Everest High Passes Trek Via Chhukung takes us to the Everest Base Camp, Kalapatthar, Gokyo Valley and its tranquil Lakes, Gokyo Ri for amazing views of the landscape. More importantly, this route introduces trekkers to the remote and untouched Nangpa La Valley, the Sherpa village of Marlung and the monastery village of Thame. Moreover, trekkers tread on world famous routes while crossing three high passes Kongma La (5,535m), Cho La (5420m) and Renjo La (5,340m)
We begin our Journey to the Everest High Passes Trek Via Chhukung with a sightseeing day in Kathmandu which offers a brief exploration of the temples, shrines, bazaars and restaurants of Kathmandu. We take a stimulating mountain flight to Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla on the following day followed by trek up through the classic route to the Sagarmatha National Park playing with mighty Dudh Koshi river, colorful landscapes, Gompas and monasteries in the land enclosed by the soaring peaks. After reaching the summit of Kongma La, as we compose our way to the Everest Base Camp we marvel at the spectacle of Khumbu icefall cascading from the Western Cwm. Our trek to the view point of Kalapatthar is followed by the tough climb through Cho La that finally takes us to the cobalt-blue lakes at Gokyo. After enjoying a inspiring views from the fifth lake and Gokyo Ri, we make our way to the next great pass, the Renjo La. Making a night in Marlung we follow a little of the route used for centuries by the Tibetan Traders via Nangpa La to get to Thame. Following the classical route, we drop down to Lukla and fly back to Kathmandu leaving behind our foot prints in the shadow of the Everest.
DAY 01: Kathmandu (1300m)
Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport (KTM). After completing your custom formalities (Visa, etc) pick up your luggage and look for our representative with a Sherpa Holidays’ display board at the arrival gate and you will be picked up by one of our representative or your trip leader.You will be then transferred to hotel.After check in, you can either take a rest, wander around in the city,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 followed by a set Nepali dish(Dal Bhat) for dinner.
DAY 02: Kathmandu : Sightseeing and Trek Preparation
Today after breakfast your trek leader will introduce you to rest of the members of the group and brief you about the trek . After the group briefing, you will be taken for a guided sightseeing tour to two of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Both of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites; including the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath and the famous Buddhists shrine (Bouddhanath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world. After lunch you have an opportunity to prepare yourself for the entire trip and next day’s flight to Lukla.
DAY 03: Kathmandu – Lukla (2,860 m – Phakding (2,690m) 3 – 4 hours
After an earlybreakfast, you will be escorted to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Airport for an early morning flight to Lukla (2,800m), 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.
DAY 04: Phakding – Namche Bazaar (3,440 m) 6- 7 hours
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 Bazaar.
DAY 05: Namche Bazaar: Acclimatization Day
This is the scheduled ‘acclimatization’ day for this trek. Health experts always recommend us to stay active and moving during the rest day too instead of being idle. We either spend the day taking a day hike 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,Wi-Fi, 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.Sherpa Holidays’ guide 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. We also take an interesting side trip up to Khumjung. We further climb up to the famous airstrip at Syangboche and go further to one of the tea house for a tea break with great views of the highest mountains on Earth. The Khumjung valley is surrounded by the snowy peaks of Kongde and Thamserku and the sacred peak Khumbila, hosts a well known monastery that houses a yeti scalp. We also visit Hillary School which is loacted at the same site. After having lunch and spending some time in Khumjung, we walk back down to Namche Bazzar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar.
DAY 06: Namche Bazzar to Tengboche (3,860m) 7 hours
After breakfast in Namche, we start our trek towards Tengboche enjoying superb view of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and close up view of Thamserku. Our trek follows on the gradual trail with few ups and downs overlooking magnificent view of the great Himalaya. Along the way we can spot wild lives like pheasant, musk deer, or a herd of Himalayan Thar. 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 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 then have a little tough climb steep up through the pine forests while before we reach Tengboche. Tengboche is a great place for close up views of Ama-Dablam, Nuptse, and Everest and it has a biggest Buddhist Monastery all over in Khumbu region. We pay our visit to the monastery the same day at around 4p.m. to witness the ceremony in the principal and popular monastery of Everest region. Over night stay at lodge at Tengboche.
