekking experience.
The Autumn season typically offers dry and clear weather with mild temperatures and minimal precipitation. The clear skies also provide the best views of the surrounding mountains, making for a picturesque journey.
Likewise, the spring season presents mild and dry weather with moderate temperatures and low precipitation, while also showcasing vibrant flora and fauna, adding a splash of color to the already breathtaking landscape.
However, the winter season (December to February) presents a challenge with its cold and windy conditions and heavy snowfall, making the trek even more arduous.
The summer season (June to August) is monsoon season, with heavy rain and high humidity, making it challenging to trek and enjoy the magnificent mountain views. It is crucial to bear in mind that weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and change rapidly. Regularly checking weather forecasts and being prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions is necessary for a safe and successful trek.
Equipment and gear essentials
When embarking on the challenging Everest Three Passes Trek, having the right equipment and gear is crucial for your safety and comfort during the journey. Here are some essential items to consider adding to your packing list:
- Crampons: As you will be trekking through snowy and icy terrain, crampons are necessary for providing traction and stability. Ensure you have sturdy crampons that fit your boots properly.
- Hiking Boots: Good quality, comfortable hiking boots with sturdy ankle support are essential for the trek. Make sure to break in your boots before the trek to avoid blisters and other foot problems.
- Clothing Layers: Dressing in layers is key to staying comfortable in changing weather conditions. Bring a waterproof and windproof jacket, an insulated down jacket, a fleece or wool sweater, quick-drying hiking pants, and thermal base layers.
- Sleeping Bag: A warm, high-quality sleeping bag is necessary for the trek. Make sure it’s rated for the temperatures you’ll encounter on the trek.
- Backpack: A sturdy, well-fitting backpack is essential for carrying your gear during the trek. Make sure it’s comfortable to wear and has a capacity of at least 50 to 60 liters.
- Trekking Poles: Trekking poles help reduce the strain on your knees and provide stability on uneven terrain.
- Headlamp: A headlamp with extra batteries is essential for navigating in the dark or during power outages.
- Water Purification System: Bring a water purification system, such as water purification tablets or a water filter, to ensure safe drinking water.
- First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit with essentials such as pain relievers, blister treatment, and diarrhea medication is crucial in case of emergencies.
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Protect your eyes and skin from the intense sun at high altitudes with UV-protective sunglasses and sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Hat and Gloves: Bring a warm hat and gloves to protect your extremities from the cold.
Investing in high-quality gear and equipment is vital to ensure your safety and comfort during the trek. Consider renting or purchasing gear from a reputable trekking company in Nepal to ensure that you have the appropriate gear for the trek. By having the right equipment, you can fully enjoy the breathtaking views and the ultimate challenge of the Everest Three Passes Trek.
Acclimatization and altitude sickness prevention
Acclimatization and altitude sickness prevention are crucial when trekking in the high-altitude regions of the Everest Three Passes Trek. Here are some tips to help you acclimatize and prevent altitude sickness:
Gradual Ascent: It’s essential to ascend gradually and not gain too much altitude too quickly. Plan your itinerary so that you have ample time to acclimatize properly.
Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate altitude sickness. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration.
Rest and Sleep: Take frequent rest breaks and sleep at a lower altitude than where you hiked during the day to help your body acclimatize.
Medications: Diamox (acetazolamide) is a medication that can help prevent altitude sickness. Consult with your doctor before taking any medication and follow the prescribed dosage.
Diet: A balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can help your body adapt to the altitude. Eat frequent small meals and avoid heavy meals that can make you feel nauseous.
Symptoms Monitoring: Monitor yourself and your fellow trekkers for signs of altitude sickness. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you or someone in your group experiences any of these symptoms, descend to a lower altitude immediately.
It’s important to be prepared and informed about altitude sickness and its prevention before embarking on the Everest Three Passes Trek. Consult with your doctor and the trekking company to ensure that you are physically fit and mentally prepared for the trek.
Accommodation and food options
Accommodation and food options are available throughout the Everest Three Passes Trek, although the options are limited in some areas. Here are some common types of accommodations and food options that you can expect to find on the trek:
Teahouses and lodges: These are the most common forms of accommodation on the trek. Tea houses are basic but comfortable guesthouses that offer private rooms with a bed, blanket, and pillow. Shared bathrooms with squat toilets and hot showers are available in most tea houses.
Nepali Cuisine: Nepali cuisine is the most commonly available food option on the trek. Rice, dal (lentil soup), and curry are stapled Nepali dishes usually served with vegetables and meat (if available). Momos (dumplings) and thukpa (noodle soup) are also popular dishes.
Western Cuisine: Most tea houses also serve Western dishes such as pizza, pasta, and burgers. However, these dishes are often more expensive than Nepali cuisine.
