The Everest Base Camp 3 Passes Trek is for the adventurer who has experience either trekking or multi-day hiking in the back country, preferably at elevations above 3000 meters. This trek is the ultimate test of your mettle with 3 passes and two hiking peaks that reach a maximum height of 5535 meters. You’ll cross through 4 major valleys and experience the Himalaya with grand views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Makalu few will ever see. Not only will you visit one of the most popular adventure destinations on the planet, Everest Base Camp, you’ll have conquered some of the most challenging routes of the Khumbu region of Nepal. One day
You’ll cross through 4 major valleys and experience the Himalaya with grand views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Makalu few will ever see. Not only will you visit one of the most popular adventure destinations on the planet, Everest Base Camp, you’ll have conquered some of the most challenging routes of the Khumbu region of Nepal. One day
One day you are summiting the Renjo La Pass, 5345m, the next you’re hiking up Gokyo Ri, 5357m, for one of the most astonishing spectacles of the Himalaya-four 8000m peaks, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Mt. Everest, all seen from one spot. You must be above average physically fit, and have a strong will and attitude to weather this challenging trek.
KATHMANDU: ARRIVAL DAY
KATHMANDU TO LUKLA FLIGHT AND PHAKDING
Altitude: 2,800m/9184ft (Lukla) & 2,652m/8,698ft (Phakding) Walking Distance: 8km (3-4 hours) – All distances and time estimates are approximate. Flight time: 35 min
The excitement begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and Tenzing/Hillary Airport, named after the first two men to summit Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. It’s a short 35-40 minute flight to Lukla where we’ll meet the rest of the crew that will accompany us on the trek. We begin walking from Lukla with a descent to Cheplung while enjoying views of beautiful Mt. Khumbila. We further descend to Phakding where we’ll stay the night enjoying our first dinner and sleep at our guesthouse on the Everest Base Camp Trek 3 Pass Trek.
PHAKDING TO NAMCHE BAZAAR
Altitude: 3,440m/11,283ft Walking Distance: 10-12km (5-6 hours) – All distances and time estimates are approximate.
After a breakfast of perhaps eggs, toast and coffee or Tibetan bread with jam and tea we continue through blue pine and rhododendron forests reaching the Benkar Valley. There are expansive suspension bridges to cross over the Dudh Koshi River. We check in at the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park to verify trekking permits and stop for lunch at the village of Monjo(2835m). Along the way we’ll see the snow capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru(6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). We’ll also get our first glimpse of Mt. Everest (8848m). After a well-paced 6-7 hours on the trail we’ll reach Namche Bazaar, considered the Sherpa capital of the world! This will be our base for two nights as we acclimate at the gateway to the high Himalaya.
NAMCHE BAZAAR: REST AND ACCLIMATIZATION DAY
Namche Bazaar is one of the biggest settlements in the Khumbu Valley and the perfect village to spend a rest day. You’ll find amazing scenery and village life that you can capture with images or video for treasured memories and sharing with your friends and followers. There are lots of Internet Cafes, restaurants, trekking shops and souvenir markets. Have a latte and chocolate doughnut while you gaze out at the Himalaya and steeped terraced Sherpa capital.
We’ll have an early rise and a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, potatoes, or toast and eggs, coffee and tea and make our way to the highest point overlooking the village and check out sunrise views, (weather permitting), of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, (some say the most beautiful peak of all), Lhotse, (4th highest mountain in the world), and Nuptse. We can also visit the National Park headquarters and Sherpa Museum for insights into the culture and life of the biggest ethnic group of the Khumbu Valley.
After a lunch of vegetable chow mein, burger and fries, pizza or dal bhat with extra helpings of rice and lentils, we’ll continue our hiking and acclimatization exercise walking to Khumjung Hillary School, the institution originally funded by Sir Edmund Hillary’s foundation. If time permits and the group agrees, we can also walk to Khumjung village at 3790 meters. We’ll explore the traditional Sherpa settlement and visit the monastery that has on display what they claim is a scalp of the mythical Yeti or abominable snowman.
NAMCHE BAZAAR TO THAME
Altitude: 3800m/12470ft, Walking Distance: 4 – 5 hrs
After breakfast we get walking on the trail towards Thame through the Bhote Kosi Valley.Thame sits on an important junction on one of the ancient trade routes between Nepal and Tibet. Thame is the birthplace of Apa Sherpa, one of the most famous climbing Sherpas in the world. Apa is currently tied with Phurba Tashi Sherpa for the most summits of Mt. Everest, at 21. You’ll immediately notice this trail is much quieter than the regular EBC route. The first little village we pass through is Phurte, home to a tree nursery started with help from Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. There are many mani walls and colorful Tibetan/Buddhist murals on rocks along the path with wonderful views of the Bhote Kosi Valley.
