The Everest three passes trek gives an all-round tour of the famous Khumbu Valley of Nepal. This is a hard trek following through the Renjo la Pass (5,340m/17,520ft), Gokyo Ri (5,360m/17,586ft) and over the Chola Pass (5,330m/17,487ft) making a circuit of Tawache (6,367m/20,890ft) and Cholatse (6,440m/21,129ft), Everest Base Camp (5,364m/17,598ft), Kalapatthar (5,545m/18,192ft) and Kongma la Pass (5,535m/18,160ft). This trek refers to as the Everest traverse trek also. The trip highlights adventure, Sherpa culture and their village life.
The highest peak in the world and magnificent panoramas of the Himalayas, lakes, high passes of Renjo, Chola and Kongma la are the major attractions of this trek. The Renjo-Chola pass-Everest Base Camp and Kongma la pass trek is for passionate trekkers who are looking for more challenging treks that involve some of the high mountain passes in the world. The summit of Gokyo Ri provides a lifetime memory from where a 360 degree view of Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,907ft), Mt. Everest (8,848m/29,028ft) and Mt. Makalu (8,463m/27,767ft) is truly panoramic. Additionally, an excursion to the fourth and fifth lakes would be an extra adventure from Gokyo.
The crossing of Chola pass involves a long steady climb up the valley from Thangnak (also spelt as Tagnak) and a drop of about 300 meters into the valley again and then a steep climb of about 500 meters across the loose rocks and boulders to the top. The trek then continues up to Kalapatthar and Everest Base Camp. After Everest Base Camp, we take a challenge accross the Kongma la pass and reach Chhukung. We trek back to Lukla along the Dudh Koshi valley via Tengboche and Namche Bazaar.
This trek can also be customized with Island Peak for those who are also looking for small peak climbing. Please visit the combined itinerary of Three Passes with Island Peak Climb.
- The fabulous Renjo la pass (5,340m/17,520ft)
- The challenging Chola pass (5,330m/17,487ft)
- The adventurous Kongma la pass (5,535m/18,160ft)
- The spectacular views from Gokyo Ri
- An excursion trek to the fourth and fifth lakes
- Amazing view of the Khumbu Ice-fall
- Scenic mountain flight to/from Lukla
We set off early morning from our hotel to domestic airport for Lukla flights. After a 35 minute scenic mountain flight by a small aircraft, we land in Lukla airport (Tenzing-Hillary airport). Today’s trek from Lukla to Phakding is only about 3-4 hours. The trail from Lukla is seen broad and clear. From the airstrip it heads north through a kani (arch) and then slopes downhill to a low agricultural land. A splendid view of the difficult trekking peak Kusum Kangaru (6,367m/20,889ft) is seen while walking ahead. The trail is rich with teahouses, prayer wheels, gompas (Buddhist monastery) and huge boulders decorated with Buddhist mantra (prayer chant). Finally we arrive in the village separated in two parts with about a 10 minute trek between them, and a long suspension bridge over the Dudh Koshi River. This village is called Phakding where we stay overnight.
Today's trek is about 5-6 hours. After crossing the suspension bridge at Phakding, we trek for 2-3 hours following the climbs steeply up rough stone steps before reaching the long paved Monjo village on the edge of Sagarmatha National Park. In addition to the lodges, single-roofed houses and a few basic shops, there is a small gompa nearby. The trek from Monjo to Namche Bazaar will take another 3-4 hours. There is an entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park where an entry permit must be showed or obtained and kept safely for showing on exiting the park. Once passed through the gate, the trail drops to river level which is set among fields of huge cabbages, crosses to the west bank of the Dudh Koshi river on a long suspension bridge and passes teahouses and lodges in Jorsale (2,775m/9,104ft). This is the last available accommodation before Namche Bazaar. About halfway up, at a bend on this ascent we should get our first brief view of Mt. Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse. As our trek continues up mostly among trees, we will eventually come to a group of buildings, then broad stone steps and finally arrive in one of the lower streets of our overnight stop Namche Bazaar. This town is known as the Sherpa “Capital” and gateway to the Mt. Everest. Namche Bazaar has many facilities – a post office, banks, ATMs, money exchange centre, a health post, a dental clinic, numerous shops, restaurants, cyber cafés and telephone facilities, a gompa and several chortens. The headquarters of the Sagarmatha National Park and a military post are situated above the town. We stay two overnights in Namche Bazaar for acclimatization and excursion around. Trekking time 5-6 hours.
Today we stay in Namche Bazaar for acclimatisation. Because of the altitude, it will be necessary for us to spend a minimum of two nights here. On this day, we have the choice of just relaxing and roaming round this interesting hill town, or alternatively trekking round a nearby 3-4 hour circuit with stunning views. On this excursion trek, we pass through two traditional Sherpa villages Khumjung (3,780m/12,402ft) which has a chorten at its entrance and Khunde (3,841m/12,602ft) where there is a small hospital. This day helps a lot for acclimatisation for our further trekking and climbing of Island Peak.