DAY 07: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,360 m) 6 hours
With mountains at its backdrop, the monastery at Tengboche looks more spectacular in the morning. At this juncture, we can take pictures of the monastery and the scenery around and as usual start the day journey. We choose the upper trail for better views on the way to Pangboche village. We pass through several Chortens and Mani walls and small villages. The place where we stop for lunch not only serves delicious food but also allows a fantastic close-up view of Mt Ama Dablam. In the afternoon, we walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Mt Ama Dablam. From here onwards, the walk is fairly moderate as we enter the Imja Valley. The valley gradually unfolds as we approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. We descend into the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche. On arrival at Dingboche, we will see beautiful array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals. Overnight at Dingboche.
DAY 08: Dingboche (4,360 m): Rest Day
We spend our second day of acclimatization at Dingboche. A refreshing breakfast while admiring a looming Ama Dablam (6856m/ 22493 ft) to the south is really fantastic. To better appreciate Mt Ama Dablam, Mt Lhotse and numerous other peaks visible from Dingboche, we climb the ridge on the north behind the village. This willbe an ideal acclimatizing excursion. Upon this juncture, we can see three of the world’s six highest peaks, Mt Lhotse, Mt Makalu and Mt Cho Yu. To the west, loom the towering peaks of Cholatse (6440m) and Taboche (6542m). As we look northwest, we see an array of peaks rising at the head of the Khumbu Khola valley. The Lobuche West and Lobuche East peaks are most dominant along with Lhotse which stands over 8500 meters (8501m). From a vantage point high on the ridge, we can scan the sweeping Imja Khola valley as well as the picturesque fields and pastures of Dingboche. Overnight at Dingboche.
DAY 09: Dingboche to Chhukung (4700m) 4 hours
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 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 rocky 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.
Day 10: Lobuje (4930m) 7-8 hours
One of the hardest and longest day as today is our first pass of our trip. Khongma-la which is 5535m can be very difficult with lots of snow in fact it can be impossible to cross with heavy snow on it. Leave very early this morning after an early breakfast. Cross the small stream behind Chukung and slowly start climbing up through the landslide area and slwoly it gets steeper until you come to the grassy hill from where Dingbuche and Tyangbouche is visible. The trails gets bit easier now from now for a while and soon again another very steep path is ahead of you until you come to the ridge from where small lake is seen and later a very big lake is infront of you with the view of so many mountains. last half and hour walk from the lake is quite steep and a bit of scrambling to the top of the pass at Khongma-la. Its worth while getting here as its our first pass and the view is superb from where you can see Lobuje where you are going and many mountains on both side of the pass including some of the montains is the Tibet as well. Descending is harder than ascending so be very careful and stay with your guides and listen to them. An hour walk on the boulders and later on scree all the way to the bottom of the pass. You are not done yet as the last bit is yet to come which is the sting in the tail as you have to clmb up to the moraine and then walk through the famous Khumbu glacier for another hour to Lobuje. We can see Kalapather, Everest base camp with many mountains and the sunset on Nuptse from our lodge is not to be missed.
DAY 11: Lobuche – Gorak Shep (5180m) 4hours Everest Base Camp (5365m) 3 hours – Gorak Shep: 2 hours
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. Overnight at Gorak Shep.
DAY 12: Gorak Shep – Kala Patthar – Labuche (4930) – Dzongla(4850m) 8 hours
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 Mount Everest. However, we need to get prepared for an early morning, dark and cold temperature departure beforehand. Further, there is always the potential for chilly wind which is 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 an ascent, we reach 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 rocks our eyes taking 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.And back to gorakshep. After breakfast we set off to Lobuche, where we stop for lunch. We then follow the Lobuche Khola downstream where, after a while, we take a trail to the right heading off towards Dzongla. Upon arrival we settle into our lodge and prepare for the crossing of the snowfields that lead to the top of Cho La (Pass).
Day 13: Dzonla – Dragnak (4600m) 7 hours
The day begins very early in order to reach the top of the pass in the best possible conditions. From camp we ascend steeply on a narrow trail passing large boulders and huge rock slabs and keeping to the left of the main glacier. There are a number of cairns lining the route to the snowfield and, while the trail is well-defined, it does involve a little scrambling. Once on the snowfield the angle eases off and we soon reach the top of the Cho-la pass (5420m), where the views are spectacular and include Baruntse (7220m) and Ama Dablam, as well as a sea of lesser peaks. Do not wander around the snowfield as there are crevasses and we may need to rope up for the pass crossing! The descent from the pass is steep and care should be taken as we follow the narrow rocky trail down to the Nymagawa Valley, where we enjoy a packed lunch. From the valley we cross rocky scree and boulders and ascend the short distance to a small saddle that leads downhill all the way on an easy trail to the huts and tea houses at Thangnak.