THAME TO MARLUNG
Altitude: 4210m/13810ft, Walking Distance: 5 – 6 hrs
After some Tibetan bread for breakfast, or toast and eggs, coffee and tea, we’ll start on the trail. This is a wonderful route that considerably quieter than the rest of the region. If we get a clear day views of the surrounding peaks including Konge Ri will be stunning. We’ll trek through the villages of Tangmote, and Yellajung and by the time we reach Tarngga we’ll be approximately 45 minutes from Marlung. A nice full day trekking is rewarded with a big dinner of dal bhat with extra rice and lentil helpings, or some fried noodles, momos or potatoes, and hot tea by the stove.
MARLUNG TO LUNGDEN
Altitude: 4380m/14370ft, Walking Distance: 2 – 3 hrs
This is a short day that allows us to acclimate to the higher elevations and rest up for our first pass, Renjo La. The next couple of days will be challenging with the summit pass tommorrow and the hike up Gokyo Ri the next day. Enjoy the walk and rest time in Lungden. We’ll have lunch here, dinner, and overnight.
LUNGDEN – RENJO LA – GOKYO
Altitude: Renjo La is 5360m/17580 ft. Walking Time: 8 – 9 hrs
This is a big day so we’ll be up before dawn to get our head start up the pass. It will take approximately 5 hours to reach the summit at 5360 meters. If the weather cooperates we will have stunning views of Everest, Lhotse, Cholatse, and Taboche. Similiar to the views we’ll see from atop Gokyo Ri. We can also admire 3rd lake, apart of the highest fresh water lake system in the world and Nepal’s biggest glacier, Ngozumpa as we trek down, an approximate 3 hour descent into Gokyo. Time to fuel up with a big dinner after our first pass and get some needed rest! We’re up early tomorrow for our summit of Gokyo Ri.
GOKYO TO GOKYO RI
Altitude: Gokyo Ri is 5357 m/17,570 ft
This is a steep hike and the winds can be strong at times but the views are simply some of the best in the Gokyo Valley and Khumbu region. We will get a look at some of Everest’s northern flank that is not possible from Kala Patthar. As well as 3 other 8000 meter plus peaks, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Lhotse. Including the Ngozumpa Glacier this is one of the best places on the planet to relish in the tranquility and majesty of the Himalaya. After our descent back down to Gokyo we’ve got the remainder of the day to rest and enjoy some wholesome meals before moving on Thaknak. The Cho La Pass awaits us in two days.
GOKYO TO THAKNAK
Altitude: 4750 m/15,580 ft Walking Time: 5 – 6 hrs
Today we have a moderate trek over the moonscape of the Ngozumpa Glacier en route to Thaknak and our base for our next pass, the Cho La. The glacier is massive and you’ll have great views of it’s mighty path. It’s time also to enjoy our last views of Cho Oyu as we leave this section of the Gokyo Valley. We have an early rise and another challenging day ahead.
Altitude: 5400m/17,717 ft, Walking Time: 7 – 8 hrs
We normally start the day quite early, at least 2 hours or more before sunrise. Our trek takes us through a ravine before our steep climb. At the top we’ll have an amazing overview of the Gokyo Valley and the Khumbu Valley, our next destination on the opposite side. There’s a glacier we’ll need to traverse as we descend towards Dzongla. The Khumbu Valley opens up and welcomes us with Ama Dablam, and Lobuche Peak. Tonight we can enjoy another major victory with our summit of the Cho La. This is one of the toughest days of the trek!
DZONGLA TO LOBUCHE
Altitude: 4940 m/16,207 ft, Walking Time: 4 – 5 hrs
Today we rejoin the Everest trail having crossed two major passes, summiting Gokyo Ri, and visiting the beautiful and tranquil Gokyo Valley. After descending from Dzongla we can enjoy the views of Ama Dablam, Kangtega, Thamserku, and Taboche as we arrive at Lobuche. The view of Nuptse from Lobuche is sublime.
LOBUCHE TO GORAKSHEP AND EVEREST BASE CAMP, EBC TO GOREKSHEP
Altitude: 5180m/16,994ft (Gorekshep) & 5364m/17598 (EBC) Distance of walking: 15km (6-8 hours) – All distances and time estimates are approximate.
