A true adventure aficionado seeking for adrenaline stimulation, crossing the most famous high passes in the world undeniably goes for the Everest High Passes Trek. Famous as Everest Cho La and Renjo Pass Trek, it is one of the most daring treks in the Everest region. Throughout, the trek you are surrounded by stunning panorama of 8000ers and cordially welcomed into their comfy lodges by the brave Sherpas. Vibrant landscapes, sacred Gompas and monasteries in the land enclosed by the towering peaks are the major highlights of the trek.
As all the other treks in the Everest region, the trek kicks off at Lukla after a stimulating flight. Eventually the trek slides up along the bank of raging Dudh Koshi River to the Sagarmatha National Park. Making a way to the Everest Base Camp from the summit of Kongma La Pass 5535m will bring you to spectacle Khumbu icefall.
Strenuous trek furthermore will bring you to you to the vantage point- Kalapattar which offers the best close-up views of Everest, Ama Dablam and Pumori. After Kalapattar crossing Cho La Pass 5420m finally takes us to the cobalt-blue lakes at Gokyo. Feasting your eyes with the awe inspiring views from the fifth lake and Gokyo Ri, you will head towards another challenging pass, the Renjo La 5340m. Stopping for a night at Lunde you will trace the ancient route used for centuries by the Tibetan Traders via Nangpa La and get to Thame. Finally, following the famous EBC route, you will plummet down to Lukla and fly back to Kathmandu leaving behind your foot prints and gathering abundant memories of the Everest region.
DAY 01: International Arrival in Kathmandu (1300 m/4264 ft)
Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport (KTM) you will be greeted by a representative from Cosmic Trekking Trekking. After completing your custom formalities (Visa, etc) pick up your luggage and look for our representative with a Cosmic Trekking Trekking display board at the arrival gate. You will be then transferred to Hotel Shanker or a similar category hotel. After check in, you can either take a rest, hang around in the city, visit our office; it all depends upon your interests and condition. In the evening we will organize a "Welcome Dinner" at an excellent traditional Nepalese Restaurant where you will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program as well as a fine meal. Included meal: Dinner (D)
Note: B refers to Breakfast, L refers to Lunch and D refers to Dinner
DAY 02: Kathmandu: Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
Today after breakfast we will start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites; including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupati Nath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambunath) and Buddhists shrine (Buddha Nath) which is one of the large Stupas in the world. In the afternoon, there will be a pre-trip discussion where we can meet our trek leader, other crew and other participants of this trek. Cosmic Trekking briefs us regarding our trek and further provides the opportunity to ask any questions we may have regarding our upcoming adventure. Included meal: Breakfast (B).
DAY 03: Kathmandu - Lukla [2840 m/9320] - Phakding [2,652m/8,700ft]: 40 minutes flight, 3 - 4 hrs trek (Trekking times only)
Upon our early breakfast, we will be escorted to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Airport for an early morning flight to Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft), a gateway destination from where our trek begins. After an adventurous 40 minute flight above the breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach the Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a dramatic landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains peaks. Upon arrival at Lukla, we meet our other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Phakding. To assist in acclimatization, we only have a short hike today. However, if interested in additional activities we can take a side trip to a nearby monastery. Overnight in Phakding at Yeti Mountain Home or similar hotel. Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B,L,D)
DAY 04: Phakding - Namche Bazaar [3440 m/11,280 ft]: 5 - 6 hrs trek
Today's our trek starts in the morning after breakfast. The walk today is pleasant with few short uphill and downhill with multiple crossings over Dudh Koshi River and magnificent view of Mt. Thamserku (6,608m/21,675ft) from the Benkar village. We cross more bridges and reach entrance of Sagarmatha National Park at Monjo, where our trekking permits are checked in order to keep record of trekkers and local trekking staffs as well. A descend and a gradual walk brings us to Jorsale, the last village until Namche Bazaar. The walk is enjoyable through the river bed and we reach Hillary Suspension Bridge. Now, as we climb up hill towards Namche Bazzar, closer and magnificent sight of Kwangde Peak, its sister peaks, Kusum Kangaru, Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Tawache, and many other fabulous mountains will be viewed closely. We stop at Chautara to admire the view. Finally, we reach the colorful village of Namche Bazzar, the main gateway of Khumbu region. Overnight in Namche Bazzar.(B,L,D).