Today our trek starts by passing the town’s gompa and continues round the steep hillside to cross the rim where there is a profusion of mani stones, carved boulders and prayer flags. The trail then proceeds through pine and juniper woods to reach the village of Phurte (3,390m/11,122ft) which has simple teahouses, lodges, traditional Sherpa homes, a mani wall and a chorten. The trail now loses height, winds round several wooded spurs, passes through a kani (arch), crosses a wooden cantilever bridge and enters the village of Thesiyo. From this point the route starts to rise, passes another chorten and reaches the large strung-out village of Thamo (3,493m/11,460ft) with a school, mani stones, prayer flags, lodges and teahouses. Now climbing fairly steeply the trail passes through a number of houses at Samde and reaches a point from which there is a fine view to the east of the trekking peak of Pharchamo (6,187m/20,300ft). The trail now makes a short steep descent, passes a rock face decorated with three brightly painted Buddhas, crosses a bridge over the Bhote Koshi River, zigzags up to run alongside the Thame Khola (River) and comes to the walled fields and typical Sherpa homes of Thame, our overnight stop. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa who ascended Mt. Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, spent his childhood in Thame. There is a school in the village, built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust and to the west a gompa perched almost 150 meters above the fields. Thame is the village where the Everest region and the Rolwalling valley join. Trekking time 4-5 hours.
Today after taking our breakfast we are ready for the next camp towards Marlung. We pass through the terrain from Thame to Marlung which is alpine zone and very less vegetation is found. This is relatively a less trekked valley so that the trekkers enjoy with their peace of mind while trekking. As we pass by the village of Tarngga, the superb views of Kongde Ri (6,187m/20,300ft) is seen down the trail. About an hour further trek on a gradually rising trail brings us to Marlung. We stay overnight at Marlung. There are only a few teahouses found with basic facilities. Trekking time 5-6 hours.
Today we have a long and tough trekking day. We start our trek early morning after breakfast and climb a small rasing hill. We then cross a stream and reach Lungden. We continue our trek further towards the top of Renjo La pass (5,340m/17,520ft). The views are outstanding from this top. The Everest itself, Lhotse, Cholatse and Taboche can be seen shining in the sun. Views from Renjo La are much like that from Gokyo Ri with third Gokyo Lake and Gokyo Village beneath the gray smear of Ngozumpa Glacier. We walk further to Gokyo through the glacier and reach Gokyo, our overnight stop. Trekking time 8-9 hours.
We spend two nights in Gokyo to help with altitude acclimatisation. In the morning, if weather permits, we climb the hill that rises above the northern shore of Lake Dudh Pokhari, called Gokyo Ri. The summit is marked by large cairns and prayer flags. Also from the top, Gokyo’s turquoise lake, far below has a picturesque view. An excursion to fourth and fifth lake is recommended for passionate trekkers.
Today we continue our trek to Thangnak (Dragnag), at a point beyond the southern end of Lake Taboche Tsho, where a cairn marks a fork in the trail, we branch left, make any easy rise across the slope and crest the moraine wall at a saddle. From here we will get a splendid view northwards along the length of the Ngozumpa Glacier to Cho Oyu and also to Cholatse and Taboche in the south-east. The way now descends onto the glacier, weaves round ice cliffs, over rocky humps, skirts small lakes and crosses flats of glacial sand. Here there are impressive views in every direction. Having crossed the glaciers, the route descends into the ablation valley below our overnight stop Thangnak, which consists of three very basic simple lodges and a couple of huts. Trekking time 3-4 hours.
Today the trail climbs steadily to a cairn on the crest of a moraine ridge, descends into a valley and arrives at a rough area of rocks and boulders, sometimes known as Cho La Base Camp and also as Phedi (4,930m/16,175ft) which means “at the foot of the hill”. We will now stay close to the right hand rock wall where cairns indicate the route down. The views ahead will now be magnificent. The steep descent now continues down rocky “steps” to reach an easy path, which will take us to the bed of the valley. The remainder of the trek to our overnight stop Dzonglha is through this beautiful valley and we will be able to enjoy the stunning views. Dzonglha consists of a few simple lodges and camping grounds in a walled enclosure. There is a terrific close view of Cholatse’s north-east face (6,335m/20,785ft) seen from Dzonglha and below to the south lies Chola Tsho lake (4,590m/15,059ft). We stay overnight at Dzonglha. Trekking time 6-7 hours.
Today we continue the trek along the moraine of the glacier. The views of Kalapatthar and Pumori on the way are truly magnificent. The trail now enters the Khumbu valley, crosses to the western side from which one gets a clear view of the massive Nuptse (7,861m/25,791ft) and finally arrives at Lobuche. This is a busy place with trekkers camping in various spots on the far side of the stream and around the lodges. We stay overnight at Lobuche. It can be very cold overnight here. Trekking time 2-3 hours.