You are super strong and well acclimated, ready for the walk to Gorakshep and the highlight of the trek, Everest Base Camp.The trail takes us through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier, the highest one of it’s kind on the planet. We leave Lobuche after breakfast for the short hike up to Gorakshep. We’ll have lunch here before our exciting afternoonon one of the most famous walks in the world, the last stretch to Everest Base Camp. Be prepared for stunning views of Nuptse, Pumori, and Khumbutse and Ama Dablam and a last glimpse of Everest before we descend into the base camp area. Depending on the time of year we may see teams readying for an eventual ascent to the roof of the world. We’ll stay in the camp area long enough to enjoy our wonderful accomplishment and appreciate the moment. The trek back to Gorakshep is approximately 2-3 hours.
GOREKSHEP TO KALAPATHAR AND LOBUCHE
Altitude: 5,545m/18,192ft (Kalapathar) & 4,320m/14,173ft (Pheriche) Walking distance: 12-13km (5-6 hours) – All distances and time estimates are approximate.
What’s it like to climb Mt. Everest? You’ll never know unless you try it yourself but after today you will know what it’s like to climb to 5545 meters and have a spectacular view of the highest mountain on the planet.
We wake up very early, before sunrise to make our way to the highest point we’ll reach on our Everest Base Camp Trek, Kala Patthar, meaning “black rock”, at 5545 meters. This is the best view of Everest in Nepal without actually climbing the mountain itself. You’ll recognize this grand view of the roof of the world as it’s the same profile of Everest seen on the Nepali rupee notes.
As the sunrises an almost dance of ice and fire illuminates the anvil shaped peak. After enjoying the special moment with the “Mother Goddess of Earth” we descend Kala Patthar and make our way back to Gorakshep for a hot filling breakfast. Then we start making our way back down the Everest Base Camp trail to Lobuche enjoying the snow-capped peaks along the way feeling our new sense of accomplishment.
LOBUCHE – KONGMA LA – CHHUKUNG
Altitude: Kongma La is 5535m / 18159 ft, Walking time: 6 – 7 hrs
The Kongma La is the final pass of the trek and the last challenging day as we ascend to 5535 meters. Nuptse towers over us as we make our way to the top of the pass with spectacular views of Makalu to the east, and Ama Dablam’s north ridge. From the top of the Kongma La it’s a 4 hour descent to Chhukung, where we’ll spend the night. Wow, you did, all three passes! Let’s celebrate the victory with dinner and if you feel like it, a beer or some Nepali moonshine, raksi!
CHHUKUNG TO TENGBOCHE
Altitude: 3860 m/12,660 ft Walking Time: 5 – 6 hrs
Chhukung is the jump off point for climbing expeditions to Island Peak. Today we start the trek back to Lukla as we head first to Pangboche and then to Tengboche. Tengboche is the cultural and spiritual capital of the Khumbu Valley with it’s famous monastery hosting the annual Mani Rimdu Sherpa/Buddhist Festival. We can visit the temple and enjoy the amazing spirit surrounded by Tawache, Ama Dablam, and one of the best views on the EBC trail of Lhotse and Mt. Everest.
TENGBOCHE TO NAMCHE BAZAAR
Altitude: 3,440m/11,284ft Distance of walking: 13-15km (7-8 hours) – All distances and time estimates are approximate.
After a steep descent from Tengboche the trail leads us back to the Dudh Kosi River. The rewards of an alternate route from the classic Everest Base Camp trek are new views every day. We’ll arrive in Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital of the world, just in time to get in a hot shower before dinner. You can take a walk later around the village if you like to do some shopping or pick up a chocolate doughnut for dessert.
NAMCHE TO PHAKDING AND LUKLA
Altitude: 2,800m/9,184ft Walking Distance: 16km (6-7 hours) – All distances and time estimates are approximate.
This is our last day of trekking so after breakfast we start our descent crossing the Dudh Kosi over several suspension bridges and through pine forests enjoying the richer feeling air. We can have a big celebratory dinner tonight in Lukla and enjoy our amazing accomplishment. You’ve finished the EBC 3 Trek Pass, one of the toughest treks of Nepal!
LUKLA TO KATHMANDU
Altitude: 1350m/4428ft Flight time: 35 minutes
We’ll arrive back in Kathmandu where we’re met by our driver to take us to our hotel in Thamel. There’s time to do some last minute shopping before our farewell dinner tonight.
KATHMANDU: DEPARTURE DAY
You’ll be transferred to Tribhuvan Airport for your flight home or to your next destination.
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John Saboe, Trek Leader John Saboe is an adventure traveler, entrepreneur. Podcast host-“Far East Adventure Travel”-iTunes, broadcaster/live streamer. I’ve trekked in 4 regions of Nepal and explored Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan National Park, and Bardia National Park. I’ve also visited the […]