The Everest region is home to some of the classic Himalayan treks, but none are more spectacular without the commitment of any technical climbing than the ambitious Everest High Passes trek, which takes you over the Kongma La (5535m), Cho La (5368m) and Rnjo La (5360m) passes, up to Everest Base Camp and through the Goyko Valley and Lakes.
“…one of the best adventure treks Nepal has to offer in one of the most scenically dramatic places on earth”
This trip is one of the best adventure treks Nepal has to offer in one of the most scenically dramatic places on earth, with awe-inspiring mountain views up close.
You will experience the warm hospitality and unique culture of the Sherpa people as well as the local wildlife and flora as you traverse the three stunning passes of Renjo, Chola and Kongma La that surround the Khumbu valleys, overshadowed by numerous Himalayan giants between 6600m and 8848m (Everest).
This is an ideal trek for those who have a passion for mountains and want to spend some time in a harsh but beautiful mountain environment. Armed with a good level of mental and physical fitness and a positive attitude anyone can enjoy this adventurous trek.
Day 0 – Arrival in Nepal
It is strongly advised that you arrive in Nepal at least 1 full day before the intended start date of your trek. This will give you the opportunity to allow for any jetlag and to obtain any additional items you may require in the numerous trekking and climbing supply shops in Kathmandu.
An airport pick up and hotel on arrival can be arranged easily for you if you wish and we will be on hand to assist you in picking up any items you need or want and to arrange tours of Kathmandu’s numerous cultural sites.
Day 1 - Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, trek to Phakding – 2800m
An early morning 45 minute flight from Kathmandu Domestic Airport propels us into the Everest region of Nepal. The landing at Lukla airport (2800m) is spectacular and on arrival we are greeted by our trekking crew who organise the luggage and hustle us off for tea.
After lunch we start in earnest, setting off to Phakding (2800m), 3 hours trek to the north. Our route takes us past hotels, shops and airline offices to the edge of the Lukla plateau where the path drops to meet the intersection of the Jiri trail at Chablung. From here we follow the Dudh Kosi river north through the village of Ghat and then finally to Phakding where we spend the night. 45 minute flight to Lukla and 3 hour trek to Phakding.
Day 2 - Phakding to Namche Bazaar – 3440m
From Phakding we continue north up the Dudh Kosi valley, staying 100m above the river on its west bank. The trail leads us to Jorsale (2810m) where we enter the Sagarmatha National Park. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mount Everest.
We continue along an ever-steepening trail to Namche Bazaar (3440m) and en route we cross the spectacular suspension bridge high above the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi rivers and shortly after glimpse our first views of Everest, way off to the north-east. The trail to Namche is steep and long, but eventually we reach this remarkable Sherpa capital perched high on the hillside and dominated to the east by the immense mountain of Kwangde (6187m). 6 hour trek to Namche Bazaar.
Day 3 – Acclimatisation day in Namche – 3440m
The main purpose of today is to acclimatise to the thinning air and reduced levels of oxygen at this altitude before we continue upwards towards the Everest Base Camp. Ascending too quickly can bring forth the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which can be fatal, so it is very important that we take today to allow our bodies some extra time to adjust, grow some more red blood cells and rest before we continue on our journey upwards.
We can spend the day browsing the local shops, visiting the National Park Visitor Centre or by taking a side trip to Thami or Khumjung. Namche is a great place to hang out by taking in the stunning mountain views, observing the trading of visiting Tibetans or listening to the stories of departing mountaineers.
Day 4 - Namche to Tengpoche – 3870m
From Namche the trail brings us north-east on a direct line to Everest, starting up the hill behind Namche and continuing along the reasonably flat trail high above the Dudh Kosi river. Ahead of us we can see one of the most beautiful mountains in the Khumbu – Ama Dablam (6856m), as well as Everest still far off in the distance.
We pass through the settlement of Sanasa before making our descent to the Dudh Kosi and the village of Phunki Thanga. From here it is a steep long climb back up the side of the hill to where Tengpoche monastery is located. As we enter the grounds of the monastery we are welcomed by some of the most magnificent mountain views in the world encompassing a panorama of Himalayan giants and Everest as it peeks above the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. 6 hour trek to Tengpoche.
Day 5 - Tengpoche to Dingboche – 4410m
The path initially descends through beautiful rhododendron forests and reaches a bridge across the Imja Khola where the river rushes through a narrow gorge, and from here it is a short walk to the settlement of Pangboche (3860m). After this point the trail and surroundings become distinctly alpine in appearance as we start to trek above the natural tree line. Our route is relatively easy, with a gentle climb towards Dingboche at 4410m. Dingboche is a long thin settlement nestled below a ridge that separates it from its neighbour Pheriche, at which there is a Himalayan Rescue Association medical centre. To the east we have fantastic views of Lhotse (8501m) and the popular climbing peak of Island Peak (6189m). 6 hour trek to Dingboche.