Today, we set off to the Everest Base Camp with the trail initially crossing a stream below Lobuche and then progressing along the left-hand side of the valley, before rising to a higher narrower step. Soon we will reach a point where a narrow side valley cuts off to the left. After about 200m it takes us to the “Italian Pyramid”, a stone-built lodge and scientific station which collects meteorological and seismic (earthquake) data. Continuing on, the main trail comes to a more open area, climbs a moraine where edelweiss grows on a slope – crosses a sandy stretch, weaves among heaps of moraine, climbs once again and then drops down to Gorakshep. The trail to Base Camp begins just beyond the Gorakshep Lake, runs for some way along the moraine crest and then appears to descend to the Khumbu glacier. Once in the centre of the glacier, the route signs are somewhat dubious – e.g. the occasional cairn of yak dung! – but we will be okay with our experienced guide. Although Everest Base Camp does not provide a view of the world’s highest mountain itself, tomorrow’s trek will more than compensate for this – today we will get a real close-up of the impressive Khumbu ice fall. The Base Camp can be quite a bustling place with expeditions camping, porters, trekkers and yaks, etc. Having achieved our first goal, and after resting, we will return to Gorakshep for our overnight stay. It consists of three lodges on the rim of a level basin of glacial sand, with the small lake nearby. Tibetan snow cocks chase one another noisily across this sand flat. Although it is very close, Everest is not visible from Gorakshep, however there is a stunning view of the majestic Nuptse, soaring high in the east. We stay overnight at Gorakshep. Trekking time 7-8 hours.
Today’s trip is not only literally the “high point” of our entire trek but it also has the absolutely high point with unbelievable views from the summit of Kalapatthar. The long awaited trek starts around 5.00am. The climb takes about 1-2 hours (depending upon the route chosen) to reach the summit. On the arrival at the summit, one can experience the most fantastic sunrise over Mt. Everest. Kalapatthar is a spur of Pumori (7,165m/23,507ft) and in Hindi means “black rock” which is appropriate. It has two summits and two ascent routes, both paths being clearly visible from Gorakshep. The left-hand path which wriggles its way to the secondary summit (5,545m/18,192ft) takes 1-1:30 hours and the other which zig-zags up the eastern flank to the higher summit (5,623m/18,448ft) takes 1:30-2 hours. Neither route is technically difficult. Another alternative is available which takes in both summits, climb the left-hand trail to gain the lower top, marked with a number of slender cairns and then continue along the ridge scrambling over rocks and reach the higher summit with its flutter of prayer flags. From both summits, a truly incredible panorama is spread before you. Although Everest is of course the main focus of attention, the ice cone of Nuptse which from this view point appears higher than Everest, has stunning beauty. Having really soaked up these incredible views we will return downhill to Gorakshep and then continue our trek to Lobuche after breakfast. We stay overnight at Lobuche. Trekking time 5-6 hours.
Today we start our trek early morning after breakfast along the Khumbu Glacier over the Kongma La pass (5,535m/18,160ft). We can see cairn wrapped in prayer flags marking the pass. Then we descend a gradual walks up the Imja Khola valley and reach Chhukung. Trekking time 7-8 hours. Alternatively, you may take another route via Dingboche to Chhukung if you do not like to undertake the Kongma La pass trek.
We set off southward down the west bank of the Imja Khola, cross a bridge over the Khumbu Khola close to where it is joined by the Imja Khola and proceed down the west bank and reach Pangboche. There is a famous gompa at Pangboche believed to have been the oldest in the Khumbu region. We stay overnight at Pangboche. Trekking time 4-5 hours.
We descend through the alpine dessert and enter into landscapes of pine forests. The trail then leads to a steep uphill climb into Tengboche. We pay a visit to the Tengboche Monastery. We then trek through a steep descent and the final steep climb traverses the hill side into Namche Bazaar. Trekking time 5-6 hours.
Again we proceed southward, retracing the route trekked on day 1 and 2, crossing and re-crossing the Dudh Koshi at intervals. We stay overnight in Lukla. Trekking time 6-7 hours.
We take the 35 minute breathtaking flight from Lukla.
Option available for extending your trip with Jungle Safari adventure, white water rafting or a trip of your choice.
- A City Hotel in Kathmandu for two nights
- Sagarmatha National Park permit and TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System)
- Three meals (B/L/D) a day on trekking from teahouse/lodge
- Accommodations at teahouse/lodge in the mountains
- An English speaking Trekking Guide
- A porter shared between two trekkers
- Staff insurance, salary, food, accommodation and their transportation
- Regular flights for Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu and ground transfers to/from airport
- First aid kit box
- A farewell Nepali dinner with live culture program
- Nature of personal expenses
- Personal cloths and equipment such as sleeping bag, jacket, boots etc.
- Insurance for accidental, medical and evacuation
- Tips to the staff
- International Airfare and Taxes
- Kathmandu City Cultural Tour
- Mt. Everest Flight
- Jungle Safari in Chitwan or Bardia National Park
- Bird Watching in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
- White Water Rafting in Nepal
- Bungy Jumping / Canyoning / Paragliding / Ultralight Flight
- Shopping Tours