Snacks and Drinks: Snacks such as chocolate bars, energy bars, and nuts are readily available in tea houses and shops along the trail. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and soft drinks are also available.
It’s important to note that food and accommodation options can be limited in some areas, especially in high-altitude regions. It’s advisable to bring some snacks and drinks with you on the trek and to check with your trekking company about the availability of food and accommodations along the route.
Highlights of the trek: Gokyo Lakes, Cho La Pass, and Renjo La Pass
The Everest Three Passes Trek is known for its stunning views of the Himalayas and the challenging mountain passes that trekkers must cross. Here are some highlights of the trek:
Gokyo Lakes: The Gokyo Lakes are a group of glacial lakes located in the Gokyo Valley. The lakes are known for their crystal clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Cho Oyu and Everest. Trekkers usually spend a day at Gokyo to hike to the nearby Gokyo Ri for panoramic views of the valley and mountains.
Cho La Pass: The Cho La Pass is a high mountain pass at an altitude of 5,420 meters that connects the Gokyo Valley with the Khumbu Valley. The pass is known for its stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Everest, and for its challenging terrain that requires some scrambling and technical skills.
Renjo La Pass: The Renjo La Pass is another high mountain pass at an altitude of 5,360 meters that offers stunning views of the Himalayas. The pass is less crowded than the Cho La Pass and is known for its breathtaking views of the turquoise Gokyo Lakes.
Everest Base Camp: Everest Base Camp is the starting point for many trekkers and is located at an altitude of 5,364 meters. The base camp offers a glimpse of the world’s highest mountain and is a popular destination for adventure seekers.
Sherpa Villages: The trek also offers the opportunity to explore the traditional Sherpa villages along the route, such as Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, and Thame. These villages offer a glimpse of Sherpa culture and lifestyle, and trekkers can visit monasteries, schools, and markets in the villages.
The Everest Three Passes Trek is a challenging and rewarding trek that offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the opportunity to experience Sherpa culture and lifestyle.
Cultural Experiences and local communities
The Everest Three Passes Trek is not just about stunning mountain views and challenging mountain passes. It is also an opportunity to experience the local Sherpa culture and communities. Here are some cultural experiences and local communities that trekkers can encounter on the trek:
Sherpa Culture: The Sherpa people are an ethnic group that has lived in the Himalayan region for generations. They have their own distinct culture, language, and traditions. Trekkers can experience Sherpa culture by visiting monasteries, attending festivals, and staying in local guesthouses.
Namche Bazaar: Namche Bazaar is a Sherpa town and the main gateway to the Khumbu region. It is a bustling town with markets, restaurants, and shops that sell traditional handicrafts and clothing. Trekkers can also visit the Sherpa Museum in Namche Bazaar to learn about Sherpa culture and history.
Tengboche Monastery: Tengboche Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in the Khumbu region. It is one of the oldest and most famous monasteries in the region and is known for its stunning architecture and religious significance. Trekkers can visit the monastery and attend a prayer ceremony to experience Buddhist culture.
Khumjung Village: Khumjung Village is a Sherpa village located in the Khumbu region. It is known for its traditional Sherpa architecture, including stone houses and prayer wheels. Trekkers can visit the Khumjung School, which was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1961, to learn about education in the region.
Local Guesthouses: Many of the accommodations on the trek are local guesthouses run by Sherpa families. Staying in a local guesthouse is not only a great way to experience Sherpa hospitality but also provides direct support to the local community.
The Everest Three Passes Trek offers trekkers the opportunity to experience Sherpa culture and lifestyle and to support the local communities. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions and to seek permission before taking photographs of people or religious sites.
Trekking with a guide or on your own: safety measures and emergency procedures
Choosing whether to trek with a guide or on your own on the Everest Three Passes Trek is a personal decision that depends on individual preferences and experience. Here are some safety measures and emergency procedures to consider:
Trekking with a Guide: Trekking with a guide can be beneficial for safety reasons. A guide can provide valuable knowledge of the route, altitude, weather, and emergency procedures. They can also help monitor your health and provide support if you experience altitude sickness or other medical issues. Additionally, a guide can act as a liaison with local communities and help with communication and cultural exchange.
Trekking on Your Own: Trekking on your own requires a higher level of experience and preparation. You should be familiar with the route, have the proper equipment, and be physically fit. Researching trail conditions, weather forecasts, and emergency procedures is important.
Safety Measures: Regardless of whether you trek with a guide or on your own, safety measures should be a top priority. These measures include acclimatization, hydration, proper nutrition, and being aware of the signs of altitude sickness. You should also carry enough food, water, and warm clothing, and make sure your equipment is in good condition. Additionally, you should respect local customs and regulations, such as not straying from the trail or littering.