Day 6 – Dingboche to Chhukung – 4750m
We leave the stone walled fields of Dingboche behind as we trek through the Imja Khola valley as Lhotse rises up on our left and Ama Dablam towers on our right. Island Peak (Imja Tse) is high up ahead as we reach the small camp of Bibre and thereafter the trail is intersected by icy streams as we are surrounded by glaciers and massive snowy mountains soon coming to the village of Chhukung. 4 hour trek to Chhukung.
Day 7 – Rest day in Chhukung – 4750m
Before we advance to the Kongma La pass, an extra acclimatisation day in Chhukung is strongly recommended. The views from Chhukung further up the valley towards Island Peak (6189m) and all around are amazing.
Energy permitting, we can choose to hike to the top of Chhukung Ri (5550m) nearby, which offers stunning views of Lhotse, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, Makalu and several others.
Day 8 – Chhukung to Lobuche, via Kongma La (5535) – 4940m
Kongma La is highest pass on our trek and because there will be no tea shops along the way we have will to carry plenty of water and snacks for today’s excursion. The trail is not set and we can either climb over the hill northwest of Chhukung, over the moraine of the Nuptse Glacier or we can follow a trail high above the Niyang Khola.
We can enjoy great views of Island Peak valley while we ascend along the east side of the Niyang Khola valley, before turning west and entering a wide basin dotted with small frozen lakes. The trail rises until we reach Longma La and behind us lays a landscape of icy lakes, including the Khumbu Glacier. The final descent is the most difficult part but upon climbing up the far side the trail turns north through the Khumbu Glacier and takes us to Lobuche. 7 hour trek to Lobuche, via Kongma La.
Day 9 –Lobuche to Gorak Shep, via Everest Base Camp (5365m) – 5170m
Everest Base Camp is our destination today and with a long day ahead we rise early and continue along the western side of the broad Khumbu Valley as we trek to over 5000m for the first time. Due to the somewhat difficult terrain and high altitude it is important that we take our time here and hence progress can be slow.
The pyramid peak of Pumori (7145m) comes into view soon and underneath this we see the small dark peak of Kala Pattar (5545m). The trail then descends down to the small settlement of Gorak Shep (5160m) where we take a well deserved break for lunch.
Refuelled and rested we continue along the side of the Khumbu Galcier, past the Indian army’s mountaineers memorials up to the site of Everest Base Camp. Everest Base Camp (EBC) offers up amazing views of Nuptse (7861m), Khumbutse (6636m) and Pumori (7161m), although not Everest itself. The high point of the trek EBC can be home to an eery hustle and bustle at this altitude and depending on the time of year, the colourful tents of mountaineers, with Everest summit on their minds, can be scattered around the base camp area.
After taking in Everest Base Camp, we make our way back down to Gorak Shep, the location of our overnight stay. 8 hour trek to Gorak Shep via Everest Base Camp.
Day 10 – Gorak Shep to Lobuche, via Kala Patthar (5545m) - 4940m
Rising early again before dawn we trek up to Kala Pattar to take in the spectacular sunrise above Everest. The ascent takes around 2 hours of steady walking but from the summit we are able to see many of Everest’s key features including the South Col from where Hillary and Tenzing made their first ascent in 1953.
Kala Patter offers up the greatest mountain view in the world and after taking our pictures of Everest and the surrounding Himalayan giants we descend back to Gorak Shep. After a warm breakfast we continue on back to the village of Lobuche. 8 hour trek to Lobuche via ascent of Kala Patthar.
Day 11 – Lobuche to Dzongla - 4830m
Today’s route branches off from the main trail after Lobuche as we are treated to views of Ama Dablam and Kangtega-Thamserku as the vast Chola lake spreads below Cholatse (6440m) beside us. Reaching Dzongla we overnight at one of the basic lodges in the village. 4 hour trek to Dzongla.
Day 12 –Dzongla to Gokyo, via Cho La (5368m) - 4800m
The climb to Cho La can be tricky and today is going to be one of the toughest days on our trip. The trail brings us down to a river basin before we ascent back up the steep other side offering up views of the Chola Lake, Ama Dablam to the south and Cholatse to the west. The final climb to Cho La is rocky and the path curls around the mountain as we reach the top. From Cho La the sight of majestic Himalayan peaks in every direction is breathtaking and we take some time here to stop and take it all in.