DAY 05: Namche Bazaar: Rest day
This is the first of the three scheduled "acclimatization" days. Health experts always recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest days instead of being idle. We either spend the day taking a day hike to Thame or visiting Khunde or relaxing and exploring Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazzar is the main centre of the Everest (Khumbu) region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, a bakery and a colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday. If we trek a few hundred vertical feet during the day, it will help us to properly acclimatize. Our guides will take us to the Tourist Visitor Center near the headquarter of the Sagarmatha National Park where we can observe an assortment of things related to the first Everest ascenders, Sherpa culture and learn about the various plant and animal life of the Everest region. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.(B,L,D)
DAY 06: Namche Bazaar - Tengboche [3860 m/12,660 ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
Upon breakfast in Namche, we set out towards Tengboche, enjoying superb view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Ama Dablam and close up view of Thamserku. Our trek follows more or less smooth trail with few ups and downs which will not bother us as the magnificent view of the Himalayas keeps our company all through the journey. Along the way, we can spot wildlife musk deer, a herd of Himalayan Thar and multicolored pheasants. The trail goes gradually down up to Kayangjuma. The path eventually reaches Sansa, which is the major trail junction to Gokyo valley and Everest Base Camp. The track then follows through the pine forests and after we cross the prayer flags festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, we reach Phunki Thenga, a small settlement with a couple of teahouses and a small army post amidst the alpine woods. After having a relaxed lunch at Phunki Thenga, we gear up for a slightly tougher climb through the pine forests before we reach Tengboche. Tengboche is a great place for close up views of Mt Ama Dablam, Mt Nuptse, and Mt Everest, and it has the biggest Buddhist Monastery of the Khumbu region. We pay our visit to the monastery the same day at around 3 pm to witness the ceremony in the principal and popular monastery of Everest region. Overnight stay at a lodge at Tengboche. (B,L,D)
DAY 07: Tengboche - Dingboche [4360m/14,300 ft]: 5 - 6 hrs
Early morning fabled scenic beauty of Tengboche takes our breath away. The mountain panorama includes ranges of Kangtega, Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Taboche, Kwangde, Tengboche, Lhotse and Nuptse. After snapping pictures, we start the day journey through the trial that follows through Imja Khola upstream. Descending rapidly from the Tengboche meadow to the river bank, the track traverses a deep forest of birch and rhododendron with magnificent views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. As we reach Deboche, a charming place amidst the woods. Upon reaching at this juncture, we pay our visit to Buddhist nunnery. Upon climbing up we come across few Chortens. Upon reaching Pangboche we are amazed at the dramatic views. We further might visit Upper Pangboche to best view the mountains. The trail eventually climbs to Shomare. We notice decrease in tree line after Pangboche and upon reaching Shomare the terrain changes dramatically to rolling arid stretch and an alpine terrain with patches of scrub and isolated pastures. As we reach Orsho the pyramidal peak of Pumori emerges above the mountains ahead. We finally reach cold and windy settlement of Dingboche overlooked by Chortens and prayer flags finally for the night's rest. Overnight at Dingboche. (B,L,D)
DAY 08: Dingboche - Chhukung [4750m/15,580 ft]: 3 - 4 hrs
The walk is pleasant as we leave Dingboche through stone walled fields and alpine landscape. We take the trial from Dingboche through Imja Khola valley to land raven by glacier moraines amidst towering formidable mountains. We walk leisurely as our schedule for today is only 3 - 4 hours trek. While walking through the valley, Lhotse towers on our left and Ama Dablam on our right. After walking about 3 km, we reach at yak herdman's place called Bibre. Straight ahead, beyond a terminal moraine wall, soars the Island peak (Imja Tse), a most popular trekking peak. The pyramidal Imja Tse looks awesome with its step rock and-icy south face. The trail ahead is intersected by icy streams. We reach Chhukung in about half an hour from Bibre. There are glaciers and massive snowy mountains all around the place. We might choose to hike to the rocky knoll of Chhukung Ri which offers stunning views of Lhotse, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, Makalu and several others including Baruntse. Overnight at Chhukung. (B,L,D)
DAY 09: Rest Day in Chhukung