Emergency Procedures: In case of an emergency, it’s important to have a plan in place. This can include carrying a satellite phone, knowing the location of the nearest medical facility, and having travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation. In case of an emergency, contact your guide or local authorities immediately.
In summary, trekking with a guide or on your own has its own set of benefits and risks. It’s important to consider your experience, preferences, and safety measures before deciding on a trekking option. Regardless of your choice, safety measures and emergency procedures should be a top priority.
Cost and budgeting for the trek
The cost of the Everest Three Passes Trek can vary depending on the trekking season, the duration of the trek, the level of comfort, and the number of people in the group. Here are some costs to consider when budgeting for the trek:
Trekking permits: The Everest Three Passes Trek requires two permits: the Sagarmatha National Park Permit and the Khumbu Rural Municipality Permit. The cost for both permits is approximately $50 USD.
Guide and porter fees: If you choose to trek with a guide or porter, you will need to factor in their fees. Guide fees can range from $20 to $150 USD per day, while porter fees can range from $25 to $35 USD per day.
Accommodation: Accommodation options on the trek include teahouses and lodges. Teahouses are basic guesthouses that offer a bed and food, while lodges offer more amenities such as hot showers and Wi-Fi. The cost of accommodation can range from $10 to $300 USD per night
Food and water: Food options on the trek include local Nepali dishes and Western food. The cost of food can range from $7 to $15 USD per meal. It’s important to budget for bottled water or water purification tablets, as the water in the region is not safe to drink.
Equipment and gear: If you don’t have your own trekking equipment and gear, you will need to rent or purchase them. Equipment and gear can include a sleeping bag, a down jacket, trekking boots, and a backpack. The cost for renting or purchasing equipment and gear can range from $50 to $400 USD.
Transportation: The cost of transportation to and from the starting point of the trek can vary depending on the mode of transportation. A flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, the starting point of the trek, can cost approximately $170–200 USD each way.
Additionally, it is recommended to book the Everest Three Passes Trek with a reputable trekking agency such as Amigo Treks and Expedition. An organized trek with a reliable agency will ensure that all necessary arrangements are made, including permits, guides, porters, accommodation, and transportation. This will help to minimize the stress and hassle of planning and organizing the trek yourself.
Amigo Treks and Expedition offers a package for the Everest Three Passes Trek starting at USD 1820 for a minimum of 2 people. The package includes all necessary permits, experienced trekking guides and porters, accommodation, transportation, and meals during the trek. This can be a great option for those who want to have a hassle-free and well-organized trekking experience.
Preparing for the Trek: Training and Fitness Tips
Preparing for the Everest Three Pass Trek requires a certain physical fitness and endurance level. Here are some training and fitness tips to help you prepare:
Cardiovascular Training: The trek involves a lot of uphill and downhill hiking, so cardiovascular training is essential. You can build your cardiovascular endurance by incorporating activities such as running, cycling, swimming, or brisk walking into your training routine.
Strength Training: Strength training can help you build muscle, improve your balance and stability, and reduce the risk of injury. Focus on exercises that target your lower body, such as squats, lunges, and step-ups.
Hill Training: The trek involves hiking at high altitudes, so it’s important to practice hiking uphill and downhill. Try to incorporate hill training into your training routine by finding local hills or mountains to climb.
Increase your Endurance: To increase your endurance, try to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. You can also incorporate interval training, where you alternate between periods of high intensity and low intensity.
Practice with a Loaded Pack: During the trek, you’ll be carrying a backpack with your gear and supplies. To prepare for this, practice hiking with a loaded pack. Start with a lighter load and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
Get used to high altitude: The Everest Three Pass Trek takes place at high altitude, so it’s important to acclimatize your body to the higher elevation. If possible, try to train or hike at higher elevations before your trek.
Conclusion: Why the Everest Three Pass Trek is the ultimate challenge
The Everest Three Pass Trek is considered the ultimate challenge for trekkers who are looking for an adventure in the Himalayas. This trek takes you through three high mountain passes, namely the Renjo La Pass, Cho La Pass, and Kongma La Pass, each with its unique challenges and breathtaking scenery.
The trek offers some of the most stunning views of the Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. It also takes you through the remote villages and traditional Sherpa settlements, where you can experience the local culture and hospitality.
However, the Everest Three Pass Trek is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a high level of physical fitness and endurance as it involves long days of trekking at high altitudes with steep ascents and descents. The unpredictable weather and challenging terrain can also make this trek a tough challenge.
But for those who are up for the challenge, the Everest Three Pass Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers unparalleled views of the Himalayas and an opportunity to test your limits and push yourself to new heights.