We descend on the other side from Cho La following the mountain down to Thangnak village and the Ngozumpa glacier edge, the longest glacier in Nepal. When we reach the other side of the glacier we catch a glimpse of Taboche Tsho, the second Gokyo lake and a short distance thereafter is Dudh Pokhari, the third. Gokyo village, which stands on the edge of Dudh Pokhari, is our stop for the night. 8 hour trek to Gokyo, via Cho La.
Day 13 – Goyko valley, climb Goyko Ri (5457m) - 4800 m
The main purpose of today is to give ourselves some more time to acclimatise to the altitude and take some rest if needed. Energy permitting however, we can take the opportunity to trek up the nearby Gokyo Ri (5457m), which offers on the best viewpoints of Everest in the region.
We can also explore the spectacular fourth and fifth lakes in the area, Thonak Tsho and Ngozuma Tsho. The northern part of Ngozuma Tsho provides fantastic views of Cho-Oyu base camp and the biggest glacier of the world, the Ngazumpa glacier. 6 hour round trip trek up to Gokyo Ri and 4/5th lake, before returning to Gokyo village.
Day 14 – Goyko to Marlung via Renjo La (5360m) - 4210m
Rising at dawn we head out from the Gokyo valley and leave the main trail as we turn towards the Renjo La trail by Dudh Pokhari. After about 3 hours,we reach Renjo La, which offers up stunning views of Everest, Lhotse, Cholatse and Taboche.
Following on down the other side of the pass the trail brings us down a stone staircase to the bank of a small lake, Angladumba Tsho. The descend can be awkward if there is ice on the path but along the way we can see Relama Tsho and Renjo lake. Our route brings us through a narrow valley filled with giant boulders to Lunde village and then Marlung, on the east bank of the Bhote Kosi river. 8 hour trek to Marlung, via Renjo La.
Day 15 –Marjung to Namche Bazzar - 3440m
Today’s trail follows a traditional route used for centuries by Tibetan traders and passes through the valley of Langmuche Khola and on to Thame. Thame is a growing village with a few lodges and stunning views of the mountains Thamserku, Katenga, Kusum Kangguru and others. Thame is also home to a famous Buddhist monastery, some 300 hundred years old, which can be visited if you wish.
After crossing a bridge we reach Samde and then then descend to Thamo village, home to another monastery called Kari Goma, a nunnery and home for Buddhist nuns and monks.
Continuing on, past the world’s highest hydroelectric power station, we come to Phurte, where the Laudo monastery, popular with westerners for Buddhist retreats and mediation is situated. Eventually, we reach Namche again and rest there for the night. 6 hour trek to Namche.
Day 16 - Namche Bazaar to Lukla - 2800m
Today is the final day of our trek and it brings the conflicting feelings of relief and sadness as we retrace our steps along the trail above the Dudh Kosi. Descending steeply out of Namche we cross the suspension bridge below and get our last views of Everest for now. After lunch at Phakding we continue down the path, before turning off the main Jiri route and arriving back to Lukla by mid-afternoon. 8 hour trek to Lukla.
Day 17 - Fly to Kathmandu - 1300m
The short return flight brings us back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu where you will be transferred back to your hotel by mid-afternoon. 45 minute fight to Kathmandu.
Weather conditions at Lukla can affect flight times and departures so we therefore advise you to have at least 2 extra days in your itinerary between your expected Everest trek completion date and your departure flight from Nepal. In the case of emergencies you can take a shared Helicopter, which can fly in conditions not suitable for planes, from Lukla to Kathmandu at an extra cost.
Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park is located in the remote area of Solukhumbu in eastern Nepal and encompasses the world’s highest mountain, Everest (8848m)or Sagarmatha (the Nepali name for Everest) and many other Himalayan giants, such as Lhotse (8516m), Cho-yo Ama Dablam (8201m) and Pumori (7161m). This vast region contains multiple routes and offers a good standard of amenities for visiting trekkers.
Level of Difficulty
This is one of the more adventurous treks in Nepal with three high passes above 5000m, Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Ri on the itinerary. Therefore, this trek is demanding and days may involve walking for between 4 and 9 hours and will become more strenuous as you gain elevation, especially over 4000m. While most people can manage this trek, some regular walking and hiking exercise beforehand defiantly helps. Anybody with some reasonable level of physical fitness and a positive frame of mind can enjoy it, but people with any chronic or heart disease should not consider taking this trek.
Travel to and from Trek
The most common way to travel to the Sagarmatha (Everest) National park is via the 45-minute domestic plane ride from Kathmandu to Tenzing Hilary airport at Lukla. The airport’s landing strip is famously short and at an altitude of 2800m, flying in and out of this airport provides some of the most memorable experiences for anyone who undertakes a trek or climb in the Everest region.