Trekking experts strongly recommend an acclimatization in Chhukung before doing the Kongma La pass. However, we are not supposed to stay inactive. The view from Chhukung and further up the valley on the moraines towards Island Peak (6189 m) are tremendous. We grasp this opportunity to climb the Chhukung Ri or climb to the base camp of Island Peak. The great south face of Lhotse towers above to the north, while Amphu Lapcha a (5780 m pass) and the immense fluted ice walls that flank it dominate the horizon to the south. To the southwest, the eastern face, of Ama Dablam provides an unusual view of this picturesque peak. Overnight at Chhukung. (B,L,D)
DAY 10: Chhukung - Kongma La [5535m/18,159ft] - Lobuche [4940m/16,210ft]: 6 - 7 hrs
This morning, we start at first light from Chhukung as we have to conquest highest pass of the trip today. We carry plenty of water and some snacks and a packed lunch as there is no tea shops on the way. We really enjoy the remoteness of the area and absolute nature!! We can select to go via any of the possible trails - either taking a climb over the hill northwest of Chhukung over the moraine of he Nuptse Glacier or we might walk back down the valley to Bibre and follow a high trail above the Niyang Khola. Just after some walk there are great views of Island peak valley and jagged ridge of Amphu Lapcha. Ascending along the east side of Niyang Khola valley, we turn west and walk through the sloppy stony trial. We enter a wide basin dotted with small frozen lakes. The trail rises over loose scree gaining the Kongma La after about five hours we leave Chhukung. Upon reaching the top, we encounter with cairn wrapped in prayer flags, marks of the pass. Behind us is the landscape of icy lakes ahead down of which is the Khumbu Glacier. The final descent is the most difficult stage of the trek today. Upon climbing the moraine on the far side, the trail turns north through Khumbu Glacier which takes us to Lobuche. Overnight at Lobuche. (B,L,D)
Note: Trekking through Kongma La is optional. If we do not want to tackle the strenous Kongma La pass today and want to go directly to Lobuche from Chhukung, we have the option to do so as well.
DAY 11: Lobuche - Gorak Shep [5170 m/16,961ft] - Everest Base Camp [5364 m/17,594 ft] - Gorak Shep: 8 - 9 hrs
The trail to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass through the pyramid sign post. Ahead on the trail we see crest of north ridge of Everest along with Mt. Pumori, Mt. Mahalangur, Mt. Lingtern, Mt. Khumbutse, Mt. Nuptse, etc. A small ascent would take us to Thangma Riju from where we perceive 360 degree vista of snowy mountains. Climbing steeply up to the top through the torrent of Changri Glacier, we catch our first glimpse of Kala Patthar, a grey-green knoll beneath the Mt. Pumori. As we reach Gorak Shep, we will find snow-capped mountains looming all around us including the top of the world - Mt. Everest. After a brief lunch and rest, we take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come through the Indian army mountaineers' memorials. Only upon reaching the Everest Base Camp do we really appreciate the Everest climbers who brave the hazardous route through the Khumbu icefall. Mountaineer's tents stand out in bright colors against the monotony of gray surroundings (especially in the Spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from the base camp. Everest actually is not visible from here. By now we have met the ultimate objective of our trip.
However, the sunset view from Kala Patthar is more admirable than the sunrise view, so it is suggested to visit Kala Patthar today during sunset. As the setting sun's rays strike the snow capped mountains the resulting scenery is indescribable. For those trekkers who wish to continue to Kala Patthar, our guides and Sherpas coordinate in hiking to Kala Patthar for amazing sunset view today rather than waiting until the next day. Overnight in Gorak Shep at a local lodge. (B,L,D)
DAY 12: Gorak Shep - Kala Patthar [5545 m/18,192 ft] - Lobuche [4940 m/16,207 ft]: 8 - 9 hrs
Today is the climax of our trip. We start early in the morning to catch the dramatic views from Kala Patthar witnessing the first light of day shining on Mt. Everest. However, we need to get prepared for an early morning, dark and cold temperature (-10 to -14 C) departure beforehand. Further, there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself emerging between the west shoulder crest and Nuptse. During the ascent to Kala Patthar we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding view points to snap pictures. After several hours of ascent, we will be Kala Patthar. From this juncture, we scramble to climb the rocky outcrop near to the summit marked by cairns and prayer flags. As we reach the top, we sit on the Kala Patthar where our eyes rook taking in the unbelievable Himalayan Panorama, wandering from one mighty massif to another. We take as many pictures as we can and take the in view with our mind's eye to last lifetime. On being back to Gorak Shep, we have breakfast and wait other participants to return back.