Day 14: Dragnak – Gokyo (4800m) 3 hours
We head off towards the Ngozumba Glacier where we do a touch of boulder hopping as we pass small glacial lakes. The views are astounding as we enjoy different views of the Gokyo Valley as Cho Oyu and adjacent mountains bordering Tibet loom to the right. The trail then reaches the second lake of Gokyo, where we can see Brahminy ducks swimming in pairs and feeding on algae. From the second lake it takes another 45 minutes to reach the settlement of Gokyo where we spend the night. We have lunch at Gokyo and then have the afternoon to relax and rest. If feeling well-acclimatised there is an option to head off to Gokyo Ri in the afternoon for spectacular sunset views. It is a steady climb to the top of Gokyo Ri and takes about 2½ hours to reach the top. Though it is hard work but in the end we are rewarded with an unsurpassable 360-degree of views of four 8000-metre peaks – Everest (8848m), Cho-Oyo (8153m), Lhotse (8511m) and Makalu (8481m). There are countless other towering snow-capped peaks and rock spires fill the horizons including Gyachung Kang (7922m) to the east of Cho-Oyo, Cholatse (6440m), Taweche (6542m) and Kangchung (6103m). After spending time snapping breath-taking photos, we head back down to our lodge at the bottom. With the fading lights the descent can be tricky and our flashlights will come very handy.
DAY 15: Hike – Gokyo Ri (5360m) 5 hours
Early morning, we hike up to the Gokyo Ri (Gokyo Peak). Climbing to Gokyo Ri is obviously strenuous as it is steep up and takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the top. But even from the trial scenery of Gokyo village on the edge of third lake overlooked by Cholatse and the broad Nogzumpa Glacier are mind blowing. We feel like we are surrounded by panoramic mountains like Kusum Kanguru, Thamserku, Kangtega, Taboche, Cholatse, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Changtse, and Pumori. Sight of sunrays kissing the Everest that towers over all surrounding peaks is unlike from Kala Patthar (from Kala Patthar Nuptse seems taller). Our Gokyo Ri visit will be unforgettable life time memories.So,after we get back to the tea house in Gokyo,we have a late brunch and then spend the afternoon enjoying the lake view.Overnight at Gokyo.
Day 16: Gokyo – lungden (4350m) 8-9 hours
We have an early start as we have a long day ahead of us. The trail skirts around north of Gokyo Lake and then climbs up though scree slope as we reach a highland pasture. Looking back, we enjoy excellent views of Gokyo and the mountains in the background. We continue to climb on scree and also boulder hop towards Renjo La (Pass) (5420m). We finally reach the top of the pass, which is marked by prayer flags, from where we can have a look into Nangpa Valley and, looking back, we have views of Everest and Makalu. We stop at the pass to have our pack lunch and take a well deserved rest. The descent is tricky as we have to walk on scree and loose rocks (ropes are fixed in icy conditions to facilitate the descent). After a while we reach a glacial lake from where the valley opens up. We continue to head down the valley through open pastures for sometime before bearing left to reach the small settlement of Lungden, the main occupation of the people arond here is farming and catteling. We can also see the famour trading route bwtween Tibet and Nepal and from where the caravans from Tibet still comes to Namche for trading. To the right bottom of Lungden is a river from Tibet called Bhote Khosi.
Day 17: Lunden – Thame – Namche (3440m) 6-7 hours
We have a late start and descend all the way, following the Bhote Kosi River downstream. We walk down Nangpa Valley, passing through small settlements to finally reach the village of Marlung, where we stop for lunch. From Marlung the trail continues to descend and undulate passing through the village of Taranga to reach Thami Og and then Thami Teng, the birth place of Tenzing Sherpa. Thame is quite a famous village with many Everest summiteers living here, including Appa Sherpa who has climbed Everest an incredible 22 times.After having our lunch there we slowly descend down to Namche.
DAY 18: Namche Bazzar to Lukla (2860m) 6-7 hours
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.
DAY 19: Fly Back to Kathmandu
Today, we fly back to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. The early morning flight drops us in Kathmandu.You can rest and relax throughout the day at hotel. If you are interested to take some gifts home from Nepal for friends and relatives,you can visit to some nearby shops or vendors in Thamel for typical Nepalese goods.If you are still keen on exploring any other areas in Kathmandu,you can talk to your leader and he will organize it for you accordingly.
DAY 20: Final Departure
The journey within the mountains of Nepal comes to an end today!If you have more time then you can do some shopping or just wander around Thamel and relax before your flight. At last approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight, your leader will escorts you to the airport.
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