If you have a few extra days to spare and / or would prefer to go by land to the Everest Region, the overland trip takes a minimum of 3 days each way with a one day bus trip to the town of Jiri and two days trek onwards to Lukla, where the main trek will begin.
Food and accommodation
Guest Lodges, sometimes called Teahouses, along the way provide good accommodation and a considerable choice of well-prepared meals. However, it is advisable to bring your own sleeping bag, as during the high season, bedding can be in short supply and it can get very cold at the higher altitudes.
Best time to Trek?
March to May is one of the best times to trek with lots of flowers in bloom, especially rhododendrons in the mountains. While the sky may not be crystal clear as during the autumn months, it is the second busiest season for trekking and mountaineering.
June to August are wet but the mountains and hills are covered with lush and full green forests and vegetation. The daily cloud cover means that mountain views are not guaranteed but as very few people travel during this time it can present the perfect opportunity for people to explore the trails and nature in quiet.
September to November are the busiest trekking months due to predictable weather and mostly clear skies. The mountain views are spectacular but the most popular trails can become quite busy.
The winter months of December to February are good to trek due to the clean skies and the reduced number of trekkers. However, you should be prepared for cold temperatures.
Safety on the trail and Acclimatisation
Our guides are trained in First Aid and have significant experience in trekking this and many other routes throughout Nepal. Safety is our foremost priority and our staff will be available for any issues, and alert to any symptoms of illness that may come up.
Altitude problems, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), can be life threatening and can occur at any point above 3000m. Our trip itinerary has been designed specifically to allow you to have enough time to acclimatise to the altitude as our height increases. Our guides are very experienced and will act in accordance with the gravity of any mountain sickness suffered. The easiest and best remedy for AMS is to descent quickly, so never ignore the symptoms and please talk to your guide or leader if you feel unwell. They are trained to manage the logistics and assess the situation continually to make sure that you have a safe trip and enjoy yourself.
For more information on the trip and on trekking in Nepal, please visit out FAQ section.
Trek Cost: $1600 / person
This is based on a twin sharing basis for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 people.
Additional Cost: $350 / person
Domestic return flight: Kathmandu- Lukla – Kathmandu, to/from the starting point of the trek from/to Kathmandu.
- An experienced, high quality English-speaking trek leader/guide
- Porter service
- TIMS trekking permit and national park fees
- Domestic airport drop off and pick up
- Staffs food, wages, accommodation and insurance coverage
- 3 meals a day and accommodation in local lodges along the trail
DOES NOT INCLUDE
- Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Airport transportation, visa, international or international flights, airport tax
- Bottled and hard drinks
- Meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Your travel insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
- Costs incurred due to any unforeseen events
- Emergency evacuation and rerouting
Everest High Pass Trek: The best decision that I made
I recently undertook Everest Base Camp, Everest Gokyo Lakes trek and the Cho La pass in the Everest region and I had intended to complete this without a porter/guide however after falling ill after only day 1 I was faced with the decision to either spend a few days to recover or hire a porter guide who could help with my bag. I rang Macartan at Umbrella Trekking and thankfully one of the guides Arjun was available and willing to go with me for 12 days (this is just after Arjun had completed the Gokyo trek).
This was the best decision that I made as not only did Arjun help with the bag he was also very insightful into areas that we were passing through and staying at night. Arjun spoke perfect English and this was great as we could talk with ease and I never felt the "language barrier" being an issue at all. While undertaking the treks Arjun was always careful to ensure that we were not running the risk of altitude sickness due to our pace and was always encouraging me to take on water where necessary and to take ample amount of breaks. Whenever there was something i may have asked that Arjun did not know he would investigate and find out further information off other guides/Nepalese people and ensure that he fully answered my question. During our stays in the guesthouses along the way Arjun always put my needs ahead of his and if there was ever any issue he would look after me without complaint. It was great to see the enthusiasm that Arjun had for trekking and being a guide and how keen he was to learn about my home culture. Hearing about his upbringing was very fascinating and day by day I saw Arjun as a friend as well as a guide. Arjun has a great humour and always smiling which rubs off on you.
We spent many nights playing cards and telling stories with other trekkers. Also the fact that we were of a relatively similar age meant that we talked lots about issues/topics relevant to us. It was great to have someone to enjoy the highlights of my trip (EBC, Kala Patthar, Cho La Pass and Gokyo Ri) with and I definitely feel that thanks to Arjun he made a great trip an even better and more special one!!