Those participants who plan to visit Everest Base Camp today will have early breakfast to start early as Everest base camp hike takes longer time (4 - 5 hrs) than the Kala Patthar hike. Upon return back to Gorak Shep, the group will have lunch together; and afternoon time is taken to descend down to Lobuche for a good night's rest. (B,L,D)
DAY 13: Lobuche - Dzongla [4830m/15,850 ft]: 3 - 4 hrs
Trek today is very short compared to previous or next days walk. The path to Dzongla branches off from the main trail some distance from Lobuche. After crossing a stream we come through a fork and later curving round to the wide gravelly river bed of the stream. As it flows southwestward, the trail runs across it and climbs the ridge ahead. From the grassy ridge ahead, as the trail runs across to southeast from where we can see soaring heights of Ama Dablam and Kangtega-Thamserku while Taboche looms prominently ahead. Pheriche village is visible down in the distance. We will also have visibility of mound in Chukpi Lhara and its memorials and the lodges of Dugla. As the ridge veers northward, the vast Chola Lake spreads below Mt. Cholatse. The lake stays with us over a long stretch until we descend to a wide basin. The trail climbs up a spur and descends steeply to another broad basin. After an hour walk transverse from the basin and shortly after crossing a wobbly bridge, we reach Dzongla. We spend the night in one of the local lodges at Dzongla (only very basic lodges are available at Dzongla).(B,L,D)
DAY 14: Dzongla - ChoLa [5368m/17,611 ft] -Thangnak [4680m/15,350 ft] - Gokyo [4800m/15,580 ft]: 7 - 8 hrs
Early morning as we get out of lodge, we will be greeted by the mesmerizing sight of Cholatse looming over. Today is going to be one of the toughest days of our trip. The walk begins as we transverse through a spur extending westward from Dzongla. The path descends to a basin across which meanders a murmuring stream crusted with ice at places. In about an hour, we reach the top of the basin readying for the triumph on ChoLa. As we gain height, the view back gets increasingly more captivating; the Chola Lake begins to appear and the Ama Dablam in its pyramidal incarnation presides over a range of mountains on the south as Cholatse soars on the west. Climbing the incline is not easy; it is steep, but made worse by boulders over some of which we will have to scramble. We need to be alert as rocks can be glazed by ice. The final climb to the ChoLa can be a little tricky as the trail curves round the bergschrund. Upon reaching the top, we see prayer flags, strung across cairns, flapping in the strong wind. Scenery of majestic peaks in all directions is breathtaking. Although long, the path leading down to Thangnak can be easily made out from the pass because it is just decent but can be hazardous if rocks are glazed by ice, a bit of cautiousness is needed. We reach Thangnak, a rather more substantial hamlet with a small village. Stepping out of the settlement, we are greeted by fabulous mountain views. The trail brings us to the Ngozumpa glacier edge after short walk, which is longest glacier in Nepal. Reaching the other side of the glacier, we get view of the second of the Gokyo lakes on the series of six lakes. A short distance away is the third Gokyo Lake. On the edge of this lake stands the Gokyo Village where we finally give rest to our tired body. Overnight at Gokyo.(B,L,D)
DAY 15: Rest day in Gokyo - Gokyo Ri [5357m/17,575 ft]: 3 - 4 hrs
Rest day in Gokyo Valley is an exceptional opportunity. This acclimatization day is grasped as an opportunity to climb Gokyo Ri to enjoy the scene from the best viewpoint of Everest Region. Or, as we know Gokyo is not only popular for its grand view from Gokyo Peak but also for the six lakes which it hosts, definitely we would not miss the chance to observe the fourth lake (Thonak Tsho) and fifth lake (Ngozuma Tsho). About 3 km north of Gokyo is the fourth lake with its high cliffs and peaks rising above it. The trail continues to fifth lake and we get mesmerized by the shimmering turquoise blue sheet of water. If interested, we climb on a hill at the edge of the Lakes to get astounding views of Cho-Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Makulu. We can see a lot more from here - the spot is called Scoundrel's Viewpoint. Beyond the fifth Lakes is the Cho Oyu Base Camp. Scenery here is breathtaking with Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang seeming just a stone's throw away. Northern part of the fifth lake provides fabulous views of Cho-Oyu Base Camp and biggest glacier of the world- the Ngazumpa Glacier. Moved by the charm, we may even try to go sixth lake too but depends upon our own interest and time. Back to Gokyo village. Overnight at Gokyo.(B,L,D)
DAY 16: Gokyo - Renjo La [5360m/17585 ft] - Marlung [4210m/13,810 ft]: 7 - 8 hrs
