Our Three Passes and Three Summits trek encompasses the Renjo La, the Cho La and the Kongma La passes plus Gokyo Ri, Kala Patthar and Chhukhung Ri summits. There are plenty of options along the way and we will always offer an alternative route if possible.
Our trek starts with a thrilling flight to Lukla, a mountain town perched on a hillside at the edge of the Khumbu. Nowadays Lukla has a tarmac runway with a proper airport terminal but I first flew into Lukla some 30 years ago when the runway was a bumpy strip of earth and the chickens were chased off to let the planes land. Even now it’s an ‘interesting’ flight.
Over the next two days, we trek to Namche Bazaar and on the way we have our first glimpse of Everest.
Sitting in a bowl in the hillside Namche Bazaar is one of those romantic places names redolent in mountaineering history. Most major climbing expeditions have passed though Namche on the way to climb many of the worlds most famous peaks. Namche is a vibrant town with lots of accommodation, internet access, chocolate cake and trekking kit shops interspersed with mule trains moving supplies up the trail and all dominated by the massive bulk of Thamserku, 6618mt. At Namche, we have a days rest for acclimatisation.
From Namche, we head to Thame, then in two days, we go over the Renjo La pass (5320mts) descending past a azure lake to Goyko, which is situated on the only flat area for miles and backed by the Cho Oyu glacial moraine. At the end of a valley, Goyko feels very remote and well off the beaten track. The later in the year, the quieter it gets and the lodge owners move down the valley. The lake freezes over in mid winter.
Having traversed our first pass, we now climb our first summit, which is Goyko Ri (5357mts) from which you get superb views eastwards to Everest, (8848mts) Lhotse (8516mts), Nuptse (7864mts) and behind them Makalu (8462mts). Try to go up in the afternoon as the light on the mountains is better then.
Leaving Gokyo, we head over the rubble covered Ngozumba glacier which is the longest in Nepal and spend the night at the foot of the Cho La pass (5368mts). The glacier is fascinating and the path wanders around ice ponds and mounds of rock. Looking up the glacier. you get a fantastic view of Cho Oyu (8201mts).
Starting before dawn next day, we go up and over boulder fields to the Cho La pass. At 5368mts the Cho La has a minor glacier on the east (our descent) side. Late in the season, the snow cover has gone from the glacier and we use lightweight crampons on the bottle green hard ice. The pass itself is rather narrow as passes go, about 30mts front to back. As on all passes, wind is a real problem and you’ll soon want to head down the glacier to the lodge.
The following day, we traverse across the side of the main Everest valley but high enough to get much better views than those people on the main trail. Their small size serves to highlight to enormous scale of the mountains. Eventually, we get to Lobouche.
Next day, we go North to Gorak Shep (5140mts). The views get better and better.
After lunch at Gorak Shep we climb to the top of Kala Patthar (5643mts). Our second summit is, in my opinion, best seen at 2pm or later. Most people seem to climb to the summit for the sunrise but I wouldn’t advise that as the main view of the Everest group is to the east and directly into the sun in the morning. Maybe go up to see the sunset although it is cold up there even in daylight and you will be descending in the dark. The view of Everest, Pumori, Nuptse and other smaller peaks is truly breathtaking. Everest South Col and the summit ridge is visible as is the bottom of the Everest ice fall, the entire length of the Khumbu glacier and the spire of Ama Dablam to the south. A wonderful panorama.
Recently the height of Kala Patthar has been remeasured at 5643mts, about 100mts higher than on the maps.
Whilst you have seen the best view of the Everest group and the Khumbu valley an optional additional day lets you go on to Everest Base Camp which is most likely deserted by late October.
Retracing our steps to Lobouche, we now turn east to the Kongma La pass (5530mts) which is the last of the three passes. There is an option of climbing Pokalde (5806mts) or Kongma Tse (5820mts). Both are technical but easy trekking peaks. Please ask for details.
We descend to Chhukhung, a small village at the foot of Chhukhung Ri which at 5550mts is our last summit. Lying between the Nuptse and Lhotse glaciers, Chhukhung Ri, like the others, is a non technical climb and the views are extensive, Cho Oyu (8201mts) to the west, Pumori, the Lhotse Wall, Makalu (8462mts) and Baruntse. If local conditions, time and energy permit we’ll carry on to the main summit of Chhukhung Tse which at 5833mts is higher than some trekking peaks. However it does require some rock scrambling so it’s not really for the inexperienced trekker.
A 360 degree panorama from the summit of Chhukhung Ri is here.
The next few days are spent walking back down the trail, passing through Tengboche monastery, which is a modern replacement for the original building burnt down some years ago. Just before you get back to Namche, turn around at a big chorton (buddhist monument) to see the last great view of the upper Khumbu including Everest that you will get.
Two days later you arrive back in Kathmandu.
This trek is 21 days Kathmandu to Kathmandu. At the start we have your first, then an administration day getting permits, etc, checking your kit and resting. We fly the following morning at about 6am and start trekking right off the plane. On return to Kathmandu you overnight then fly home the next day.
However, we can’t control the weather and in and out of Lukla where there may be a delay of a day or two. We strongly advise you to have a flexible ticket home as it’s possible to miss your flight.
You pay a flat fee for guiding and portering. Then you pay for all your living expenses plus travel, etc. on top of that. We’ve estimated your living expenses at the upper end of the scale. Depending on your wishes you can either save money or spend more by, lets say, drinking beer every night.
Based on two trekkers sharing a room and one guide and one porter the guiding only will cost £545 each. That includes the staffs accommodation and food which they pay for.
On top of that you have your costs as individuals which is roughly £1045 each which includes your food and accommodation on trek, flights for you and your guide to Lukla, 3 nights in an average hotel in Kathmandu, permits, taxis, etc. So it’s roughly £1590 each in total.Please note the entire Khumbu is the most expensive place to trek in outside of the restricted areas. Daily costs might well be more and flights will be more expensive.
The way it works is : You pay the guide up front in full and pay the rest directly to the provider, eg lodge owner. The guide will organise the bill for lodges, etc. I find it best just to hand over a sum of money for the guide to pay the daily expenses and keep track of the running total. It makes life simpler that way.
This doesn’t includes staff tips. These are poor people so please bear that in mind. I always give 12%.
This doesn’t include your international flight, extra days, etc.
More details from Steve Climpson via the contact form or phone +44 7831 135705.