We need to start at dawn today as we have to trace our trail up to Marlung after conquest of Renjo La. As there is no alternative to Marlung for overnight today, we need to start early. Down from the Gokyo Valley, we leave the main trail and turn to Renjo La trail by Dudh Pokhari. After about 3 hours, we gain the Renjo La where a dazzling vista awaits. 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. Continuing on from the pass, the trail winds down a stone staircase and then scramble over loose scree to reach the south bank of a small lake, Angladumba Tsho. Presence of ice on the trial while descending down can make our descend a bit hazardous. Along the way we see Relama Tsho and Renjo Lake. However, we walk down through narrow valley clogged with giant boulders to Lumde where there is a support Lodge but it can be closed often. We walk almost for an hour from Lumde to get to Marlung on the east bank of the Bhote Kosi. Overnight at Marlung. (B,L,D)
DAY 17: Marlung - Namche Bazzar: 5 - 6 hrs
The descent from Marulung to Thame follows a traditional route used for centuries by the Tibetan traders. Down from the Marulung we cross the Bhote Kosi and descend to Taranga. The trail then goes through the valley of Langmuche Khola. This stream drains down from Dig Tsho, the glacial lake that burst its banks in 1985, causing devastating floods along the Dudh Kosi Valley to moraine to Thame. Thame has a sprawling village with a few lodges and stunning mountains like Thamserku, Katenga, Kusum Kangguru, etc. Overlooking Thame is its famous Gompa situated some the fields, on a hill to the west. Established some 325 years ago, the Gompa has three big images of Chenresig (Avalokiteswara), Guru Rimpoche, Buddha Sakyamuni. Colorful Mani Rimdu festival featuring colorful mask dances is held in this Gompa in May. We climb down after crossing a bridge after then eventually reach Samde. The place offer breathtaking views. The path steeply descends down to Thamo village which hosts a monastery called Khari Goma which is a nunnery being home to some nuns and monks. After passing through a check post, we come to the world`s highest hydroelectric power station built on Austrian help. Then after, we reach small village of Phurte where there is Laudo monastery which is run by Kopan monastery of Bouddhanath in Kathmandu and is popular among the westerners for Buddhist study and meditation center. We eventually reach Namche again through some Gompas, colorful player flags, Mani stones, and Chortens for the night rest.(B,L,D)
DAY 18: Namche Bazzar - Lukla: 6 - 8 hrs
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk slowly and under control as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries the trail becomes more level and natural. By today we start to get warmed up by the light breeze. Any remaining sore throats and colds will be gone by today as we pass through this charming mountain air. Although we are travelling the same route down, we feel completely different views. We snap a mixture of open plains, rhododendron and pine forests, and in the distance snow covered peaks. We walk through the Sherpa villages' noticing impressive faith in Buddhism and culture of prayer stones and prayers flag while we walk through the villages. Upon arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. We experience the culmination of a fantastic trek on a happy note with everyone back safe and sound with smile on faces! Overnight at Lukla. (B,L,D)
DAY 19: Lukla - Kathmandu: 40 min flight
Flights to Kathmandu are usually scheduled for morning because wind can create problem to fly the aircraft in the afternoon. But sometime the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reason that are beyond our command. We fly back to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. The early morning flight drops us at Kathmandu. We can rest and relax throughout the day at our hotel. If get interested to take some gifts home from Nepal for friends and relatives, visit to some nearby shops or venture out in Thamel for typical Nepalese goods which can be assisted by Himalayan Glacier's guides or we can do it ourself too. If we want to explore any other areas in Kathmandu, we have to manage time for this today as well! At the evening we will be at a fantastic celebration dinner together for successfully completing the trek to Everest Base Camp hosted by Himalayan Glacier! Overnight in Kathmandu. (B, D)
DAY 20: Final Departure
The journey within the mountains of Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but we just trade emails to travel companions and organize our photos. If we have more time we can do some shopping or sightseeing. At last approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight, a representative from Cosmic Trekking escorts us to the airport. On our way to home we will have plenty of time to plan our next adventure trip in the wonderful country of Nepal. (B)